Emotional intelligence: The heart of parenting

When the child falls down or is emotionally hurt, don't panic . Your emotional imbalance will have a negative effect on the child. Take control of the situation and conduct yourself as an emotionally strong person.

By Vaibhav Datar

Parents have a huge impact on their child in profound ways. It is believed that early childhood is the best time for your child to develop “social skills” and “emotional intelligence”. The most influential learning takes place during this stage, which they can remember throughout their life effectively. It’s parents who are responsible in making their child an “all-rounder”.

As adults, many of us are often overwhelmed by worry, which means we don’t have the mental strength and ability to cope up with hard times. Fine parenting lies in comprehending the emotional source of a problematic behaviour in children. When a child’s emotion rushes high with unbearable feelings or meltdowns in trivial situations or “crying over little things”, this is where your child child’s “emotional intelligence” needs to be worked upon.

For example, if a five-year-old toddler becomes distraught and start crying for he has been not considered to be taken out for a dinner date with his mom and dad. Or, if they say, “Dad, I am facing an extreme hard time settling alone tonight because I hope I might see a ghost walking into my room. Please come and sleep with me!” This is a tricky one, isn’t it?

When your child grows up, he/she will definitely encounter difficulties while dealing with the outside world all alone as well as complex people and situations. To de-clutter such disruptions, which can possibly occur in the future, let us look at some recommendations below to coach your child to develop “emotional intelligence”.

No sympathy, only empathy

Teach your child the importance of empathy and not sympathy. When you sympathise with someone, it makes the person weak rather than strong. You feel you are doing a wonderful job by being with the person and understanding and sharing your own sorrows so that they feel better. But you are actually doing the opposite. You are putting the person down, enabling them to look at the world with a negative perspective. But when you empathise with someone, you are still offering support, but are no longer adding your own miseries. In fact, by just being there and understanding without saying a word, means a lot. He gets the strength to get up and take life with renewed energy. Studies have shown that people with high empathy have greater mental health, job performance, and leadership skills.

Ask what and not why

Whenever an unwanted situation happens, a parent is more like to question the child on why they did it. Or, why does it always happen with them. The child goes on a defensive mode and looks at justifying his actions. What if we asked our child “what” questions? What happened here? What worked or did not work? The child will go into finding answers and deepening his understanding of the event and outcome.

Give space to your child

When the child falls down or is emotionally hurt, give the child the space he/she requires. Don’t panic and do not get disturbed. Your emotional imbalance will have a negative effect on the child and end up not receiving the space he requires to recoup and come out. Your child needs your support. So take your time, recharge yourself, take control of the situation and conduct yourself as an emotionally strong person.

Encourage playing with elders

Be it in the society or social circle, always encourage your child to play with children of mixed age. This gives the child exposure to real life scenarios like handling your boss and team members. When a child learns to play with elder kids, he understands the importance of leadership and when he plays with younger kids and leads them, he understands the importance of team work and delegation.

Never take charge, unless asked

Your child needs to explore and learn. Allow him to take charge of his life. Don’t try to be a nice parent by taking charge of the situation. You may end up harming the learning in process. Take charge of the situation only if asked or requested by the child or else play along with the game.

Unconditional love and respect

This is a no-brainer, yet needs to be reiterated. Be a pillar of unconditional support, love and respect for the child.

Let us make our children, the future citizens of our country, self-sufficient and emotionally strong.

(The writer is a midlife coach and author of Simplify Your Life.)

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