7 Highly Effective Ways to Parenting with Emotional Intelligence
This month at MX Martial Arts, we are helping our athletes to focus on improving emotional intelligence. We polled a group of 300 parents and among the top 2 skills they wished they had learned as a child, Emotional Intelligence was number 2.
Being a parent is a big responsibility and it’s not easy. It doesn’t come with an instruction manual; you often have to go with your gut feeling and hope for the best. As a parent, you want to do right by your child to ensure they develop holistically and become well-adjusted, successful adults.
Both moms and dads play a vital role in their children’s lives, and there are many things you can do to be great parents. To bring about the best results, parenting should be purposeful and done with awareness and emotional intelligence. The art of emotional intelligence plays a big role in helping you connect with your child and parent effectively.
We found seven highly effective ways you need to parent with emotional intelligence.
But first, let’s start with the meaning of emotional intelligence and why it’s so important for parenting.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability, capacity, or skill to recognize, determine, and manage the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. In this case, it’s about you as a parent being able to monitor your emotions, respond effectively to your children’s emotions, and use emotional information to guide their thinking and behavior.
Why is Emotional Intelligence Important for Parenting?
Not only can emotions drive our own thinking and actions, but they can also have a big impact on your kids’ lives – positively or negatively. Parenting with emotional intelligence can help you to better understand and respond to your child’s emotions in positive, supportive ways. It leads to balanced early childhood development, better health, academic achievement, and stronger relationships.
When you parent with emotional intelligence, your kids are more likely to be healthy, happy, and well-adjusted now and for years to come.
How to Become More Emotionally Intelligent
It begins with one’s own self. You must first become aware of and understand your own emotions. Emotions are our internal guidance system, and they have a huge impact on how we feel about our lives and how we navigate through life.
Another way to become more emotionally intelligent is by developing care and concern for others and learning how to effectively communicate with them.
Ask your family, friends, and managers to rate you in the following areas: How do you respond to difficult situations? How adaptable are you? How well do you handle conflict? Learning and practicing stress management and conflict resolution skills will not only help you become more emotionally intelligent but also improve the quality of your life.
7 Valuable Ways to Parenting with Emotional Intelligence
1. Be aware of your own feelings.
As a parent, you experience a wide range of feelings daily. While the feelings you have are valid, they do not define you or dictate your life. They are simply indicators of what is happening in your mind and body. If you are not in touch with your own feelings, it will be difficult to understand and respond to your child’s emotions in positive, supportive ways. Be mindful of how you are feeling throughout the day and take time to process your emotions in healthy ways.
2. Listen attentively to your child.
Listening is the first step in solving problems. It is very important to listen attentively when your child is talking to you, so they feel valued, respected, and understood. Listening carefully is how you gather information about what’s going on in your child’s life and head. This means giving them your full attention and not interrupting them while they are talking. It is also important to ask questions and clarify things that you do not understand. If you want your child to listen to you, you will need to first listen to them.
3. Communicate openly and honestly with your child.
When you communicate openly and honestly with your child, chances are they will feel more comfortable coming to you with their own thoughts and feelings. You can use that time to better understand and support them as well as connect and foster your relationship with them. Encourage your kids to express their emotions. If they have trouble doing so, ask them questions to prompt them to elaborate on what kind of emotion they’re feeling and why.
4. Show empathy towards your child.
It’s not always easy to be empathetic when your child misbehaves or struggles in school. But showing that you care, understand, and respect your child’s needs will help them feel understood and supported. It can also help build motivation and self-esteem in your child and trust between the two of you. A few ways to show empathy toward your child include listening attentively, mirroring their emotions, and offering words of encouragement.
5. Respond appropriately to your child’s emotions.
As a parent, you are your child’s main source of security or emotional anchoring. As their emotion coach, it’s important to acknowledge and validate their emotions, even when they aren’t aware of what exactly they are feeling. You must practice the art of reading their emotions accurately and responding in a way that meets their needs. For example, if your child is sad, you might say something like “I understand why you feel sad because that happened.” Or if they are angry, you could help them find constructive ways to express their anger.
6. Teach your child coping skills and strategies.
Kids need to learn emotion-focused coping skills and problem-focused coping skills to manage their emotions in a healthy way. It’s important to teach them coping skills that can help them face their fears, calm themselves down, and cheer themselves up before their emotions get the best of them.
You can teach your child coping strategies such as labeling their feelings, deep breathing techniques, exercising, and encouraging positive self-talk. Other constructive outlets for kids to cope with difficult emotions. include reading, journaling, art, music, or martial arts.
7. Encourage positive self-talk in your child.
It is important to teach your child the role our thoughts play in how we feel. Self-talk can be both negative and positive and parents should not try to erase the negative self-talk. You can teach your child how to reframe their thinking and focus on their strengths or the lessons they have learned from the challenges.
Positive self-talk can build resiliency. Increase self-esteem and confidence. Help kids develop a positive outlook on life. Help them identify their strengths and encourage them to find things they’re good at while recognizing areas that may need improvement. It empowers kids to take risks and deal with challenges. And it provides them with the courage to go after their dreams and set goals.
Positive self-talk starts with being aware of negative thoughts and messages your child is saying to themselves. Kristin Rinehart, LISW-S, director of behavioral health at Muskingum Valley Health Centers, suggests that parents “utilize role models, movies, and books to help them recognize how they can use positive words to encourage positive self-talk,”
Another way to encourage positive self-talk in your child is to make it a habit of recognizing their strengths. For example, ask your child what they like about themselves and then encourage them to recognize their own strengths regularly.
Parenting is hands down one of the most important, most rewarding jobs we have in life. But it’s also not an easy one nor is there just one, clear-cut way to do it.
The good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned by any parent, at any point in life, to their benefit and the benefit of their kids.
Parenting with emotional intelligence means being in touch with your own emotions as well as those of your children so that you can respond appropriately and build strong relationships based on love, trust, and respect.
Research has shown that emotional intelligence is one of the most important things for our kids to become successful and healthy adults.
Commit to using these seven practical tips as a guide to parenting your child with emotional intelligence and watch your lives transform.
Want to team up with us to help your child develop emotional intelligence? Visit us at www.MXMartialArts.com