High divorce rates, bullying -both cyber and in person, body image diseases, increased violence on the news, fast-paced lifestyles, higher levels of stress in society and other issues make today’s world harder than ever before to navigate, especially for children. Parents and teachers must help children develop the skills they require to manage their emotions through these turbulent times.
Emotional Intelligence (sometimes called EI or EQ) is about building relationships with yourself and with others that will help you to flourish. Emotional Intelligence is a core collection of competencies which can build the capacity to create better relationships and a happier outlook.
Daniel Goleman turned Emotional Intelligence into a household phrase by investigating the research of Peter Salovey and John Mayer in the mid 1990’s. He says EI has five domains: Self awareness, Self Management, Motivation, Relationship Awareness and Relationship Management.
Children pass through numerous phases in developing their emotions. Sadness, happiness, and fear, for example, can be recognized by very young children through nonverbal signals such as facial expression. We should start to build young children’s emotional literacy letting children know it is OK to have a variety of feelings and that all feelings have a purpose. We can then start to teach children the names of those feelings and how to manage them successfully.
What other skills does emotional intelligence education provide children? It can also help them to manage conflict with friends, resulting in more positive outcomes. They can develop skills in self motivation which can help them learn to study and manage their workloads at school and home better and to set goals for themselves. Developing an optimistic outlook and managing stress are other benefits. Children will learn to work cooperatively with others both inside and outside of the school.
Additionally, children with high emotional intelligence are also able to display empathy for others and may be key in aiding others with diminished EI. These are skills that will assist children as they grow up and become adults.
Research consistently shows that classrooms that put into practice effective EI programs have better academic results. Children who have good relationships with their classmates and teachers, can manage their stress levels and are optimistic and self motivated are more likely to have an improved academic experience. Emotional intelligence education must be on the agenda of all schools as essential learning. Equally parents must help their children learn about their emotions and how to make the most of them.