Nurturing emotional intelligence is extremely important when raising a child. If you are wondering why, you should be told that emotional intelligence is what helps a human being navigate the various conflicts and obstacles that life brings with it. From the management of fear during a job interview to management of marital problems, emotional intelligence of a person is far more important than his IQ.
Happiness and success in life depends a lot on one’s emotional intelligence. Positive parenting begins right during a baby’s infancy with nurturing his emotional intelligence in the right manner. Here are 8 ways you can do so.
- Respond to your baby’s cries and hold him when he wants you to
Nurturing your child’s emotional intelligence begins very early and positive parenting is a lot about responding to your baby’s needs. So when he cries, make sure that you respond as quickly as possible. Also, hold him when he wants you to. This will help him develop feelings of trust and security.
- Teach your infant to self-soothe.
Your baby learns to soothe himself when he has someone to soothe him, when he is feeling upset. When a baby self-calms himself, he is learning that his emotional and physical needs are manageable. This is basically laying the groundwork to when he becomes an adult and has to rely on his own tools to calm himself. Emotions are something infants have a lot of, be it when they experience a situation where the caregiver is not present or when hunger is not met. To him, these can very well lead to a catastrophe and that is the reason why he needs someone to soothe him when he is facing such situations for the proper nurturing of his emotional intelligence.
- Empathise with your child’s emotions.
Being accepting of your child’s emotions is very important. Your child should know that you do understand and empathise with his feelings. Teach your child that he will not be able to choose the kind of emotions he is feeling, but he can choose what to do with them. For instance, your child may want to continue playing even if it is dinner-time. Acknowledging that you are able to see things from his perspective is a good idea.
- Taking time to listen to your child’s feelings
Being pro-active about listening to your child’s feelings will help further nurture his emotional intelligence. Whether he is all of 6 months or 16 years old, he needs to be able to express his feelings to you. If he feels that he has been able to express them to you, he will then be able to move on with life. For this, your child needs to feel that you are fully present and you are actually listening to him.
- Problem-solving techniques
Teaching your child problem-solving is an integral part of the growth of his emotional intelligence. Teach him that emotions are nothing but ‘’messages’’, which he will require to feel, tolerate and breathe through. After the emotions lose their grip, he can decide how to problem-solve and only act if it is necessary to do so. Making a child understand that one does not have to act on every emotion he feels is important. Problem-solving is such an important part of adult life and you can give your child a positive beginning by teaching him techniques right from childhood.
- Laugh it out
Sometimes emotionally intelligent is all about being able to laugh at oneself. This is especially true if your child is developing a negative pattern which you want to get rid of. For instance, he may only want to be with you, discarding everyone else. Encouraging another family member to play it out and laugh out the whole thing will help your child see the situation with humour. His demand of you that is only because of his pent-up feelings will go away when he understands that it is okay to laugh it out sometimes.
- Don’t shame
Positive parenting is a lot about not trying to shame your child in any way for his emotions. Don’t say, ‘’Boys don’t cry’’ or something similar. Instead, acknowledge his feelings and let him work towards resolving them himself.
- Have conversations regularly
Letting your child have a safe space where he can converse with you about anything that is bothering him is important for the growth of his emotional intelligence. You can keep a separate time for this everyday when he is able to talk to you.
As you can see, emotional intelligence is a lot about being present for your child whenever he needs you to.