My daughter is not always an easy-going child, and it was so easy to disregard how she was feeling.
But then I started reading more about emotional intelligence, and what I learnt surprised me.
The biggest discovery? Emotional intelligence is so much more than validating our child’s emotions.
Let’s look at 5 surprising ways to raise emotionally intelligent children.
1. Listen to your child’s experience of the world.
How often do we tell our children?
- Don’t worry
- It can’t be that bad
- Stop being such a drama queen
- You’re just being silly
- You don’t really want that, it’s a waste of money
- You can’t be hot, it’s freezing…
Little by little we tell our children that they should ignore their inner experience, preventing them from trusting their own judgment, thoughts, feelings or wants.
We WANT our children to trust their gut instincts, and their own internal compass. We want them to know what they think matters and not rely on others to base their opinions.
I’m not talking about safety here, of course as a parent you’re in charge. You don’t want your kids running in the road, playing with matches or throwing knives at each other. But whenever their immediate personal safety isn’t at risk, can you take a step back and let them make their own decisions?
Because today they might rely on you to base their judgments, tomorrow they’ll be relying on friends or outside influences.
Provide lots of opportunities to listen to your child and validate their experience. This is the first step in Language of Listening®, the 3-part coaching model I use and teach. Download my eCourse now, learn just three simple steps to radically change the way, you parent.
2. Teach the difference between emotions and actions.
If you don’t support your children to find ways to express their feelings in a way you do like, rest assured they’ll do it on their own, and usually in the form of behaviours you don’t like.
The more you are aware of your emotions, the more they help you to know yourself and understand your children better.
Why are feelings so important?
Becoming responsive to your feelings allows you to make more authentic choices, and experience life to the full.
3. Teach your children to live with purpose.
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the ability to choose how they live their life, having a purpose in life is fundamental for their health and well-being.
Let your children have their dreams, even if their dreams seem unrealistic, at the heart there is a core of truth. These are important clues for your child. Their passions and interests are the stepping stones to a fulfilling life. So, don’t squash your child’s dreams. Listen to them and dream with them.
Using Language of Listening® coaching model gives you the tools to validate their wants, which keeps dreams alive.
Your child’s brains are like sponges that absorb everything you say, it becomes their inner voice. It forms who they believe they are, their place in the world, how others should treat them and what they should do in their life.
Can you imagine how many times children have heard the well-meaning but insensitive words?
You’ll never amount to much
You just don’t care
See the best in your child and bring out their inner greatness. Your words to them matter.
In Language of Listening® we talk about STRENGTH training, guiding children to bring out their inner greatness, to control their own behaviours and find solutions to their own problems.
5. Allow your children to say “No”
No! Bear with me here. I’m not saying we let our kids rule the roost. Permissive parenting isn’t what I’m talking about.
When you teach your child that it’s safe to say NO! when they don’t want to do something then you are empowering them for life. Saying NO! is about keeping boundaries.
So how do you let them say NO! and still hold your boundary?
Language of Listening® CAN DOs give you a way to do both. You can let them say NO! to the WAY you asked them to do something, not to WHAT you asked them to do. The what is your boundary (like keeping their room clean), the way they do it can be theirs.
After all, if we don’t let them say no to you, then how do you teach them to say no to others? Today it may be you bribing them. Tomorrow it could be friends bribing them to have a smoke, get in a car with a drunk driver and worse yet…
I know how difficult raising an emotionally intelligent child can seem, it’s hard if not everyone around you understands your parenting goals. But think how you’re empowering your child for life and teaching them to stay true to their inner guidance. Powerful stuff!
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