You know the dude that stands smack in the middle of the elevator with his briefcase, talking loudly on his cell, not thinking about the people behind him? What about the friend that talks at length about themselves, all the time, never listening or asking questions about what's up with you? Or the manager at work that only communicates when there's an issue, not realizing that their lack of praise impacts the team? What about the instigating family member that everyone avoids at gatherings because of the awkward drama?
Hopefully, those people are not you.
These scenarios describe what an emotionally unintelligent person would do. A person's Emotional Quotient, EQ, is arguably equally as important as IQ, Intellectual Quotient, to quality of life. As parents and educators, developing emotional intelligence in children is imperative to their success in learning, working, socializing, contributing and even earning potential.
Emotional Intelligence is becoming a trending topic in education but many parents are unsure exactly what it is, why it's important and how to teach it.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a skill set that helps a person recognize, understand and process emotions in a way that guides behavior, decision making and thought process. Basically, emotions can hinder or help. EI is what helps us manage our feelings appropriately.
Our feeling (emotional) and thinking (rational) brain are connected by neurological pathways. Although humans have the innate ability to regulate emotions, strong emotions can overwhelm and cause us to freak out! Emotions can disrupt rational thinking and this leads to poor decision making. As parents, caregivers and educators, we constantly observe the powerful emotions in children and have witnessed how they can encourage or overwhelm.
A 2013 Forbes article reported on research done by Carnegie Institute of Technology asserting that 85 percent of ones financial success is dependent upon skills in communication, negotiation and leadership versus 15 percent due to technical knowledge. This research suggests that a high IQ (Intellectual Quotient) isn't necessarily an accurate predictor of success and achievement. With this in mind, it makes sense for everyone to make an investment in strengthening EQ, as it is essential to the health of any community.
It starts with parents. There is a direct correlation between the parents' and children's EQ. Subsequently, some children begin their school experience at a disadvantage and struggle socially. Emotional intelligence can be taught at home and build upon at school. Parents can lay the framework for emotional intelligence by becoming aware themselves, recognizing our own emotions and talking about them with our children. We can model and discuss appropriate responses to help our children navigate strong emotional experiences. Be sure to discuss both bad and good feelings equally.
Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence developed the RULER tool to "enhance individuals’ ability to understand and regulate their own emotions and to consider and empathize with how others are feeling. The Anchors also foster the kind of healthy emotional climate essential to personal growth." RULER is an acronym that stands for Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing and Regulating emotions.