Today’s world presents children with a wide-range of challenges that can hinder their personal and academic development. It is essential, therefore, that parents and educators equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful, not just academically, but also in life. Oluwatosin Omoniyi writes
Carefully inculcating into children and encouraging them especially at early age to explore their feelings through imaginative media and make-believe play, helps healthy emotional growth. For example, Calise Manning is still being referred to as a hero for calling 911 in Michigan, America, and helping to save her epileptic pregnant mother’s life after she fell on the floor following a seizure. According to CNN reports; the four year old girl was quoted as telling the 911 dispatcher, “She’s shaking and she’s having a baby. My mom is really pregnant and she’s having a boy and she really needs help.” The mother was then taken to the hospital where Calise’s healthy baby brother, TJ Manning, was born that morning.
Philomena Oluwabunmi’s phone kept rang for several minutes while receiving lecture in the classroom. She eventually excused herself to go outside to be able to answer her call. It was her 19 year old daughter, Ifeoluwa, calling her to ensure that she reached her destination safely. The mother who is doing her doctorate degree programme in Osun State said she taught her daughter since she was five years to be emotionally alert in case of emergency and to be sensitive in case of danger. Ayomide Olugbenga, father of three said it is not enough for kids to be academically intelligent but to be emotionally sensitive as well. He cited an example of a time he had to painstakingly take his time to educate his children on being sensitive. To educate them, he feigned pretence of near collapsing on the floor, “to my horrifying shock, my three kids were just laughing and one in his naughty nature said, ’daddy, get serious.’ I was shocked and angry because if it was indeed a serious situation, I probably would have died,” he said. He started by insisting that they must always call him and their mother every hour of the day till they get home in the evening. According to him, he also taught them the essence of emergency, unity and appreciating sense of love.
For Edith Thomas, a teacher and mother of three, she had to resign her teaching job when she sensed that her family was scattering. Her annoyance was that her daughters seemed to care less about one another. She said they don’t call themselves whenever they are not around, “even, when they are in trouble, they do not feel like sharing it among themselves. I just noticed there wasn’t that emotional bond among them,” she said. Thomas explained that she started stimulating her children’s emotional feelings and intelligence by appealing to their sentiments and established that sense of love and unity among them.
However, experts expressed that they are ways to nurture a child’s emotional intelligence. Parenting.com, highlighted five steps parents can take to nurture emotional intelligence in a child.
Acknowledge your child’s perspective and empathize
Even if you can’t “do anything” about your child’s upsets, empathize. Just being understood helps humans let go of troubling emotions. If your child’s upset seems out of proportion to the situation, remember that we all store up emotions and then let ourselves experience them once we find a safe haven. Then we’re free to move on.
Empathizing doesn’t mean you agree, just that you see it from his side, too. He may have to do what you say, but he’s entitled to his own perspective. We all know how good it feels to have our position acknowledged; somehow it just makes it easier when we don’t get our way.
Feeling understood triggers soothing biochemicals; that neural pathway you’re strengthening each time he feels soothed is what he’ll use to soothe himself as he gets older. Children develop empathy by experiencing it from others. You’re helping your child reflect on his experience and what triggers his feelings. For little ones, just knowing there’s a name for their feeling is an early tool in learning to manage the emotions that flood them.
Little ones can’t differentiate between their emotions and their “selves.” Accept your child’s emotions, rather than denying or minimizing them, which gives children the message that some feelings are shameful or unacceptable.
Disapproving of her fear or anger won’t stop her from having those feelings, but it may well force her to repress them. Unfortunately, repressed feelings don’t fade away, as feelings do that have been freely expressed. They’re trapped and looking for a way out. Because they aren’t under conscious control, they pop out unmodulated, when a child socks her sister, has nightmares, or develops a nervous tic. Instead, teach that the full range of feelings is understandable and part of being human, even while some actions must be limited.
Listen to your child’s feelings
Often, your child just needs a chance to feel heard while she expresses her feelings. Whether your child is 6 months or sixteen, she needs you to listen to the feelings she’s expressing. Once she feels and expresses them, she’ll let them go and get on with her life. In fact, you’ll be amazed at how affectionate and cooperative she’ll be once she has a chance to show you how she feels. But to feel safe letting those feelings up and out, she needs to know you’re fully present and listening. Assured that it’s safe, children have an amazing ability to let their feelings wash over and out, leaving them relaxed and cooperative.
Teach problem solving
Emotions are messages, not mud for wallowing. Teach your children to breathe through them, feel them, tolerate them without needing to act on them, and, once they aren’t in the grip of strong emotion, to problem-solve and act if necessary. Most of the time, once kids (and adults) feel their emotions are understood and accepted, the feelings lose their charge and begin to dissipate. This leaves an opening for problem solving. Sometimes, they need your help to brainstorm. But resist the urge to rush in and handle the problem for them unless they ask you to; that gives kids the message that you don’t have confidence in his ability to handle it himself.
Play it out
When you notice a negative pattern developing, recognize that your child has some big feelings he doesn’t know how to handle, and step in with the best medicine: Play. For instance: Your four year old always wants Mommy. Instead of taking it personally, help him work through his feelings about how much he prefers Mom by playing a game where poor bumbling Dad “tries” unsuccessfully to keep him away from her. Your four year old will giggle and boast and get a chance to prove he can ALWAYS have his mom. He’ll also discharge all those pent up worries that make him demand her.
According to New York Times article of September 2013, titled ‘Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?’ said emotional intelligence help children secure loving relationships and even a stellar career.
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