Emotional Intelligence is a term coined by psychologist, Daniel Goleman, that refers to a person’s ability to identify, manage, understand and process emotions so that you can effectively manage stress, have healthy, rewarding relationships, handle conflict respectfully, and maintain good emotional health.
As the article I linked above explains, Emotional Intelligence has been shown to be even more important than IQ in determining career success and both relationship and life satisfaction. Considering all the benefits to be gained by developing Emotional Intelligence, it is something that every parent should be concerned with helping their children develop. The Catholic family, I think, should be especially concerned with cultivating Emotional Intelligence because this quality has everything to do with helping a family be the “community of love” and “school of virtue” that Church says families are called to be. Without Emotional Intelligence, it is impossible for a Catholic family to fulfill its mission, as spelled out in Evangelium Vitae, to be a community of people dedicated to living out relationships characterized by, “a respect for others, a sense of justice, cordial openness, dialogue, generous service, solidarity and all the other values which help people to live life as a gift” (EV #92).
Over at PsychCentral, Dr. Jonice Webb proposes 3 Tips for Raising and Emotionally Intelligent Child. They’re definitely worth considering.
1. Pay Attention. Work hard to see your child’s true nature. What does your child like, dislike, get angry about, feel afraid of, or struggle with? Feed these observations back to your child in a non-judgmental way so that your child can see herself through your eyes, and so that she can feel how well you know her.
Life Advantage: Your child will see herself reflected in your eyes, and she will know who she is. This will give her confidence in her life choices and will make her resilient to life’s challenges.
2. Feel an Emotional Connection to Your Child. Strive to feel what your child is feeling (empathy), whether you agree with it or not. When you feel your child’s emotion, he will feel an instant bond with you.
Life Advantage: Your child will learn empathy and will have healthier relationships throughout his life.
3. Respond Competently to Your Child’s Emotional Need. Do not judge your child’s feeling as right or wrong. Look beyond the feeling, to the source. Help your child name her emotion. Help her manage the emotion.
Life Advantage: Your child will have a healthy relationship with his own emotions. He will naturally know that his feelings are important and how to put them into words and manage them. READ MORE.
Those are some terrific tips. If you’d like to learn more about how to raise faithful, emotionally intelligent children, check out Parenting with Grace.
“This book’s uniquely Catholic approach to parenting combines vigorous relational advice with careful theology and plenty of good humor.” — Publishers Weekly