First and foremost, it is important to know “What is Emotional Intelligence?”. We can’t teach what we don’t know or understand. A nice definition is;
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to monitor one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour
Ok wonderful! Now what!!
In my practice I beg and borrow information from my learning and experience and bring it to my practice. To tease out years and years of knowledge is tough so I’ll start with the disclaimer that some is mine and some is other people’s information and learning.
Emotional Intelligence is very basically the ability to IDENTIFY AND LABEL (see hear feel remember) your emotions and those of others. Example; I feel sad (labeled it) I know I’m sad because I can see my body language with my shoulders slumped my head hanging. I can (hear) the sad words that I am saying and I (feel) tired, with a pain in my stomach and tears running down my cheeks and that nothing seems to be ok. I (remember) being in this mood before and I felt irritable and touchy and people go upset with me. Example of Others - Tom is Sad, I know he is sad because he is saying (hear) sad words and I can (See) him crying with his shoulders slumped and head hanging. I can (Feel) it when I’m next to him that I feel a bit sad too and I (remember) feeling the same way too once before when my I go in trouble at school.
When you have good emotional literacy you are able to harness these emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving; Well I know I’m sad because I did not do well in my math’s assignment and that feels bad. So “what do I have to do now” to do better next math’s assignment, well I could go home and read over the mistakes and learn what I did not get right.
You also need to be able to manage that emotion to problem solve how to cheer up or calm down another person. Well I know I always feel better when I listen to my favorite band or when I ring my best friend and talk about what we will do on the weekend. Others I know Tom is sad and it would make him feel better if I went and sat with him and asked if he was ok and then asked him to play with me.
As parents we need to embraced it as a parenting concept so we can teach our children how the emotions we feel impact on what we do, what we think, the decisions we make, how we interact with others. When we can understand this concept we can be more proactive and better at whatever we want to do. I have a bunch of cool tools to help you and your children monitor and understand how to establish or maintain this process.