The First Thing to Teach Your Kids About Emotional Intelligence

Consider the messages that kids get about “controlling” their emotions …

  • "Stop being so angry!”
  • "Control yourself!”
  • "Quit whining!”
  • "There’s no reason to be so upset!”
  • “Why are you so sad?!”

Before they can truly be in control of their emotions, though, kids need to learn something that most adults don’t even know ...

They need to know what causes their emotions.

Most of us think the situation causes an emotion. If we are bored, for instance, we think it is because we are stuck in our homes and forced to social distance.

But the truth is that it is not the situation that causes us to suffer. It is our thoughts about the situation that cause us to suffer.

Let me repeat that: Our thoughts cause our emotions.

For example, imagine that your friend snaps at you.

If you think, “Wow, my friend must be having a bad day. This situation is tough, and we are all having a hard time,” you will likely feel compassion.

But if you think “Wow, my friend can be a real jerk, and I’m sick of her attitude,” you will likely feel angry, frustrated, and impatient.

So, it is not the fact that your friend snapped at you that caused your emotion; it is your thought about it.

When your children understand this piece of emotional intelligence, they can build on it.

They can learn how to:

  • Evaluate the thought behind the emotion and decide whether it is a true and accurate representation of the situation.
  • Decide what they can do to take care of themselves and feel better.
  • Examine their bigger beliefs, and decide which beliefs serve them and which are causing them unnecessary suffering.
  • See if they can identify better-feeling beliefs that would serve them better.
  • Practice responding to big, negative emotions in ways that feel better and serve them better.
  • Consider all of the triggers that cause them to explode in anger, and come up with a game plan to circumvent these explosions.

We teach all of these skills (and more) in Resilience-Based Parenting™, our 52-skill toolkit for raising resilient kids.

We hope you will join us by enrolling today! In the meantime, check out this activity that will help you teach this concept to your children.

The 5 Most Important Conversations to Have With Your Kids

The conversation is the relationship.When you have good conversations with your kids, you have good relationships with your kids. 

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