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...

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The Case Against Fixing It

Why do parents feel so upset, and even angry, when their children are upset?
 
We have a theory. When our children are babies, they depend on us for everything.
 
If they are upset, it is our job (rightfully so) to figure out why, and to fix it.
 
So now, when our children are 8, or, 13, or 17, we are conditioned to jump into
action when our children are upset. If a child whines, rolls their eyes, cries, or
struggles, we think: “I need to fix this. If I can’t, I must be failing in my role as a
parent.”
 
But consider this: As your children grow, they need to learn to rely on you less and
less so that they can rely on themselves. This is a requirement of independence.
 
Each time they are upset, they have an opportunity to learn how to take care of
themselves. They have an opportunity to learn coping skills.
 
As they grow older, your job is to slowly transfer more and more responsibility to
them...
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