Emotional IntelligenceBy Stephanie Newitt
Emotional Intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. It is the key to both personal and professional success.
Helping your child develop "emotional intelligence" is an important journey on which to embark. Emotions of the gifted are often deep and poignant and therefore can be difficult for the individual to identify and process. Helping your child learn to identify their emotions is the first step, and using an emoticon sheet similar to this one, can help them label their emotion.
Emotional intelligence is made up of the following:
1. Knowing one's emotions
2. Self-awareness, or the ability to recognize a feeling as it happens, is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. Being aware of our moods, thoughts, and feelings about our moods is necessary to manage emotions.
3. Managing emotions
4. Managing feelings so that they lead to appropriate behavior is a critical ability that builds on self-awareness.
5. Motivating oneself
6. Enthusiasm and persistence in the face of anxiety, fear, and setbacks set achievers apart. Believing that you possess the will and the way to master events is a critical predictor of success in school and life.
7. Recognizing emotion in others
8. Empathy builds on self-awareness and applies it to others. It is a fundamental skill that is essential to successful interpersonal interactions.
9. Handling relationships
10. The art of relationships is, in large part, measured by how well we can manage the emotions of others, and how well we are able to recognize and respond to those emotions with appropriate behavior.
Emotions are a natural part of being human and are part of our everyday experiences. Helping our gifted children first label their emotion and then understand that their emotions are natural is important, especially since the emotions of the gifted are often felt very deeply. This lets them know they are in a safe place to identify and process their deep emotions. They can then be better guided on appropriate expressions of those emotions.
Preparing for Parent Teacher ConferencesIf you feel the need to discuss with your child's teacher your child's emotional intelligence, you may wish to discuss pragmatic emotional labeling, a safe place for them to process their deep emotions, and the need for your child to receive encouragement on this journey.
Parent Modeling of Emotional Intelligence
Some tips for parents from an article on EQ from the Mom Agenda website:
1. Encourage ‘I’ statements. Encourage the habit of expressing what you feel instead of what’s wrong (or right) with a situation. For example, “I feel mad when you say mean words like that,” or “I feel happy inside when you share with me.”
2. Know ahead of time what to say during an emotional display. Many parents “shoot from the hip” when trying to calm down an emotional toddler. There is a great sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing at least how to start coaching your child through his strong expressions of emotions before they occur. And, most importantly, you are more able to control your own emotional reactivity and teach effectively.
3. Model appropriate EQ skills yourself. Children are always watching their parent’s emotional reactions in everyday situations. In many ways, children mirror our own behavior. Therefore, start identifying your own feelings, and be aware of how you manage them. If you’re angry and yelling, chances are you’ll find your child yelling too! Remember, “School is never out at home.”
More information about the Overexcitabilities or Emotional Intensities of the gifted can be found on our website by clicking here.
- Zernzach, Randall. “What You Need To Know About Your Child's EQ (Emotional Intelligence).” MomAgenda, Day Planners, www.momagenda.com/child-eq/.
- “Cultivating Emotional Intelligence.” Bright Horizons Family Solutions, www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/e-family-news/2010-roots-of-success-cultivating-emotional-intelligence.
Part 4: Understanding Visual-Spatial Learners
Stephanie Newitt is a co-founder of Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted and a member of the GPS Gifted Education Parent Council Executive Committee. She has a B.S. in Family Science and is the mother of four gifted children, ages 14-24.