The topic of how emotional literacy helps in achieving higher education, stronger relationships, and optimal health has been prevalent lately. Emotional intelligence is something that parents can teach their children. It is the person’s capacity to manage his emotions, while emotional literacy is his capacity to convey his emotions into words. But overall, both pertain to one’s ability to identify, comprehend, deal with and appropriately convey his emotions.
Can Children Learn To Be Emotionally Literate?
Definitely. In fact, some children are so in sync with how they feel that they will find it quite easy to handle various people and situations. Others may require more time and education to achieve this goal. Every child needs to be emotionally literate and they need to be encouraged and inspired to express themselves. By helping them learn, you are enabling them to traverse the not-so-good emotions appropriately and successfully.
What Can You Do To Help Them?
As a parent or guardian, you must:
- Acknowledge your child’s feelings and their corresponding responses. Take time to think about his reactions and don’t judge right away. Do not criticize either. You can help him identify his emotions like telling him, “I understand that you’re annoyed,” or, “That’s wonderful! No wonder you’re so excited!”
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- Encourage him to tell you how they feel. Try to create an atmosphere that’s safe and open so he can comfortably talk to you about his feelings. He should not feel any judgment from you, because if he will, he’ll look for others to open up. When he has confided in you, you can say something like, “Do you think she did the right thing,” or, “How does that make you feel?”
- Identify the motivators that help him do his best. Praise is a good thing, but encouragement is better. Don’t focus so much on the outcome but applaud your child’s behavior and the strategy that he used to achieve his goal. You can encourage him by saying, “I’ve noticed that when the task gets more challenging, you don’t give up but you try even harder – that’s a great attitude.”
- Teach your child other means of airing his frustrations. Let him know that he has a choice. Your question should be open-ended so he can freely answer you. Something like this: “How can you possibly express your anger or frustration through words and not by throwing things or hitting?” Or, “Can you think of something else that you can do to let your friend know that you are mad at him?”
- Teach your child ways that would help calm him down when he is angry or sad or devastated. Let him practice the simplest, easiest, and most effective lesson – taking deep breaths. Additionally, you can teach him to memorize a mantra, like, “I can control my anger,” or, “I am calm.” Or you can ask him what makes him relax and to let him do it when he needs to, like watching television or playing a game.
When you have successfully taught, encouraged, modeled, and empowered children to become emotionally literate, you can be sure to watch them thrive and become versatile, confident, and well-balanced adults armed with a positive well being and way of life. Then you have given them the greatest gift.