Why is emotional intelligence so important?
June 30, 2015  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

Cultivating emotional intelligence in our children has so many benefits that it should be one of our main parenting goals. When kids develop this type of intelligence, they are able to manage their emotions and learn to accept themselves and others. Besides, did you know that children who learn emotional intelligence are better prepared for the future? Keep reading to discover why and how to teach our children to be smart with their feelings.


Being emotionally intelligent requires cultivating certain skills that allow us to appreciate and express our own emotions. According to psychologist, Edward Thorndike, who was already speaking about emotional intelligence back in the 20´s, it´s about knowing how to interact with others wisely because it implies understanding others emotions and using that information to guide our thought process and behaviour.


What can we do to educate our children to become emotionally intelligent? 

The first step is to learn to become emotionally intelligence ourselves. Remember, we are the mirrors in which our children look at and our behaviour helps shape theirs. So, begin by accepting your own emotions as well as your children’s´ and learn to handle them.

In order to accept our own emotions, we need a good dose of empathy. This skill allows us to feel accompanied and understood. The next time your child gets hurt, has a temper tantrum or is mad, don´t distract him from his feelings or minimize or ignore them by saying things like: “Come on, that’s so silly!” Or “You´re too old to cry.” The solution is empathizing and giving them more time to think and reason.

You might not agree with their reactions or dislike certain types of emotions but we must prove to them that although we are different, we understand them and this requires listening. But sometimes, to get them to talk, they need our help and our questions: “I realize you´re upset. What´s the matter?” Or “Tell me what´s wrong. I´m interested in knowing why you feel so sad. “I might be able to help.”


To make them reason, we need to help them find ways to solve their problems or conflicts. But we shouldn´t do it for them. It´s important they know we are there to support them but they must be the ones who find solutions. We can help by asking questions such as these: “What do you think you should do?” “If it happened again, do you think you´d change something?”. These types of questions surely help.

Respect and trust their instincts. When children don´t want to do something – whether it´s going to a friend´s house or speaking to a stranger – ask them why, listen and let them make their own decision. They should learn to trust their instincts and learn to identify what they don´t like and why.

Share your feelings with them so they understand they aren’t the only ones who can harbour sadness, anger, hate… “Everyone, at some point, feels like you do. It´s normal. I also get mad/ sad. I’m here if you want to talk about it.” The fact that they feel understood by you and know they can talk to you about it will help them better manage their emotions.


Playing. Playing is not only healthy and necessary for children but it also helps them explore their conflicts and emotions. As parents, we should encourage them to role-play. Just like we suggested in our post titles “Things we can provide when playing with our kids”, we can use toys or dolls to observe and discover how they feel about themselves and others as well as how they relate to conflicts.


Other important things we can provide our children with is giving them the chance to:

  • Observe other people´s emotions
  • Interact in different social situations
  • Read books and watch movies in which the characters experience a variety of emotions and talk to them about how it makes them feel.

Remember that we can learn a lot from our children. We learn very important lessons such as bravery, enjoyment and living more in the present. All we need to do is observe and listen.

Photo Credits: Myaccountnice



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