The typical practice in academic settings is to place children in a highly competitive environment where they are expected to efficiently and effectively perform several roles.
With all the pressure and stress that go with this, emotionally intelligent students are at a great advantage. This is because they are capable of developing the right attitude towards the complexities of life that even adults may struggle with.
A 2013 study revealed that emotional intelligence (EI) is an important factor in a student’s success both in academics and in life in general. The research explained that even if they do succeed in school, children who have lower EI are less likely to triumph during adulthood as they lack the ability to establish lasting relationships.
This article discusses how emotional intelligence helps some children perform better in school and in life.
5 Ways Emotional Intelligence Can Affect a Child
Students with a high emotional intelligence quotient can engage in better friendships, academic success, learning, and employment compared to those who have lower EI. This is developed as early as pre-school, which is a child’s formative years.
Higher emotional intelligence can also provide a solid foundation for success, thanks to the following characteristics and capabilities it imparts to a child:
1. Better listening skills
Active listening is an important skill in communication that helps promote healthy relationships. More than just paying attention, it involves a genuine dialogue between two people that is both verbal and non-verbal.
A child with high EI can listen actively to his teachers, parents, and classmates and understand not just the words they say, but the messages conveyed through their actions. This directly affects how students react to feedback on their academics and other aspects of their personality.
Listening skills can be helpful in a competitive academic environment, especially since 38 percent of feedback interventions come out counterproductive because comments are often misinterpreted as a subjective judgment rather than an objective observation.
Self-awareness is the ability to assess a person’s own strengths, weaknesses, and personality from another person’s perspective. The importance of this skill may present itself later in life, but it can help youngsters become better adults if learned at an early age.
Low self-awareness can put a child at risk of not realizing his faults. It also tends to foster an over-inflated self-image that can warp into unhealthy behavior that could negatively affect his social interactions.
In the study that gave birth to The Dunning-Kruger effect, students were asked what they believe to be the result of a test they have taken. Their answers were later compared with the actual results, which revealed that many students overestimated their capabilities.
3. A more advanced emotion vocabulary
Children, especially younger ones in pre-school, are still learning the ropes when it comes to determining how emotions work. While they may seem too young, the age of early learning is the best time to teach them how to manage their emotions – starting by naming each of them.
As adults, parents and teachers understand that there are more types of emotions than just joy, sadness, anger, and fear. Learning more words to describe emotions can help children distinguish exactly how they feel and avoid misinterpreting a situation. After all, being “sad” is quite different from feeling “upset” or “disappointed.”
4. Empathic learning
Being empathetic means seeing a situation from the perspective of another person. Empathy allows a person to view things from a more objective perspective while avoiding being judgmental. Combined with a more defined emotion vocabulary, empathy allows children to form healthy relationships with their peers.
5. Better stress management
Stress is a common outcome of pressure from school and life in general. Students who have developed a higher EI have been found to manage their stress better and, thus, become less impulsive in their actions.
While this is most applicable to secondary schools where adolescence plays a big role in how the youngsters deal with their emotions, young pre-school students can also benefit from this as it will allow them to feel comfortable in the academic setting despite external pressure.
Tips for Parents: Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children
Like teachers, parents play a critical role in raising emotionally intelligent children. While it may sound like something that requires professional expertise, teaching children about their emotions can be achieved by establishing certain habits. Here are some examples:
1. Identify emotions rather than shrugging them off
The first step in managing one’s emotions is to identify what they are. While many adults shrug off tantrums as stubbornness, parents should understand that a child has yet to learn how to properly react to a problem, and needs guidance in doing so.
This is why it is imperative that parents focus on teaching children how to name their emotions. From there, they should also relate the identified emotion to the situation that caused it and offer suggestions to help improve the feelings he is experiencing.
Empathizing with a child lets him know that he is not alone and that what he experiences is a normal part of being a child. It will give him a sense of peace and comfort, especially when dealing with strong negative emotions.
Parents should also talk about how such emotions can affect the child as well as those around him. This will make him more aware of the result of how he expressed his emotions, and help him adjust accordingly.
3. Be a good example
Children absorb actions better than words. This is why leading by example is considered the best way parents can help a child learn to communicate emotions clearly and deal with them maturely.
Emotional Intelligence Drives Success
Understanding how emotional intelligence affects a young student’s ability to evaluate, identify, express, and control their emotions can help foster better learning in school and at home. Emotionally intelligent children have also been found to lead a more successful life during adulthood, both in terms of their career and in building relationships.School photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com