To educate your children in the best way, you need to have in mind the fundamental role of emotional intelligence. Being aware of their emotions will help them control and regulate their reality, paving the way for a multitude of positive experiences.
. Gone are the idyllic Disney scenarios that show princes and princesses whose only goal in life is to build loving relationships in a magical world full of evil witches and dragons.
Things are not as they told us, the world is not made up only of white or black tones and it is not made up of good and bad, in the absence of which everything is apparently fantastic and full of happiness. There is no doubt that the reality of the facts is very different and that it is an unreal vision of the world with which we have to interact every day.
We have a responsibility to say goodbye to “and they always lived happily ever after”. We have to leave room for “life is built by ourselves”.
We cannot continue to paint the world pink, otherwise problems will emerge that we will not be able to solve due to the great malaise and the feeling of misunderstanding and injustice that generated them.
Helping and strengthening the awareness of one’s own emotional states and those of others therefore turns out to be the mark that separates the before and after on one’s path towards inner strength.
Emotional consciousness and its development
Developing emotional awareness in childhood lays the foundation that will help generate the best emotion management strategies. Conversely, a low emotional awareness leads to less adaptable strategies and, consequently, a lower ability to solve problems.
In this sense, the development of this key competence involves attitudinal aspects that cannot be overlooked. Let’s see them in detail:
- The element of attention serves to identify and differentiate emotions, as well as to locate what causes them and, even, to manage the bodily sensations that form part of the emotional experience (for example, tension in the abdominal area).
- The attitudinal aspects are necessary to intercept the experiences and emotional expressions that are produced in oneself and in others.
In each evolutionary phase of man, therefore, emotional consciousness will be fundamental for the development of one or more vital tasks (formation of the bonds of dependence, development of social cognition, formation of identity, etc.).
0 to 2 years
: children are able to pay attention and react to the emotions of others. If the caregiver smiles, the child will look at him more frequently. If the carer is sad, the child will reduce the number of looks and will tend to express sadness with facial expressions. This type of contact favors the formation of the bond of dependence.
2 to 5 years
children must learn to differentiate and verbally communicate basic emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger or fear. The only feeling they still can’t identify is surprise. This favors the development of the ability to consider and understand the other.
From 6 to 12 years
they must learn to analyze their emotions and to be more aware of the bodily sensations that accompany them and that contribute to the formation of identity.
Emotional regulation is sometimes a difficult path to follow
It is not enough that children understand and are aware of their emotions, it is also appropriate that they know how to regulate and control their reactions both individually and in relation to others.
The main mistake people make is to teach children that unpleasant emotions (sadness or anger) must be ignored (” ignore it”) or changed (“don’t be angry about this nonsense). Sometimes shameful attitudes towards them are even promoted (“don’t make a tragedy”).
Taking this into consideration, we deduce that emotional regulation is about managing emotions correctly once you become aware of them. There are two main ways of promoting the development of this ability:
Based on the control of emotional expression:
the child is very angry, but tries not to express it to resolve the conflict in another way because, in fact, he adapts to certain rules of expression that bring greater benefits.
Based on the previous one
: here we can make sure that the child, being aware of his emotions, controls his behavior to manage the activation of the emotion.
Emotional intelligence is the best tool to change our life. Just be aware of the reasons behind your frustrating, negative, positive, or pleasant feelings so you can find the best way to deal with, understand, and control them.
By depriving our children of proper emotional and psychological development, they will consequently be unable to understand and evolve in accordance with their feelings and emotions. For this reason, teaching children to observe, communicate and learn their emotions is essential to foster their development and vital success. In all of this, our primary responsibility is to foster the development of their emotional intelligence, the key to inner strength.