What Emotionally Intelligent Parents
Avoid Teaching Their Children
Why emotionally intelligent parents are raising mentally strong children?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of, control and express our emotions, and to understand and cope with social relationships fairly and empathetically. These are life skills many parents would love to teach their children to help them become mentally strong. Emotionally intelligent parents know that telling a child to not be sad or to stop crying or to take the problem out of the child’s hands and handle it themselves, do not develop emotional growth in children. It actually does the opposite – stops the child from learning how to bounce back when life doesn’t go as planned.
Emotionally intelligent parents accept that life is not always fair and their children are going to have to work through some pretty tough situations. The ability to work through these situations is what builds resilience, builds strong self-awareness and positive self-talk. Just by your child they are wonderful and loved and should believe that too is not enough. Children will compare themselves to others. Children will see what society tells them to be real. Children will feel jealous, get their heart broken, experience loss, doubt themselves and many other painful situations and protecting them from all this denies the child the chance to become mentally strong.
Family life is the first school for emotional learning and parents can become expert teachers. Research has shown that emotionally intelligent parents are raising children who are more self-aware – they recognise their emotions, what these emotions mean and are mindful. Their children know how to self-soothe, the ability to manage their emotions so they are not crippled by life’s downs. They also teach their children how to become aware of others through non-judgment and empathy which shares social skills to build connections. avoiding teaching their children the following
NB: You cannot teach these skills if you do not live them yourself. You cannot ask a child to understand how another child might be feeling if you judge other people for their choices or their behaviour towards your child. You cannot teach a child to be self-aware if you are blaming someone else for how you are feeling.
Here are a few things emotionally intelligent parents avoid so their children can become more mindful and mentally capable:
#1 – Protecting their child from making mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes in life and so many of us, this is the best way of learning – especially for children. Trying to protect your child from making mistakes may work while they are little, but what is it teaching them. Your child may learn that their parents don’t think they are capable to live their life on their own. Your child may learn that mistakes are a flaw in their personality. Your child may learn that there is something wrong with them – not their behaviour if mistakes are made.
#2 – Feeling guilty about decisions. Life is all about making decisions. Parents make decisions every day about their children and sometimes these decisions are difficult and cause discomfort. The emotion of guilt is often used to emotionally manipulate others into doing what we want. If parents have made a difficult decision and the child doesn’t like it – and let’s face it, this happens a lot, and the parents respond with, “If you loved, you would understand or you would accept this”, it is not teaching the child how to work through difficult emotions. It is teaching the child how to use emotional manipulation to get what they want from others.
#3 – Allowing a victim mentality. A victim mentality is not taking any responsibility for our own emotions – and isn’t that what we want our children to do. When we blame other people or situations and refuse to accept that life isn’t fair sometimes, we will constantly live in the victim mode. The victim mentality means the person we are blaming needs to change so we can feel better. We have no control over that person and therefore we have NO POWER. The victim mentality means we need a situation to change so we can feel better. However, this is impossible, we can only change what we think about it and this is where all the power lays.
#4 – My fears are your fears. Parents want to protect their children but keeping them wrapped up inside a bubble through their own fears will not avoid pain, it will often create anxiety in the child. Fear often teaches a child that life itself should be avoided and this doesn’t create strong mental health, it actual weakens it. Teach your child to be safe but protecting them from stepping outside of your comfort, teaches them that life should only ever be feared.
#5 – Avoiding basic responsibilities. Eventually, your child will independent and a huge part of being independent is owning responsibility. Responsibility starts at a young age from picking up their toys or taking their plate over to the sink or making their beds. These may sound like little things, but emotionally intelligent parents know teaching children is about taking baby steps. Teach a small child about taking responsibility for their toys. Teaching teenagers to take responsibility for the maintenance of the house ( cleaning and washing etc). Teaching young adults about the cost of daily living. No one said you were not going to encounter arguments.
#6 – Protecting their child from pain. A parents instinct is to protect their child at all times. Experiencing painful emotions such as rejection, sadness and anxiety gives them the opportunity to learn how to work through them – to self-soothe or manage these emotions. Being there as a guide and support – without placing the child into the victim mentality with comments such as “It’s your friend’s fault you are upset”, or “Please don’t be sad”, or “It’s not fair this happened to you”.
Parenting is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. It is also one of the most painful, hurtful, emotionally exhausting, emotionally exhilarating and any other emotional term you can think of. To be an emotionally intelligent parent means you are giving your child the best life skills they need to live a mentally healthy life.
If you want to know how to become a stronger emotional teacher to your child, try my 21-day online program or message me for more information. If we all could be more emotionally intelligent, we would have improved mental health, greater tolerance, stronger connections and a deeper love for ourselves.