Ask any parent what they wish for their children and they will tell you they want them to be happy, confident and successful in all that they do. But what can we do to help them attain their full potential? How do we prepare them for the journey ahead? Harvard researchers have concluded that raising good kids doesn’t happen by accident. It requires intentionality to harness and nurture the kindness, empathy, and concern present in children.
Studies show the higher our emotional intelligence the higher our confidence, satisfaction, success and happiness in life. And our emotions have the power to positively or negatively affect every aspect of our lives. Emotional intelligence, as defined by Psychology Today, is “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.”
Children with high emotional intelligence learn to better identify, understand and healthily express their emotions. They also experience an increase in respect and empathy for their peers and adults. By increasing your child’s emotional intelligence, they are awakened to their own strengths, improve their interpersonal relationships and inspired to make a positive impact in our world.
At ThinkVirtues, we’ve identified 3 keys to helping you raise happy, confident and resilient children.
1. Teach them
Children’s minds are developing at an astonishing rate. Their vocabulary is steadily building and the establishment of their individuality becomes more and more pronounced. They are also encountering a range of new emotions they’ve never experienced before. And day by day they are having new experiences that stretch them beyond what they are accustomed.
This is a vital time to help them navigate things such as friendships, household responsibilities and academic achievement. More importantly it is a time to help them name and identify their emotions as well as help them develop strategies to handle their emotions. It is from this place that greatly impacts their attitude, aptitude and approach to all the life has to offer. Regular, formal and informal, discussions equip your children with the intangible tools they need to excel.
2. Praise them
Kind words are powerful. And positive affirmation helps reinforce the virtuous behavior we expect from our children. As parents, we can never neglect to give our children praise. Leading child psychologist, Dr. Kenneth Barish states, “Persistent criticism breeds resentment and defiance, and undermines a child’s initiative, self-confidence and sense of purpose.” And research shows that the ratio of praise to criticism should be 5 praises for every 1 criticism. To raise healthy, happy children we must build up their identity and confidence with kind words. This is not to encourage over-praising but a balanced approach to recognizing the good in our kids.
3. Model for them
Parents, you are the single greatest influence on your child’s life. Children learn, not just by hearing, but by seeing it action. They observe how you respond to situations. How you act when you are frustrated or sad. They take note of how you treat family, friends and strangers. Virtuous behavior and managing emotions starts at home. It is up to us to show them the way. When words fall on deaf ears our behavior speaks volume to our developing children.
With ThinkVirtues, you can help increase your child’s emotional intelligence and prepare them for today and the journey ahead. The program is comprised of the book, Eutopia: The Discovery, Virtues Question Cards, and an exciting new tool, our subscription program complete with an exclusive subscriber’s portal. Our tools provide a complete and thorough framework to foster discussion, time of reflection, creative expression and navigate real-world scenarios. Just a few minutes a day has a tremendous impact on inspiring virtuous behavior in your children and increasing their emotional intelligence. And you will begin to see a positive change in your children.