Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is not commonly discussed, yet it affects every facet of our lives.
By definition, it means being able to identify and understand your own emotions, understand and empathize with another person’s feelings, and respond to emotions with appropriate behaviors in a cooperative, functional, and empathetic manner. Emotional intelligence impacts emotional regulation and social relationships
Research shows that Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient is a better predictor of how children will turn out than intelligence quotient (IQ). Academic work and relationships are both stronger in children with a higher EQ.
Emotion Coaching has been shown to improve EQ across the world, no matter the culture. What they found is that kids that were emotion coached:
Before we understand a child’s brain, we must first understand the brain’s structure.
Probably the best-known model for understanding the structure of the brain in relation to its evolutionary history is the triune brain theory, which was developed by Paul MacLean, an American physician and neuroscientist who was also a researcher at Yale Medical School and the National Institute of Mental Health.
MacLean’s model distinguished three different brains that appeared successively during evolution: the reptilian brain, the limbic brain and the neocortex.
The reptilian controls the body’s vital functions such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature and balance. It includes the main structures found in reptiles: the brainstem and cerebellum. The reptilian hindbrain is reliable but tends to be somewhat rigid and compulsive.
The limbic brain records memories of behaviors that produced agreeable and disagreeable experiences, so it is responsible for what are called emotions in human beings. The main structures of the limbic brain emerged in the first mammal. It consists of the hippocampus, the amygdala and the hypothalamus. The limbic brain helps us make value judgments and, often unconsciously, influences our behavior.
Developmentally speaking, kids are incapable of handling their emotions. Children work more from the reptilian hindbrain and limbic (emotional) brain initially. They feel their feelings and react without much thought for consequences. As they grow and develop, their neocortex (rational/thinking brain) develops, giving them more control over how to handle their emotions.
Emotion coaching helps you develop that neocortex more efficiently and effectively so your child can handle their emotions better. You will also be role modeling effective emotion management — a powerful teaching tool.
Our brains are hardwired to recognize 7 different emotions. Recognizing emotions in your child is the foundation skill of emotional intelligence and emotion coaching parenting, so get familiar with them now!