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Emotional Intelligence - Anu Jain

Expressing our emotions has an effect in all aspects of our lives. Thus our emotional intelligence is of utmost importance in each individuals life. Emotional intelligence means our capacity to deal with our feelings wisely as well as have the ability to reason for our vital well being. It deals with our self-concepts, to social skills, creativity, and our ability to understand our emotions as well of others.

"Emotional intelligence" does it strike a cord! Probably not as we are use to thinking about intelligence as reasoning & logic while we tend to ignore our emotions. However intelligence & emotions are very closely interrelated. For example people who are unable to understand their own emotions could get into situations where they may not know how to handle their feelings & thus feel distressed. Where as people who have a good balance of IQ & EQ are often more successful in their life. EQ is not about tactics or diplomacy. It deals with how we learn, acknowledge & express our feelings, but also how we effectively respond to others when it comes to dealing with their emotions.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to know ones inner world and be comfortable with it. It is a set of skills that not only leads to better academic and professional functioning, but also good social interactions and a healthy living which leads to personal satisfaction.

We can say that fifty percent of our EQ is inherited through our genes & and the other fifty percent is obtained from our interaction with the environment. There is a difference between EQ & IQ. IQ can be defined as individual competence to perform in his/her academic work, where as EQ indicates an individuals ability to get along with other people and handle social situations. Thus both our of equal importance.

Emotional Abuse
Abuse is a behavior through which a person may control or manipulate people, this could be done through fear, coercion humiliation, dominance, guilt, etc. Emotional abuse may include anything from verbal abuse to name calling, constant criticism or demeaning the other person's self-esteem. The effects of emotional abuse are drastic it takes away a child's self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in one's own decision. However it may be done ultimately the victim self- worth and personal value. It creates scars that remain forever and never heal. It finally creates a person who is blame themselves for their abuse. Children with emotional abuse may feel worthless and scared to be left alone because of which they continue to stay in the same abusive situation. There are various kinds of emotional abuses, Abusive Expectations, in this a parent / child may make unreasonable demands on the child / parent. However whatever one does the other is not satisfied and continues to criticize for not fulfilling their needs. The other kind is called Aggressing, which involves name-callings, blaming, accusing, ordering or threatening are different types of aggressing behaviors that are usually exhibited by most parents. There are indirect ways of aggressive abuse also this may be disguised by criticism, advising, offering solutions, analyzing, proving, and questioning. This is usually seen in a parent child relationship & leads to what we call "learned helplessness" in individuals. Denying, it is when an emotional need, is not satisfied when a child needs it the most. Only with the intention to hurt, punish or humiliate the other child. Denying can also be expressed by withholding which includes refusing to communicate and emotionally withdrawing as a punishment. This is called silent treatment. This behavior is adopted by a lot of parents in order to make their children obey them. But consequently it leads to lowering self-esteem and insecurity in the child. Unpredictable responses is also another emotional abuse, a lot of adult's experience frequent mood swings and sudden emotional changes. Parents at times react very differently to the same situation or behavior. This is called unpredictable responses. This is a rather damaging behavior for the children. It is frequently seen in alcoholic or drug abusing parents. This creates tremendously anxiety & fear in children.

Characteristics of Emotionally Abused People
    They have trouble completing their work.
    They lie unnecessarily.
    They may be very judgmental about themselves.
    Unable to accept compliments.
    They tend to be too serious in situations or be too frivolous.
    They may exhibit difficulty with intimate relationships.
    They may be unable to express their emotions.
    They may over-react to situations.
    They may seek approval constantly from others.
    They may be very responsible or absolutely careless or indifferent.
    They may be impulsive.

Emotional intelligence in children
Rahul a four year old boy, snapped at his mother saying, "go away!" as she refused to buy him a toy. It was his way of expressing his feelings of anger towards his mother. But this age is not when a child develops emotional intelligence. Even before children develop language, emotional intelligence exists. This can be seen in most cases before sleeping babies want to have a physical contact with either of their parent to feel secure. Although language makes it easier to express ones feelings. One can help their child to talk about their emotions by labeling their feelings such as angry, sad, happy, excited, afraid and so on. The earlier a child learns to label his feelings the sooner he/she starts developing his / her emotional intelligence.

Language is an important part of EQ. It is a very powerful way to put forth ones feelings. It is important for children as well as adults to recognize & manage emotions not only for themselves but also for people around them. This may seem difficult, as one is not inclined to always understand the other person's emotions. In order to create emotional intelligence in children parents must create pleasant emotional climates at home. Children who are exposed to physical or emotional abuse tend to have more emotional problems. They also have weak language skills in expressing their feelings.

Anita, a thirteen-year-old girl was referred to a school counselor for her poor performance in her academics & her sudden withdrawn behavior. Since Anita did not open up in any of the sessions her mother was called to find out the problem. It was discovered that Anita had been like this not due to any developmental problem but due to the physical violence by her father towards her mother & her.

Parth, a five year old boy, was shown a picture which depicted different emotions such as joy, anger, fear , etc . He was then asked to what he was feeling on that day. But parth was unable to distinguish or describe his feelings correctly. This was because he was not aware of different feelings and the way to express them. Due to an unstable environment at home. By a safe emotional climate it does not mean that the child must be protected from any kind of conflict or struggle always. Stress and conflict till a certain level helps in developing emotional intelligence but if it goes beyond that it could have a negative effect.

Labeling feelings by the parents and teachers makes a child more sensitive towards his emotional needs. We all tend to use similar words for the different emotions we feel when we want to express them. We need to be more specific about the words we use to express what we exactly feel. It is important for parents to reflect to their children the importance of emotional intelligence by being emotionally expressive themselves.

Supriya was very upset since she had very bad day at work. When she came home her son Shantanu was being very mischievous. He broke a very expensive vase, which aggravated her anger further. As a reaction to this she didn't tell him a word instead she hit him and locked him in the bathroom. Instead of behaving in this manner if she had calmed herself down after coming back from work by taking a few deep relaxing breaths and comforting herself. She would have reacted differently towards Shantanu. A couple of days later Shantanu reacted to his younger sister the same way his mother had before.

It is usually seen that children use the same techniques as the parents do to express their emotions. Parents must talk about their feelings to their children as well as be good listeners to their children's feelings. Children should be allowed to handle their emotions with their friends, family & others independently. This will help them to gain emotional intelligence & work as a strong foundation for them.

Enhancing EQ
Hereditary and environmental factors both play a very important role in the development of EQ. Some children are more emotionally gifted from infancy as they are able to understand others emotions as well as theirs rather easily. While others may find it quite difficult. In certain disorders, such as autism, attention deficient disorder, childhood depression, etc, a child may not be able to deal with his/her or others emotions. In such cases having an emotionally stimulating environment can help the child.

Parents' and teachers' play the most essential role in developing a child's EQ. They need to provide opportunities where a child can express and deal with his/her emotions. They should be willing to listen to them, have realistic expectations and not compare them to other children. Parents and teachers should not only encourage the child's abilities and interaction but also their sensitivity. They should model social behaviors appropriately.

This can be done by taking in some of the following tips:
    Labeling your feelings. Being descriptive & expressive about ones
     feelings.
    Discriminate between thoughts and feelings.
    Being able to accept positive as well as negative feelings.
    Acknowledge others feelings.
    Talk about different kind of feelings.

Emotional Intelligence plays a very important role in our emotional, social and personal life. It includes ones ability to manage stressful situations & solve day-to-day problems. Emotional intelligence is influenced by the experiences which an individual encounters thus it is not a fixed, but dynamic.


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