BY GERALDINE ONAH
Almost every parent would agree parenting is a full-time engagement. As a parent, you’re up for a 24/7 schedule but the task can’t be more effective with emotional intelligence. Being a mother of two boisterous kids, I know this too well. While it can be pretty tasking, parenting is also rewarding. To yield the best results, it should be intentional, purposeful, and done with awareness-cum-emotional intelligence (EQ).
Yet, not every parent buys into this ideology, thereby erring in their foremost responsibility. EQ is simply being smarter with feelings and ensuring you’re guided by such smartness so that the right decisions and appropriate actions are taken. Often termed emotional quotient, it’s a powerful set of learnable skills that can help us to become more aware, make better choices, and be more purposeful in this daunting responsibility we shoulder. Its deployment could go from bettering the life one child to erecting the very foundational values upon which an entire society is hinged.
The gains of EQ-augmented parenting
You would agree that parents can’t be in a better to teach these life-enriching and world-changing skills to their children. Wards who are supported by their parents in the early years of their development tend to become more invested in learning. Parental support also boosts morale and improves the performance of a child in all areas. We all are aware of the situation in some homes where parents may be busy in the day earning a living and would arrive home late at night. They, therefore, miss the crucial chance of playing a supportive role in the development of children.
Parenting with EQ has long proven to be beneficial for both the parent and the child. Aside from yielding a balanced early childhood development, other gains that have accrued to this strategy include better health, academic achievement, and stronger relationships in the future. It helps children to better navigate increasing complexity in life, manage stress and stressful situations, foster positive and healthy relationships, spark creativity, innovation, and resilience, nourishes compassion, empathy, and inner peace while helping individuals grow into a positive change maker
Parenting and emotional stability
Emotional stability is quite a thing in early childhood development. It’s what helps children remain clear-sighted, focused, and balanced even in a challenging environment. It’s simply the state of being calm and in control of one’s feelings. Emotional instability, on the other hand, distorts and disturbs our serenity, rationality, and peace of mind, thereby negatively affecting decision making relating to the best interest of the child.
Scientific evidence and developmental psychology have long linked emotional instability to chemical imbalances in the brain and environmental factors such as grief and loss, stress, abuse, abandonment, and detachment. This breeds solitude and sometimes self-destruction while making children feel threatened by complex problems. Often, the default mood becomes anger or sadness. Emotionally unstable people usually find it difficult to cope with stress or give a balanced judgment and interpretation of things that happen around them.
EQ-augmented parenting not all about talking
There is power in the spoken word, yes, and such is capable of yielding both positive and negative outcomes. The temptation of using negative words on our children must, therefore, be resisted. Beyond words, what is done is also impressionable on children. To a great extent, it affects their worldview, how they feel about themselves, and the way they relate with others.
Resorting to violence and negative language in correcting or communicating with children can shape their lives around such negativity, the consequence of which has caused many to develop inferiority complex, low self-esteem, maladjustment, and violent or socially unacceptable behavior. You might want to allow your children to express themselves, their feelings to you. Acknowledge those and then take an appropriate decision. Such interaction is an opportunity to strengthen intimacy and positive learning.
Hey, but keep it healthy. Tumultuous arguments between parents have always prompted domestic violence and other factors responsible for emotional instability, with children caught in the crossfire of transferred aggression. Therefore, whenever parents find themselves entangled in a row, such should be kept away from children. Make no mistake, children are ever watchful and listen with rapt attention to every word or action by their parents. The effects of domestic violence are manifold: while some kids may develop a thick skin for such, others are plunged into a state of trauma. They may begin to exhibit withdrawal syndrome, mood swings, and escapism.
The domino effect of EQ on parenting
Various aspects of our lives are interconnected and, as such, it’s not difficult for an unstable home to cause poor performance at school and in other areas. When children are supposed to take their education seriously, they get distracted and lose focus. They start looking for whom to share their problems with, which exposes them to vulnerabilities. It takes timely intervention for children in such a situation to maintain their balance or thrive not just academically but in other facets of life.
I know of an 11-year old girl who had been an indirect victim of domestic violence and her mom happened to be the aggressor. The chaotic atmosphere and incessant fighting at home started to take a toll on the poor girl’s psyche. Surprisingly, rather than brood over the situation, she devised an escape by reading for an extra two hours after school closing time because her home was not conducive to learning.
Each time she returns from school two hours late, her mom pick up where she had left off, yet, that did not deter her. At some point, she became inured to regular beatings and corporal punishment. One day, I noticed this trend and approached the girl. Chatting with this amazing little girl nearly brought tears to my eyes. I asked why she kept defying her mom’s instructions and she said this: “I want to be the best student in the entire school. My dream is to become a lawyer. But my parents are not interested in helping me, so I have decided to help myself.”
I was wowed by her desire and uncommon wisdom. One thing her parents failed to take cognizance of is that their daughter is exposed to danger on a regular basis. They are too busy dealing with their own stuff at the expense of their daughter’s wellbeing. They demonstrate a lack of awareness and a lack of purposeful and intentional parenting. They have refused to make the right decisions and take appropriate action in the best interest of their girl child.
And one more thing to note
An emotionally balanced and stable mind equals a happy child, and a happy child equals positive vibes, positive outcomes, and a better society. Emotional intelligence and emotional stability help children to grow in character and in learning and to stay focused on achieving their dreams. Emotionally intelligent parenting begins with self.
Choose self-awareness and empathy. Parents should always ensure sanity at home and make sure that kids always feel loved and at peace in that environment. Pay attention to the little things and to little changes in the emotions, mood, or behaviour of your children and use emotional intelligence to make the right decisions while taking appropriate action. When it comes to EQ, the little things matter.
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