5 things emotionally intelligent children do differently

Sometimes I notice those kids who let the other kid bat first, who don’t kick back when they’ve just been kicked for no reason, who empathize with the kid who has no friends and lets them join in and I think ‘wow’.


Photo Credit: thesoulmovement.ca

These kids are displaying ’emotional intelligence’, they have ‘the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups’. (Wikipedia)

More and more research is finding that if kids can manage the emotional side of life then their academic areas are boosted. If kids have good coping skills then when the bumps in daily life come they get over them more easily. Emotional intelligence leads to resilience which then leads to flourishing.


Photo Credit: biggsuccess.com

I listened recently to an on-line conference with Renee Jain. “5 things emotionally intelligent children do differently”.
The key is that these things can be learnt.
She has a website www.gozen.com and has done a lot of work in Positive Psychology, developing a program to help kids with resilience and emotional intelligence. Below are a few notes I made that I hope you will find both informative and practical.


Photo Credit: lakewoodpress.com

1. Highly emotionally intelligent children can label emotions. They have the vocabulary to describe how they and others are feeling. Sad is different to frustrated or embarrassed. Words like hopeful, enthusiastic and zestful may be used. Parents and teachers can encourage kids to label their emotions. One idea is to make flash cards with different emotions on them or to have an emotion list on the fridge. (Google ’emotions’ and then click ‘images’ for lots of ideas.)

2. Highly emotionally intelligent children have more impulse control (self-control). They are able to have a gap before they respond to a situation. This can be taught from a young age. For example, when a plate of food is placed in front of a child, take a mindful moment to see what is on the plate and to be thankful for it. (These teaching moments happen in a time when the child is not upset.)

3. Highly emotionally intelligent children keep things real. They are able to notice the good things. When negative things happen they see the negative but can collect other evidence to think accurately. eg. When they do poorly in a maths test they may think, “I did poorly on that topic, but there are other areas I do better at.” Parents and teachers can be the role model in these areas.

4. Highly emotionally intelligent children are more empathetic. They experience their own feelings and then can feel how others are feeling. With kids both at home and school, one can role play ‘stepping into your shoes.’ This is good to do with the child role playing the parent or teacher!

5. Highly emotionally intelligent children have parents who have high emotional intelligence and coach them.  Kids pick things up, so we need to be careful around them. We need to pause!

After listing these points, one thing I loved about the conference was that Renee then went on to empathise with parents. We are so busy and we can’t do everything. She used the analogy of ‘putting on your own oxygen mask first’ – making sure we are OK so we have the ability to effectively help others. She suggests picking one thing and have a mini goal. Eg have my child label 1 emotion this week.

Our society seems to live with a myth that we don’t fix things unless they are broken, but that is a reactionary model. We need to be taking opportunities to give our kids the skills for understanding their emotions even if they seem to be going well.


Photo Credit: dreamcoach.com.au





Self-respect not to be confused with self-esteem (Part 2)

Today I am continuing on with the summary of the lecture that Dr Toni Noble gave titled ‘Developing your self-respect’.

There are 5 building blocks that are helpful in developing self-respect.


1. Respect for others
Our values guide our behaviours. eg compassion, kindness, honesty.  We need to put these into practice even in difficult situations.  Also, we need to learn to extend compassion and support towards others and try to help others in trouble.


Photo Credit: Highachieversnetwork.com

2. Self knowledge

Be aware of what strengths you have. There is a list of 25 character strengths that Seligman and Peterson developed.  (There are different tests on line that can be taken, see www.viastrengths.org)

Focus more on your strengths than on your limitations.

3. Self management

Adopt a positive approach to life, one that has gratitude. (I happened to read 2 fantastic blogs today on exactly this and was truly thankful and amazed how it helped – I was in a ‘woe is me spot’ when I started the day!  They are overtly Christian, but for those interested the link is how to raise grateful kids )

Trust your own judgement, yet at the same time be open to advice.  We need to be able to balance pride with humility!


Photo Credit: goalviz.com

4. Self control

We seem to have a spreading epidemic of self-regulation failure, this is not the same as low self-esteem.  Kids today are surrounded by so much technology that is highly distracting eg. using the computer for school work, but at the same time there is such easy access to other things.

Toni Noble mentioned the research involving the marshmallow test (the research is by Mischel et al). It has longitudinal data following children who were tested at the age of 4 who are now adults in their 40’s.  Briefly, a 4 year old was placed in a room with a marshmallow and told that if they waited until the person got back without touching the one in front of them, then they would get another one. The wait was approximately 15 minutes.

What the research has found that now, at age 40, out of those who waited there is a high percent who are  academically successful in life, whereas out of those who did not wait there is a higher percent of people with social problems, obesity issues and drug use. (Even Wikipedia has a summary of the test ‘Stanford marshmallow experiment”)


Photo Credit: methodlogical.wordpress.com

5. Self protect

If a person has self-respect then self-protect follows.  A person will not let others bully or hurt them, they will be healthier in life style and not put themselves down.

There is so much in these 5 building blocks! Each building block provides a topic with so many possibilities for the classroom.  These topics wold also make great dinner time conversations with families! What does it mean to have self respect?

Educate for self-respect, not self-esteem.


Photo Credit: elitedaily.com