Conversational Parenting vs Command and Correct
Often, we see parents and educators take two approaches when trying to help children prepare for the future. The first is a commanding approach where the adult knows best and the child must comply. The second is constantly correcting and telling the child they can improve. Both methods are very natural and automatic, and they do not build emotional intelligence. Emotions-based conversational parenting is the answer.
It is somewhat alarming, yet not surprising, to hear reports of children experiencing more anxiety, even panic attacks, when it comes to academic achievement. Test anxiety is very real. The source of this boils down to a level of emotional intelligence.
Consider the difference between two children. The first child gets extremely nervous during tests, yet will not share this with her parents. Instead of asking for help, she struggles with being overwhelmed and the fear of knowing her parents will be upset with her test results. She is therefore prone to throwing fits of frustration or lying about her studies.
The second child, on the other hand, knows when he is feeling frustrated and communicates this. His parents empathize, offering the emotional support he needs to have confidence in taking tests, and even if he does not perform to expectations, he is secure in knowing that this will not be held against him. It does not take a psychology degree to know which child will be more successful in the future.
When a child is struggling with their emotions, they will not have the attention span necessary for learning. Because they are still growing in maturity, they do not yet possess the capacity to regulate responses to feelings. This results in 'acting out', or 'shutting down', which ultimately impedes any type of learning.
That One Teacher
Most people have a story about that one teacher they will always remember. This is the teacher who brought joy into our lives, and we loved going to their class. Typically, this also led to better grades and deeper learning. This is the teacher with high EQ. Teaching can be very emotional, but the teacher with a high EQ has the skills to bring joy into the class and have equally joyful interactions with students. The result is naturally enhanced self-confidence, belief in personal potential, and increased academic capacity.
When you have emotionally intelligent conversations while parenting a child, you are setting an example. Acknowledging feelings and talking things through will help the child with the following:
Be self-aware - Knows how they are feeling.
Self-regulate - Knows how responses affect others and acts appropriately.
Motivate themselves - Can accomplish tasks without being deterred or distracted by negative emotions.
Empathize with others - Can see how others feel without being told.
Develop social skills - Can synchronize with groups and manage healthy relationships.