SUPERBABY - Excerpts
sidebar: FROM THE EXPERTS . . . (pgs. 36 + 37)
by Allison LaTona, MFT
In essence, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is bringing intelligence to your emotional life by knowing who you are, what you're feeling, and how to identify and manage your emotions in relation to others. It is widely held that emotional intelligence is the key to success and happiness.
Because we now know the degree to which experience shapes the brain, we know how much parenting impacts a child's EQ. The first two decades of life are a critical window of opportunity to help children feel right, which in turn assists them in thinking clearly and behaving well.
The cornerstone of EQ is the ability to self-soothe and self-regulate. Parents can help – first by noticing and accepting their children's emotional experience and then by helping them label their feelings. You may first need to de-escalate your child's intense emotions by encouraging calming breaths, for instance. Then it's important to narrate what happened from his point of view and express empathy with his situation. Your child learns from you that the full landscape of human emotions is acceptable, legitimate, and tolerable: you understand his feelings rather than seeking to "fix" them. Your reaction gives your child the respect he deserves and the time he needs to make sense of his emotions and integrate them into a healthy sense of identity. Your child feels safe, supported, and okay just as he is.
Mirroring children's experiences and feelings, without distortion, builds self-esteem and helps them deal with life's inevitable conflicts and disappointments. They learn self-acceptance, appropriate emotional expression, and feel competent to solve personal problems and to repair or enhance interpersonal relationships.
The good news is that your kids aren't the only ones who benefit. You learn EQ from teaching it. And, as you navigate life's hurts and disappointments together, your bond will become more loving and profound.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS from the author, Dr. Jenn Berman
I also want to give a special thanks to Allison LaTona. Next to my own parents, you have been my greatest influence as a parent. Many of the messages and ideas you have imparted to me over the years are woven throughout this book. I cannot thank you enough for all the support, guidance and wisdom, you have shared.