Characteristics of Emotional Intelligence for the 21st Century

What should you give your child to navigate the waters of the future?  Today, there seems to be a division of parent thinking.  One group seems to feel that it’s a dog eat dog world so you have to teach your child to be tough, aggressive, and entitled to what ever they want, think, feel or can do.  The other group seems to want to protect their children by helping them avoid exposure to the world.  That is to protect children from the world because of how uncivilized, angry, harmful and ugly life is.  Rather than integrating children into life, they separate them from the difficulties to make certain their children are okay.  Other parents may find themselves between these two approaches by degree and err on one side or the other based on particular situations that arise.


What are essential characteristics to teach children?  What are key characteristics to teach children wisely as they move through their lives?  My concern as we move along in the 21st century is we are seeing well-educated children become adults yet lacking in social skills.  Many employers today say they can find workers to do the job but few who have good work ethics or know how to get along well with others.


What should parents focus on to develop social skills?  The following are areas for parents to work on in developing emotional intelligence in children.


Empathy and concern for others.  Taught by holding children accountable for their effect on others and by showing empathy and compassion for them in their problems and concerns.
Honesty and the importance of being honest with parents and others.  Parents must make it safe to be honest in emotional reaction to the child.  Model honesty and celebrate honesty from the child.
Realistic thinking.  Use real words and accept what your child does as real.  Don’t excuse it and don’t deny it.  Acknowledge it and work through what will be done about it as well as how each person felt about it.
Optimism.  Model and teach optimistic perspective about your child’s behavior and your belief in her.
Problem solving.  Beyond parent-child emotion in an exchange or about an experience, teach children to problem solve.  What’s the issue, what are options and possibilities, what will you or you and they try in order to address a problem.
Cause and effect thinking.  Teach children to face the outcome of their behavior.  As a parent don’t waste a lot of time on why in questioning your child.  Focus on what is, what now, and helping this child experience outcomes to their choices.

While not a cure for all problems, teaching children in these areas will go along way in preparing them for the future of their life.

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