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I have always believed that emotional intelligence is far more important than intellectual intelligence when it comes to attaining what I consider to be a successful life. Your EQ is the ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them. My ex had a very high IQ but a very low EQ which led to not only our divorce but also issues on the job. It is extremely important to raise my kids valuing their EQ more than their IQ.

There are five major categories of emotional intelligence skills that researchers observe. The first is self awareness, the ability to recognize an emotion as it happens, and it is the key to your EQ. Self awareness includes the elements of emotional awareness and self confidence. The second skill is self regulation which includes self control, trustworthiness, conscientiousness, adaptability and innovation. The third area is motivation, whereas the ability to motivate yourself requires clear goals and a positive attitude. Motivation is made up of achievement drive, commitment, initiative, and optimism. The fourth skill is empathy. The ability to recognize how people feel is so valuable to success in life. An empathetic person excels at service orientation, developing others, leveraging diversity, political awareness and understand others. The final category is social skills. The development of good interpersonal skills is paramount to success. The skills needed for this category are influence, communication, leadership, conflict management, collaboration and cooperation.

Studies now say IQ makes up only 20 percent of the factors that determine life success, while other areas like EQ, wealth, temperament, and family education levels make up the rest. IQ of course will help academically but can only take a person so far without EQ traits. These skills can be fostered most easily during childhood, with many now being incorporated in lessons at schools. An emotionally intelligent child can label their own emotions accurately, regulate them and control their reactions to them. They can also handle complex social situations and build meaningful friendships.

I began teaching my kids emotional intelligence from infancy. There are many ways I nurture and support EQ. I acknowledge my kids’ perspectives and empathize. I allow expression, even if is not in an opportune time or place, like school pick up or the grocery store, both of which occurred recently. I listen openly and complexly to my child’s feelings.I listen to the words, tone, expressions, all of it. I teach problem solving. I always try to ask them what they did or what they could do before making suggestions of my own. I also help them play it out. We have always named feelings and talked about them. I try not to say things like “you’re okay” or “don’t be sad”. Instead I give JoJo and Brayden space and time to talk about how they are feeling and why.

Raising children is hard, raising emotionally intelligent children is even harder, but so incredibly valuable. It’s just one more job in the long list of jobs for this Suburban Goddess Mom. But I can handle it!

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