How to improve the emotional education of children, in 15 keys
Emotional intelligence is a big forgotten in our educational system . But, as parents, we are not paying adequate attention to the correct development of the emotional aspect of our children.
To be able to start with a good footing in this company to help them discover and enhance their emotions, I have allowed myself to write this practical guide.
1. A shared obligation
Parents, teachers, those who are both at the same time, and all adults without exception are responsible for the children receiving the emotional education they deserve, so they can acquire a good emotional intelligence and a balanced personality. But, as is logical, the adult who is imbued with misconceptions on this subject, will not be able to provide the appropriate education and can -involuntarily- contribute a negative influence to the good purpose he intended.
2. There are no negative emotions
From the start, It is fundamental to be clear that discrimination between negative emotions and positive emotions is incorrect . All emotions are useful for the individual survival of the child. What we have to teach the child is that, in the face of an emotion, there are positive reactions and concrete behaviors that are negative for society and can lead to problems.
3. Emotional maturity in stages
Another fundamental concept is that the emotional maturity of the child grows in successive stages, from birth to the majority of emotional age, as he becomes master of his brain functions. The treatment of their emotions must be appropriate, then, at each stage of their evolution or we run the risk of damaging them unintentionally or-at least-wasting inappropriate efforts.
Up to six months the child only obeys sensory and motor stimuli (instinctive base) and is not aware of their emotions. From this age you can begin to differentiate your basic emotions with the help of adults. Up to three years old he is not in a position to change his behavior in a stable way based on emotions (intuitive ability). And until he enters the operational stage, at approximately six years, he can not apply "the use of reason" to his behaviors and learn to work as a team. From this age he learns to identify and name the basic emotions he experiences and can reflect on them and subject them to self-control. But the good handling of the derived emotions and feelings will not be able to achieve it until ten or eleven years. And the maturity of knowing how to foresee the consequences of their actions and the ability to plan with a vision of the future, usually does not arrive before the age of sixteen: the majority of emotional age.
4. With love is not enough
A very frequent mistake is to think that if we give children love and protection, the result of their emotional intelligence will necessarily be good. . Love and protection are, of course, essential. But they are not enough. They must be accompanied by a balanced emotional education. If parents overprotect by excess of permissiveness, or are authoritarian and too severe or are uncontrolled and unpredictable, emotional damage can seriously affect the personality of the future adult, despite the love received.
5. How to know if a child has emotional problems?
Diagnosing that a child is having problems in their emotional education is very easy . A healthy child is restless, impatient, noisy, spontaneous, playful, curious, creative, social, confident with his peers and with adults ... Any lack of any of these characteristics will have to be analyzed because it can constitute an alert of possible emotional problems. We will have to detect in what basic emotions the child feels overwhelmed and offer him the opportune support.
6. How to deal with your fears
Let's start with fear. A child has many causes of possible fears: to remain alone, to be abandoned, to be a nuisance, to be rejected, not to be able to feed, to darkness, to cold, to heat, to the inclemency of nature, to get sick, to strangers, to authoritarian or hostile people, to have the fault of dad and mom to argue ... The solution is to firmly give you the security you need .
The physical security against diseases, hunger and all kinds of physical dangers. And affective security. It is convenient for parents to repeat as many times as necessary that they wanted it before they were born, that they want it as it is and that they will always want it. If the child misbehaves, we will say we do not like what he does, but that he is wanted without any kind of doubts or objections. As the extraordinary psycho-pedagogue Rebeca Wild says: "If the child feels good, he does not behave badly".
7How to treat your tantrums
Let's continue with anger. A child immersed in a tantrum can display spectacular energy. The causes of the tantrum can also be multiple: they have given a refusal to a wish or a whim, they have taken away a toy, they have scolded him "unfairly", they do not listen to him or they do not listen to him, they have beaten him or humiliated him and he has not been able to defend himself ... The support that the child needs here is understanding .
To show him unambiguously that we understand the cause of his tantrum but that he must learn to control it; teach him to be less selfish and to know how to share his belongings ; that we must get used to endure some frustrations in life; that we must look for new motivations and new expectations and not give up; that we must defend ourselves against injustice with calm and serenity; that you have to avoid hazards in a preventive way ...
8. How to treat your sorrows
Another basic emotion is sadness . For having lost a toy, a favorite object, a pet or a loved one; for not being able to be with friends; for not having the same thing that the children around him have; for having lost father and mother ... The right support is consolation. Show empathy for his loss, our accompaniment in his pain, offer help to cope with his loss, support him with distractions such as games and new motivations.
9. The power of games
The game is an instinctive activity in the child and, therefore, should be the favorite distraction against bad tendencies of the child. All pedagogues and psychologists agree on the physical, physiological, emotional, social and cognitive benefits of team games.
10. How to treat your shame
One of the most damaging possible consequences emotions is shame. Shame for being too big or too small; for being fat or skinny; for being different; for having physical problems or disabilities; for not understanding what they are talking about; for not knowing how to express; for doing something wrong; for having suffered physical or sexual abuse ... The best help to overcome shame is to boost their self-esteem.
Repeat as many times as necessary that each person is unique and worth as much as the person who . Teach him to improve his problems or defects without stressing him. Help him recognize his mistakes and overcome them. Teach him to socialize and have friends that correspond to him. Gain their trust so that we can participate in possible physical or sexual abuse.
11. Loss of self-esteem
We must avoid by all means that the child falls into loss of self-esteem . Because this means that the child internalizes that he is useless and is useless; that he does not deserve to be loved; that it is natural that they ignore or despise him; that it is logical that they mock him and humiliate him.
As a consequence of lack of self-esteem in children and adolescents, in adulthood we will have people with behavioral disorders. If there has been a passive reaction, the adult will show serious affective dependencies; fear of having intimate relationships; fear to speak in public and be noticed; a pathological insecurity; an inferiority complex. If there has been an aggressive reaction, the adult will show strong tendencies towards tyranny, despotism, cruelty, egocentric narcissism, an exaggerated armor of false security.
12. Basic recommendations
It is worth paying attention to a series of recommendations:
- Attention must be paid to the age of the child and not pose situations for which lacks the necessary emotional maturity.
- We must try to put ourselves in the child's shoes and understand their reasons and motivations. Ask and listen to him.
- It is useless to try to make the child reason when he is immersed in an emotional kidnapping, we must wait for him to calm down.
- We should never recriminate him because he has experienced an emotion, just to make him notice the negative behaviors that have aroused him and offer possible positive behaviors.
- It is convenient to avoid abstract discourses; you have to use short phrases oriented to action. Without applying disparaging, humiliating or offensive adjectives to their behavior.
- Lead by example. Do not bother showing your own emotions, leaving in evidence how they are under control.
- You have to recognize your own mistakes and show what you are doing to repair them.
- Among adults, you should avoid having conversations about inappropriate topics for children in front of them.
- Never lie to them, under any pretext. Save the part of the facts that are not able to understand, but not alter the truth with falsehoods.
- Do not allow the child to mock, humiliate, disrespect or mistreat any person or animal under any circumstances.
- Never apply any type of violence (physical or verbal) or emotional blackmail.
- Not wanting to buy their affection or indulgence with our weaknesses through material things.
- We must face the need to set limits and train the child to overcome frustrations for social or economic reasons.
- For mental hygiene, we must prevent the child from falling into the addiction to solitary games of Tablet or PlayStation.
- We must correctly administer the motivation with rewards and inhibition with punishments.
- Both prizes and punishments have to be proportional, fair and consistent. They must be exceptional but stable. Prizes must be affordable, avoidable punishments.
- The prizes have to celebrate the triumph of a previous effort. Punishments have to involve real discomfort or effort.
- It is essential to warn before punishing and explain the whys of the punishments ..
- We must encourage their curiosity and encourage their creativity. Do not block your initiative with predetermined recipes of how things should be done.
- We must be receptive to the things of life that we can learn by observing and dialoguing with children.
- Show them always that they are loved permanently and indestructible.
13. Emotional wounds
It is proven that caregivers who apply severe punishments with coldness and authoritarianism , without affection towards children, can cause personality disorders in future adults: fanaticisms of order, compulsive obsessive behaviors, pathological insecurities, sickly perfectionisms.
As the Canadian writer Lise Bourbeau tells us, the five major emotional wounds that often leave their mark on the child's future are: rejection, abandonment, humiliation, betrayal and injustice. The main motivation of parents to try to avoid their children these five emotional wounds by all means, may be the memory of having suffered them in their childhood.
14. Against the feeling of abandonment
The child can support long absences from his parents if he has irrefutable evidence that they love him and the people who care for him frequently fan the memory and hope of reunion. Emotional security is more a question of intensity than of frequency .
15. We have all been children
To facilitate understanding of the emotions and behaviors of the child, it is important to remember that we were also children and that the child that we survived inside of us. We must recover it so that we are good friends of our children . With love, balance, protection, understanding, trust, consolation, adequate reward and punishment systems and, above all, cultivating your self-esteem, we will ensure that our children, our grandchildren, the children of our society all get the emotional intelligence they deserve.
- Borbeau, Lise. The five wounds that prevent being yourself. OB Stare, 2003.
- Lòpez Cassà, E. Emotional education. Program for 3-6 years. Wolfers Kluwer, 2003.
- Renom, A. Emotional education. Program for primary education (6 - 12 years). Wolfers Kluwer, 2003.
- Wild, Rebecca. Freedom and limits. Love and respect. Herder, 2012.