Couples look forward to starting their family. It is soon after that they learn the complication of raising a family, but it is not until their children hit adolescence that they become fully aware of the difficulties of parenting. Learning to implement emotionally intelligent parenting early on is imperative.
It is typically in the family setting that children learn behaviors such as coping mechanisms, appropriate behaviors, values, morals and the like. With all the time parents deposit in their children it often seems wasted when children get into their adolescent years.
How often have I heard parents say “who is this person?” or “what did they do to my child?” It is during adolescence that parents may have marital problems or problems in co-parenting because each parent may not have the same idea in raising a teenage child.
But this is when parents need to exercise the highest level of emotional intelligence (EI). If during a child’s teen years parents do not put their EI in overdrive they can lose the parenting battle. As you sharpen your emotionally intelligent parenting skills you will simultaneously educate your teen on best practices in adapting in stressful situations, manage their feelings, develop confidence, make tough decisions, control their feelings, dominate control when others go off and exhibit satisfaction in their current state.
Daniel Goldman in his book Emotional Intelligence asserts in his Family Crucible chapter that there are hundreds of studies that prove that how parents treat their children has deep and lasting consequences for a child’s emotional life. He expounds on his interpretation of “intimate cauldron” where we learn how we feel: about ourselves; how we react to our feelings; how we think about these feelings; what choices we have in our reactions; how we read and express our feelings.
Typically a parent’s nature is to become irritated and yell and ground which is difficult with teens because they can rebel. Therefore, let’s go through each of the EI characteristics and find how they apply to raising your teen even through the difficult times.
Self-awareness – as the parent be mindful of the fact that you have no control over your child. Explain to your child that you are conscious of your limitations in this current situation but that you know they have control of their decisions good and bad. Explain to them by making statements such as “I get frustrated when I see you…” and “I can imagine it is also frustrating to you to feel you disappoint…”
Self-regulation – teach your teen child how to manage their mood through example. Become an example of anger management by not flying off the handle. Regulate your tone, do not scream and yell do not use sarcastic connotations. Think about your words when you are addressing negative behaviors with your teen.
Self-motivation – find the positive in your child and point out their strengths. By converting a negative thoughts and situations you teach your child that there is hope and motivation for a better future. This helps with motivational thinking.
Empathy – even under the most stressful and upsetting situations you must exhibit empathy towards your child’s feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. As you model empathy towards your child even in the most difficult situations you are displaying compassion. Teens need to observe your attempt to identify with their feelings.
Social-skills – as a parent you need to be a model for healthy social relationships. How you get along with family, friends, co-workers and neighbors is key in the teens ability to regulate their personal relationships. This is how they will learn to manage themselves with friends, in intimate relationships, with extended family, siblings and parents. Once they understand that emotions do not govern their behavior and they can freely express their emotions without doing damage to themselves or others they have mastered social skills.
As parents it is important to know that it is not necessary to rely on pre-disposed habitual emotional patterns. Parents can begin to learn how to use EI strategies even under the most stressful times with your teen. How parents react in stressful situations will make all of the difference in outcome. Yes, emotionally intelligent parenting is a skill but one that each parent can learn and apply immediately.
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