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How to help your children become more emotionally intelligent

File Picture: Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

File Picture: Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Published Jan 21, 2019


Cape Town - Life on earth is a rollercoaster ride of emotions and our reactions to these emotions.

 All too often, we coast through life, unaware of our behavioural choices and even worse, unable to consider the possibility that we could have made better choices for ourselves along the way. 

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According to Founder Step Up Education Centre, Cindy Glass says: “Self-awareness is the first skill in emotional intelligence and it sets the precedent for the growth and development of all emotional intelligence skills. Being able to look at ourselves honestly, and without negative judgement, will enable and empower us to achieve greater success in all that we do. This, of course, applies to our children and their personal and academic learning as well.”

She adds that self-awareness skills will help your children become aware of their emotions and behaviours and make better choices in all that they do. They will also experience better personal relationships as they become aware of the emotions, behaviours and choices of others. 

“It is important to note that self-awareness includes skills in being aware of positive and negative emotions, behaviours and choices. It is about learning to own these choices, learn from the mistakes and consider what behaviours will be best in any situation,” Glass explains.

She offers the following helpful tips to teach your child this essential life skill:

  1. Create an environment where your children are free to recognise and acknowledge their mistakes and achievements in a non-judgmental, non-frightening way. Remember that it is fear of negative consequences that often hold us back from admitting mistakes to ourselves. And yet, if we cannot own a mistake, how can we find a positive solution to fix it?
  2. Don’t allow the blame-game. Blaming others for the choices that we have made disempowers us and reduces our opportunity to grow and learn from our choices and experiences.
  3. You are your child’s first and most powerful teacher – set the example. Teach your children the power of self-awareness by being self-aware! Remember that we are all on that rollercoaster that we call life and learning is a life-long gift. Teach your children to be kind to themselves in their uniqueness and imperfections, just as you are kind toward yourself.
  4. Teach your children to recognise and honour their own talents and not to compare themselves to anyone else. We must remember that we are ALL on this journey and we all have interesting and wonderful ways in which we can choose to live our lives. Different is not less. Non-judgmental self-awareness is essential. Positive self-worth is everything.
“Learning the essential skill of self-awareness will bring about more positive learning and it will go a long way in ensuring that we live happier, more fulfilled lives.  Which parent would not want this for themselves and their children?” concludes Glass.

* Adapted from a press release


Cape Argus

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