by Aubrey Wursten
Nobody needs stellar EQ skills more than a mom does. As a parenting and child development guru, Denise Daniels has seen the importance of this principle, and she has developed a handy checklist to help you analyze and improve your expertise. With education and effort, your EQ tricks will render those constant tantrums and pouting but a happy memory. And when you have conquered yours, the children just might give up theirs as well.
First, Know Thyself
Denise begins by encouraging moms to be honest with themselves about their EQ levels. For the convenience of mothers running on caffeine and a single surviving brain cell, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence has created an easy acronym to help you gauge yours. Use their RULER system to measure (ha!) how well you Recognize emotions, Understand their causes, Label them, Express them, and then Regulate them.
Empathy is the capacity to put yourself in your child’s tiny shoes. The lost toy that simply MUST be found before your toddler can eat? It is important to her, and therefore it needs to be important to you. If it helps, pretend it is lost chocolate. Your empathy will increase instantly and exponentially.
Focus on your child’s feelings by laying aside your less-important concerns, such as that lost mortgage check. Just consider this: would you rather anger the mortgage company or the adorable-but-tyrannical toddler?
Listen to What Isn’t Said
If you are expecting your small child to lucidly verbalize his feelings when he is upset, just remember how well you managed to express yours the last time he used your lipstick to create a mural on your living room wall. Some subtle physical cues will likely give you a better idea of his emotions. Is he throwing large objects? Is he emitting a sound resembling that of a car driving over a bagpipe? He may be unhappy. Or, he may be VERY happy. Learn to distinguish between his different non-verbal cues.
Think of conflict as a unique teaching opportunity. Only when everyone is really miserable can you show your child just how well you can handle the most negative of emotions. A high-EQ mom always takes this glass-half-full approach, although it may help to take it with a glass half full of rocky road ice cream and a bubble bath.
Let Your Feeling Flags Fly
Negative emotions are a natural part of life, for both an adult and a child. Help your little angel to understand that feeling angry does not make him or her “bad,” but that managing the feeling appropriately is both possible and necessary. Validate feelings, but do not encourage poor behavior. Instead, help your child to channel unpleasant emotions into a more productive activity, such as playing the drums. As any band mom will tell you, the experience of listening to your musical protege for hours on end will give you yet another welcome opportunity to demonstrate your EQ mastery. And I would advise keeping that checklist handy.