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What Is Emotional Intelligence?

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Robyn McKay describes emotional intelligence and how this affects a developing child.

Robyn McKay:
Emotional intelligence – when I start talking about this the first thing I need to do is to find it and emotional intelligence really means that somebody can perceive emotions, interpret emotions, and manage their own emotions and other people’s emotions. So that when you have a child or even you yourself as a woman, if you are emotionally intelligent you are probably going to be very good at gathering people together, forming teams, and really have a deep understanding or a deep sense for other people.

Children who are emotionally intelligent are natural helpers and other children will come to them for advice, for example, but the thing about emotional intelligence is that there’s a little bit of a dark side to it as well and one of the danger zones of emotional intelligence is actually getting involved in or creating social drama and when you have a, for example, a girl who is very bright, she is linguistically talented and she is emotionally intelligent, she can even be a little bit mean. She doesn’t really understand how her words can hurt and so, for example a milestone of using emotional intelligence would be really being able to practice kindness and understanding that words do have power and know the art of verbal self-defense so that your daughter can defend herself against bullying, but she can also protect other people who may be being bullied at the same time.

The research on happiness and success is really clear that first you need to feel good in order to be successful, and a lot of people are pretty disconnected from their emotions actually. One of the most powerful things that a child can learn how to do is say how he is feeling and tell you what he needs, and so that emotional intelligence, being able to name your emotions and actually feel them in your body when they arise, is a very powerful tool that you can add to your child’s intelligence to help him thrive in the world.

And right, the world is really based in logic and reason and it sort of has this emotionless flavor to it, but when you know how you are feeling you have a lot of power. When you pay attention to how you feel you can actually change how you are feeling and make a conscious choice to do so.

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