Abraham Lincoln once said, “you can’t help the poor by becoming one of them.” If you want to ensure your children grow up to be emotionally-intelligent people, first you need to develop your own emotional intelligence.
We can’t give what we don’t have. Your thoughts are like electrical messages which influence how you communicate with and shape your children. These messages could either be formative or detrimental. You can decide the type of parent you would like to be and you can improve your emotional intelligence by considering your self-concept.
Improving Your Own Emotional Intelligence: Self-Concept
The discovery of the self-concept has been the biggest breakthrough in human psychology in the last 100 years. Your self-concept precedes and predicts the outcomes in every area of your life. You either have a self-concept that is by default or design.
Default: If your self-concept is by default, you will unconsciously become the kind of parent that your mother was. This is where the old saying “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree” really speaks the truth.
Design: If your self-concept is by design then you have complete control to choose the best qualities from the parents that you admire and roll them into your own unique style of mothering.
The self-concept theory has three parts that help us understand how to design our self-concept:
This is about visualising the mother that you most want to become. This is your idea of the “perfect” mum. Loving, attentive, kind, caring–all the ideal qualities. Think about it like this, “if you could wave a magic wand and become the mother that you’ve always wanted to be, what would you want?”
The self-ideal is future-oriented. It is your motivation, your drives, your wants, your dreams and your goals.
This how you see yourself today. It’s based on all the memories and experiences
of your past. Your self-image is a collection of all the parenting experiences you have had, including how your mother raised you. The way your own mother cared for you or how other motherly figures attended to you can shape your own parenting, but it isn’t always in a good way. How were your experiences?
Everyone wants to feel like their mother was the best but on reflection, we can evaluate which parenting practices we want to adopt or disregard. Our mums did the best they could at the time, based on the knowledge they had then. With more information available to us, we realise there is always be something to improve on.
Self-esteem is the reactor core of our personalities. How much you like yourself is crucially important. The more respect a mum has for herself, the more she will take care of herself during the pregnancy and the child’s infancy. The more she loves herself, the more she will be able to love her baby.
To raise emotionally-intelligent children, you have to like and love yourself. Learning to have positive thoughts and feelings is important during pregnancy because the baby experiences all the same emotions as you do. The baby doesn’t just feed off your nutritional supply, but your energy supply as well.
Adopting the mindset that your body’s changes during and after pregnancy are a miracle of life, rather than a negative thing, can make a difference in your own and your children’s self-esteem.
Improving Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence: Communication
The kindest thing you can do for your children is to communicate clearly with them. Giving them clear instructions is a way to develop their emotional intelligence.
According to experts at UCLA, communication breaks down into three components.
The words you use
In fact, only 7% of our communication is the words we use. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Have you ever wondered why if you tell your children NOT to do something, they do it anyway? A common mistake in parenting is trying to get your child to respond to negatives. But what we know about the mind is that it does not process negatives well.
Take the example of “Don’t eat the cookies.” When you say this, the child immediately begins to think of eating the cookies. Once that thought is in their mind, it becomes a reality.
If you want your children to do something, you need to tell them what to do. If you prefer them to play on the front lawn, say “play on the front lawn.” If you ever have to tell a child not to do something, let them know first what not to do and then immediately tell them what to do. The last thought in the mind is what they will act upon. For example, “Don’t play on the road, play on the front lawn.”
By working on your own emotional intelligence and positive communication skills, you can successfully raise emotionally-intelligent children. The biggest predictor of success in life is Emotional Intelligence, so you can start today to help your children develop their self-concept.
About Daniel Tolson
Daniel is a business coach specialising in Emotional Intelligence and Strategic Planning. Having consulted with thousands of clients, he has helped them quickly add more than $100,000,000 of revenues to their bottom line.
A former Australian champion wakeboarder, Daniel has competed with the world’s top athletes at the extreme games. He has also led a team of more than 17,000 cabin crew members.
For more information: https://www.danieltolson.com