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How to develop your child's EQ

Written by: Paula Luckhoff

In a rapidly changing world, the traditional testing of a child's intelligence quotient (IQ) is being overtaken by an emphasis on their emotional quotient (EQ).

Creative parenting expert Nikki Bush says our EQ is a better predictor for future success than our IQ.

But what is EQ?

If I know myself and I can manage myself, then I can know and manage others.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

While IQ might be a door opener to success, it's EQ that keeps you in the job, keeps you growing and connecting with other people.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Bush says there is a move away from testing children for their IQ unless they are going for therapy or assessment.

As an example, she uses the change in emphasis for the screening of medical students by the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).

They are interviewing for attitude before brains. Yes, of course you've got to have the straight As but they're starting to look at things like bedside manner.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Bush says there's been a shift in the world from living in a knowledge economy, to living in an emotion economy where relationships are the key.

This means it's important to develop the empathy to see the world from someone else's perspective.

This means being able to put yourself in somebody else's shoes.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Our kids need to know and learn how to build relationships in the real world, not just to build them and connect with people, but how to maintain them.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

But how can parents help their children do this?

Bush says it starts with investing time into listening to your kids.

We need to be, as adults, role modelling and putting time into developing our kids' emotional intelligence to future-proof them.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

We have to be watching their body language, we have to be listening to the vocabulary they use and we need to be observing how they are in the world.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

To illustrate this, she uses the example of a child returning from school with a low mark for a test despite the fact that they studied hard. The trick, she says, is not to use language of judgement.

They're saying they're disappointed aren't they? We have to teach them to label those feelings, so: "You're so disappointed, but I'm so proud of the effort that you put in" because you know they actually put in a lot of effort - turning around that disappointment into a teachable moment.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Then you've got to see what they say next and to see if you misinterpreted their feelings or if you're actually correct.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

For more on helping to foster your child's EQ, listen below:


This article first appeared on 702 : How to develop your child's EQ




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