As a teen and young adult, I occasionally struggled with managing my emotions. My reactions to certain situations were more extreme than one would expect, and I went through a period where I chalked it up as, "This is just who I am." I never thought about the notion of emotional intelligence or that this was something I seriously lacked, though I knew I needed to figure it out eventually.
I now look back at those moments and realize, handling them were all up to me. More importantly, I know that the root of my behavior came from a lack of confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem. I was a college kid trying to survive in a world that I wasn't emotionally equipped to participate in. I'd always been a good student with a solid work ethic, but didn't have the mental capacity to go through the ups and downs of life in a healthy manner.
Parents should always be mindful of their child's emotional well-being, just as they are of the physical. When your child is hungry you feed them, sick, you help them get well, but what happens when you overlook the mental and emotional aspects that contribute to their mindset? In order to raise mentally strong children, you have to help build them up emotionally and set them up for success.
Amy Korin, psychotherapist and author of "13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do," recently penned an article about mistakes parents make that can destroy their children's confidence and self-esteem. I've decided to focus on ways that you can help build your child up emotionally, so they don't struggle with emotional intelligence later in life.
- Hold Them Accountable: Allow your children to make mistakes, but make sure you're teaching them to deal with the outcome of those mistakes in a healthy manner vs. trying to protect them from the mistakes they make.
- Embrace Their Emotions: Humans are emotional beings. We can feel happy, sad, angry and confused at any given time, and that's perfectly normal. Instead of trying to talk your children out of feeling a certain way, teach them to understand each feeling to help them learn to accept these emotions and react to them appropriately.
- Be Solution Oriented: Problems are a part of life, they're often unavoidable. We must teach our children to find solutions and not focus heavily on the problem. I always encourage my daughter to look at ways to find a resolve vs. back at what went wrong.
- Encourage Bravery: Children have fears just like adults. What usually helps us overcome those fears are facing them head on. Teaching your child to be brave and face obstacles will only help them become more confident in the long run.
- Introduce Them to Reality: As parents, we often want to keep our children in a bubble to protect their innocence. But, the best thing we can do to ensure that our little people grow into emotionally strong adults, is help them understand certain realities of life. Things don't always go how we want them to. Our children should be taught to understand this at an early age.
I'm not a psychologist or professional in that arena at all, just a parent who is devoted to learning from my mistakes in order to raise an emotionally intelligent human being. My goal is to help other parents do the same. I'd love to hear any thoughts or comments you may have as well.