How to Be An Emotionally Intelligent Parent
A simple fact: Raising kids is hard. Thankfully, there are things us parents can do to connect with them and help them develop compassion, kindness, resilience and so on. In these hard times, our emotional intelligence matters more than we know.
So, below are some ways to start fostering a healthier emotional environment for our children–and ourselves!
Understand your own emotions and how they affect your parenting.
Being an emotionally intelligent parent begins with understanding your own emotions and how they are impacting the way you parent. After all, it can be difficult to manage our own emotions, let alone help our children. But by being aware of our emotional triggers and reactions, we can begin to do the necessary work to improve our emotional well-being. In turn, this allows us to model positive behaviors for our children.
Try to respond to all of your child's emotions in a supportive way.
All children experience a range of emotions, and it is important to validate all of them. Let your child know that it is okay to feel whatever they are feeling. Show your child that you love them unconditionally and that you're there for them no matter what. Whenever possible, help your child see that their emotions are fleeting, that they are not things to be afraid of but clues to what their needs are at every moment. This practice helps your child transmute negative emotions and develop a healthy relationship with their emotional selves.
Encourage them to express themselves in healthy ways.
Give them the space to feel all their feelings, whether they’re happy, sad, scared, or mad. Then, teach them how to communicate those feelings through words. Of course, this isn’t easy – especially when we’re dealing with very young children. But it’s important for them to practice expressing themselves, so they can understand themselves not just emotionally, but logically.
Seek out help from professionals or other parents if you need it.
They say “It takes a village to raise a child,” and any parent - especially new ones - would agree. It is so important to have a strong and steady support system as a parent. Unfortunately, not all parents have this. Many of us feel like we have to figure it out on our own, for one reason or another. However, the truth is there is no shame in admitting that you need help, and doing so shows that you are committed to being the best parent you can be.
Be patient with yourself - you're not perfect and that's okay.
Parenting is hard. You're constantly being pulled in a million different directions and it can be easy to lose sight of your own emotional needs. That's why it's so important to be patient with yourself.
So, cut yourself some slack and don't beat yourself up over every little thing. We all make mistakes, but the key is to learn from them and do our best to be emotionally intelligent parents for our children, each and every day.