Emotional Intelligence & Your Toddler - By Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach
in the grocery, knew I was approaching the toy aisle & braced myself. Adam was sitting happily in the grocery cart,
but I knew what was coming: a tantrum!
I knew he was tired & hungry – this
was an emergency run to the grocery. I knew I was tired & hungry, too. Adam & I weren't at our coping best. The last
thing I wanted was a meltdown.
WHAT TO DO?
I did what any sane
grandmother would do:
- I avoided the aisle completely.
- I got out of the store as fast as I could.
- As soon as I’d paid for them, I gave
him a Capri drink & a little box of raisins & gave myself some too!
- I kept calm & talked in a soothing voice. It was 6 p.m. & he was a little time bomb waiting to go off. Nor was I at my best.
Tantrums are an inconvenient part of life with toddlers & the best defense is a good offense.
Avoid the circumstances that provoke them.
Management depends upon your emotional intelligence because a
toddler doesn’t have any!
- they lack the vocabulary to express themselves
- they lack the ability to cope with delayed gratification
- then have zero self-awareness
teaching all these things, but developmentally, they aren’t capable yet. It’s up to you to avoid provocative situations as best you can, especially when your toddler is already tired, hungry or stressed.
Toddlers are also still fairly easy to distract & sometimes that’s the best course of action. They’re just learning “object permanence.”
In other words,
if they’re screaming for something (a candy bar they see) & you
can remove it, it can be a case of “out of sight, out of mind.”
Like if he’s
in his high chair, whisk the candy bar away, grab a utensil & start tapping out the rhythm of one of his favorite
songs, sing & make faces. Sometimes it works!
My friend, Becky, sings a special
soothing song at such times. It’s become conditioned with her daughter. She starts to calm down.
THE TANTRUM IN-PUBLIC
Every parents least
favorite happening. What to do?
- Remember, you’re not a bad parent. Toddles
- “Reasoning” with them won’t
do much good & will waste your energy.
- You don’t need to get angry yourself, or punitive. This won’t stop the tantrum, but it will doubly stress you. It can, in fact, make the tantrum
- Don’t ‘catch the infection’
- Your child feels out-of-control when she’s angry & looks to you NOT to be.
- Leave the situation if you can. Give up &
go home, or at least leave the immediate scene – i.e., if they’re screaming in the movie theater, take them out
to the lobby.
“A change of scene” sometimes works.
Also it’s courteous to those around you. I found leaving a store & going outside was sometimes calming & we could return.
- When the worst of the meltdown is over, be
reassuring, because to get that angry is scary for the child.
- Cushion the blow in some
way, but stick to the rules. i.e., if the tantrum was over leaving the birthday party, you still must leave, yes, but tell
her you know how sad / angry she is to have to leave, “So let’s watch ‘Favorite Video’ when we get home.”
You may feel
like you’re “giving up” or “giving in” when you avoid situations that stress your toddler, but that’s an emotionally intelligent thing to do.
We’re humans, we want things, we have emotions. When you’re on a diet, do you go to Baskin-Robbins & sit at a table & watch other people eat ice cream?
married, would you subject yourself to a private outing with an attractive member of the opposite sex?
broke, would you go window-shopping at the most expensive clothes-store in town? No, no & no. It would be torture.
We don’t subject ourselves to temptations that frustrate us when we can help it.
You can anticipate what will frustrate your toddler & act accordingly. There’s nothing wrong with getting a sitter & going to the toy store by yourself.
In fact it’s emotionally intelligent!
Wise parents & grandparents “toddler-proof” the house to keep down frustrations. You’ll still have to manage
- not playing in the toilet
- not eating the dog food
- not pulling the cat’s tail
- not punching little sister
… so why not remove the crystal dish
on the coffee table & the glass floral arrangement in the bedroom for a couple of months & give yourself a break.
P.S. The Terrible Twos really don’t last forever.
Recommended reading: “First
Feelings: Milestones in the Emotional Development of Your Baby and Child,” by I. Stanley Greenspan, M.D. and Nancy Greenspan:
Olivia is 5 & Learning Emotional Intelligence - By Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach
Olivia & I returned from going
to the rodeo & we’d been talking about going swimming. “That would be fun,” I said. “We’re
hot & sticky. Let’s ask your Dad if you can.”
When we got to the house,
Olivia ran ahead of me. While I was talking to her Dad, she came running out in her swimsuit. “We’re going swimming!”
she said, bouncing up and down, “We’re going swimming!”
You can imagine
what transpired. She’d been told she couldn’t go swimming & had done an end-run around Nana. She had
to go to her room & take off her swim suit & she was inconsolable.
I helped her get dressed,
while she sobbed. I commiserated with her sadness & anger, supported her father’s decision & agreed with her it was sad, sad. I’d been looking forward to it myself & it isn’t always easy for me to accept my son as a higher-authority than me!
I didn’t like his
reason why she couldn’t go, so was dealing with my own stuff, looking for a distraction.
Finally she quieted, brightened up & said, “Let’s do what an optimist would do!” We’d been working on that – optimism is an emotional intelligence competency.
“What would an optimist do?” I asked.
“Think about something happy,” she replied. “Find something else to do.” She remembers things, that’s for sure.
“What else could we do that would be fun?” I asked her.
want to play with Donnie,” she said. He’s the little boy next door. And off she ran.
I decided to freshen up with the shower & then settle in with a good book.
“optimism” can’t start too young! When we have a disappointment, we don’t dwell, we find something else to do that’s fun & your child can learn this too.
Teaching Emotional Intelligence to Your Kindergartner - By Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach
Casey’s 5 years
old & reminds me of Edith-Ann. She sometimes even stomps her foot & tosses her head. And that’s the truth!
Casey’s what you’d call “high-maintenance.” She likes things to be just
so, reacts strongly to what’s going on & tends to get wound-up. We’ve been working on emotional intelligence.
The other day I took her to the Kiddie Park & then to McDonald’s for
supper. It had been a fun afternoon, but once we got to McDonald’s, her fatigue caught up with her.
She loves to play with other children & calls them all “my friends.” At McDonald’s she
faced one of childhood’s hardest tasks – breaking into a group that had already formed.
There were 4 girls
there her age who didn’t want her to join their playgroup. Casey’s very bright & tried several different things
– just joining in (they chased her off), telling them to “be
nice,” (they ignored her) & then asking them to please, please
let her play with them.
which sometimes happens to the best of us.
To make a long story short, it didn’t
end well. Casey decompensated, then spilled her drink, then dropped her ice cream cone, at which point the others made fun
I helped her thru
that incident & the suggested she was tired, we could find other friends & that it was time to go. This made her furious.
“I’m not tired,” she screamed.
Finally I had to carry her out to the car,
a ball of tears. You can imagine how she felt, as nothing had gone right. I thought about distracting her, like talking about what we’d do tomorrow. Then I remembered how I felt when someone didn’t let me talk thru
Like when your partner
says, “I think you’re overreacting.”
LABEL THE TURMOIL, GIVE IT
Go toward the sound of the cannon.
“Casey,” I said.
“How are you feeling right now?’” The volume of the crying immediately increased. This is exactly why
we tend to avoid dealing with emotions.
It’s more comfortable for us to avoid the issue of someone else’s pain, anger, etc.
“Are you angry because we had to leave?” I continued.
Suddenly there was silence.
“Yes,” she said, after a minute. “I was angry.” She felt respected & also, I think, she had become curious.
This moved her
away from the reptilian brain & into the neocortex. She was now thinking instead of reacting.
“Are you remembering to breathe deeply?” I asked,
helping her self-soothe. “Yes,” she said.
“And were you ashamed you dropped your cone?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied. “And
I wasn’t tired,” she repeated, adamantly. This was a very important point to her because my saying she was tired
to her meant I wasn’t addressing her distress.
We went on to discuss other feelings she was having – frustration with the other girls, sadness they wouldn’t include her, disappointment that I hadn’t been of much help.
Then, because she really was very tired,
she started into a downward spiral – “And remember that girl who was mean to me at the ice skating rink…”
she began, getting into an incident that had happened the day before.
an optimist do right now?” I asked her, gently. It was time to move the focus away from emotions.
“Oh,” she said, stopping & thinking for a moment. “An optimist would remember something good that happened. Like when I got to ride on the ferris wheel.”
SORTING OUT emotions
Adults have trouble figuring out the layers of emotions that occur. For a young child it’s extremely difficult. When we help the child sort out the different feelings which often get expressed in tears, it helps them manage their emotions better.
To be able to put something
in words is empowering.
Her little brother, Ted, who’s 2, has just learned
how to say “don’t like peas”. I was there when the “light went off in his head”. When the peas
were placed in front of him, he started to cry & push the plate off the highchair tray & then he stopped & said,
“Don’t like peas” & the look on his face said it all.
He'd learned a new way
to manipulate his environment & get what he wanted – words!
To tell Casey she was tired, negated all
the other things she was feeling & wasn’t helpful. We know that fatigue exacerbates negative emotions, but those emotions are still real & need to be acknowledged.
“I felt bad,” she finally said & sometimes that sums it up, but working thru the layers helps children learn words of
emotional expressions & helps them replace acting out with talking.
Help Your Child Process His Emotions & Behavior to Get the The Best Use of Time Out
Lynne Namka, Ed. D © 2002
a child is punished by being sent to Time Out with angry yelling, 'Go to your room!'
are mad and the child is mad and no one learns anything. The child then sulks and feels resentful instead of learning how he could act better next time.
after leaving Time Out helps work things out between you and your child. It can also help bring his strong feelings down if you put a positive spin on it. Time outs can be used for teaching your child to be more in control of his behavior.
child understand his behavior and angry feelings and learn better ways of acting in the future. This exercise is an adaptation of Time Out procedure we used in our
school for children with severe emotional and behavior problems where I worked for 7 years.
These questions give your child a
framework for learning from the experience & teach the message that mistakes are made for learning. If your child
is unwilling to go thru these simple steps, send him back to Time Out.
Cheerfully give him the message
that he needs more time to think about what happened to get him in trouble.
What behavior caused you to go to
Clarify any vague answer given by
the child. You had to go to time out because you hit your brother.' Now tell me why did you have to go to time out?
The research shows that families
who encourage children to talk about & then problem solved created a sense of mastery in children which carried over to good self esteem & doing well in school.
Was what you did a very good thing to do? Why
Help the child to make a judgment & process his feelings by giving him rationale & rules about what's expected of him. Then ask him to repeat the judgment back to you.
What could you do next time when
Help your child problem solve
& come up with several alternatives he could choose from instead of the acting out behavior.
What Helper Words can you use
to keep your cool the next time?
child to say,'I cool myself off. I breathe and make good choices. I keep my cool. Etc.
you feel if you make a better choice the next time?'Good. Great. Fantastic. Better about myself. Proud for using my head. Etc'.
After your child processes his emotions and owns his misbehavior, really lay it on thick about how proud you are of him. Brag about how he can look at his part in a problem and come up with a better solution for next time.
Use affirmation cues to reinforce his growing and learning:
can feel good about the problem solving and figure out how
to do things differently next time.
Whatever from of correction method you chose, remember to leave your child feeling good about himself.
Children are subject to the self-fulfilling prophecy, which says they become
as others view them. Remember the old saying,
to Understand the Emotional Development of a Child
by Christa Gatewood
From birth to about 18 months, the primary focus for emotional
development of a child is building trust. This is accomplished inherently as you attend to your child's needs. Your infant
learns he will be comforted when he cries, fed when he's hungry and that his needs will generally be met. Over the first year
of his life, he will start to express basic emotions and form an emotional attachment to you and other caregivers. That attachment
is often expressed as "stranger anxiety" and comes from having learned first to trust you.
Between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old, children develop
emotional independence. They start to see themselves as separate from their parents and begin to test their limits. This stage
is often characterized as the "terrible twos" because aggressive behaviors emerge. You can help your toddler learn what is
acceptable by establishing consistent boundaries and helping your child give words to her emotions. During this time, your
child will also start to interact with others when playing, which will form the foundation of cooperation. You can encourage
this with interactive songs, nursery rhymes and other games.
From around the ages of 3 to 5 years old, initiative becomes
the focus of emotional development. Your preschooler will suddenly understand the concept of feelings and become aware of
feelings in other people. This is when you can teach empathy by asking questions like, "How do you think he feels?" Understanding
other people's feelings helps these children to form friendships and learn to cooperate. Imagination comes into play during
this stage. Your child might start to embrace fantasy or have an imaginary friend. You can nurture your child's imagination
by encouraging role playing or dress-up.
Around the time when your child goes to grade school, she will
begin to learn how to keep secrets. As she gets older, she will start to see herself in comparison to her peers and make judgments
about how she stacks up. Don't be surprised if your child starts to become cliquish or exclusionary with friends, as this
is a time when children like to form clubs and make rules to govern them. During this period, kids will also begin to be affected
by peer pressure.
Christa Gatewood studied psychology and communications at Northwestern University, sparking a life-long fascination with
mental health, personal relationships and family dynamics. Well-versed in conventional and alternative approaches to reproductive
health and pediatric medicine, Gatewood has covered health topics for eHow.com.
source site: click here
The Naked Truth About Emotional Intelligence - By Margaret Altman
Nancy came to work the other
day in a pretty good mood. It ended when her boss suddenly threw a fit over a simple typo in the first draft of a letter that
he had dictated.
Red-faced & irate, her
boss flung the letter on her desk & said; “What kind of stupidity is this, Nancy? Do you have any idea how important this client is? I can’t afford this kind of careless mistake in my correspondence & you know that!”
In a fit of desperation, Nancy pushed her chair back, stood up & left the office in tears. She felt completely naked & violated. She was flooded with anger & the pain of being belittled in front of other employees.
Does this situation feel familiar? It's quite common
for explosions & implosions to occur at work, at home, on the road & at times when you least expect it. This kind of situation is just one example of what of what we refer to as an example of emotional unintelligence. And
it can be a damaging, life altering event in a person’s life that can't be changed. Especially when the people who are
involved are those you love.
The words emotional intelligence ring a bell in most
of our minds. It’s a commodity that we’ve all yearned for without really knowing what it is or how it develops.
These days we tend to think of emotional intelligence as a set of qualities that make us successful & popular with other people. The qualities or “hot attributes” that we associate with emotional intelligence are; optimistic, persistent, warm, team player, goal oriented etc. etc.
It’s a good list but
these qualities are difficult to achieve & to maintain for any amount of time in the real world & in real relationships. How does one get these qualities?
There are training courses
for business people & for students to learn how to try & be these wonderful things.
we look closely at Nancy’s experience we can see that she was probably most of these things when she came into work
on that fateful day. But these qualities faded fast when she was confronted with the emotional explosion of her boss. If we
buy into the idea that emotional intelligence is a list of optimal attributes then we can
understand why people give up quickly on the grueling job of pretending that they have these shining qualities.
The bare truth about emotional intelligence is that it's more than a hot list of admirable qualities. Emotional intelligence is a group of mental abilities that develop over time
from infancy thru adulthood. These mental abilities enable you to delay impulsive responding to strong emotional stimuli &
use your intelligent mind to cope with the situation.
Emotional intelligence doesn’t
happen overnight or in a training course. In most cases adults have to consistently work at strengthening & exercising the key mental abilities that lead to emotional intelligence.
We're all works in progress
in the domain of emotional intelligence. The mental abilities that have to be exercised
& that develop from infancy are the most important “attributes” of all in terms of coping with the constant emotional roller coaster of life.
The beauty of emotional intelligence lies in watching the growth of 4 key abilities in the infant & young child. Before
an infant can toddle around or talk that baby will have developed skills that will, i.e., empower him to delay his impulsive responses.
A milestone in this process
is the infant’s growing skills in recognizing & appreciating the importance of human face & voice expressions. Looking at faces & listening to the tones in voices seems like such a natural capacity. But this skill like so many others has to be encouraged by parents & it develops into a monumental blocker of impulses. When the child gazes at faces & listens to voices he is taking that split second to process the emotional information.
adults we can see how, when we take the time to look at the emotional expressions on someone’s face & hear the emotional
tone in their voice we have that nanosecond in which to use that information before behaving or responding.
In this distracting & anxiety-provoking world we need all the nanoseconds we can get so that we don’t explode or implode. When we let this face & voice recognition skill
get rusty then we are more prone to lash out or cave in when our buttons are pushed.
Intelligence in its developmental form is what we need to learn & to teach our youngsters. There is much more to learn about the abilities that empower emotional intelligence & a great deal of research has been done on this subject.
In the journals of Neurology,
Psychology, Rehabilitative Medicine, Pediatrics & Geriatrics, the relevant studies are available to those with degrees
& the patience to wade thru volumes of statistics.
The author of this article
is part of a team of experts in Developmental Emotional Intelligence & our goal is to make this vital data available to
the rest of the population. We have published one book, "Developing Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence" (available at Amazon & Barnes & Noble) & we're in the process of writing 2 books for Adolescent &
An excerpt from
our first book will be available on this site.
We invite you to begin the process
of learning about & developing your own wonderful abilities in the domain of emotional intelligence.
Altman LCSW et al.
Altman is the author of "Developing Your Child's Emotional Intelligence" & associate director of the Department of Psychiatric
Social Servies at OliveView-UCLA Medical Center. She is a specialist in Developmental Emotional Intelligence with over 25
years experience working with children, adolescents & adults
Be sure to click here to open a window at "the layer down under," another site within the
emotional feelings network of 28+ sites! The article is very insightful and is helpful for new parents as well as parents
with teenagers! It's at the bottom of the page once you click on the above link - scroll down to the bottom of the left hand
Talking With Kids Openly & Honestly About Sexuality By Michael McGee,
C.S.T., Vice President of Education & Social Marketing, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Talking About Feelings
Teresa,The CuteKid™ Staff
As your child grows they will be faced with a variety of child
emotions and events that will trigger sadness, anger, jealousy, happiness, loneliness, and other emotions. As a good parent it is important to talk about these feelings and how your child
can deal with their emotions. Talking about how your child feels will help them learn to cope with their own feelings and
with those of others.
Observe their behavior:
Observing your child's behavior and actions can give you a glimpse of what they are feeling and your child�s emotions.
If your child runs to her room and slams the door she is probably upset. If your son is bouncing up and down with his eyes
lit up he is probably excited.
Ask your child how they feel. Find out if something happened at school, with a friend, or a family member. Don't expect your
child just to open up and pour out what is bothering them. On the flip side if your child has something happy to share they
might be waiting for you to ask also. My three-year-old daughter just threw some toys on the floor then climbed on my lap.
I asked her, "Are you angry?" She said, "No." So I then asked her if she was sad. She told she was because she thought her
sister wouldn't share. Because I asked I was able to easily resolve the situation.
Help identify emotions:
Your child may not be sure how they feel. So supply them with a list of emotions to choose from. You could ask, "Are you angry?
Or sad about what happened? Did you feel jealous?" This will help your child identify their emotions and then learn how to
better deal with how they feel.
After you have identified how your child feels and asked your child what happened listen. Let them talk without interruption
as they discuss the event that triggered their child emotion. Most children will open up when they realize that you are truly
interested and want to know.
Talk about it:
When your child has explained the reason they are feeling the way they do. Take a few minutes and talk about the experience.
Validate your child's feelings. Don't dismiss how they feel as stupid. Just because you don't think a friend sitting by someone
else at lunch should upset her doesn't mean that it should not. Discuss ways that she can feel better. Maybe she could talk
to their friend. Or sit by someone else that she likes at lunch tomorrow.
After your child is feeling better take a minute and discuss what the other person might be feeling or the reason they did
what they did. This way your child will learn empathy and that when they are upset the other person involved probably feels
the same way.
Talking about your child's emotions and feelings helps validate how they feel. It teaches them how to
better cope and control their emotions. It builds communication between you and your child. It also increases your child's
self-esteem as they realize that how they feel is important to you.
source site: click here
Being a Happy Parent - Part of Good Parenting
By Dr. Margaret Paul
December 31, 2006
Do your children see you as happy and peaceful, or do
they see you as angry, depressed, or overburdened? Learn how important it is to good parenting for you to learn to take emotional
responsibility for your own feelings.
When you were growing up, did you ever wish that your parents
were happy? Did you feel safe when they were happy and peaceful?
My mother was rarely a happy person. Most of the time she was
anxious, angry and felt overburdened, even though I was her only child. She rarely laughed and was often upset with me, or
my father. Clearly, she made both of us responsible for her happiness and we consistently fell short.
I would have given anything to have had a happy mother - a mother
who knew how to take responsibility for her own happiness and pain. I would have loved to have had a mother who showed me
how to take loving care of myself instead showing me how to be an unhappy martyr.
Often, in my counseling work with parents, I ask them if their
parents were happy. Most of the time they say no. I ask them if they wanted their parents to be happy and invariably they
say, "Yes, I would have loved it." Yet these same parents are not taking responsibility for making themselves happy now. They
are acting just like their parents - anxious, angry, depressed, withdrawn, resistant, or compliant. They are controlling with
each other or with their children in the same ways their parents were controlling.
"As parents," I say to them, "it is your responsibility to learn
how to make yourselves happy so you can be role models for your children. How can your children learn how to take emotional
responsibility if you don't? Right now, you are role modeling being a victim of your circumstances instead of being an emotionally
responsible adult. You are using your anger, upsets and unhappiness to control your children, or you are putting yourself
aside to take care of everyone but yourself. How can they learn to take care of themselves if you are not taking care of yourselves?"
Many parents take care of externals: they keep the house clean,
they are on time, they pay their bills, and they earn money. Some parents even take care of their physical health by eating
well and getting enough exercise. But many parents fail to take care of their emotional wellbeing.
Taking care of your emotional wellbeing means that you recognize
that you cause your own feelings with your thoughts and actions. When you think and behave in ways that are unloving to yourself
or others - that are not in your highest good - you will be unhappy. When you think and behave in ways that are loving to
yourself and others - that are in your highest good - you will be happy. Your positive or negative emotions are completely
the result of your own thoughts and actions.
If you operate from the belief that how your children act, or
how your partner acts, or how your external life is, causes your feelings, then you are operating as a victim. As a victim,
your happiness is dependent upon others doing what you want them to do and on getting the outcomes you want. If this is your
belief system, then you are teaching your children to be victims.
Taking emotional responsibility means practicing Inner Bonding
- staying tuned into your own feelings and immediately shifting your thought process and actions when you are feeling negative
feelings. It means that you learn to access a spiritual source of inner guidance to help you know how to take loving care
of yourself. You need to learn to turn to your spiritual guidance to help you think the thoughts and take the actions that
are true and in harmony with your soul, rather than operating from the false beliefs that cause you pain.
Do not kid yourself into thinking that as long as you are there
for your children you are being good parents. You also need to learn to be there for yourself so that you can be a happy and
peaceful parent. Joining the Inner Bonding membership community can be a great support in helping you learn to be present
for your and for your children.
source site: www.innerbonding.com