Would you believe it….
if I told you that of elementary age children who come to see me for therapy, I could tell you where they went to preschool by broadly assessing their emotional intelligence? Partly because of my experience with so many children, but MOSTLY because some preschools are really THAT AWESOME!
The Emotional Climate of the Family Part 2 of 3
(Part of the Family Climate Series)
by Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
Some children are very intuitive when it comes to either own and other’s emotions. By and large, however, a
good early education makes a huge difference in a child’s social, emotional AND academic success.
Children begin to develop their emotional intelligence in toddlerhood, at the dinner table, in their play groups, on visits to Grandma’s house, at the grocery store, when they use imaginary play with their dolls and toys and when they are watching TV, hence, the problem with “Sponge Bob” and the like.
In our day, “permissive parenting,” where the child is given a free pass for bad behavior because they, “need a nap,” “are in the ‘terrible twos’,” are just being a pain,” they are being robbed of the chance to begin to develop their EQ (emotional intelligence).
When we talk about “Emotional Intelligence” we are talking about the following;
1. Self-awareness – knowing what our feelings are and self-confidence in our ability to do things.
2. Social Awareness – understanding what others are feeling and the ability to interact with different people.
3. Self-management – being able to handle our emotions, deal with setbacks when pursuing goals.
4. Relationship Skills – being able to handle our emotions in relationship to others, dealing with peer pressure, conflicts and asking for help.
5. Making Decisions – being able to consider different angles and take responsibility for choices.
Ok, I know. You are thinking, “I know a bunch of adults who missed the preschool primer.” Or maybe you are thinking YOU missed it! Not to worry. There is help.
I thoroughly enjoy assessing young children when it comes to Emotional Intelligence. It is so fun to watch how children think things through (when I ask mom or dad not to interfere).
Children need a reference, even when a facial expressions is shown on a card. When a friend has a “perplexed” look on their face, the child obviously doesn’t have that word in their bank, so they have to fill it in with another word. A parent may show an expression that the child interprets as “angry” when the more accurate term might be “frustrated.” It is not enough to just build up the child’s word bank. They need to associate the appropriate feel with the expression and terminology. This takes time, experience and education.
Through a variety of therapy tools, I can assess your child’s stage of emotional intelligence and make suggestions to take them to the next level. Absent of other significant “issues” in the child’s life, I can
accomplish this in 1 session, depending on the level of engagement from your child, make suggestions and follow up in 6 weeks to reassess. With some great tools and guidance, your child will have made excellent
progress in a short time. Feeleez and Kimochis are just two of the tools I use for assessment.
Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
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