Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Dr Ash Nay­ate

En­hance emo­tional in­tel­li­gence with pos­i­tive emo­tions in chil­dren

IN the last is­sue of Great Health GuideTM, the im­por­tance of teach­ing chil­dren to be emo­tional in­tel­li­gent was dis­cussed. This is in­te­gral to their suc­cess in every area of life, from ed­u­ca­tion and pro­duc­tiv­ity, to re­la­tion­ships and self-es­teem.


When it comes to mis­takes, there are many great lessons we can teach our kids. To be

able to recog­nise a mis­take. To be will­ing to apol­o­gise. And, to be humble and dig­ni­fied when re­ceiv­ing an apol­ogy from an­other.

If I had to choose a sin­gle great­est les­son, it would be this: mis­takes don’t make us bad peo­ple. A failed at­tempt at some­thing doesn’t mean that WE are a fail­ure. Un­for­tu­nately, from an early age, many of learn that mis­takes are ‘bad’ and that we should avoid them at all costs. It’s re­in­forced at every turn - we’re en­cour­aged to make as few ‘mis­takes’ as pos­si­ble on tests. We’re en­cour­aged to ‘be right’ and to avoid ‘be­ing wrong’. Some­times, we even get shamed or ridiculed for mak­ing mis­takes.

The truth is that mis­takes are the only way we learn. We don’t re­ally know some­thing un­til we’ve put it into prac­tice and with prac­tice, in­evitably comes mis­takes. Un­for­tu­nately, the de­sire to avoid mis­takes and to al­ways ‘be right’, can lead to our kids be­ing fear­ful to try new things, or take on new chal­lenges.

One of the great­est les­son is that mis­takes don’t make us bad peo­ple.

As care­givers, we can en­cour­age our kids to see the in­her­ent learn­ing op­por­tu­nity that mis­takes pro­vide - and the best way, is for them to see us make mis­takes and han­dle them grace­fully. For ex­am­ple, ‘I was sup­posed to take this to Grandma’s house and I for­got. I’m go­ing to mes­sage her now and apol­o­gise. I’m go­ing to write a re­minder on this Post-It and stick it on my keys, so I’ll def­i­nitely re­mem­ber to take it tomorrow’.

Not only do we teach kids how to prob­lem­solve mis­takes, we also show them that it’s hu­man to make them and does not re­flect on the qual­ity of our char­ac­ter in any way.

2. Cul­ti­vate pos­i­tive habits.

Emo­tional in­tel­li­gence isn’t just about manag­ing the un­com­fort­able emo­tions, it’s also know­ing how to cul­ti­vate the pos­i­tive ones, too. Grat­i­tude is a real buzz-word in pop­u­lar cul­ture and it has its share of crit­ics who view it as ‘too spir­i­tual’ or ‘pseu­do­sci­en­tific’ to be of use. In­ter­est­ingly, the em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence is show­ing that fo­cussing even a few min­utes each day on the things we ap­pre­ci­ate, can tremen­dously im­prove our men­tal well­be­ing.

It’s easy to teach kids to be grate­ful, be­cause they’re naturally more present in the day to day joy­ful mo­ments of life. The prac­tice of grat­i­tude can man­i­fest in dif­fer­ent ways. For ex­am­ple, talking over the break­fast or din­ner ta­ble, about the things we ap­pre­ci­ate. For younger chil­dren who might not fully un­der­stand the con­cept of ‘ap­pre­ci­a­tion’ and ‘grat­i­tude’, we can get the ball rolling with ques­tions such as ‘what’s the best thing that hap­pened to­day’, ‘what’s some­thing funny that hap­pened to­day’ or ‘what was your favourite thing about to­day’.

Emo­tional in­tel­li­gence is know­ing how to cul­ti­vate pos­i­tive emo­tions.

Not only will th­ese ques­tions en­cour­age our kids to adopt a pos­i­tive and ap­pre­cia­tive mind­set, but the answers they give can also pro­vide pow­er­ful in­sight into our kids’ minds and opens doors for other ways to con­nect and en­hance our mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ships with them.

Dr Ash Nay­ate is a clin­i­cal neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist spe­cial­iz­ing in brain func­tion and re­sult­ing be­hav­iour. Ash has al­most 15 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with chil­dren and fam­i­lies, sup­port­ing them to feel hap­pier, more con­fi­dent and re­silient. To con­tact Ash please visit her web­site.

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