Teaching children to identify and communicate their feelings and to have empathy for others is important.
Teaching children to identify and communicate their feelings and to have empathy for others is important. iStock

Keep kids in touch with emotions for future happiness

IN A recent conversation with my brother, who works in the corporate training sector, the topic of emotional intelligence came up.

He said today's employers were looking to hire people not just for their general intellectual abilities but more so their skills in perceiving, understanding, expressing and managing emotions.

I'd heard about emotional intelligence but didn't have much of an idea of what it entailed, so I did some research.

According to experts in this field, EI includes different skills: the ability to identify one's own emotions; the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks; staying in control by managing emotions; and knowing what someone else is feeling and having the ability to put yourself in someone else's situation.

Emotionally intelligent people are good at these things and have the skills to modify their emotions appropriately.

According to my bro, workplace emotional intelligence training has become common and is focused on the management and expression of emotions, which are directly linked to good communication and job performance.

Fortunately, these skills can be honed - as emotional intelligence is a set of skills that can be learned, practised and improved upon.

And it's important because the more you understand these aspects of yourself, the better your mental health and social behaviour will be. While our technical intelligence is great nowadays, emotional education has not been taken seriously enough.

Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who published the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence in 1995, helped introduce the subject into the mainstream.

Goleman saw emotional intelligence as a vital factor in success, especially for children.

Being emotionally intelligent helps us connect with others, boosts performance, improves communication skills and helps us become more resilient. If we teach these skills when our children are young it could dramatically improve the quality of their lives.

Data shows young people with high EI earn higher grades, stay in school and make healthier choices.

There are many tips and strategies out there to guide us with the challenges of controlling our thoughts and feelings.

As parents, if we create an environment in which our children can make sense of their emotions and experiences, their success and happiness in life will improve.