You don't realize how much your kids learn from you until you hear them repeat the one thing you wish they hadn't heard (like an F bomb from the backseat after you get cut off in heavy traffic). Kids really do learn from adults - and that includes parents, grandparents, older siblings, teachers, neighbours... We are all mentors.
If you want to have "emotionally intelligent kids", what can you do?
1. Regulate Yourself
Conflict in inevitable. No matter how well behaved your child may be, you're going to get angry or frustrated with them at some point. But it's important to slow down and model emotional regulation. Don't be tempted to threaten punishment just to get an immediate behaviour change because that short cut won't give your child the long term understanding of why good behaviour matters. Make sure your child feels heard and understood so that you can understand what might be causing the bad behaviour. It might take longer at first but the payoff in the long term will be worth it. Don't treat the symptoms, look for the cause of the problem.
2. Connect with Your Kids
When kids feel safe, they don't need to act out to get attention or to feel that they have power over others. Give your kids a hug, look them in the eye when they speak to you and make sure to have some one-on-one time with them every day, even if it's only a few minutes.
3. Treat your Kids with Respect
Kids are people too so don't rely on dominance to make your kids act appropriately. You wouldn't want to be treated that way and neither do they. "Because I said so" isn't a good reason. Set clear limits and explain why you have those limits in place.
We can't be with our kids 24/7 so we need teach them recognize their own moral compass and have the courage to make their own independent decisions. Kids really do Learn What They Live so make sure you're doing you part to show them what living with character is all about.
The Community of Character is all about recognizing and appreciating the good stuff in life. This blog will share some thoughts on how we can be the best version of ourselves.