Hudson Valley Parent

HVP - Feb. 2014

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Emotions and intelligence W hat does it 1. Perceiving mean to be emotions smart? For This refers to the ability years, parents and educato "read" emotions and tional professionals alike respond appropriately in have equated a child's abiloneself or others. A child ity level and potential with with this capacity undertheir score on IQ tests. stands how others feel and An IQ, or intelligence how to correctly respond. quotient, has value and, Reading social cues is an in many instances, is an important skill for success excellent predictor of sucChild in the complex world of cess, especially academic Behavior adolescent and adult relasuccess. But it cannot tionships. predict a child's academic 2. Emotional understanding performance with 100% accuracy. A child with this skill recognizes IQ tests have often been the the cause and effect relationships target of criticism and although they between feelings, thoughts and beare becoming a more comprehensive havior. For example, sadness often tool to assess intelligence, they do accompanies loss. This skill helps a not tell us how creative a child is, child understand the role emotions nor do they measure social and inplay in friendships. terpersonal skills, or "street smarts." 3. Emotions guiding thought Over the years a number of This skill allows a child to incorpsychologists and researchers have porate feelings into reasoning and become interested in the limitations how this thinking is related to their of traditional IQ tests and have mood and behavior. The skill enables formulated new ways of looking at and measuring a child's competence a child to see how emotions help to prioritize thinking by directing attenand predicting their potential for tion to important information. success. PAUL SCHWARTZ In 1995, Dr. Daniel Goleman published his runaway bestseller Emotional Intelligence, which coined the new term: emotional IQ — or EQ. What exactly is emotional intelligence? According to Goleman, "Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions in order to assist thought; to understand emotions and emotional knowledge and to effectively manage emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth." Most definitions have four parts, or four "emotional competencies." 8 Hudson Valley Parent n December 2013 4. Emotional management This is probably the most important competency one can possess in childhood. This skill allows children to control and use emotions and impulses to help them learn and grow, and recognize the implications of their emotions and behavior on others. Emotional intelligence greatly influences a child's ability to cope and succeed with the demands and pressures at home, school and at play. Emotional intelligence shouldn't be seen as a separate intelligence; rather it can compliment cognitive intelligence to enhance a child's Experts feel that emotional intelligence might better define what it means to be 'smart.' ability to function successfully in all areas, academic and social. Goleman believes that emotional intelligence is the best predictor of success in life, and researchers agree that emotional intelligence might redefine what it means to be "smart." Dr. John Gottman says in his book Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, "Science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. They have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and ability to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships." The authors of Emotionally Intelligent Parenting believe that "an adolescent who is able to read a teacher's feelings is more likely to get a break on a late assignment, extra help, and maybe even a better grade than a student with a strong IQ but a weaker EQ. It remains to be seen if EQ is merely the flavor of the month in psychology, or it will eventually be used assess one's competence/potential. If your child was assessed with a lower IQ score or doesn't get straight A's, don't despair — you may be raising the next "emotional" Einstein. Paul Schwartz, PhD., is a professor of psychology and education at Mount Saint Mary College.

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