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How do parents influence their children’s emotional development?

In the early years of a child’s life, we parents have a big influence on our children’s emotional development. Children are not born with the ability to regulate their emotions. They develop this skill over time through interactions with us. Parental influence is critical during the early years when our children are rapidly learning the ability to control their emotions.

During infancy and toddlerhood, parents provide the primary source of emotional regulation for our children. As our children grow, they will start to develop their own emotions and personality, but the foundation that we provide will play a big role in how those emotions are expressed.

Let’s take a deep dive:

What are the four parenting practices?

The four parenting practices are: 1. Disapproving 2. Laissez-faire 3. Emotion-coaching 4. Authoritarian Disapproving parents see negative emotions as bad and use punishment as a means to try to eliminate such emotions immediately. Laissez-faire parents accept all emotions from children but do not engage in helping children problem-solve in the face of emotions or place limits on what types of behaviors, in reaction to emotions, are acceptable. Emotion-coaching parents value emotions and are patient with children’s expressions of feelings. They use these experiences to bond and teach children how to best manage moods and feelings. Authoritarian parents have high expectations for their children and expect obedience without question. They often use threats or punishments to enforce their rules. Emotion coaching parents tend to raise children with the highest emotional intelligence (EI) scores. These children learn how to cope with negative emotions in a healthy way and have better self-control than those raised by disapproving or laissez-faire parents. If you find that you’re using a disapproving or dismissing parenting style, don’t worry – it’s never too late to change! 

How does the way you parent affect your child?

It is no secret that the way parents raise their children can have a profound effect on their lives. From the values they instill in them to the way they discipline them, children learn a great deal from their parents. And while every parent wants what is best for their child, sometimes their parenting style can unintentionally do more harm than good. The way parents choose to rear their children can have a lasting affect on their child’s development. For example, authoritarian parenting styles often result in children who are obedient and well-behaved, but they may also be resentful of their parents and lack self-confidence. Children learn by observing the people around them. Parents can model desired behaviors, such as empathy and self-regulation, for their children to learn from. This involves helping children understand and label their emotions. For example, a parent might say to a child who is crying, “I see that you’re feeling sad right now.” man carrying daughter in black sleeveless top

How does family affect a child’s emotional development?

Family plays an important role in children’s emotional development. Parents and other family members can influence a child’s emotional intelligence through their behaviors, models, and emotional climates. Children learn about EI vicariously through observing the emotions and behaviors of others. They also learn through reinforcement. When kids experience positive outcomes after demonstrating desired behaviors, they’re more likely to repeat those behaviors in the future. Family experiences play a key role in the development of toddlers’ EI skills. Toddlers who had more exposure to emotionally laden events at home exhibited greater EI skills than those who had less exposure. Parents can help kids develop their emotional intelligence by teaching them about emotions, helping them understand their feelings, supporting them when they’re experiencing strong emotions, and being good role models. 

How can parents encourage EQ in early childhood?

There are many things that parents can do to encourage the development of emotional intelligence in their children. Here are four key practices:

  • Spend time with your toddler every day: This quality time will help them feel loved and secure, and it will also give you a chance to model positive emotions and behaviors.
  • Play activities that are positive and calming: Choose games and activities that encourage cooperation and calmness rather than competition and aggression.
  • Get them involved in interactive tasks: Puzzles, blocks, and other activities that require teamwork skills help toddlers learn how to control their emotions and relate to others.
  • Teach them basic emotions: Help your child label their feelings by teaching them basic emotions like happiness, love, anger, etc.

Why families should create a culture of empathy

In a world where violence is a daily headline, it’s more important than ever for families to create a culture of empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It’s a critical life skill that allows us to build relationships, resolve conflicts, and create a more compassionate world. Families are the foundation of our society and raising children with empathy is critical to their development as kind, moral human beings. Having empathy helps children understand and cope with the world around them. Children who are raised with empathy are more likely to be successful in school and in their future careers. They are also more likely to be happy and well-adjusted individuals.

Why some kids struggle with EI

In order to understand why some kids struggle with emotional intelligence, it is first important to understand what emotional intelligence is. Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, understand, and manage emotions. This includes being able to control one’s own emotions as well as being able to understand and empathize with the emotions of others. Kids who struggle with emotional intelligence may have a hard time reading social cues, managing their own emotions, and/or relating to the emotions of others. Some kids struggle with emotional intelligence because they’re not paying close enough attention to pick up on social cues. Kids with ADHD might miss social cues because they’re not paying close enough attention to pick up on them. Kids with an ASD might misinterpret what others are saying to them.

What do I want empathy to look like in my family?

In our family, we want empathy to look like listening and trying to understand each other’s feelings. We want to be able to express our own feelings and be heard. We want to support each other when we’re going through tough times. And, we want to be able to forgive each other when we make mistakes. When it comes to empathy, what do you want it to look like in your family? Do you want everyone to be supportive and compassionate towards one another? Or, do you want everyone to be able to understand and share each other’s feelings? Regardless of what your answer is, empathy is an important part of any family.

To wrap up

Parents have a great deal of influence over their children’s emotional development. By providing love and support, teaching coping skills, and modeling healthy behavior, you can help your children develop into emotionally healthy adults. 

Sharon James

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