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Boost your older kid's emotional intelligence

IQ isn't everything! Six tips for strengthening your child's EQ.

By GreatSchools Staff

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The thinking behind EQ

In the midst of worrying about our kids' academic success, it's easy to lose sight of their emotional development. But research suggests a child's emotional intelligence is every bit as important as reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. Why? Because kids with a high emotional intelligence have mastered the other three Rs: responsibility, resilience, and respect.

Since they've developed more coping skills, these kids are more able to control their emotions and behavior when things don’t go their way. This in turn makes them happier, more self-confident, and more respectful of others. Not surprisingly, students with a high EQ (or emotional quotient) tend to do better in school. They pay attention, take in information, stay motivated, and get along with teachers and classmates.

Is this just a matter of inborn temperament? Perhaps in some cases, yes. But research shows emotional intelligence can be taught. Kids who have gone through school-based EQ training average 11 percentile points higher on academic test scores. As a parent, you can also teach your kid to handle challenging emotions like anger, sadness, and frustration. From books and toys to family games, here are some creative ways to help your child become an EQ whiz kid.

Comments from readers

"I could teach EQ in the '70s and '80s when parents allowed me to give the tought love needed to help children grow. Now when I do those things I have to fear the complaints of the many many (majority) parents who are trying to lead their kids through life without any disappointment or emotional pain. They are fools. But my administrators don't want to deal with them so they discipline us when we garner too many complaints. "
"Im a grandmother raising a almost thirteen granddaughter. Sometimes 2 or 3 grandchildren are here with me. This is a great article. Emotions at this age start to run rather high. One of my granddaughter's parents are getting divorced. I am having a hard time reaching this girl. She's become rude, disrespectful and wont listen to me at all. She just turned 12."