Emotional Intelligence Part One: Cross, Angry; Mischief, Naughty.

To my great delight and sometimes great pain, we have two highly articulate sons. Delight because they can and do communicate well :); pain because they can and do communicate well. 😉 The third is yet to speak, but judging by the intensity of his gestures and Power Tantrums (albeit usually short) he is destined to be the same.

One of the keys, and one reason I chose just-managing-to-get-by-on-one-income over paid work at the moment is that the conversations small children have with their main-caregiver are very, very important for developing a wide vocabulary. (Another reason for no electronics!) No or little conversation = kids who can’t communicate and struggle to read and write. I’m also very big on emotional intelligence, and that takes time to instill. One of the keys to that is being able to name our emotions.

In the early days of speaking I provide the language – depending on their body-language…that’s frustrating,

isn’t it exciting,

I love you too

and so on. But once they can do it themselves, they do it themselves. (Nothing more annoying than someone else trying to tell you how you feel!) I also want them to differentiate between mischief and naughtiness, anger and just being a bit cross. To me cross seems a bit of a silly word, but it works for those times when, well, we’re a bit cross. We also have a great rule of three:

Yesterday at the dinner table the Hare farted. He went pink in the face and choked back his laughter, but he just couldn’t do it. The Owl was already hooting and Craig and I were grinning. It was funny, because it’s unusual we’re (VERY) big on manners, and well…it was just funny. But then he tried to force one out. The reaction from us was now a frown, but the Owl still thought he was hilarious. Then, because Hares are great at pushing boundaries, he made a fart noise with his mouth and was sent to his room to calm down and find his manners. He had broken the rule of three:

First time: Funny.

Second Time: Silly.

Third Time: Naughty.

Things, which we wouldn’t usually accept as parents, do happen from time to time. And often they are hilarious. And children need to know when to stop. Hares are not very good at stopping. (Actually, they’re damned hard work – gorgeous little blighters that they are.) So this has worked well for us – they still get the fun bit, but also the lesson.

Mischief is the same. Children are mischievious. That’s normal and natural, and it’s also important that they know the difference between mischief…licking a little icing from the edge of the cake… and naughtiness…eating a huge chunk just before the evening meal. Being able to tell the difference between words, which are similar like naughty and mischievous, is a sign children will do well at school. Often they’re considered intelligent.

Intelligence is often defined as the way we make finer and finer distinctions within a group. First toddlers say all animals are cows; then all cows; bulls, calves, steers, heifers etc are called cows; eventually they might be able to tell the difference between Friesian, Jersey, Charolais and so on. Increasing our Emotional Intelligence, by default, means the degree that we can make finer and finer differentiations between our emotions, as we feel them: angry, sad and happy become: angry, cross, furious, annoyed, choleric, exasperated, sad, melancholic, distraught, sombre, wistful, happy, excited, joyful, ecstatic, delighted, content…

Maturity is the old-fashioned word for Emotional Intelligence, and I’m aiming to have children more mature than myself. (So far, so good.)

(Should you find this article useful, Koha is accepted, $1 is fine. The button is under my blog-roll. :))

About Karyn @ kloppenmum

kloppenmum is me, Karyn Van Der Zwet, mother of three and ex-teacher. I'm part of a revolution in parenting, with the aim to raise mature (not sophisticated) and self-assured children. I also know some stuff about adults. I have also had articles printed in The Journal for The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (Children and Young People) and the US parenting magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness, as well I regularly write for World Moms Blog (named as one of the Forbes 100 most useful blogs for women 2012 &2013). You can follow me on facebook (kloppenmum) pinterest (Karyn at Kloppenmum) and twitter (@kloppenmum). I'm also vaguely on LinkedIn (Karyn Van Der Zwet). Thanks to Joe (Mr Hare) for taking the photo. Cheers, son: xxxx.
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8 Responses to Emotional Intelligence Part One: Cross, Angry; Mischief, Naughty.

  1. eof737 says:

    Children are mischievous and we love them just as they are; yes even with the annoyances. LOL! 🙂 You have a beautiful family and the boys do look very happy. Thanks for stopping by my blog today and have a great weekend!

  2. I actually think i am not quite as emotionally intelligent as i thought. I often find myself thinking “what is the exact emotion i am feeling?” I try to give it an exact word. As if 9 people are about to ask me how i am feeling.
    I try to ask my Princess that- or acknowledge the feeling she may be having. Give them a name. Perhaps because i am worrying about her vocab as much as her feelings?

    • kloppenmum says:

      Naming emotions is just one aspect of emotional intelligence: the fact that you’re even aware of different shades of emotion is a great sign – I wouldn’t stess too much! Perhaps you are worried about your Princess’ vocab too. The interesting thing to me is, it doesn’t matter ‘why’ we do something for our children, it’s ‘what’ we do that affects their brain and helps them develop their personalities. So extra loving touch because we’ve heard it helps children relax, will also make them smarter – even though that wasn’t the aim.

  3. Jessica says:

    I have read a lot about emotional intelligence, and it’s great to see how much you value helping your kids learning it. The better we are able to just identify our feelings, the better we know how to deal with/process them and will always be learning about ourselves. I am lucky to have had a mom who worked hard to help me learn about feelings and was very communicative. To this day I always catch myself thinking “but how do I REALLY feel?” It’s such a blessing and bravo for helping your kids practice it. The more we learn about our own feelings in different situations the better we are able to also empathize with others.

    • kloppenmum says:

      Lucky you, and you’ve just proved why I want emotionally intelligent children: you can reflect on and appreciate your mother’s parenting. You’re right about the empathy too.

  4. Meg Stewart says:

    I’m intrigued by your references to the Owl, the Hare, the Butterfly when discussing your children’s behaviors. I’d love to find more information on how to determine how this could help me with my little ones. I have two of my own still at home, ages 2 1/2 and 6 1/2 as well as my grandson who is 3 1/2. Where can I find more info?

    • kloppenmum says:

      Hi Meg,
      The information is all in my head at the moment – not very helpful, I know. I am hoping to get my own website up some time this year. I will keep using them as a reference point through my posts and maybe that will give you a bit of an insight until then. 🙂

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