Teaching Emotional Maturity To Children

By Judi Light Hopson, Emma H. Hopson and Ted Hagen

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) So what is “emotional intelligence”? Well, it basically relates to a person’s understanding of how to get along with others. The good thing is that we can improve our level of emotional maturity and more importantly, teach our children how to have empathy for others.

Tribune News Service

Most of us know the meaning of someone’s IQ, which means “intelligence quotient.” This number directly relates to how quickly someone grasps and processes information.

But do you realize that everyone has “emotional intelligence” as well? This relates to a person’s understanding of how to get along with others.
We can think of this as emotional maturity. This means having the ability to have empathy for others and knowing how to diffuse conflict.

For example, we all demonstrate emotional maturity when we do the following:

— Practice basic manners. Saying “please” and “thank you” helps us navigate social situations much better. Using manners also demonstrates that we’ve had a decent upbringing.

— Resist the temptation to utter rude comments. Most of us would like to spout out ugly words at times. We’re only human. But, if we can contain our tempers, this shows we are taking the high road in difficult circumstances.

— Complain appropriately. For example, it’s perfectly OK to say to a co-worker: “I am getting very irritated, because I don’t understand why you’re failing to make calls on time.” You want to avoid saying, “Are you some kind of nut? How many times do I have to tell you this?!”

Before our children can learn how to behave appropriately, they must see us do it. It’s a proven fact that it’s nearly impossible for any of us to act out mature behaviors we haven’t witnessed.

To help young children mature in emotionally sound ways, be sure to explain why it’s good to come across as well-behaved.

Explain to your kids that good manners smooth out the bumps in life. But, also explain that when we have mature behaviors, this helps others trust us.

“When we know what emotionally sound behavior is, we can judge other people and most situations accurately,” says a clinical psychologist we’ll call Aaron. “It’s like being a well-trained pilot who can navigate challenging situations. Being mature in your thoughts and actions, you’ll be able to teach young children how to understand the concepts of maturity as well.”

Those people with a high level of emotional maturity know how to dodge many bad situations, resist taking the bait from bullies, forgive bad behaviors of others, and iron out difficult relationships. Of course, no one can do these things perfectly; however, if you are emotionally mature, you make choices that cool down situations that could get you into hot water.

“My son, who’s 14, was recently mocked in public about losing a high school basketball game,” says a mother we’ll call Rita. “I was proud of the way my son re-focused the conversation. He shouted to the bully, ‘I’m waiting for you to make the team! Are you planning to do that soon?!'”

Rita says she’s had plenty of chances to teach her son how to behave. For instance, her ex-husband recently left a hateful message on her voicemail.
“My ex made a rude comment about my new dating partner,” says Rita. “My son heard it. I called my ex back immediately.”

Rita said she simply set a boundary that was firm and one she could be proud of. “I told my ex, ‘Let’s not make hurtful or rude comments to each other,'” Rita says. “I told him our son needed to feel comfortable about our relationship, and our son is the only person who matters.”

She goes on to say, “My ex apologized to both me and our son immediately. My behavior worked.”
(Judi Light Hopson is the Executive Director of the stress management website USA Wellness Cafe at Emma Hopson is an author and a nurse educator. Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

To Top