So, now that we have spent all this time talking about emotional intelligence in the last 5 parts of this blog series, is there an easy way to see if one has emotional intelligence? Well according to a test done in the 1960s a simple marshmallow test can be a very good indicator of a child’s emotional intelligence and their future success better than any IQ test. Young kids were told to wait in a room and take one marshmallow if they wanted and the adult would be right back. If they could wait for the adult to get back though, they would get two marshmallows instead of one. Researchers followed these children through the years and found that regardless of their starting IQs the children who had the emotional intelligence to pass up the smaller prize of one marshmallow for the bigger prize of two marshmallows later did better in all aspect of life throughout the rest of their lives.
So, is there anything that families can do to help their little ones become more socially and emotionally intelligent? Well, since the family life is usually our first school for emotional learning the answer to that above question has to be ‘yes’.
Hundreds of studies have been done that show that how parents treat their children will have deep lasting consequences for the child’s emotional life. Also, having emotionally intelligent parents is an enormous benefit to the child.
During the first 3 or 4 years a toddle’s brain grows to 2/3 of its adult size. It evolves at a greater rate than it ever will again. This is a key time for emotional learning. Children who receive this learning and feel accepted by their parents will go on to believing that they can achieve. The ones that don’t keep looking for where they are going to screw up, and eventually find it.
Childhood is a window of opportunity. However, if the child does not receive the proper upbringing, all may not be lost. Emotional learning is a life-long process. And even the mostly deeply implanted habits of the heart learned in childhood can be reshaped under the proper retraining. But, why let it get to that point? As Erasmus said, “The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth.”
Let’s get emotional intelligence out of the shadows, and get it into the classrooms where it belongs. Maybe we can spend less time on standardized testing that ranks kids, and instead give them a more complete holistic education as was the original charge of education in the first place.
Final note; what are you doing to round off your education and make yourself more emotionally intelligent?
Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker, educator, a parent expert and certified life coach. Find out more about Dan at: www.GranddaddysSecrets.com