Most people have heard of an IQ (intelligence quotient), and many could probably even tell you their IQ score, but have you ever heard of an EQ? I recently learned about EQ in a Sunday School lesson, of all places, and was surprised by what I learned. EQ is short for Emotional Intelligence Quotient or Empathy Quotient. It is an assessment of how one handles his/her own emotions and/or the emotions of others. The more you are able to recognize your own emotional state or the emotional state of others, the more likely you are able to engage with others and draw them to you (aka, the higher your EQ).
Today the iHomeschool Network is hosting a linkup about all the ways their readers are “Growing a Success.” Many will be talking about their own child’s goals and how they, as parents and teachers, are helping them get there. Most will probably share hands-on ideas or lists of resources for more information about a particular occupation their child is interested in or hopes to pursue.
So why am I sharing about EQ today instead of what my children want to be when they grow up? Well for starters, my girls are only 3 and 5, and they are content with just being preschoolers for moment. However, besides that, I think there is more at stake with my children’s EQ than in any intelligence training I could ever provide them.
“In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life,including family relationships.” –John Gottman in Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child
Why knowing the EQ of Your Children is Important
Talking about what your children want to be and how you can help them to reach those goals is great (and helpful), but if children don’t learn to handle their emotions properly, they may never be successful in what they do no matter how intelligent they may appear on any standardized test. Which would you rather talk to or work for–someone who is really smart but who had no empathy for others, or someone who is reasonably smart with a great amount of empathy for others? I don’t know about you, but I’d choose “B” almost every time.
Another fact: Your IQ is said to max out around 17 where as your EQ grows throughout your life. It can constantly be improved upon. Your IQ is a score derived from standardized tests used to measure human intelligence. Your EQ score is derived from your relationship with life experiences. So what can we do to increase the EQ of ourselves or our children?
6 Ways to Improve Your EQ
- Stop and take time to reflect on what is most important. As a Christian, spending time with the Lord and proclaiming His Good News is the most important things I can think of. Taking time to reconnect with Him is the BEST way to improve my EQ, especially since Jesus earns a perfect EQ score every time. [bctt tweet=”6 Ways to Improve your EQ–Tip #1: Stop and take time to reflect on what is most important.”]
- Read books on emotional development. Here are a couple I might recommend, especially for parents:
- Keep a journal. Write down your thoughts, feelings and beliefs on paper. By doing so you can more easily keep things in perspective. No wonder I enjoy blogging so much!
- Listen before you speak. Try to understand where the speaker is coming from before responding. With children, sometimes roll playing this is the best way for them to develop a listening ear. Think of real-life situations and help them to react in an emotionally appropriate manner so that they are ready when that situation DOES occur in real life.[bctt tweet=”6 Ways to Improve your EQ–Tip #4: Listen before you speak.”]
- Do more things that make you happy. People with a high EQ are generally happy people. If you would not describe yourself as a generally happy person, try eliminating things that provide too much stress, and increase those things that make you happy…a craft, reading a book, or serving at a soup kitchen, for instance.
- Substitute negative thoughts for positive ones. Make a game of it. When you have a negative thought, try and think of a positive one out of spite. Soon, your emotional response will trigger the positive thought more than the negative.
“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head — it is the unique intersection of both.”—David Caruso From Emotional What?
Want to see what your EQ is?
Try out one of these EQ tests to see how you rate:
I also recommend checking out this article on Help Guide which I found most helpful in learning about EQ both for my sake and as it relates to teaching my children.