Navigating Emotions Together: A Special Lesson on Emotional Intelligence for Family Day

Posted in Insights, Motivational, News

Monday, February 19, is Family Day, a day we focus on celebrating and enjoying family. I recommend a family challenge to strengthen your communication skills and emotional intelligence by talking with your family about emotions.

Celebrating Family Day with EQ Wisdom

One of the best ways to strengthen a family unit is to have open, honest and constructive communication where members share their emotions.

Marshall Connects blog, Navigating Emotions Together: A Special Lesson on Emotional Intelligence for Family Day

In essence, talking about emotions within a family is important and foundational to creating a supportive, understanding, and resilient family unit. It lays the groundwork for emotional well-being, healthy relationships, and a positive family culture. 

Discussing emotions as a family is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Open conversations about emotions foster a deeper understanding among family members, strengthening the emotional bonds that connect them.
  2. Sharing feelings creates a foundation of trust within the family, promoting an environment where individuals feel safe expressing their true selves without judgment.
  3. Talking about emotions helps family members develop effective communication skills, leading to healthier relationships and reduced misunderstandings.
  4. Acknowledging and addressing emotions contributes to better mental health for everyone in the family. It provides an outlet for expressing concerns, reducing stress, and seeking support when needed.
  5. Discussing emotions helps family members, especially children, develop emotional intelligence. This skill is crucial for navigating relationships, understanding others, and managing feelings effectively.
  6. Families face various challenges, and open discussions about emotions equip them to navigate difficulties as a united front. It encourages collaboration and problem-solving.
  7. Sharing emotions cultivates empathy within the family. Understanding each other's feelings fosters a compassionate and supportive atmosphere.
  8. Miscommunications and conflicts arise from unexpressed or misunderstood emotions. Talking openly helps prevent miscommunications, allowing family members to address issues proactively.
  9. Establishing a culture of open communication about emotions contributes to a positive family environment. It encourages a celebration of joy and collective coping with challenges.
  10. When parents openly discuss and manage their emotions, they model healthy emotional behaviour for their children, which sets the stage for the next generation to navigate their emotions effectively.

Talking About Our Emotions With Family Builds Emotional Intelligence!

How often do you talk about emotions with your family? Most would answer, "Not too often!" However, we should practice this at home so children learn to recognize, understand, and manage their emotions from their families. Our emotions send us vital messages and guide all we do, so it is paramount that we are comfortable with them. Developing and strengthening your emotional intelligence is not easy.  However, it is doable. You can help your child develop emotional intelligence by becoming their emotional coach.

Speaking of emotional coaching, this article tells you how to be the emotional coach your child needs to succeed.

Check out our EQ Parenting Workbook, it is a guide that provides insight and guidance into how to help children manage their emotions. It outlines the benefits of supporting children's emotional intelligence development and how to be their emotional coach and features helpful resources and exercises to accomplish these goals.

The Value Of Teaching Your Child Emotional Intelligence Skills

As adults, many have difficulty with this because we didn't practise this skill as children. Sadly, it wasn't and still isn't part of our school's mainstream curriculum for most.  For this reason, we create habits that often stifle our method of communication and block us from understanding our own emotions, let alone those of others.

A Family Day Emotional Intelligence Challenge

This year, Monday, February 19, is Family Day. A day we spend time together bonding, celebrating, and enjoying each other. I suggest a family challenge and invite you to think of ways to enhance your understanding of each other's feelings. A conversation about the value of getting to know your emotions starts the ball rolling.

You might begin the conversation by asking everyone to share a time when they were 'emotionally hijacked.' An emotional hijack is an overpowering emotional response triggered by a situation that takes over your emotions and controls your behaviour. Frequently, it's an explosion of feelings that appear to come from nowhere. Thankfully, we can learn to manage and avoid these situations.

Do You Recognize This Scenario?

Your child is studying for an exam, and you abruptly say, "Your room is a mess; when are you going to clean it up?!" Your child explodes in response, saying, "Get off my back!! Can't you see I'm busy studying? I'll do it when I have time!" It's important to reflect here; think about how much studying your child has done all week, which adds a ton of additional stress – handling one more thing isn't an option now. Unfortunately, the result of the child's extreme emotional outburst is damaging to everyone involved.  The individual can experience an "emotional hijack hangover," lasting up to four hours afterward, negatively impacting everyone's day.

How To Avoid Those Scenarios

The good news is that we can learn to control these outbursts if provided with the tools. When you feel stressed and overwhelmed, learn to read your body and recognize the potential triggers. You may try taking a deep breath and count to ten under your breath  – all of which will redirect your brain and defuse the situation before a hijacking occurs.

We all have experienced emotional hijacking, and taking the opportunity to talk about it as a family helps put things into perspective. If we work to recognize and understand our emotions and practice ways to manage them in the future, we are on the best path to building strong emotional intelligence skills. The bottom line is we always want to be in control of our emotions instead of our emotions controlling us.

Whether you are celebrating Family Day or any day, remember teaching emotional intelligence is an ongoing process. Consistency and patience are key as children develop these skills over time. By integrating various strategies in this blog into their daily lives, you can help nurture emotionally intelligent habits that will benefit them throughout their lives. Parents who coach and support their children's emotional development will undoubtedly prepare them for success in life. For more information about the value of emotional intelligence, check out some of these brief blogs. You may want to read my book on emotional intelligence called The Power of Emotion.

This article was originally published on February 18, 2017, and has been updated (January 2024).

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