Stephanie Pinto, Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach and Trainer, Co-Founder at EQ Culture and Emotional Intelligence trainer for Zen Tea Lounge Foundation

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has been defined as a set of skills associated with monitoring one’s own and others’ emotions, and the ability to use emotions to guide one’s thinking and actions. Emotions can have an impact on our attention span, memory, learning, physical and mental health, as well as our ability to build relationships with others.

There are four core areas that makeup EQ. The first two are related to our awareness of our and others’ emotions:

  • Self-awareness: the ability to recognise one’s own emotions and their effects, to know our strengths and weaknesses and have a strong sense of one’s self-worth and capabilities
  • Awareness of others: having empathy, situational awareness and the ability to anticipate, recognise and meet other people’s needs

The second area of EQ relates to how we manage emotions, both our own and others:

  • Self-management: having behavioural self-control, being resilient, having the ability to manage stress, have integrity and show initiative
  • Relationship management: strong communication and conflict management skills, the ability to build trust with others and have strong teamwork and collaboration skills

What are the benefits of teaching children EQ?

Developing EQ enables people to manage emotions effectively by developing self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy and motivation. It makes sense that teaching EQ at an early age can have lifelong benefits at both an individual level and for those they interact with. For example, a child who can calm themselves down when angry is more likely to form better relationships than one that only expresses anger through screaming.

At an individual level, teaching children EQ has been found to:

  • Help kids create stronger friendships and better manage conflict. In adulthood, high EQ is linked to better relationships in both personal and professional settings.
  • High EQ in children has been shown to predict professional success in later life. A study found emotional intelligence is linked to higher salaries and increased job satisfaction.
  • Lead to a higher IQ. It has been shown that a high level of emotional intelligence is linked to a higher IQ. When general intelligence went up, emotional intelligence did as well.
  • Be a protective factor against mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression
  • Create adults who are more empathetic, have higher self-awareness and are more resilient.

At a societal level, it’s no surprise that having a more emotionally intelligent population leads to happier, healthier communities.

Cary Cherniss, PhD, and Co-Chair of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organisations (CREIO) told the American Psychology Association at its 2001 Annual Convention: “Teaching emotional intelligence can help children find occupations that are most suited to their interest and abilities, have satisfying relationships with others and become active and productive members of their communities,” he said. “Emotional intelligence provides a way for us to move beyond prevention to wellness.”

As an example, teaching EQ at an early age better prepares children with how to cope with their emotions and can reduce the likelihood of family violence in future generations. A study in The Journal of Family Violence indicates that perpetrators of domestic violence score significantly lower than the general population on all components of EQ.

How can I teach my children emotional intelligence?

Parents are the most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to raising emotionally intelligent children. However, it can be hard for parents to actively teach EQ if they don’t understand what it is and how to put it into practice on a daily basis.

If we hope to raise emotionally intelligent children, we must first become emotionally intelligent parents. This means we must first take time to reflect on and understand our own emotions, our own habits and patterns of behaviour, particularly around our triggers. Once we are able to better manage our own strong emotions, we can then model this to our child, and support and coach them to do the same.

Here are some ways parents can actively teach their children EQ:

  • Label your child’s emotions and model ways to express feelings. For example, asking if they’re feeling angry when they’re throwing a tantrum. It’s also important to lead by example, so using phrases like “my feelings are hurt” and explaining why, will help your child model this behaviour.
  • Teach healthy coping skills like deep breathing or finding activities that help them to calm down
  • Develop problem-solving skills by asking them to identify a number of solutions to the problem they’re facing
  • Have conversations about connecting their emotions to a trigger, or what might have caused those feelings to co
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  • Allow your child to experience negative emotions rather than avoiding, suppressing them, and guide them through how to deal with them


Zen Tea Lounge Foundation runs EQ programs across Western Sydney. You can find more details about the classes and how to join here.