Children are like Diamonds

Have you ever stopped to think that children are like diamonds? They are highly valuable. We cherish them. Each one has many facets for us to admire. And, we tend to look past their flaws.

If you have children, you know that (like diamonds) each child is exceptionally unique.  As parents, our job is to observe the various facets in each of our children to discover their uniqueness. Learning these things — and using what we discover to improve our family relationships — is practicing Emotional Intelligence.

Practicing EQ as parents includes noticing each child’s behavioral styles, their interests, and also the different ways they perceive and process the world around them.  The more we understand each of these facets, the easier it is to help them shine as we polish them to be who they were born to be.

Be aware: Practicing emotional intelligence with our children can leave us feeling lost if we don’t have a framework, so let me offer one. I call it head, hands, and heart.  “Head” is their cognitive style. “Hands” is their behavioral preferences, and “Heart” has to do with their motivation – the things that drive their attitudes and values.

If we see any differences between us and our children, it’s important to communicate positively about those differences instead of criticizing them.  The ripple effects of valuing the attributes in our children goes a long way. That’s important to know, because the ripple effects of criticizing them do, too.

If children are like diamonds, what are the facets?

As I said, the “Head” framework considers cognitive style — how children perceive information, process that information, and how they make decisions. It also takes into account how they get mentally re-energized.

The “Hands” framework is about behavioral styles.  If you’re familiar with DISC assessments or the Four Temperaments (driver, expressive, amiable, and analytic), you already know about this framework. Some children place a high value on getting results whereas others are more social and outgoing. Some are loyal and steady, and still others strive to be accurate and precise.  Everyone has a blend of these, but most children have a strong preference toward one or two of these styles.

Lastly are the motivators, or ‘Heart’ issues. This includes their attitudes about learning, about money, and how they like their surroundings.  It also includes how they give to others, their perspectives about being in charge, and the systems they use for living their lives.

In all these areas, children have preferences, and we can demonstrate our love for them by affirming what we observe.  Every position in every part of the framework I just described has both strengths and weaknesses.  Our job as parents is to remember that children are like diamonds. We need to let them shine by focusing on their strengths — and telling our children that we value those strengths.

To help you in this effort, I strongly recommend you download a complimentary copy of 10 Steps for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence.   It will give you a step-by-step process for how to connect better with your children.

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Emotional intelligence in family relationships

In the nearly 30 years that I’ve been teaching EQ in the business world, one thing many clients notice is the carryover power of emotional intelligence in family relationships. That’s because you can not compartmentalize this learning. If you’re improving emotional intelligence at work, it helps you in the home. If you learn it in the family, it helps you work.

I’ll never forget something that happened nearly 30 years ago. I had just finished meeting with a client. I’d left his office and was walking down the hall. He stuck is head out the door and said, “Hey Daniel, come back here for minute.” You know how it is – I turned around, thinking that he wasn’t happy with something I’d said or did. That concern was magnified when he said, “close the door,” after I reentered his office. Then he told me to have a seat. You can imagine the thoughts that might go through your head in such a scenario.

However, instead of expressing a concern, he looked at me and said, “I want to thank you.” The eyes of this highly professional man began to tear up as he said, “Thank you for all your teaching me. Not only is my job performance better, my work relationships are better, my relationship with my wife is better, and I’m closer to my kids now, too. This is really changing my life, and I just wanted to thank you.”

I was blown away. There’s a quote that’s often attributed to Mark Twain that says, “I can live for two months on a good complement.” I have to tell you, I’ve lived for decades on the complement that man gave me. That’s because the impact of emotional intelligence in family relationships is an eternal one.

So let’s talk for a bit about emotional intelligence in family relationships.

As parents, you set the tone.

You’ve heard the phrase, “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?” Well, that phrase applies to dads, too. And there is another popular saying out there that is oh so important: “People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Kids wants to be loved and accepted for who they are. They have unique giftings and traits, and as parents, it’s our job to notice those and positively reinforce them. The ripple effects of not doing so is distance and maybe even hard feelings.

By the way, the same applies to your relationship with your spouse. After all, they want to be loved, cherished, and celebrated for who they are too. If we don’t do that, relationships grow cold.

And so, if you want to improve your emotional intelligence so you can improve your family relationships, the one thing I always recommend is to start learning about the different behavioral styles, cognitive styles, and the different motivators. Find out where your preferences are in these areas (there are good assessment tools to help you do that), and then identify the preferences of the people in your family.

I always say, “Value the differences,” but first you have to know what those differences are.

A good place to start is also a free place to start. Just download my new book titled, “10 steps for improving your emotional intelligence.” You can get it for free right here on this site, so definitely take advantage of that.

Just remember: You set the tone.  Your spouse wants to be understood, cherished, and celebrated, and if you have kids, they want the same. All of this is a lot easier to do when you’re applying good emotional intelligence.

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