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.