Emotional literacy (often referred to as emotional intelligence) refers to the ability to read emotions in ourselves and in others. We put huge emphasis on teaching our children to be able to read words on a page, however teaching them to be able to read their own and others’ emotions is arguably as important, if not more.
Those who are emotionally intelligent are able to understand themselves and if they have an issue with something and consequently be more aware of how to work through this. They tend to be aware of their intentions and their responses to situations. There are also competent and understanding others feelings and be able to manage relationships well.
The specific skills that somebody who is emotionally literate has include the ability to identify emotions, understand them, use them and manage them.
Someone who can identify emotions is aware of what part of their body an emotion sits in. For example, some people feel butterflies in their stomach if they are nervous where others feel their hands turn sweaty. When some people are excited they get tingles in their fingers and when others get excited it fills their whole body.
Knowledge of words for emotions, including simple and complex emotion terms, and the ways in which emotions
– Combine such as anger and disgust form contempt
– Progress such as annoyance changing into anger and then into rage
– Transition from one to another
– Ambiguity such as feeling annoyance and love at the same time
Understanding also relates to the ability to analyze emotions and their causes and the ability to predict how people will feel and react in different situations.
This skill answers such questions as:
Why am I feeling anxious
If I say this to my friend, how will he feel;
What will happen if I say that to her?
This refers to knowledge about what we feel influences how we think and knowing which moods are best for different situations or getting yourself in the right mood so to speak.
The most evolved skill related to management of emotions. Once we can monitor emotions, discriminate between different emotions, and label them accurately we then can move onto using this information to improve or otherwise modify these feelings: to employ strategies that will alter our own and others feelings and to assess the effectiveness of these strategies.
Do you have a creative way of teaching your children that emotional literacy is important?