An Essay on Emotional Intelligence in Children There is no standard definition for В emotional intelligence. Some researchers understand В emotional intelligence as everything other than IQ; some consider it practical or social intelligence; and still others believe it does not meet the criteria for another type of intelligence at all (Hedlund & Sternberg, 2000). However they define it, everyone agrees that certain skills are integral to the construct of emotional intelligence. According to Salovey and Mayer (1990, p. 185), emotional intelligence involves В«a set of skills hypothesized to contribute to the accurate appraisal and expression of emotion in oneself and in others, the effective regulation of emotion in self and others, and the use of feelings to motivate, plan, and achieve in one’s life.В» В
Research involving two of the primary skills in emotional intelligence, appraisal and expression of emotions, has focused on the inability to understand and express one’s emotions. The importance of these abilities has been underscored by studies showing that people who suffer from this problem have difficulty developing interpersonal relationships, recognizing and talking about their emotions and В developing strong attachments, and engaging in imaginative fantasies В (Taylor & Bagby, 2000). В Empathy, a central characteristic of emotional intelligence, enables individuals to appraise emotions in others and read the nonverbal cues of another individual (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). A child’s ability to comprehend and experience another’s feelings has been associated with moral development, altruistic and prosocial behavior, social competence, popularity, and low levels of externalizing problems.
Another important aspect of emotional intelligence is the ability to regulate emotion in one’s self and others and to use this ability to meet particular goals (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Self-regulation of emotion is integral to positive empathic responding; children who are able to regulate their emotional reactions to other’s emotions are more likely to have good social skills, be rated positively by peers and teachers, and to act prosocially. Self-regulation of emotion has also been associated with greater ability to focus attention, fewer teacher-reported behavior problems, higher math and reading scores, better physical health, and overall resiliency (Gottman, 2001).
Proceeding from the foregoing, one can conclude with a firm statement that the presence/absence of emotional intelligence in children plays a fundamental role in the nature of their psychological development. В
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