Talk To Your Kids About Emotions. They Will Become Successful Adults.

Photo by Torsten Dederichs on Unsplash

very generation has many questions regarding the next. If you have children, or younger loved ones, you might be wondering:

Are they going to be ok? How can I help them become successful in the future?

And, although there cannot be a safe answer that can apply to everyone’s situation, science does know one thing: Children that can better express emotions have better emotion regulation. In turn, emotion regulation is associated with higher social skills, therefore chances of success…and a happier life.

I had the best parents, but not the most emotionally intelligent parents. Growing up I always felt that displaying emotions was something to be ashamed of, laughed about. Now, at almost three decades of age, I am still scared of many things. I’m scared of taking leaps, scared of talking in public, scared of taking a stance. I am working on it. But the fact is, I am always afraid people are going to notice. People will know I’m sad and scared, or will laugh at me, and I find myself resolved in my failings, silent and tearful.

Maybe…Actually, most likely… Knowing how to express my emotions as a kid would have taught me how to deal with those emotions. Knowing how to deal with my emotions would have helped me control them, use them at my advantage.

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Some Scientific Evidence

According to Eisenberg and Morris, behaviours surround emotions, and the way we can therefore regulate emotions, are shaped during our childhood and adolescence. This happens through seeing how our parents display their own emotions, but also how they talk with us about ours, or how they react to them.

During our teenage years, we bring this emotion socialisation styles in our relationships with our friends. The way friends regulate emotions between themselves, and added to what parents teach kids about emotions, will have great influence on forming social skills.

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Specific social skills, such as the ability to read others accurately, make favourable first impressions, adapt to a wide range of social situations, and be persuasive, can influence the quality of these interactions. Moreover, by helping entrepreneurs expand their personal networks, social skills may also contribute to their social capital. Because social skills can readily be enhanced through appropriate training, entrepreneurs who take advantage of such opportunities may reap important benefits.

What Can We Do?

An experiment in Melbourne (Australia), conducted by Kehoe and others, showed how parents who try to “coach” and support their kids emotions, were linked to kids who had better emotion regulation. The same project taught parents how to more appropriately respond to their kids emotional needs, and saw an improvement in teenagers emotional skills.

So, all this to say: talk to your kids. Talk with them about emotions. Explore feelings with them. Let boys cry, let girls be angry. One day they will know how to control negative emotions when needed (like fear when having to talk to a public). It will enhance their chances of being successful adults!

Italian from Taranto, Australian from Melbourne, a “born again gamer (?)”. Writing about social psychology, businesses, and most likely, quite a bit of poetry!

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