It's a common misconception that a child can only be either emotionally intelligent or intellectually gifted – never both. But recent studies show a child's success is not only determined by how smart he is, but by how emotionally stable he is as well. Besides being intelligent, your child also needs to be able to manage stress, deal with day-to-day challenges and relate well with people.
So what do you need to do if you want to raise a smart child with a great personality?
Understand how he thinks and reacts
Every child is different – some kids tend to think more, while some tend to be more sensitive. Once you figure out if your child is a 'thinker' or a 'feeler' you would be able to help him find the balance in between. Children with very high intelligence quotient or IQ tend to like being precise. They like to correct errors and they tend to argue a lot. They can be very prone to stress because they may have the inclination to desire perfection.
Help your child find out what motivates him
If your child has a high IQ, he may prefer intellectually stimulating activities more than anything else. Expose your child to hands-on and practical activities and give him a chance to work with other kids, as part of a team, which will help develop both sympathy and empathy in him. Join tree-planting activities with him, try putting up a garage sale or organize events that will help him be more in tune with his emotions.
Show that failure is the best teacher
A child with a very high IQ often finds it difficult to accept failure. Teach him that failure is an inevitable part of life and that it's okay to fail. With failure, your child will learn how and what he can improve on to do better next time and succeed. It is best to instill the value of healthy competition in your child: his greatest opponent is himself and he should not compare himself to others.
Teach him how to handle intense emotions
Now if your child is more of a 'feeler', which means he has a higher EQ than IQ, he has the ability to express his feelings clearly and read non-verbal communication well. You can help him develop his 'thinker' side by grounding him when he feels emotional. Even though your child may be able to express his feelings more, it does not guarantee that he would be able to handle it better. Try asking him questions that will help him acknowledge his emotions and find out how he will deal with them. Teach him how to diffuse his anger or negative emotions via distraction through hobbies or physical activities such as sports and by not dealing with problems when he is emotional. Come up with a plan that will identify emotional triggers and what he can do to control outbursts.
Cultivate your child's sense of self
A happy, emotionally and intellectually balanced child is not only confident, he also has a clear sense of who he is. Allow your child to discover what he truly likes and what he is interested in. Encourage exploration and individuality. When a child gets to open up about his interests and dreams, don't shoot him down and insist on what you want for him to engage in or strive for. Listen and be open. Encourage and not impose.
"Emotional intelligence is the 'something' in each of us that is a bit intangible. IT affects how we manage behaviour, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results." - Daniel Goleman
Assign realistic, reasonable and age appropriate responsibilities
Your emotionally inclined child needs an anchor - and what better anchor than a set of responsibilities that will keep his mind busy. By giving your child a set of age-appropriate tasks, it will teach the value of patience, hardwork and sympathy. If your child has responsibilities, he will be encouraged to plan, think critically, and reflect. He will clean up his room even if he doesn't 'feel' like it - because he is the one responsible for his room.
Give him the best of both worlds
Apart from several activities you can do with your child at home, you can also find learning institutions that advocate keeping the balance between emotional intelligence and intelligence quotient like Reedley International School. Reedley implements the Reedley Synergized Learning Approach (RSLA), where the best practices of progressive and traditional approaches in teaching are combined to form a style of teaching that nurtures valuable life skills.
At Reedley, Life Skills is the school's flagship program where they integrate Stephen R. Covey's '7 Habits of Highly Effective People'. Reedley's Life Skills program also equips students with practical skills, effective study habits and good values that will help them achieve academic excellence and healthy relationships.
Apart from the school's 85% passing rate to the top 5 local colleges and foreign universities, Reedley also aims to help their students become more successful, compassionate and kind, through their anti-bullying advocacy.
Reedley is one of only six WASC (western association of schools and colleges) accredited international schools in the Philippines.
For more information about how to raise well-rounded kids, check out Reedley International School's website at http://www.reedleyschool.com.