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While we all agree that IQ is a good measure of how well, or not, a child might perform academically, when it comes to predicting future success, IQ plays a far smaller role than initially believed. Studies show that EQ, or emotional intelligence, is far more important in predicting success. This might come as a rather large surprise! All this touchy-feely stuff surely can’t determine whether or not your child will be able to have a fruitful and productive life as an adult?

Actually it can, and the reason for that is because social-emotional skills like self-motivation, perseverance, resilience and coping skills, impulse control and the ability to delay gratification are what make us able to function successfully in our working, social and family lives.

It’s been shown that children with high emotional intelligence make better leaders in the classroom and they make healthier decisions for themselves. What’s even more important is the correlation between high-EQ and bullying. Children with high-EQ are far less likely to bully others, and more likely to stand up for those being bullied because they are strong in empathy. So, if we can raise the levels of EQ in schools, bullying should take a nosedive!

What exactly is Emotional Intelligence?

It’s more than just empathy. It’s the ability to recognize, label and communicate feelings and then control actions and self-regulate. Children with high emotional intelligence handle challenging social situations better and build deeper, more meaningful friendships because they can relate and empathise with others. As children grow into teens and then adults, this translates into how a person motivates and regulates themselves, and how they make decisions, handle stress, solve problems and set and achieve their goals.

Is EQ nature or nurture?

Actually it’s a bit of both. Some children are naturally more empathetic and have a built-in emotional intelligence, while others need to be given opportunities to learn how to empathise with others and how to label their feelings and regulate themselves.

“There’s an intersection between nature and nurture,” says Joshua Freedman, CEO of Six Seconds. “The focus for early childhood and primary school education should be on social skills and emotional literacy, the term for naming and managing feelings and learning to respond to others’ emotions appropriately.”

Let’s give emotional intelligence the focus, time and attention it needs so that our children are set up for success as human beings before they are set up for success in their chosen careers.