Workbooks by Ronel Le Roux, Rina De Klerk
The Emotional Intelligence Workbook
Emotional Intellingence for Children and Teens
Emotional Intelligence Workbook - Ronel Le
Roux, Rina De Klerk
When I was in South Africa I found this book in the national library. As I read it I started to think it sounded a lot like my own work. Then I realized that my work was cited in some places, so I felt much better! In fact, I think I was cited as many times as my good friend Dan Goleman. Later the authors wrote to me and asked me if they could quote me again in a workbook for parents. They also sent me a review copy of their first workbook As I read it more closely I realized how well-written it was. It is one of the best workbooks I have found on anything related to emotions and personal growth. They authors have put a lot of useful exercises into a small book. I liked the workbook so much I had someone type up a bunch of quotes from the book: In summary, this book is an excellent tool for personal growth. It is also an excellent book if you are a trainer since it has so many exercises ready to use.
S. Hein - May 2003
Each emotion is a wake-up call to tell you that you have to give attention to something important. We do differentiate between positive and negative feelings, but it is more important to remember that a negative or less pleasant emotion is valuable because it indicates an unmet need. It is therefore essential that you do not suppress negative emotions. Feelings ought to motivate you, to make you ask questions and to act in order to change something. The more passion you have about something, the more motivated you are to do something about it. It is usually the strongest of your emotions that spur you on. Remember that feelings are signals for your body to determine what is right and what your needs are.
Feelings motivate us to examine the past, to fill the present and to fill the present and to find a different path in the future.
We give control away to others when we think that other people are causing our feelings, e.g. when you say you are making me angry. The way you interpret (think about) the information you receive determines to a large extent your feelings about it. We can control our feelings by controlling our interpretation of the information and also our reaction or noticeable behaviour which is a result of the interpretation. Remember that you have a choice about how you want to behave. Repressed feelings demand a lot of energy. Practice the acceptance of feelings by saying to yourself: It's okay to feel angry, its okay to feel upset, its okay to feel sad You will find that the intensity of the feeling will diminish. Emotion and behaviour are not equal to each other, which implies that all feelings are acceptable but not all behaviour is.
The way in which you cope with the feeling or react to it may thus be destructive.
If you give the correct name to the feeling, you will feel more energetic; the intensity of the feeling will diminish and you will realise that you are correct in your recognition of the specific feeling.
Your brain knows that it is possible that you will cope more effectively with the feeling if you named it correctly.
The ability to put works to your feelings, to understand the words, to choose the appropriate reaction to the feeling from all the possible internal responses, is a sign of high self awareness and emotional intelligence. w
Do you often react in a specific way when you experience a specific feeling?
Use your powers if reasoning what is the best (constructive) reaction to the feeling you experience? Emotional awareness helps you to distinguish between a variety of simultaneous feelings. We usually react or speak as a result of the strongest feeling, but it is not always the best thing to do as you may insult someone when you are upset.
Try to discriminate between the feelings, and decide which feeling you want to react to.
Keep a strong emotional attachment to your needs and values so that you may defend what feels right to you.
If a decision feels right to you, it is frequently correct as you do not harm others or ignore their needs.
You do not always need to justify your decisions.
When you feel torn between external demands, become quiet and focus on your feelings.
If you give attention to when your feelings tell you, you will have the energy to give attention to other things as well.
Emotionally intelligent people are able to read nonverbal messages.
Ways in which you can enhance your emotional awareness.
Keep a journal of your feelings. Indicate which situation gives you a rise to which feeling and what your reactions are.
Draw up a list of the roles you have and determine the feelings that are associated with each role e.g. employee, student, son/daughter, big brother/big sister, little brother/little sister.
Try to generate feelings. In this way you can imagine which feelings you will experience in which situation and what your reaction to it will be. If you have to deliver a presentation soon, experience the situation and feelings beforehand in a safe place through visualisation.
Primary vs. Secondary Feelings
The first basic feeling that you experience is the primary feeling, e.g. hurt. The primary feeling is often disguised/unclear, which means that you do not realise that you are experiencing it unless you take pains to identify it, when the secondary feelings like anger, aggression and sadness appear, you have to ask yourself: what gave a rise to these feelings?
It is very important to distinguish between primary and secondary feelings, as it is the primary feelings that indicate to you your unmet emotional needs. Knowing your unmet needs, you may plan to get them fulfilled, e.g. by asking for more attention/love if you have a need for some pampering: I want you to hold me in your arms.
Another example of this is when you feel depressed (secondary feeling). The primary feeling may be to socialise and or communicate.
It is easier to recognise your gut feelings if you do not have rigid values, beliefs and opinions. We seldom question our beliefs and actions. Sometimes something has to happen before we start to evaluate our lives. We are forced to question who we are and what our goals and values are. Frequently we don't know the answers, or perhaps we have no goals or meaning in our lives. It is only when we know what our values and beliefs are that we can plan effectively to take responsibility for our lives and set fulfilling goals. Most people never think about this and they find it hard to determine the values that guide their lives. Think about the following questions. What am I striving for? On what do I spend money? How do I pass my time? What do you regard as important? What guides my life? If you strive for the correct values, you experience health and happiness.
If you strive for the "wrong" values, you have the wrong goals and you experience an unfulfilled life.
Mostly we suffer from an unhealthy and dysfunctional prioritisation of values.
stopped on p 44
* under construction *
Emotional Intelligence for Children and Teens - ISBN 0798143223
Like their first workbook, the authors have lots of practical exercises to raise self-awareness, awareness of emotions, emotional communication etc. I have a lot of concerns which I list below, but I will say this book is a step in the right direction for the most part. As of July 2003 I have just been reading the first chapter carefully and flipping through the other pages but it seems to be an improvement as far as parenting books written by parents go. At least I assume the authors are parents. They use a lot of "parent" kind of terminology like "should, appropriate, discipline". They also seem to value things like school grades, tidy rooms, and obedience. I don't think these are the values we need to stop war, killing, materialism and waste in the world. I think we need more individual thinkers and people who follow their own childlike instincts and feelings. I am not sure whether the recommendations taken together would help develop such children or not. I would say it really depends on how the adult uses the information in the book. They could use it to manipulate children even more, as Maurice Elias does with his version of emotional intelligence for parents, or they could use it to help a child be true to his or herself rather than to the voice of authority, well intentioned as it may be. But in any case, it does look like there are a lot of good exercises, and once again the authors have done a lot of research to pull together many different resources.
Ordering info - http://www.nb.co.za/HumanRousseau/hrCatalogueDisplay.asp?iCategory_id=23&iItem=2655
Quotes, Things I like, and My commentary
Citing Haim Ginott in the first chapter
Material from John Gottman's on pages 14-16
Recommending parents/teachers not order young people around.
Adding many of my suggestions for parents on pp 17-20
The list of "important information for parents/teachers" on pages 24-25
"It is really quite scary when we realise most parents themselves have never learnt how to cope with their feelings, how to relate to others or how to control their thinking patterns." p 8
"Being able to put aside one's self-centred focus (I would change this to 'Having one's needs met, including one's emotional needs...) opens the way to empathy, to real listening, and to taking another person's perspective into account. Empathy leads to caring for and compassion with other people and can lead to a decrease in violence and crime. Seeing things from another's perspective breeds tolerance and acceptance of differences. These capacities are very important in our pluralistic society, allowing people to live together in mutual respect." -- .p 11
A list of positive skills/abiities etc. from p 12 (This is very close to the ideas from my own work)
- Awareness of own feelings
- Recognition of the feelings of others - able to read social signals correctly
- Direct expression of feelings. with a vocabulary of feeling words (see my list of feeling words and my section on emotional literacy)
- A balance between thoughts and feelings and the recognition of the way they influence each other
- Sensitivity to the thoughts and feelings of others -- empathy
- An awareness that feelings are not always expressed correctly -- verbal and nonverbal messages may not be the same and people are not always honest about their feelings
- Insight into the perspectives of others -- why did he do that?
- Flexibility -- to be able to see different points of view and to consider alternatives-- "What else can I do?"
- Ability to generate alternatives for problems solving
- Self-knowledge and non-aggressive self-assertiveness
- An ability to cope with the most difficult emotional situations in an appropriate way (there is that word "appropriate" again!)
- An awareness that relationships depend on good communication (but what is "good communication" - needs to be defined as including direct expression of feelings in a non-threatening way or least threatening way)
- Knowledge that they are in control of their feelings and can choose the correct response
- An ability to see the consequences of their behavior and evaluate them
- Positive and constructive self-talk
- Goals and internal motivation: to reach their destinies, to think constructively, to take initiative, to reach higher levels of excellence
- Courage to take a risk, to be unique, to change, to be themselves, to love themselves and others.
- Endurance and resiliance to see failures as a learning process, do away with limitations, find alternatives to negative thinking, make a commitment
- A choice to be happy and to enjoy life.
(As I discuss below this list is mistakenly called "The skills that children need to be emotionally intelligent" - I'd rather see it called a list of skills and awarenesses that people need to be happy. A person can be emotionally intelligent and not happy, and he or she probably "shouldn't" be happy if they are surrounded by people hurting and killing each other.)
p 12 "As a society we have not bothered to make sure every child is taught the essentials of handling anger or resolving conflict positively, nor have we taken the trouble to teach empathy, impulse control, or any of the other fundamentals of emotional competence."
- There are a three things I want to say about this statement. First, I agree with the general message. Second, instead of saying we have not" bothered" or "taken the trouble," -- expressions which sound judgmental, resentful and parental -- I would say that as a society we have not yet seen/acknowledged/realized the importance of teaching emotional competence. I am afraid it is going to take a lot more people getting killed and a lot more destruction and waste before enough people in power realize this. Third, I liked how the authors used the term emotional competence, since the things listed were mostly competencies. I am not sure about calling empathy a competency, though. I believe empathy is inate and simply needs to be developed and not destroyed. Briefly, empathy is destroyed by putting someone on the defensive and by not filling their basic physical and psycholigical needs. When a person is under attack they are preoccupied with defending themselves. When they are starving physically or emotionally they are preoccupied with meeting their own survival needs.
p 13. "Each child is unique, valuable and should be respected." - I would change this to "needs to be respected."
"Children have to learn to value and accept themselves before they can value and accept others." I agree with this, but what is missing is the idea that before children can learn to value and accept themselves, they must feel valued and accepted by their parents. The authors use the term "have to" again, as if they child should be punished or blamed if they don't behave and feel as the authors say they "have to." Or it makes it sound like it is the child's responsibility. Very little in this workbook suggests the real importance of the parents' role.
p 13 They want children to "be able to recognize their own needs and to fulfil them." They also want them to "learn that feelings are important and that they must trust them."
p 13 "The first place children learn about themselves and their world is in their family. It is here that they are reacted to and get to feel accepted or not. Children learn about expressing or suppressing feelings in their family. The ways parents react to them when they experience intense emotions will determine whether or not they feel comfortable with feelings in general." (Or safe to express their true feelings...) "It is not only what parents do or say directly to their children that is iportant, but also what they say or do to other people and what happens between the father and the mother." True.
" It will be of no use at all if the information received and new skills learnt at school ... are not endorsed and praticed at home." -- I don't fully agree with this. While it would be much better if the skills were supported at home, I believe some children/teens can still pick up skills and learn alternative ways of handling things. Sadly, I am afraid it is not very realistic to think many parents will be open to any new ideas along the lines of developing EI. So my best hope is that the next generations will pick up a little which they use with their own partners and children.
p 13 Some suggestions for parents/teachers (My adaptation)
- Know yourselves. Help others know themselves. What do they like, what are they proud of, afraid of etc. What are their goals? What do they feel strongly about?
- Start talking about feelings. Teach feeling words.
- Empathisize with the child/teen. Help him become more aware of the possible feelings of others.
- Never ignore intense feelings. Accept the feelings.
- Accept and acknowledge feelings. Teach that all feelings are acceptable but not all behavior. Teach healthy reactions to strong feelings.
- Be a good example of emotional management. Apologize when you feel bad about something you have done.
- Encourage everyone to have a caring attitude and to have empathy, respect and good people skills. (I think this comes almost naturally if the child's and teen's emotional needs are met and they see this kind of attitude modeled by the adults they are most dependent on.)
p 17 "Children can be much harmed if the father or mother is emotionally cold, very critical, and humiliating. Children with the poorest achievements and social
relationships have parents who are cold, autocratic, intrusive and minimise a child's feelings."
Criticisms/Constructive Feedback, More of my own ideas & Discussion
Many of the comments below are more reflective of my general concerns with how most adults think of and treat children. And generally I find how we treat kids and teens highly disturbing, so I don't want to pick on these authors. The authors are like all of us largely products of their environment. In general adults still think it is their job to raise kids who will be "successful" -- usually meaning top students, high achievers, high salary earners, corporate managers, accountants, lawyers etc. I would rather see us raising more thinkers, non-violent rebels, writers, philosophers, individualists, and backpackers. So my apologies to the authors for the comments which follow. I don't mean to attack them personally. I am just a very nitpicky critic when I read, especially when books are on the subject of kids and teens, who are closest to my heart. I believe the authors have good intentions and one reason I am taking time to go through this book is because they have already shown me that they value my opinion and my work by citing it in several places. So I hope they will take this as friendly, constructive feedback while keeping in mind I do have a chip on my shoulder about how I was raised and how my teen friends are being treated in various countries around the world. I also use this as a chance to think through some of my own ideas.
So here are some specific comments:
Mixing terms such as "learning" emotional intelligence vs. "developing" it. And "skills" with "intelligence." Saying emotional intelligence is a "process" (p. 9) when I they seem to mean that developing EI is a process.
Talking about "star kids." This reminds me of Goleman's annoying (to me at least) overuse of the term "star performers" in his first book for the corporate market.
Talking about "outcomes." (p. 9) This is a personal a gripe of mine. It is another vastly overused word which gives me a sense we are trying to program our kids and manage them like products on an assembly line rather than using a less controlled approach and letting their natural, individual personalities, talents and feelings unfold.
Not making it clear enough that some children have a higher level of innate EI potential.
p 8. The mistakenly say that the "importance of emotional intelligence came to light when Howard Gardner" wrote about multiple intelligences in 1983. This is wrong. Garnder never used the term emotional intelligence. If he would have Mayer et al would have given him credit. The reseach on EI by Mayer and Salovey was not begun until 1990.
They also mistakenly say that EI can be learned at any point in life. But intelligences are not learned. They are developed. They also mistakenly say that "this cannot be done with most of the other intelligences." All of Gardner's multiple intelligences can be developed, so I don't know why they say this.
p 10. There is a form for the adult to sign saying something like "I commit myself to this workbook." But I would think this is unnecessary for anyone who really is interested in helping their kids and is pretty meaningless to anyone who isn't. (see below)
The use of the word "should"
Saying things like "Children have to realise.." - When I see this I ask myself: What if they don't 'realise' it? What will you? Shout at them? Punish them? Beat them? Lecture to them over and over? And what does it mean to "realise" something. It really means to discover for oneself, but that doesn't seem to be the way people use the expression "you have to realize...". This is more like saying, "You have to understand..." when you feel defensive. The authors seem to feel a bit defensive, in fact, throughout the book. They seem to be saying that children "need to do this and should do that and have to realize this and have to understand that" in a way that implies that if they don't the failure is on the part of the child/teenager.
p 11 Misleading information & claims. They say that emotional intelligence programs have produced certain wonderful sounding results, yet they give no solid evidence for them claims. They say, for example,
Where these programs were presented to children, children's academic and school performance improved. This has been shown again and again in studies done in the USA where these kinds of programs have been facilitated for a few years already. Recent research results of a group of 311 learners (in the USA) show that students have become more focussed/attentive by 92%, put-downs decreased by 85%, the teachers' relationships with the learners improved by 92%, the relationships among the children improved by 100% and violence and confliect decreased by 69%.
When I checked the source of these claims I found that they came from "an email received by Kate Bedford from Six Seconds, California, on 6 June 2002." These claims seem impossible to believe. Also, there is not even an agreed upon definition of what emotional intelligence is and we don't know exactly what was done under the name of these "emotional intelligence programs." And because I know of Six Seconds, I am even more skeptical of these claims. Six Seconds uses a very broad, almost meaningless definition of emotional intelligence; one which is only remotely connected to the academic definition. And again, even this definition is under controversy. So it is very unfair and misleading to make these kinds of claims about emotional intelligence programs. The programs might have produced constructive results, but we can't be sure of this with such little information. What the authors are doing is the same thing that most people have done. They have tried to exploit the term emotional intelligence. By doing so they are hurting the field, not helping it.I personally believe that teaching emotional competencies is extremely important for the human species, and I believe there is such a thing as emotional intelligence, but I don't like to see these kinds of claims being made in the front pages of books. Of course I did the same thing out of naivety after I read Goleman's book and believed him. Since then, though, I have learned to be more careful about making claims.
p 12. They say that "controlling and appropriately expressing feelings result in fewer behavioral problems and lead to more acceptance from other people." But first, there are those words "controlling" and "appropriately" again. Second, does the most emotionally intelligent person need acceptance from people? Or if they follow their own hearts, could this take them far from the crowd? If they are true to their own hearts, will they need social acceptance? Perhaps an exceptionally emotionally intelligent person is leads the way by his or her non-conformity, especially when the majority of the people around are living in unhealthy ways. I suspect that a highly emotionally intelligent person has a much louder "inner voice" than the average person. And if they are raised in an atmosphere of freedom they are more likely to follow this inner voice, regardless of whether they receive social acceptance and approval.
p 13 They say that children "have to acknowledge that there is a close relationship between rights and responsibilies." I don't know what the authors are trying to say here. I am thrown off by their use of the term "have to." I don't know what they mean when they say this. Does it mean the adults "have to" force the children to acknowledge this? And what is the purpose of them acknowledging this close relationship? It sounds like the authors want parents to lay guilt trips on the children and teens, while the parents avoid taking responsibility for any part they play. It is easy to tell someone that with rights come responsibilities. Then if the person doesn't behave as you want them to, you can call them irresponsible and take away the "rights." But this doesn't take away the person's needs. The people in power rarely think about their own needs let alone the needs of those under them. They don't communicate their needs to those below them, or take responsibility for meeting their own needs. An example is when a parent feels disappointed in their child and blames the child for this disappointment rather than taking responsibility for having unrealistic expectations. (See this section on disappointment for more discussion of this.
Here is one sentence from page 13.
"Children have to realize that their thinking patterns have to be constructive for them to reach an optimal attitude of happiness." But I don't think this is really something they "have to" realize, in the sense of being forced to realize it.
p 13 "Parents find it increasingly harder to raise their children to their expectations" -- The problem may be that the parents have unrealistic expectations. -- Then the authors continue... "Discipline alone does not result in a child who..." -- But do they mean punishment? -- Whatever they mean, here is their list. It shows what they value:
- listens to their parents (do they mean listen, or obey?)
- does his homework (why is that so important? what if the child is fascinated by something else and is talented in something which is not part of the school work?)
- never acts without thinking (they don't value sponteaneity? yet they say on the same page that the child "should learn that feelings are important and that they must trust them."
- keeps her room tidy (is this really so important? apparently it is to the authors!)
- never has a quarrel with younger siblings.
p 13 here they suddenly use Goleman's old definition of emotional intelligence, (even though they got an endorsement from Salovey!). They say, "For children EI means the control of impulses, delaying of gratification, self-motivation, reading social cues correctly, and coping with lifes up and downs." But if one is self-motivated doesn't that imply they are not very obedient? In other words, a self-motivated person is not movitaved by external punishments and rewards; nor by social approval. Yet obedience and conformity seem to be high on the authors' value list.
p 15 In their summary of Gottman's ideas they give
this example of an "emotion coach". "Come
sit next to me, so I can give you a hug and we can talk
p 16 Also from their summary of Gottman's ideas... They give this example of emotional coaching. (I don't know if it is a direct quote from Gottman or if it is an example they came up with...)
To me, this is pretty impractical and also invalidating. This seems to be dismising the child or teen's feelings and teaching them to be overly "controlled" in their emotional reactions. The other suggestions seem much more helpul. These include "listen empathetically, validating the child's feelings" and "help the child find words to label the feeling .."
Later they talk about finding solution based on "family values" - but what if the parents' values and the child or teen's values are very different? Most families I know of don't really show much respect for the child or teen's values. Instead they try to impose their and their society's or religion's values.
p 17 The authors say "Show self-respect and demand respect from your children. Then they give this example, "You don't speak to me like that."
How can you "demand" respect?! I would like the authors to read my section on respect to see the difference between earning respect and trying to force or demand it. For them to suggest a parent say "You don't speak to me like that" seems very hypocritical because they say that the parent should validate feelings, yet then they limit how the child or teen expresses those feelings. Somewhere else they wrote that a child/teen shouldn't swear because this was an example of an "uncontrolled response." But I think words, even so called "swear words" are much healthier than hitting someone or destroying something. If more parents would allow their children and teens freedom of verbal expression I would suspect there would be less violence, suicide and self-harm.
Saying "Being able to put aside one's self-centred focus..." -- I try not to talk about people being "self-centred." To me this is too often used as a guilt trip by parents or teachers to manipulate kids into behaving in ways which meet the parents' needs. (Or it could be one partner's way of trying to change the other partner.) When a person is called "self-centred" it usually means they are focussing on their own needs. I believe this is a natural survival response. So instead of "putting aside" one's needs, I prefer to speak in terms of the logical sequence of having one's own needs met so one can turn their attention to the needs of someone else. A good visual image of this is how we are told on airplanes to put the masks on ourselves before putting a mask on our children. I believe when we try to "put our own needs aside" we tend to get resentful eventually. So what I would say is the process of helping a child/teen is something like this:
- We help them identify their feelings, and we help
them see that their feelings represent their needs.
At the same time, helping others helps fill some of our emotional needs. But I believe the first priority is to identify our own needs and keep them met in general so when someone needs us we can be there for them. Another way to think of this is having a healthy savings account so if someone needs a loan or you want to give them a gift, you can do it without it being a strain or burden on you. You feel good that you could help, not resentful. And if you never get paid back or thanked, it won't bother you nearly as much as if you thought you had made a sacrifice for the person by putting aside your own needs, feelings etc. Consider that you were saving money for a trip to Asia and you gave that money to a friend or son or daughter, and you could no longer go to Asia. If you saw yourself as being self-centred by wanting to go to Asia and you sacrificed your trip and then your son or daughter used the money for drugs, it is likely you would feel very resentful. And I would predict that a parent who doesn't take care of their own needs is going to be an unhappy person and their kids are much more likely, therefore, to do something like spend their parent's money on drugs. This brings to mind the book "Saving Jessie."
p 12 The authors are still saying that "EI can be learned, unlike IQ which stays the same." See my editorial on this.
p 12 They have a list of the "skills" which choren "need to be emotionally intelligent. But they have this backwards. A person having skills doesn't make them emotionally intelligent. It is the emotional intelligence which allows them to have the skills -- if they are raised in a healthy way. The list itself seems like a good list of positive things but the title of the list is misleading. See above for the list
p 13 - "Each child...should be respected." I would say "needs" to be respected.
"Children have to learn to value and accept themselves..." I'd say they need to feel valued and accepted by adults before they will value and accept themselves.
p 13 - Listing "a choice to be happy..." as a skill
p 15 They give this example of emotional coaching. "You seem to be sad. Are you?" I would recommend dropping the "Are you?" part. This makes it a "yes or no question." It also puts some pressure on the child/teen to answer. I would either just say "You seem a little sad." Or I might add, "What's up?" or "How come?"
They also give this example. "Come sit next to me so I can give you a hug and we can talk.." Telling someone to "come sit next to me" is an order, a command. It is the imperative form of the verb. What if the child/teen does not want to sit next to you? The authors even recommend that parents not issue orders and commands on p 17 ( "Show your child respect by not ordering him around....")and again on page 20. ("Ask for voluntary cooperation rather than giving commands")
What I would recommend, and what I try to do with children/teens, is ask them if I can sit next to them. I might offer a hug, but usually if I have developed a good relationship with them it is not necessary to even offer one. They know when they need one and they will come up to me. See this story about JW for example.
lol = laugh out loud in chat talk
Dedicated to ... May you, above all, be children of God. I love you more than words can say! "In deo sapeientiae lux" Rina
To my very special kids...May there always be stars in your eyes. May love and happiness be in your hearts forever. May you accept yourself as God's unique creations and may this realisation motivate you to fulfill your potential. Reach for the stars! Ronel--
by Peter Salovey, PhD
I am delighted to add these words to ...'s new workbook... I met ... and ... at the ...First African Conference on Emotional Intelligence in ... It was at that gathering that I had the opportunity also to read their original Emotional Intelligence Workbook, which I told them at the time -- and I still believe to this day -- I thought was the most helpful and well-conceived book of its kind in the EQ field. Now, with the publication of their second workbook, the imaginativeness and creativity reflected in their work with adults has been extended to children. (he doesn't mention teenagers)
My collaborator, John D. Meyer, and I have been writing about emotional intelligence for more than a dozen years.. (See Barrett and Salovey, 2002 - The Wisdom in Feeling: Psychological Processes in Emotional Intelligence, Guilford Press, NY) We view the idea of an emotional intelligence as a way of characterising skills and abilities that help us to recognise emotions in ourselves and others, understand these feelings and use language to communicate them; harness the power of emotion as a tool in cognitive activities like problem-solving, reasoning and creativity; and manage emotions both in oneself and in other people.
These are competencies, we believe, that can be developed through practice. Like playing a musical instrument, we might feel awkward at first, but over time, the skills underlying emotional intelligence become automatic; we are unaware we are even carrying them out. (I would say that it is not awkward for a child to practice the abilities coming from EI. It might be awkward for adults but that is because they have been trained in an unhealthy way. I'd also say that it is not the skills that underly EI but it is EI that underlies the skills/competencies he is talking about.)
It is activities such as those prescibed by Ronel and Rina that help to shape and polish emotional intelligence among our children. And, research conducted in our laboratories and elsewhere already demonstrates that these skills are associated with positive social behaviors (such as refusing drugs and alcohol, handling peer pressure, establishing satisfying relationships) So why not try to inculcate them in the home and school? With this workbook you have the proper tools at your disposal.
Some more of my comments...
Why not...? Why not say this some other way Peter? When you say "why not..." you are putting the other person on the defensive. I am surprised with all your years of studying psychology you haven't learned to communicate without starting a sentence with "Why not...".
And why not use simpler language than "inculcate"?
And why not try to find another word besides "proper?" Who decides what is "proper?" Am I sitting "properly" right now as I type this? Again I am surprised that with all your education you still use words like "proper."
He also says EI means using "language" to communicate our emotions, but what about non-verbal communcation, like facial expressions? I would say the most emotionally intelligent are also the best at communicating emotion non-verbally.
Their definition of EI - page 8
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand and control your own thoughts and feelings, communicate them appropriately to other sand have empathy with the emotions of others which enables you to interact with them on an emotional level.
Even in this definition they are using the word "appropriately". Who decides what is appropriate? Especially for someone else? We are not all alike. Each of us has a different need of expressing ourselves. For some it is healthy to express our emotions one way, for others another way is healthy.
Note also that they use the word "control". Salovey does not use this word. He only talks about managing emotions, not controlling them.
Activity 1 - Commitment (p. 10)
This is in the front of the book and is a form you are supposed to fill out. It looks like this"
I, ................ (my name), hereby commit myself myself to work through this book with my child(ren) and/or learners and to implement the skills in my own and their lives on a regular basis.
Signed ..........., on this ........... day of .............
Does signing a form motivate people in a healthy way? Is it for guilt or more for appearances or "lip service"?
"Commitment". - This is a term that some people use to lay guilt on others and upon themselves. If we are internally motivated to do something we don't need to be commited to it. If I love the person I am with and enjoy being with her, for example, I don't need to make a "commitment" to her. If I stay with her only out of a sense of duty or commitment she won't feel very loved. If the ideas in the book are good, the parent or teacher won't need to sign a form to motivate them to put them into practice.
Sign form before reading book? What if one later disagrees with the ideas in the book, but then they feel guilty because they signed the "commitment" form?