There is a lot of talk in the world of “adulting” about emotional intelligence. People who are emotionally intelligent know how others are feeling. They know what to say and what not to say in a social media thread. They are aware of their surroundings, etc.

I recently came upon yet another list of commonalities of those with emotional intelligence. As I read through the list (they truly are good commonalities), I couldn’t help but think about how many of them were our goals for our children before we had ever learned about such a thing as emotional intelligence. (Many of them are, after all, grounded in the golden rule!)

In the article detailing seven traits of people with emotional intelligence (see article HERE), there were a few common threads that stood out to me as important for families to really drill down on as we are raising children.

These can be summed up in a few key traits:

A. Picking up on how others are feeling

B. Listening to others

C. Responding well to information, good and bad

D. Empathy (not just seeing how others feel but feeling for them as well)


I love these so much! Not just because they turn out great adults, but also because they truly make a family successful.

Here are some actions and habits we practiced in our home to help our kids develop this “emotional intelligence”–and make our home a more peaceful place:


A. Picking up on how others are feeling

1) Asking them all the time with their siblings (and others): How do you think that made them feel?

2) Having them find someone in church or a group who looked sad and talking to them/cheering them up (especially the elderly).

3) Having three kids in one bedroom and four in the other led to a lot of opportunities for conflict—and teaching conflict resolution!


B. Listening to others

4) Having them listen to the other person’s view of his own part to see if that’s how they saw it too.

5) Letting then tell us when they disagreed with us on something—even though they still had to abide by our rule (unless the discussion led to a change in the rule, which it sometimes did)


C. Responding well to information, good and bad

6) Being available every night from toddlerhood for them to talk to—and asking how they were feeling, the good and bad they had observed that day, etc.

7) Having them tell us THEIR part in an altercation with siblings before they were allowed to tell us the other person’s part.

8) Discussing everything we read or listened to together (which was nearly a thousand chapter books and way over a thousand audios on repeat!).

9) Giving expectations on the way to places so they would know appropriate behaviors and interactions based on environment, age of people there, and purpose for going.

10) Discussing on our way home from places, at the dinner table, during family meetings, etc., how people they saw honored or dishonored others (especially their parents and siblings).


D. Honoring Others

11) Having key words and phrases that we used to show that others should come first (like “Reishes always ‘pick up some floor'”–meaning give our seats to others and find a seat on the floor)

12) Graciously thanking our hostess, and, if appropriate praising or blessing her

13) Discussing the needs of the elderly, small children, people with disabilities when we were going into situations with those people

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