So often we get competitive regarding our kids’ IQ and academic scores. But the thing that serves our kids better than smarts in life is their EQ and people skills. 

When choosing what I value more …I pick wisdom over knowledge every time.

I want my kids to be wise. 
Our kid’s emotional quotient or emotional intelligence is a quality that needs to be nurtured to grow and mature. A person’s emotional intelligence directly affects the development of an individual’s soft skills (sometimes called people skills). These are the skills we need in order to have satisfying relationships and to be successful in the working environment. 

Let’s train our kids to be wise.  
This blog post is the 4th in a series on how to grow your child’s EQ.

Here are the first 3 steps:

1. Assess areas that need to be stretched. (Part 1 20 Questions to Assess Your Child’s EQ )

2. Teach your child how to identify signs of feelings rising. (EQ Part 2 How to Train Your Kids to Self-Regulate ) 

 3. Train kids to name their emotions. Encourage responsibility for emotions.(Part 3 Name It. Own It. How to Increase Your Child’s EQ )
Finally fix the problem. 
This is what we are discussing today– How to assist your kids in developing problem solving techniques. 

Wise people are problem solvers and peace makers (not peace keepers)

Problem solving is a higher level thinking skill. Figuring out how to analyze (what), synthesize (how), and evaluate (why)information to solve a problem needs to come from the logic part of the brain rather than the limbic or emotional part of the brain.

Recognizing, naming, and owning are necessary first steps. After the first three strategies are in place, the stage is set for effective problem solving. Yet emotions can still be running high. Big feelings need to pause so solutions can be found. We help our kids learn how to move from reaction to response  by readjusting. We do this by implementing a rage interrupter. A rage interrupter technique (this is what I call the pause that stops the emotional pop) is the thing that helps our kids regain self-control so they are ready to fix a problem rather than fighting or fleeing.

When I work with moms and dads regarding their own big bad mad I encourage them to create a rage interrupter that works for them. Here are some examples of what other parents do to put the brakes on  big emotions: 
  • One dad bites his finger.
  •  A mom recites scripture.
  • The mom of a teen counts to ten.
  • A dad of 4 teens uses humor.
  • Another dad chooses distract himself by thinking an unrelated even random thought like: “What place is my favorite team in?”

Each of these unique rage interrupters give the brain a chance to switch gears, to switch from emotion to thinking. 

Our kids can learn to implement rage interrupters, too. Have your child create a rage interrupter that works for him.

The goal of the rage interrupter  is not to discount, suppress, or deny feelings. The goal is to learn how to regain self-control in a potentially volatile situation. 

Feelings are a personal indicators of positive or negative situations or interactions that need to be addressed. From experience, we know, solutions are not found in the feelings fireworks. The ability to manage or regulate emotion  particularly anger, frustration, annoyance, and embarrassment makes it possible to move to that higher level thinking area in the brain. The logic part of the brain must be engaged so problem solving may take place.

The growth mindset is inhibited and even stunted when we jump to the rescue by pacifying or problems solving for the child. It is good for our kids to have the opportunity to wrestle with something in order to strengthen the perseverance muscle. 

Problems and struggles stir the higher order thinking skill of creativity. If we can train our kids to halt the rage and move to thinking mode they will experience more success and satisfaction with life.  The ability to solve problems with clear and critical thinking will make it possible to act and behave with respect. Even when disagreement is a part of the equation.
Halting emotional explosions then implementing questions like:
  • What am I feeling?
  • How can this be done differently?
  • Why will this approach work better? 

will increase a child’s EQ and problem solving ability. 

Let’s raise wise guys (and gals). 

Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.

Proverb 29:11

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator and  co-founder of , Lori’s newest parenting book is available on Amazon or at your favorite bookstore.  Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home.   Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at  the MOMS Together community on Facebook. 

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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