What is Emotionally Intelligent Parenting?

Have you ever asked yourself the question: What is the goal of parenting?

As a parent of four children, an educator, a psychologist, life & parent coach, I have often thought about this question. It was not until researchers discovered the enormous role that emotions play in our lives that I acknowledged that even more than IQ, our Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Competence are significant factors in determining our success and satisfaction, and contribute to the overall quality of our life. It is my view that emotionally intelligent parenting is necessary for raising healthy, successful, and happy children; children who not only survive, but thrive - is the goal of parenting!

What is Emotionally Intelligent Parenting?


Emotionally Intelligent Parents are parents who are aware of their own feelings and needs and the impact these feelings and needs have on their children. In addition, such parents not only are aware of their children’s feelings, but also are able to distinguish the feelings of their children from their own emotions. Furthermore, emotionally intelligent parenting involves appropriately attending to their adult needs as well as to the emotional needs of their children. These are parents who respect, empathize, validate, sooth, listen, guide, and teach the child by modeling appropriate emotional management, including impulse control, self motivation, delayed gratification, empathy, sensing and appropriately responding to the social and emotional cues of others. As a result, their children will become more emotionally healthy, and ultimately develop the resilience so necessary for effectively coping with the realities of life. By attending to the emotional needs of their children, validating, empathizing, modeling, and teaching children how to recognize and effectively deal with their emotions, parents create an environment that is conducive to their children’s emotional growth and ultimately to their overall happiness and life satisfaction as adults.

A growing body of research is demonstrating that emotionally intelligent parents are more attuned to their children’s emotional experiences and needs. They are aware of the children’s emotions and help their children become aware of their own emotions, know , manage and express their feelings appropriately, they have functional emotional boundaries, and finally, they validate and empathize with the child’s feelings in order to help develop and implement more appropriate responses and solutions to life’s demands, circumstances and challenges.

Scientist and psychologist Daniel Goleman, in his book Emotional Intelligence describes early childhood family interactions as the first school for our emotional development and education. He explains that through our early experiences with our primary caregivers we learn how to view ourselves and how others feel about us. In addition, we learn how to think and what to believe about these feelings, and what appropriate actions or choices to make in response, as well as how to interpret, deal with and express our hurts, fears and hopes so as to effectively cope with the realities of life.

As a result of Emotionally Intelligent Parenting, and through the process of emotional coaching, children develop a greater awareness and acceptance of their own emotions and those of others. Therefore, they can effectively manage their emotional experiences, and in turn, ultimately become more resilient in dealing with life’s circumstances. In essence, these children develop and become emotionally and socially intelligent individuals who are healthier, happier and more successful people in their personal, relational, and professional lives.

The Butterfly 

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