Monday, June 19, 2017

Name It. Own it: How to Increase Your Child's EQ (Part 3)

Naming and owning emotions is part three in the series on how to increase your child 's emotional intelligence.

In the previous EQ post, learning to identify the bodily changes that accompany various emotions was discussed. Once our kids can recognize their physical responses they are ready to identify their emotion. This is the second step in training our kids to self-regulate. Regulation positively affects the emotional quotient.

From the Emotional Quotient Assessment (blog 1 in the series), how did you respond to this question? (Click here for the full emotional quotient assessment. )

Is your child able to state his concerns constructively?

This can only be done if your child can label his feelings. Kids would can speak feelings. When feelings are wrapped into words, self -awareness occurs— setting the stage of emotional intelligence to increase.
Little ones understand and speak happy, mad, and sad. Increase their emotion language by going deeper. Introduce a new feeling word that is in the realm of happy, mad, or sad. Then pose a question to encourage the child’s awareness of the emotion he is experiencing.

“I see you are smiling. You are happy. Do you feel content when I read to you?”

“You are frowning. You feel mad. Are you frustrated learning how to tie your shoes?”

“Tears are in your eyes. You are sad. Are you disappointed we can’t go to the park?”

With older kids this approach can still work the language just sounds different.

“You look happy. Are you feeling satisfied with your project?”

“I’m noticing a furrowed brow. Are you frustrated with your homework?”

“I see sadness in your eyes. Are you feeling discouraged?”

Click here for a feeling words vocabulary wheel.

Point out the observable physical signs. Give a name to the emotion. Wait for a response to the question posed so they can own the feeling. Then your kids are ready to move to the next step in self-control.
Steps to Self-Regulation

1. Become self-aware:
Recognize the feeling. The ability to know how and when one feels and behaves a particular way provides valuable insight about individual needs, personal preferences,  hot spots or triggers. Click here to read the blog on awareness.

2. Develop expressive language skills:
Identify the emotion. The skill of articulating emotions can be developed with practice. Increase the feelings vocabulary. Click here for a helpful tool in naming emotions. (The feelings wheel is said to be developed by Dr. Gloria Willcox )

3. Increase personal responsibility: Own it. Articulate the feeling. “Yes I feel…..” By saying "I feel upset" rather than "You made me angry" shifts the ownership of feelings and emotions from another back to oneself. Our feelings and our behaviors belong to us. This is perhaps the most difficult step. Often we prefer to blame someone else for "making" us feel or act a particular way. When we own it, we are empowered to put solutions back under our control. 
4. Implement self-management:
Move it. Move from  lower brain reaction to upper brain response.

Recognize emotion, name it, own it...then  move it to upper brain thinking so  stage is set for problem solving and strategizing solutions. Critical thinking is a higher level brain activity. This is the place to operate from in order to solve a problem.

How to move it is the topic of the next blog in this series on EQ.

20 Questions to Assess Your Child's Emotional Quotient ( #1 in the series) 

How to Train Your Kids to Self Regulate  ( #2 in the series) 

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. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

How to Stop Enabling Others

We are going to hear from Cindi McMenamin today. She is talking about the difference between enabling and empowering. This fits right into our series on emotional quotient. To increase our kids EQ they must be empowered rather than enabled. Read Cindi's wise words.
With faith, hope, and love,

How to Stop Enabling Others
by Cindi McMenamin

I have a natural tendency to enable. One reason is because I grew up in the home of an alcoholic.

When you are surrounded by those with addictions, it’s natural to want to cover it up and excuse the behavior. However, by doing so, we enable the addict to continue his or her harmful behavior.

It’s always been difficult for me to discern the difference between enabling someone and being Christlike toward them. Isn’t serving someone enabling them? And Christ called us to serve others. Isn’t loving them unconditionally enabling them? And Christ calls us to love and forgive others unconditionally.

I didn’t understand the difference until I took a good look at Jesus in Scripture. Jesus did not enable others to continue in their sin or dysfunction. He empowered them to change.

Enabling someone’s rude, inconsiderate, or dysfunctional behavior is not loving. Enabling is not synonymous with patience and other fruits of the Spirit. Enabling a person’s bad or unhealthy behavior is ignoring the issue and allowing them to continue it. Enabling always leads to drama, which can result from pent-up anger and bitterness.

The only drama Jesus participated in was the dramatic glorification of His Father. In John 13:1-20, when His disciples argued about who was the greatest, Jesus didn’t placate them. Instead, He launched into a memorable (and humiliating) lesson on servanthood by taking off his outer robe, grabbing a towel and a basin, and washing their dirty, grungy feet. Jesus, the God-Man, who was a billion times more worthy than all twelve of those guys combined, took on the role of a household servant and washed their feet. Jesus did for those men what they should have already thought to do for Him. Instead, they were more concerned about which one of them was the most worthy! 

My friend Brenda, a mom who ministers to others, reminded me of something about Jesus’ character when it came to not being an enabler:

Christ often drew the attention of a lot of people as He moved about in ministry, and we have several examples of times when the people left once their emotional or physical needs were met (or sometimes unmet). It’s interesting to me that He never sought to chase them down (enabling drama). Instead, He left them to go their own way, even telling His disciples at one time to shake the dust off their sandals and move on to the next town. In some ways, this is a great visual for us when we encounter drama.

Brenda is right. Some people want help when it comes to drama in their lives, but others don’t. So don’t chase them down. Some people want to vent, but you don’t always need to be the one to hear it. Some people want to bring others down; don’t be the one they pull down. Others want a partner in crime or complaining. Don’t volunteer.
Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:14: If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”

You were not designed to enable others for their convenience.  You were designed to encourage and empower others (through Christ’s help) to change, just as Christ has empowered you to become more like Himself.  

A Prayer for Discernment
Lord, please give me discernment about who should have the bulk of my time and how to limit my time with those who simply add drama to my life. May I be to those drama-filled people a breath of fresh air and an inspiration of how to live for You rather than myself.

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker who helps women strengthen their walk with God and their relationships. She is the author of 15 books, including the best-selling   When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, and her newest book, Drama Free, upon which this blog is based. For more on her speaking ministry, her weekly blog, or free articles to strengthen your soul, marriage, or parenting, see her website
Click here to order your copy of Drama Free

Monday, June 5, 2017

How to Train Your Kids to Self-Regulate (EQ part 2)

The earth shakes, the volcano explodes.'s not a natural disaster--it is the catastrophic emotion of a child who is unable to self regulate.

The good news is self-control is a skill to be developed.

When big emotions are stirred the  natural human inclination is to fight, freeze, or flee.

The great news is we can retrain our brain. 

Today we are discussing how to train your kiddos to self-regulate, This blog is 2nd in a series of articles on how to increase your child's  EQ (Emotional Quotient)

In the first blog on this subject, an informal assessment was offered. Within the assessment were 3 questions that dealt directly with self-regulation.

  •  Does your child become defensive (fight) or detach (flee) when corrected?
    • Defensive mode moves (fight) or disengagement (flee)occurs in when a child feels the sting of perceived rejection.
  •  How does your child response to stressful situations? (lots of homework, a busy schedule)
    • The feeling of being overwhelmed often produces an angry reaction (fight) or a "I give up" attitude (freeze).
  •  How does you child respond to disappointment?
    • Not being able to achieve or receive what a person desires can cause a person to with draw (freeze) or disengage (flee).
Self-regulation isn't only about control. It is also about how to respond to feelings or circumstances in a more constructive way.

Implosion (withdrawing, flee or freeze) or explosion (anger, fight) are both indicators that a mind set needs to be adjusted so a more effective response can be demonstrated. 

To start we need to help our kids recognize the signs of brewing emotions. A little "bio-feedback" is a helpful.

Ask, "What does your body do just before exploding? Is your  heart racing? Are your palms sweating? Are your eyes bulging or squinting?"

Inquire, 'What does you body do after a big disappointment? Does it feel as if it is shutting down? Are you exhausted, low energy? Especially tired?" 

Anger, disappointment, frustration are all a part of life. These feelings are all normal, natural. It is what we do with those feeling that is the focus of this article. 

Do we use our emotions as an indicator to problem solve or do we use them in a way that negatively affects relationships and circumstances?  

The first step toward self regulation is identification. Begin by identifying the signals the body gives. When we do this, our emotions can be recognized and then named. 

Next week, we will talk about emotional fluency, the language of feelings. These are the first steps toward increasing our child's emotional quotient. 

 If you missed the first post click here: 20 Questions to Assess Your Child's Emotional Quotient  

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. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day!

Next week we will get back to discussing how to increase our child's emotional quotient.
Enjoy your Memorial Day with your family and friends!

Monday, May 22, 2017

20 Questions to Assess Your Child's Emotional Quotient (EQ part 1)

Do you have a child or young adult who vomits his feelings? After spewing his emotions he feels better but you are still in the stench of that emotional expulsion.

How can we train our kids express their feelings without doing an affect purge?

We do it by training them how to recognize and verbalize emotion.

Before putting words to feelings an awareness needs to be created and triggers identified. Then our kids will be more able to self-regulate and enjoy more positive relationships with family members (and others).

This is the first blog in a series of blogs about emotional intelligence or emotional quotient. Subsequent articles will focus on how to increase your kiddo's soft skills ---like how they approach life, express themselves, and form relationships with others.

Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence Assessment 

1. Does your child become defensive when corrected? (correction not criticism)

2. Is your child able to utilize both positive and negative feedback in a constructive way?

3. How does your child response to stressful situations? (lots of homework, a busy schedule)

4. How does you child respond to disappointment?

5. Is your child able to persevere and persist in order to meet a goal?

6. How would you describe your child's general disposition? (optimistic, pessimistic, realistic)

7. Is his self talk harmful or helpful?

8. Is he able to state his concerns constructively?

9.  Is he able to dialogue and discuss without debating or becoming defensive?

10. Is he able to see things from another point of view?

11. How well does he play and work with others?

12. Does he express empathy for others?

13. Can he admit to making a mistake?

14. Is he able to ask for forgiveness? Grant forgiveness?

15. Does your child follow through with promises?

16. Is he able to be flexible?

17. Does he demonstrate respect for others, for God, for self, for property?

18. Is he loyal to family members? Friends?

19. Is he willing and able to problem-solve?

20. Does your child seek help when needed?

Next week we will explore emotion regulation and self control and how to help our kids increase their skills in this area.

(PS Just a thought, you may want to take the assessment yourself as well. How we parents respond makes a big impact on our children.)

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
preserve sound judgment and discretion;
they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.
 Proverbs 3:21-22

Here are 5 related blogs posts you may be interested in:

1. 4 Ways to Increase Your Child's Ability to Make Friends

2. 10 Ways to Raise a Smart Kid

3. Don't Freak-Out Over School Choices. Google Doesn't 

4. Embracing Imperfection

5. Table Grace

Lori Wildenberg
Licensed parent and family educator, 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 and parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at  the MOMS Together community on Facebook. 

Click here to head to Amazon