Developing EQ through Story Telling
Our thoughts are the easiest way to change the way we feel. I would call the present generation of children as high risk kids. There will be very few children who will not fall in this category.
In the good old days our parents prepared us to face the world with dos and don’ts that helped us to sink or swim but children today need different survival skills. Parents need to teach their children to use their intellect as well as emotional and social skills to cope with an increasingly complex way of personal, family, and societal stresses.
Children can be raised to act both in their own best interest and in the interest of others by seeking the world exactly as it is and responding with appropriate decisions and behaviours. Many of us neglect to teach our children the EQ skills to face the harsh realities of life.
Children must face the harsh realities of their lives be it death of a pet, or unexpected poor results of an examination or sudden sickness on the day of his own birthday party, or missing a flight, etc rather than protecting a child from facing these problems; we can help them most by being truthful, no matter how painful the situation for our children, detailing the facts from our point of view. They learn that they have emotional strength to examine and cope with even the most distressing situation. This implicitly sends the message that they can do the same.
Clearly the most important thing you can do to help your child develop a pattern of realistic thinking is to be honest and truthful. There is no benefit in protecting children from stress and unavoidable pain. You are actually doing them a disservice by doing so.
But modeling realistic thinking and truthfulness can only be effective when you take time to talk to your child. Parents nowadays spend less and less time simply talking to their children. Viewing the television seems to be a full time preoccupation of the parents and the children when they are together. In the car they listen to music while driving the children. Mothers have even found the one minute bed time stories like the one minute `Ramayana’ and one minute ‘Bible`.
Doing things faster is not really the answer to what children need. The most critical ingredient for raising an emotionally intelligent child is your time.
The influence of good stories on children cannot be over emphasized. They influence their behaviour and even shape our culture. Think about how stories from ‘Panchtantra’ teach the fundamentals of the art of living. Think of these parables and fables that moulded our values. Think of how stories about your national culture or family history have shaped your attitudes about yourself and others.
Stories are particularly effective in influencing the way our children think and behave, because they like to hear or read them again and again. This repetition, combined with your children’s imagination and the inestimable power of your presence, make stories one of the best ways to influence their thinking.
Do remember that in order to raise the EQ of your children, you need to face the real world with them good or bad. Spend lots of time with your children; storytelling is one of the best ways to do so. Your children will ultimately learn to think realistically about their problems and concerns, if you do the same. Do not hide the truth from your children even if it is painful.
Dr Shayama Chona, is the former Principal of Delhi Public School, R K Puram, New Delhi; Founder President of Tamana (NGO for physically & mentally handicapped children); Founder of Anubhav Shiksha Kendra (a school for the under-privileged); she has been a member of 96 Advisory Boards and Committees; she has been nominated to Managing Committees of 46 schools and other educational institutions; she has been named in the Limca Book of Records 2007. She has been awarded the State Award for Services in Education 1993, National Award for Services as a Teacher of Outstanding Merit 1994, National Award for Outstanding Performance for Welfare of People with Disabilities 1997, Padma Shri 1999, Padma Bhushan 2008, and 49 other awards. She lives at C10/8, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110057. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com