Have you ever seen a woman with a white board and flash cards surrounded by nannies at the park? Well then you missed Tanya Fakhoury’s coaching journey kick starter. Fakhoury is today a qualified Emotional Intelligence coach and the proud Managing Partner of Dubai’s The Change Associates. She leads four successful parenting workshops, including “How to raise an emotionally intelligent child”.

Emotionally intelligent parenting:

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is being smarter and more conscious about feelings and how we guide them; a trait that researchers have found to determine our success and happiness in all walks of life more than our IQ will. Emotionally intelligent parenting “is both a new paradigm for parenting and a highly realistic and practical approach to it,” believed the authors of Emotionally Intelligent Parenting 2011. An approach that prioritizes kids’ emotions by validating them, giving them a name, and helping children find better ways to deal  with them. And just like the ABCs, the alphabets of a child’s emotional world must be taught and interpreted by parents. Some critics claim that constantly attending to children’s emotions is a form of permissiveness, however Fakhoury was quick to assure the opposite, “You don’t only address emotions, but put a firm limit on the behavior.”It’s a two-step method; first parents must acknowledge the child’s emotion at hand, then firmly guide it towards healthy ways of dealing with the emotion. For example, when an older child is hitting the younger sibling out of jealousy, the guardian is advised to respond by: “I know you are feeling jealous from your sibling, but hitting is not right, you can write or draw about how you are feeling.”

Respecting children’s emotions:

Fakhoury advised that we need to “treat children like adults but in small bodies” since unlike a child, adults’ emotions are respected and rarely dismissed or ignored. For instance, when a child approaches you crying from a knee scratch, he/she is often received with words like “It’s nothing, you are okay, don’t cry, big kids don’t cry”, these responses are telling him: “Your feelings are wrong; your feelings are not important,” she elaborated. “Emotions are not enemies to be repressed, they are our allies if we understand and direct them in the right way,” Fakhoury reassured.

“Emotions are not enemies to be repressed, they are our allies if we understand and direct them in the right way.”

Quick fixes:

Calling names like donkey, dog, and naughty is widely discouraged. Human doing is different from the human being, what they did is not who they are. Actually, Fakhoury explained that this will initiate a self-fulfilling prophecy; a child who is always referred to as naughty will end up being more “naughty”. Similarly, in order to achieve cooperation from the child, some tend to threaten with figures like Abu Kees and the rat room which were used in old times. These techniques might solve daily struggles but Fakhoury guaranteed that “when you acknowledge their emotions and strengthen the bond, cooperation comes out of love not out of fear.” Just like any life skill, parenting will be a lot easier when guardians are equipped with a repertoire of skills covering different situations and age groups. “Be open to new modalities,” Fakhoury concludes.

For more info: www.changeassociates.ae