Is a high IQ over rated when it comes to insuring success as an adult? If IQ is fixed at birth, what control do parents have over promoting cognitive success in their children?
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a presentation at Greenwich Ed and Prep on ‘Stress and the Student’, and how parents can help their children better manage stress and develop their emotional intelligence. Tammy Moscrip Ph.D., who has her doctorate in neurobiology and psychology presented- so the evening was a wonderful intersection of how the brain, cognition and stress all work with one another in teenagers.
Emotional Intelligence was coined in a 1995 book by Daniel Goleman on the premise that high IQ is a poor determinant of adult success and many individuals with high IQ are not realizing their potential by thinking, behaving and communicating in ways that hinder their chances to succeed. Intelligence and IQ may be determined at birth, but Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is not static and can be nurtured. The quality of experiences you have growing up actually develops your brain, so that your environment can impact your abilities. At puberty, physical and emotional development can create ‘windows’ or prime times for learning. Most importantly, motivation and positive feelings help in learning, and conversely, stress and negative feelings hinder learning.
If we can teach our children to deal with stress and adversity effectively, they will be healthier, and will be better at coping and have greater resilience. In turn, they will be more effective learners and have skills needed for future success and happiness.
Tammy strongly believes that parents should practice ‘Positive Psychology’. Allow your children to embrace life’s challenges in a positive way. Focus on the positive in your child instead of criticizing short comings. Help your teen find their optimal level of stress, and realize too much stress can be detrimental to learning and effect memory.
In practical terms Tammy listed some items parents can do to foster emotional intelligence in their children. These include:
- Encourage appropriate communication
- Encourage perspective taking
- Avoid excessive negative attention/feedback
- Avoid reinforcing passive aggressive behaviors
- Provide appropriate discipline, structure and boundaries
- Avoid power struggles
- Find ways to compromise with your teen, but within established guidelines
- Be a strong, positive role model
- Talk, make time for one another.
Her final thought: our families are often over scheduled and under connected. Quality family meals promote adolescent mental, physical and psychological health. Eating dinner as a family is correlated in teens to higher self esteem, abstinence from alcohol, drugs, smoking and sex and, provides better health habits and nutrition. It’s comforting to know you can help your children achieve success in life simply by having dinner together.
Jean Mann- School Choice International