Emotional intelligence, by that I am referring to a person or a child's ability to manage their feelings. I think kids come into this world with different baselines of emotional intelligence. Just like some kids excel academically with little effort, other kids excel in sports much more easily than others, some kids easily have more control over their emotions than others. These others are the ones I want to talk about today.
These kids are typically easy to spot, they are the ones who have more tantrums, are more intense, are more passionate and generally more exhausting for their parents and caregivers. Parents and caregivers that do not have a lot of experience with these kiddos often think the parents have done something wrong. They have forgotten or somehow missed teaching their child to cope with waiting, or perhaps with a losing game. It seems that maybe they're spoiled and can't handle being told no. Other adults often think the child needs stricter discipline or to be told “no!” more often and then they will learn to deal with disappointment. Unfortunately, it is not this easy.
Many times parents of these kids have actually put in much more time and energy trying to teach these skills to their children. The usual typical parenting strategies that others recommend to them don't work. They get stricter, they may even get really angry about the situation. They have probably read many parenting books. They may not feel any support when they try a new approach or technique that might be less common to the general population. They might feel lost and alone and isolated in their attempts to teach their children coping skills.
Schools and day care centers are not always supportive. They may blame the parents. This can just lead to more frustrations and anxiety at home.
I interact with many parents of children like this. They want what we all want for her children. They want her children to be successful, they want their children to have friends, to make it through school without a detention or suspension. They want their kids to be kind and considerate of others.
When you see “that kid” remember that the child & the parents are doing the best they can with what they have. They often have had to work so hard to get to where they are, even if it doesn't seem to you that they have had much success, they are doing their best. Remember that just like with academic intelligence & athleticism, not everyone starts on a level playing field.