In the advanced era of science and technologies, most often than not, we have been discussing emotional health or literacy in almost every sector, be it educational institutes or workplaces. The importance of emotional literacy came into the picture in recent years when cases of suicide, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and other mental health issues among youngsters and adults started increasing.
Dealing with one’s own emotions was never considered an important topic of discussion but was rather stereotyped and vaguely conceptualized. But before getting into the broader understanding of emotional literacy, we also need to have an idea about the term- Emotional Literacy?
Emotional Literacy is regarded as an ability to understand one’s own emotions, feelings and ways to communicate one’s emotional pattern. It is an important skill for every human being to build upon themselves to cope with any emotional development or changes.
Psychotherapist Claud Steiner coined the term Emotional Literacy. He described the term as “the ability to understand your emotions, the ability to listen to others and empathize with their emotions, and the ability to express emotions productively”. Along with the definition, the psychotherapist suggested five parts of emotional literacy:
Importance of Emotional Literacy in Education
Emotional literacy has expanded and emphasized in educational institutions and even in homes. In schools, teachers are trained to understand children’s emotional behaviour to help and cope with any life events or changes that children might go through.
By introducing an innovative educational curriculum, students are acquainted with many co-curricular activities apart from studies. To deal with the fast-paced sail of life, children are taught to identify and recognize their emotions which helps them grow emotional intelligence and build the ability to deal with their own emotions. Hence, keeping a check on one’s emotional literacy should be prioritized among every young child and adult, which also enhances social skills and helps a person acknowledge their emotional pattern.
Along with teachers, parents and caregivers are also made aware of a child’s emotional well being. However, it becomes extremely difficult for parents to understand their child’s feelings as expressing their emotions comes up with many variables such as fear of getting judged, not understanding their emotional quotient, standing against them and fear of acceptance, etc.
But most importantly, parental understanding of emotional literacy is important as it would help their children understand how to respond to emotions and emotional triggers. For example, many children at a young age tend to throw tantrums when they do not get something they desire, and in most cases, parents either scold their children and ignore their behaviour to let it go.
But instead, parents should try to let their children know that the behaviour is valid and show empathy to deal with the emotion they have gone through. In that case, it might not easily reduce the children’s tantrums. Still, with time, the child also understands the normalcy of the emotions, which also gets transparent in putting up their emotions towards their parents.
Building up good emotional literacy among children helps break the shield that bridges the gap between the children and the parents, which encourages a child to become more vocal about their emotions.
The adolescent stage is when a child goes through various emotional changes. However, the emotional level remains at their peaks, such as anger, excitement, happiness, enthusiasm and other associated emotions. At times, teenagers tend to get into some unfavourable paths, which hampers their life. However, it is important to make the young teens understand the kind of emotions they surpass during the teenage period is valid and normal.
The overflowing emotions among teens are valid regardless of their circumstances. Therefore, the teachers, parents and peers must make a teen child understand their emotions which are completely valid and seek out ways to deal with their own emotions.
Rather than holding onto a strict rule of behaving in a certain way, a teen child needs to express their emotions by keeping everything transparent and creating a positive space for a child to grow and deal with their emotional variables.
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