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How early should we be teaching emotional intelligence?

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Video Transcript

Katie: We know that we're wired with emotional systems from birth, you just have to look at Ed Tronick's still face experiment which people can find on YouTube, to see a beautiful example of a less than one year old baby, showing emotional responsiveness with a parent. And how that baby deals with distance regulation, when suddenly the distance, the emotional distance gets bigger, and all of the strategies and skills that baby already has to try and reengage a mother who's moved too far away emotionally.

So I think we can start talking about this with people who are pre-verbal, right? Because that's how we actually learn language, we should learn emotional language alongside all of our other functional and instrumental language. And we do. We do it all the time, a client sent me a gorgeous photo the other day, that was a beautiful example of empathy, which was an enormous shot of a big widescreen TV, and in front of the TV was a tiny little girl, she couldn't have been more than two holding up a tissue. And what a beautiful example of empathy. That's right. This is in our children, you know, some research suggests that it's actually negative social interactions that knock this out of them. And so I think maybe our key is accessing this early, and really validating these beautiful emotional systems early so that our kids hold on to them.

Phil: Kids that are better able to understand and manage their emotions early on, are better able to look at complex social situations where they've got decisions, maybe where there's pressure to conform or pressure to do something they don't want to do, they don't have those emotional muscles to be able to pick through that social complexity at the time because they don't want to be ostracised or they don't be left out or they're for any number of reasons which leads them down quite destructive path at times. And we all know what that's like.


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