“I hate you!” Those words are not exactly the cornerstone of social success, yet they’re often among the first tools in a young child’s social toolbox. Hearing your child lash out with these words often triggers a strong reaction. Simply telling Junior you don’t use those words in your house isn’t the answer. Number one, sometimes in life we really do hate things. It’s a word you need in your vocabulary. You hate getting stung by a bee, right? Of course you do. Number two, as Dr. Laura Markham says, in young children “hate is not a feeling; it’s a stance.”
Those I hate you moments are an opportunity to help your child broaden and define their social vocabulary. Teaching Your Toddler Social Skills: 15 Steps to Success by Dr. Laura Markham addresses this issue in tip number 12, Remember that underneath anger is usually hurt or fear. The other 14 tips are equally helpful.
Dr. Markham’s article is a good guide to developing emotional intelligence in your child. “Emotional intelligence—defined as the ability to manage one’s own emotions and relate well with others—will be a crucial factor throughout your child’s life in his or her eventual academic and career success, probably more important than IQ.”
Although the article addresses toddler development, it applies to preschoolers, as well. The truth be told, I know a few adults who could benefit from these 15 tips. 🙂