Friday, September 28, 2007

Parenting, Emotional Intelligence and the At-Risk Child

Parents all want to help their kids be as intelligent as they can be. Intelligence is not just one dimensional. It turns out there are many different intelligences. Among these are verbal, visual-spatial (artistic), athletic, musical and emotional intelligence. At risk children are often gifted in intelligence. It is important to understand that giftedness may not extend to all areas of intelligence. There is one intelligence that predicts success in friendships, marriage and career. That intelligence is emotional intelligence.

At risk children are at risk in part, because they have a hard time with emotional intelligence. They may be intellectually bright but at risk children may be "learning disabled" when it comes to emotional intelligence. Furthermore, at risk kids who fail to develop emotional intelligence may be handicapped for life. Emotional intelligence is is required for all three abilities of the inner triangle that I discuss in my books: ability to love, impulse control and moral reasoning. Remember, it is problems in these three abilities that cause risk for ADHD, addiction and antisocial behavior.

Emotional inteligence means capacity for emotional self-awareness, self reflection, anger management, reading other people's social cues, empathy, joy in affection, impulse control, self motivation, and the ability to delay gratification. Ability to love requires, emotional self-awareness, anger management, reading other people's social cues, empathy and joy in affection. Impulse control includes self motivation and the ability to delay gratification. Moral reasoning requires empathy and self reflection. Parents need to explicitly work on building these aspects of emotional intelligence in at risk kids.

I have put together a set of tools to help you build your at risk child's emotional intelligence. At the top of the list are Just Like His Father? and The Child Well-Being Workbook. These books teach you about the core character ablilities: Ability to Love, Impulse Control and Moral Reasoning. They also provide you with explicit exercises for building these abilities in your child and yourself. The rest of the tools found in The Parent's Store-Emotional Intelligence Page, are especially selected to go with these books and meet the needs of at risk kids.


Anonymous said...

I don't know to what extent this is a good comparison to make, but your great program reminds me of RDI in autism therapy.

Seeing autism as a neurological deficit, RDI works through parent-child practices designed to re-wire the brain.

The mainstream way of working with autism (ABA) teaches kids to mimic regular folks, but it does nothing to the autism. RDI, on the other hand, has some remarkable results - kids seem to actually be cured of autism!

I wonder whether your program is doing something radical like that. I.e. not just learning new behaviors - though that's important - but actual, physiological change too.

Shane said...

Hello Dr. Leeman. I just wanted to invite you over to my blog... The ADHD & LD Resource Blog at I am currently hosting a book giveaway that I thought you and your readers may be interested in. The book is entitled "Your Defiant Teen" and was written by Drs. Russell Barkley and Arthur Robin. Thanks and take care.

Views of the Child said...

Thank you for educating the community about this very important perspective on intelligence and it's various presentations.