Imaginif prompts for daily writers.
If you wish to join the Writers Prompt Daily simply use the below photo (changes daily) as a prompt and post a short story, poem or paragraph to your blog. Leave a comment and your link here so that all participants can come to you and read/comment/encourage. Stories below are copyright and are Megan Bayliss' writing around the below daily picture prompt.

Teaching Emotional Intelligence for Personal Safety and Clear Communication

Emotional Intelligence includes teaching about and providing a range of feeling words to match to emotions and learning how to use them at the appropriate time. Our English language has over 2000 words to describe our feelings. Typically though, any of us will only ever use six words (three sets of opposites, i.e., hot/cold, happy/sad) in our feeling description repertoire.

Knowing what you are feeling is an important safety factor. Being able to identify those butterflies in your stomach as anxiety or the coldness sweeping over you as fear is similar to being able to identify that the bank account needs topping up: immediate action takes place.

Too many people are assaulted because they fail to read their feelings (intuition) around dubious people; those feelings are early warning signs to avoid, run or speak out. Similarly, many people don’t report assault because they become confused with their range of feelings and feel silly talking about what happened.

Emotional intelligence and particularly learning emotional language provides our children with tools for clear personal communication. The simple ABC formula for clear communication is made up of three statements surrounding:
  1. Affect (feelings) – I feel…,

  2. Behaviour (doing) – when you…

  3. Cognitions (thinking) – because…

Example: I feel confused when you try to touch my private parts because Mummy said nobody is allowed to touch me there.

Without a range of feeling words to use, children cannot clearly communicate what is happening inside them. The classic example is of a child who says they have a headache in their tummy. The child knows something feels yucky in their stomach but they don’t yet have the right word to match the feeling with.

In Game to Develop Emotional Intelligence and A Mime of Early Warning Information I provide a couple of games designed to stimulate easy teachable moments around learning new feelings words. I will feel estatic when you teach them to your children because it will provide another layer of protection for the world’s children.

Have you seen the beaut posters depicting feeling faces? Very handy as emotional prompts for learning and remembering, we have them plastered all over our walls at home. I feel proud that my children have an excellent grasp on emotional language and the kids are my evidence that teaching emotional intelligence leads to well adjusted children.

What do you do to instill emotional language and clear communication into your child’s vocabulary? I'd love to know because then I can teach your ideas to other parents I come into contact with. Why not consider entering your ideas into the book competition: WIN a Children’s Chapter Book (Bitss of Caramel Marmalade on Toast) for Yourself and Your Local Library.

Here's some other helpful articles I've written on emotional intelligence and feelings:

Emotional Intelligence and Clear Communication
Make a difference in another child's life: Actively listen to them.
Do You Get Angry with Your Child? I Do, Because Anger is a Natural Feeling.

Here's the link to a free sheet of Feeling Faces from Adoption Crossroads.

11 Response to "Teaching Emotional Intelligence for Personal Safety and Clear Communication"

Uri said...

Hi Megan: I was searching for someone with the sensitivity to children's needs to communicate feelings, and found your blog a promise. I am a grandfather of 5 and see the need almost every day. I search for ways to make progress in storytelling, and much in listening and 'being there'. I'll certainly keep coming back to your sites. By the way, can I download and study the poster of emotional expressions that you have in this article?
Many thanks from Uri - Jerusalem, Israel

Megan Bayliss said...

Oh Uri, I LOVE story telling as a medium of education. I have written quite a bit around bibliotherapy and the skills of being a story teller.

You are more than welcome to study the "feeling faces" in the poster. In fact, if you click on the picture, you will go straight to an emotional intelligence site and be able to down load an A4 copy of the poster and get a list of 3000 feeling words.

Stay safe and thanks for being there for your grand children.

Uri said...

Hi Megan:
Thank you for the warm and understanding response. The storytelling style that I had developed for these kids was created as an emergency measure, when in my judgement there was nothing else that would reach to them. It did. I studied literture once, so there was no need to encourage me about its liberating potential. However, I would like, as many others would I'm sure, to be able to use this channel with a bit more competence and forethought. I keep my heart open for this.
On the 'feeling faces' -- for some reason I seem to be missing the link that you refered me to on the EI page. Could you be more specific about the link?
Thanks again - Uri

Megan Bayliss said...

Hi again Uri
I just tried to get to the link and couldn't. Perhaps it's been removed. Here's a link from another site that allows free download of the feeling faces: I use the feeling faces all the time, both with clients and with my students at University.

Here's another link to an article about the distinct steps of bibliotherapy:

It's wonderful that you are seeking this additional information Uri. Your grandchildren, and other children you have contact with, are indeed lucky.

Megan Bayliss said...

Just so readers now know, I've added the link to the Feeling Faces sheet to the bottom of the blog.

Uri said...

Hi again Megan

I have read your excellent article in 'Helium' in the context of the response articles there. I'll try to use the article as a basic guideline. However, the responses to the article seem to avade the serious issues you are raising, that should bring a parent to become active about his child's emotional welfare and growth.

Let me describe the situation in my own words, to try to help in addressing the gap from the point of view of some professional concerns.

One concern is that adults tend to be defensive about their child needing emotional 'help'. They prefer to read children's books in a ritualistic manner. I find that my sensitivity to my grandchildren's problems needs to be kept to myself most of the time. I allow myself to intervene as an 'entrepreneur'. But not everyone is inclined to take such risks...

A second concern may be that there are so many ways to do things in this field and very few means of comparison and discussion among the adults. For example, we had a death in our family of a great-grandfather, and the children were very concerned about it. They asked lots of questions - in the kindergarten, at home, from other people. Each 'authority' played a different tune about this. Finally, one of them settled the intellectual issue of "where people go when they are dead?" by saying -- "If you can believe any of these stories, good for you!" We were nowhere near tackling the emotional issues.

Another concern is that even professionals and academics do not seem to employ 'evidence-based' methods to reach consensus about therapy in this field. There are 'schools' I know, and if you are not satisfied with one you have the option as a parent of going from one to the other...

The poster looks great and will be put to use in some games!

Many thanks - Uri

Megan Bayliss said...

Uri, what a wonderful person I have found in you. Thank you for finding my site and thank you for taking the time to comment on such serious matters.

I wrote another Helium article on Storytelling ability ( that didn't rate so well on the peer review scale but I had tremendous fun writing it. It encourages a move away from ritualistic reading with heavy empasis on over acting during story telling so that people not only hear the central message but also feel it.

I adore the use of stories in therapy. I work from evidence based practice and read my child clients carefully so that I get their learning medium correct. Stories don't always work in the beginning but it is something that I strive toward so that parents can help their child through readily available literature (it's also much cheaper than taking your child to a therapist!!).

Point taken about some parents being defensive. I hear your concern as a grandparent and your desire to help the children integrate emotions. The world's collective children need help. For too long we have forgotten that our kids react worse to world events than we do. As adults we can rationalise around what is happening, kids can't.

You could write at Helium Uri. The site is open to everyone and peers rate your articles against others written to the same topic. The better you write, the higher you rate. A rating of 1, 2, or 3 is desirable. I mostly write creatively at Helium but when the story telling topics came up I just couldn't resist adding my voice because I am so passionate about reaching kids through the least scarey mediums available.

You take care and stay safe Uri.

Uri said...

Hello Megan:

Thanks again for the references and your kind encouragement.

I am deliberating in my mind what types and scope of activities can match this 'serious business' that your vision points us to. Let me just touch on the tasks of sensitizing and guiding parents to the needs and the opportunities that you were presenting here. It is a hugh challenge to reach millions of parents, to demonstrate how they can be active in their own style and so on. To visualize how such a movement can happen, I reminded myself of two examples of large scale outreach that I wanted to share with you here.

You might know Gerald Caplan's professional work on support groups etc. This Child Psyciatrist was also a brilliant organizer. When faced with the prospect of treating hundreds of children in the clinics when the need was to reach millions, he devised a compulsory program (by Congressional law) in which US Psychiatrists had to go to a Summer School program at Harvard to learn the art of teaching GPs in their community how to refer relevant problems of children to the specialists. The leverage that he gained by it was tremendous of course -- he then coined the term of 'Community Psychiatry' to describe what was started there.

A second example has some similar specs. Avima Lombard from the Hebrew University here has devised a program to teach parents of 'culturally poor families' how to support their children's needs to learn things at pre-school ages. Again, the leverage was by teaching the pre-school teachers to teach parents and not only make do with their children. The program gained international recognition and had been backed by incentives from government authorities in many countries.

As you can see, I am thinking in terms of the system that is involved here. I do not know what the situation is in Australia, but I salute you again on the leadership role that you have taken.

Good luck with everything you do - Uri

Lisa said...

Great post. I think it is very important to understand your feelings and what they are signaling. It is an important lesson to teach our children.

Here via the carnival of family life.

Uri said...

The warmest congratulations, Magen!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post on emotional intelligence and emotional intelligence
can change a person to lead a positive life.

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