We are emotional beings. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, suggests that our emotional intelligence is even more important than intellectual intelligence to live a successful life. We enter this world interacting from our limbic system which is our emotional center. All feelings are stored there in our long term memory only to be retriggered during certain events in our life.
When our emotional response is more intense than the situation calls for, it is likely that we are re-experiencing feelings from our childhood without even knowing it. Our emotions don’t wave a flag and say “right now your child’s behavior is reminding you of the time when you yelled at your mom and got a spanking.” Instead, big feelings just come up and usually overwhelm us causing our thinking brain to shut down. When a parent can discover why their child’s current behaviors are making them “freak out” then the possibility to manage the intense feelings begin. The more parents understand and express their emotions in a healthy way, the better equipped they are to help their children become emotionally intelligent.