5 factors of emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is being aware of emotions and being able to express and use them in productive ways. It’s key to your child thriving in school and in life. Here are five factors that make up emotional intelligence.


  • What it is: Your child can answer the question, “How do I feel about this?”

  • Example: Another child makes fun of your child in science class. Self-awareness helps your child recognize feeling sad and hurt.

Managing emotions

  • What it is: Your child can stop and think, “Given how I feel, how should I react?”

  • Example: Your child decides what to do — confront, ignore, or get mad at the friend. Your child can think of possible outcomes of each.


  • What it is: Your child can accomplish a goal despite the feelings it generates: “Regardless of how I feel, I need to….”

  • Example: Even while nervous about a confrontation, your child decides to talk directly to the friend about feeling hurt.

Recognizing other people’s emotions (empathy)

  • What it is: Your child can say, “I know how you’re feeling.”

  • Example: Your child talks to the friend, who apologizes. Your child recognizes that the friend feels bad. They talk calmly about what happened.

Handling relationships

  • What it is: Your child can make decisions about relationships. Your child might think, “The best thing for me to do now is….”

  • Example: After talking to the friend, your child can decide whether to continue being friends going forward.

Do you want to help your child gain emotional intelligence? Check out six tips to help your child build emotional intelligence. Understand the connection between emotional intelligence and self-awareness. And learn about social-emotional learning.


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