Chinese parents are famous for sending their children to extracurricular classes. While math, English and skills such as piano, dance and athletics are all popular, “emotional quotient” (EQ) training is catching up.
EQ is often compared to emotional intelligence – one’s ability to control his or her own emotions, as well as others’.
A school in Chengdu, Sichuan province offers the first EQ training class for young children.
The mother of Taotao, a student in the class, told the Tianfu Morning Post that she decided to enroll her sun because he demonstrated a bad temper in kindergarten. She said her son was brought up by grandparents who adored and spoiled him.
Taotao’s mother said he is taking classes in emotional control, self-realization and future planning.
In the emotional control class, the teacher asked Taotao to set up a “calm down corner” at home where he could relieve his feelings when he felt bad. The self-realization class teaches children how parents evaluate them in a way that they can understand. Children are also encouraged to tell their parents when they think they are wrong. Future planning is designed to inspire the children’s imagination and ambition.
Taotao’s mother said he is starting to play better with others after several classes.
EQ trainer Xiaobei told Tianfu Morning Post that she and the children sit on the ground and use the relaxed atmosphere to learn about the personality and characteristics of each child.
Xiaobei said the class uses experiential teaching, and that children engage in exercises, games, discussion and role playing to learn how to get along with others. Each game and activity has a different emphasis, and the role for each child is decided according to his or her characteristics.
The rising enrollment rate is something Xiaobei attributes to Chinese schools’ neglect of EQ training and a desire to cultivate problem solving ability.
Most children in the class are between the ages of 3 and 12. Courses focus on developing confidence, interpersonal communication, problem solving, emotional control, responsibility, independence and frustration tolerance.
The price is expensive when compared with math and English, and 90-minute sessions cost 300 yuan. Parents are advised they will have to commit to spending 4,800 yuan if they want to see obvious improvement, Xiaobei said.
Why EQ Training Important
More parents are noticing that although they provide their children with the best they can, those children still grow in unexpected ways.
The mother of Qiqi, another student at the training center, said that many parents consider EQ more important than IQ.
A father surnamed Lin who sends his daughter to the class said he only wants his daughter to grow up happy and have a satisfying life, and that for that goal EQ may be more useful.
Zhang Zhi, vice president of the High School Affiliated with Shanghai University, said 80 percent of a person’s success comes from interpersonal relationships, the strength and use of which largely depend on EQ.
In an interview with Qilu Evening News, a spokesperson for Daguoeq.com said parents had little knowledge of EQ during the last 20 years. What a child ended up like largely depended on the parents’ personality, he said.
While parents are more recently teaching their children about EQ, few youths have a chance to connect those lessons to real life practice.
How to Improve EQ
Psychological expert Chen Mo at East China Normal University said the class can develop a child EQ as long as it has a complete theory and system. But Chen said that although EQ training does help, it cannot replace the role of a parent.
Children spend most of their time with parents. While parents can send children to a training class, they themselves should also take courses of how to be a better parent and lead by example.
Wang Yajuan, an early childhood expert, told news.gmw.com that confidence, curiosity, independence, concentration, obedience, emotional control, sympathy, adaptability, cooperation and communication are the most important skills for toddlers to develop.
Parents should observe their children and play with them as much as possible to make them feel safe and warm, he said.