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Why Is Having High EQ Important?

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Mar 24, 2023

Why Is Having High EQ Important?

We raise our children hoping that they’ll grow up able to face any challenge life throws their way. In the drive to equip little ones with these abilities, many parents focus on honing their children’s intelligence quotient (IQ) skills through academic achievements. After all, a clever mind can open many doors to success. However, emotional intelligence and emotional quotient (EQ) is as important as IQ for children to be truly successful and confidently navigate through all the twists and turns of their future world. In his book Emotional Intelligence,1 psychologist Daniel Goleman suggests that the importance of emotional intelligence could even be greater than IQ as a predictor of success in life.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence 

The term ‘emotional intelligence’ was introduced by U.S. psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer in 19902. It is a form of intelligence that allows a person to identify, understand, and manage their own emotions, and those of others. A person’s EI is measured by their emotional quotient (EQ). This is similar to how a person’s intelligence is assessed by their IQ.

Why is having high EQ important? Humans are essentially emotional beings and often, especially in stressful situations, our feelings (emotions) precede rational thought. When this happens, stress might influence one’s decisions or cloud one’s overall cognitive function.

However, a person with high EQ is equipped with the skills to prevent this from happening. High EQ individuals may regulate their feelings, stay calm, and think rationally especially in stressful situations. An emotionally intelligent person is also empathetic, able to “read” the feelings of others and act accordingly. These abilities can benefit a child at home, in school, and throughout their adult years, too.

How To Strengthen Your Child’s EQ

Children openly express their feelings – giggling when they are excited and happy, and crying and throwing tantrums when angry. Expressing these feelings in this manner is a normal part of a child’s development. It is the parents’ role to teach their little ones how to identify as well as manage these emotions when needed.

You can start strengthening your little one’s emotional intelligence starting from when they are young. In his book Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child psychologist Dr. John Gottman provides five simple steps for parents to do this, as explained by the The Gottman Institute3:

  • Be aware of your child’s emotions: Don’t dismiss your child’s tantrum as part of toddlerhood. By understanding why they’re having a meltdown (or showing under-developed emotional regulation), you can manage it better.
  • See emotional expression as a chance for bonding and learning: Celebrate your child’s happiness and console them when they’re sad. This helps strengthen the bond between you, and teaches your child that you are their safe space.
  • Listen empathetically and validate your child’s feelings: Don’t dismiss your child’s big emotions. Ask them about how they’re feeling and validate those emotions for healthy emotional intelligence development.
  • Label emotions: For example, “You’re feeling sad right now. Is that why you’re crying?”
  • Help your child resolvee issues that lead to emotional outbursts: For example, “Did you throw that box because you can’t open it? Did that make you angry? I’ll help you open it, okay?”

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence for Children at Home

By honing your child’s EQ skills early on, you’ll be setting the stage for a more peaceful and loving parent-child relationship at home. This can be useful as your child approaches toddlerhood. During this phase of childhood, children are still learning to deal with “big” emotions and this, coupled with the inability sometimes to express these feelings, may result in tantrums. However, if you’ve practiced the steps outlined above, both you and your child will be much better equipped to prevent and handle those outbursts.

A child who has high EQ is also more empathetic. They are kinder to everyone around them, including siblings, family members, and pets.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence for Children at School

Research suggests emotional intelligence in children is a more powerful predictor of later success than IQ is. One study4 showed that children with strong EQ tend to get better grades in school, and are “better able to pay attention, are more engaged in school, have more positive relationships, and are more empathic5.”

Emotionally intelligent children will also be able to stay calmer and more focused when under pressure, such as during exams. Their more advanced coping skills will also help them adapt to and cope with the pressures of higher education.

When Your Child Grows Up

An emotionally intelligent child will grow into an adult with skills that are crucial for succeeding in life – at work and in personal relationships too.  An article6 in the Harvard Division of Continuing Education quotes Margaret Andrews, instructor of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership as saying, “Emotional intelligence is critical in building and maintaining relationships and influencing others—key skills that help people throughout their career and wherever they sit in an organizational structure.” In that same article, she further explains that those with high EQ have strong leadership qualities, including empathy, good communication and social skills, and social awareness. Research7 also showed that good emotional health can result in good mental health, which is important in adult life.

Learn more about developing high IQ and EQ here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Mar 24, 2023

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