Tips for Parents: Emotional Intelligence - Raising a Child Who Can Think and Act in Intelligent Ways
Wilkes, P.
Davidson Institute for Talent Development

This Tips for Parents article is from a seminar hosted by Paula Wilkes, who discusses a number of topics related to intelligence.

It isn’t enough to have a high IQ score or be an academic scholar; a truly successful individual needs to also be emotionally intelligent. I have used the following three models for more than a decade, and I believe parents and teacher should be talking about and modeling these concepts to increase the chances gifted children will think and act in intelligent ways.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – by Daniel Goleman (
People Skills

  • Listens to others with empathy and understanding.

Impulse Control

  • Reign in impulsive behaviors.
  • Set manageable short and long-term goals.


  • Drive (See the book Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. He says what motivates us is autonomy, mastery, and purpose.)
  • Enthusiasm
  • Optimism (See Martin Seligman’s book Learned Optimism.) Here is a recent article about optimism and its important role in resiliency.  
  • Those students who are able to get into “flow” while doing work is the difference between students who do well in school and those who do not. Carol Dweck, in her book Mindset, describes the importance of the “growth mindset” over the “fixed mindset.”

Self-Awareness (The “Keystone” of Emotional Intelligence)

  • “I know how I feel” is an important key to managing one’s mood. When a person has little self-awareness, they are easily hijacked by their emotions.
  • Meditation and focused breathing exercises aid in greater self-awareness

Mood Management

  • Reacting in ways that are in balance with the trigger
  • Anger – Reframe, distract

The Habits of Mind - by Bena Kallik and Art Costa ( Costa and Kallik say these Habits of Mind aid students in school and adults in everyday life as they are challenged by problems, dilemmas, paradoxes, and enigmas for which the solutions are not immediately apparent. Drawing on the Habits of Mind means knowing how to behave intelligently when you don't know the answers. It means not only having information, but also knowing how to act on it.

  • PERSISTING: Sticking to it. Seeing a task through to completion, and remaining focused.
  • MANAGING IMPULSIVITY: Taking your time. Thinking before you act. Remaining calm, thoughtful, and deliberate.
  • LISTENING WITH UNDERSTANDING AND EMPATHY: Seeking to understand others. Devoting mental energy to another person’s thoughts and ideas. Understanding another person’s point of view and emotions.
  • THINKING ABOUT THINKING (Metacognition): Knowing your knowing. Being aware of your own thoughts, strategies, feelings, and actions – and how they affect others.
  • THINKING FLEXIBLY: Looking at a situation another way. Finding a way to change perspectives, generate alternatives, and consider options.
  • STRIVING FOR ACCURACY: Checking it again. Nurturing a desire for exactness, fidelity, and craftsmanship.
  • QUESTIONING AND POSING PROBLEMS: How do you know? Developing a questioning attitude, considering what data are needed, and choosing strategies to produce those data. Finding problems to solve.
  • APPLYING PAST KNOWLEDGE TO NEW SITUATIONS: Using what you learn. Accessing prior knowledge and transferring that knowledge beyond the situation in which it was learned.
  • THINKING AND COMMUNICATING WITH CLARITY AND PRECISION: Being clear. Striving for accurate written and oral communication. Avoiding overgeneralizations, distortions, and deletions. GATHERING DATA THROUGH ALL SENSES: Using your natural pathways. Gathering data through all the sensory paths.
  • CREATING, IMAGINING, INNOVATING: Trying a different way. Generating novel ideas, and seeking fluency and originality.
  • RESPONDING WITH WONDERMENT AND AWE: Letting yourself be intrigued by the world’s phenomena and beauty. Finding what is awesome and mysterious in the world.
  • TAKING RESPONSIBLE RISKS: Venturing out. Living on the edge of your competence.
  • FINDING HUMOR: Laughing a little. Looking for the whimsical, incongruous, and unexpected in life. Laughing at yourself when you can.
  • THINKING INTER-DEPENDENTLY: Working together. Truly working with and learning from others in reciprocal situations.
  • REMAINING OPEN TO CONTINUOUS LEARNING: Learning from experiences. Being proud—and humble enough—to admit you didn’t know. Resisting complacency.

The Pyramid of Success – by Coach John Wooden (

  • Hard Work: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
  • Friendship: To make friends, be a friend.
  • Loyalty: Be trustworthy.
  • Cooperation: Be more interested in finding the best way, not in having your way.
  • Enthusiasm: Make each day special.
  • Self-Control: Control yourself so others won’t have to.
  • Alertness: What you learn after you know it all is what counts.
  • Action: Be quick, but don’t hurry.
  • Determination: Slow and steady gets you ready.
  • Fitness: Act, eat, and think right.
  • Skill: Practice makes perfect.
  • Team Spirit: Be eager to help your team.
  • Poise: Just be yourself.
  • Confidence: You must believe in yourself if you expect others to believe in you.
  • Personal Best: Trying YOUR best.

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