By Daniela Huepe Artigas
Emotional intelligence is the ability to comprehend one’s own and others’ feelings and is fundamental to cope with daily life demands, adjusting to changes, managing stress, self-motivation and developing healthy relationships. Children, adolescents and even adults with Attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder (ADHD) face some difficulties when it comes to socializing with others. Some research proposes that this may have to do with emotional intelligence, specifically anger management issues, low frustration tolerance and impaired self-control. The good news is that emotional intelligence is something that can be learned and improved, and that is why we think it should be one of the main aims of therapy and education for people with ADHD.
What does emotional intelligence have to do with ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder with multifactorial causing factors that has a prevalence reported of 5% worldwide. Among its characteristics includes inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, which cause problems in communication with peers, parents, siblings and teachers, resulting in rejection by others. Additionally, some emotional dysfunctions may contribute to these problems even more, such as emotional lability, irritability, bursting and excessive emotional reactivity. Studies have reported that people with ADHD have worse performance in recognising five emotions (neutral, happy, erotic, disgust and anger) in all sensory modalities (auditory, visual and audiovisual). If these skills are put into practice (additional to medical treatment if necessary), people with ADHD could recognise others’ feelings better, take time to think about their reactions and behave accordingly.
Why emotional and social skills development could help your child?
Children and adolescents with higher emotional intelligence have more probabilities to have better academic performance and cognitive skills. Moreover, children and adolescents with high emotional and social skills are less likely to have problematic school behaviours like absenteeism and disciplinary punishment, are less likely to be victims of bullying, and have better-coping strategies to face peer bullying.
Everyone wants their children to grow up healthy and happy, that is why it is so important to provide them with the best treatments available. Nowadays, the evidence suggests that the most effective way of managing ADHD is a combination between medication and therapy to understand the condition and learn strategies to handle your child difficulties. Both are complementary to each other and are key for improving children’s deficiencies in social skills, emotional control, and recognising their own emotions and the emotions of others.
This is an amazing resource that you can take advantage with your child at home (for ages 6+): Emotional Literacy
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