Emotional Communication in Childhood
Emotional communication in childhood is a tool that must be administered correctly. Emotions are an essential part of who we are.
Being able to communicate our own emotions with assertiveness is as important as recognizing those of others. This will promote personal well-being and help us establish good relationships with our peers.
Communication is the act of transmitting a message to a receiver through a specific channel (written or oral, for example), in a certain context and with a specific purpose. There are two types of communication:
- Verbal communication. This type has a clear, explicit message, which seeks to transmit certain information to the recipient by oral means or the written word.
- Communication by gestures. This can be complementary to the previous one, but includes movements, signs, and facial and bodily expressions.
But we can also add a third one: emotional communication. This type of communication tries to transmit the feelings and emotions of the communicator. It could be a comment, a smile, crying or an expression of anger, among other things.
To give you an example, a “thank you very much” said to just anyone is something totally different from that same phrase said to our Mom accompanied by a loving hug. The use of emotions makes the message stronger, and enables it to stay in the other person’s memory longer.
Benefits of emotional communication in childhood
Children have a lot to work on when it comes to their emotions. Under the guidance of their parents and teachers, they can be taught how to recognize, manage and externalize their emotions in a positive and constructive way.
This will help them get to know themselves better, and face conflictive or frustrating situations in a more positive way. When children learn how to properly control their emotions, then it also helps them develop a more stable, resilient and optimistic mentality.
Emotional communication in childhood is a very useful tool to help children manage their emotions and feelings. How does it help them?
Here are the most important channels that will be used:
- Dialogue. Children should know that their parents are available when they want to be heard. This way, they can address their feelings and find a solution, if they are being invaded by negative emotions. This is all about expressing their emotions.
- Actions. There is nothing more effective than a hug or a kiss if we want to show affection towards someone. In the same way, an assertive look or our body language can communicate the idea of rejection or approval towards something or someone.
Other means of emotional communication in childhood
In addition to what we have already explained, listening to other people and understanding what they are expressing is also something that involves emotional communication in childhood.
This way we can interpret other people’s feelings, act in response to them, and develop empathy, a basic, vital quality for our lives.
Physical contact is also another important area. This means that we have to cross the barrier of someone’s personal space, something that we can only achieve with the people we are closest to.
Physical contact, if well applied, is a much more effective tool than any verbal message or gesture. A caress, a hug or a kiss show a great degree of closeness between two people.
“The use of emotions enhances the message, and makes it last longer in the memory of the other person”
Finally, we should add that there is a subjective perspective to all of this. The use of certain expressions will add emotional content to our statements. Because of this, our words won’t be interpreted as an absolute and irrevocable truth; our emotions will also be considered along with the words.
When we use expressions like “I believe”, “I think” and “I feel” then the person on the receiving end will be more empathetic with us and the debate will turn positive. It is very useful in relationships between friends or brothers and sisters, for example, where there are often many differences of opinion.
How can we practice emotional communication in childhood?
There are many practical ways we can work on this area in children, in order for them to know how to communicate what they experience, feel and desire. Here are some of them:
- Different activities. There are many exercises and activities that can strengthen our emotional intelligence and emotional communication. A simple look online will help you find some very valuable and useful information.
- Books. There are many books written by experts in the field, such as Daniel Goleman, which are aimed at both children and parents. In his books, you’ll find approaches and strategies which aim to improve emotional communication in your children’s lives. Again, you can find many books online which will be very useful for you. There is also a lot of good quality audiovisual available online.
- Example. There is no better tool than our own example to influence the behavior of our little ones. If you show your child that you like to express what you feel and think, then he will probably do the same. By leading by example then we can encourage the subjective perspective we mentioned above, and also verbal and gestural communication. If these emotions are positive, then we’ll have a great influence on our children. The use of emotional verbs such as hope, love, hate, fear or worry, among others, will be of great help.
“The more open we are to our own feelings, the better we will be at recognizing those of others”
We hope that you’ll now see how important emotional communication is in childhood. It really is worth all the time and effort you can put into it. You’ll be offering your children one of the most important tools they can have in their lives.
As a thank you for your efforts, you’ll notice the difference it will make in their lives – the positive attitude they’ll have towards you, and the better communication you’ll all have.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Bisquerra, R. (2011). Educación emocional. Propuestas para educadores y familias. Bilbao: Desclée de Brower. http://otrasvoceseneducacion.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Educación-Emocional.-Propuestas-para-educadores-y-familias-Rafael-Bisquerra-Alzina-2.pdf
- Goijberg, N. E. (2006). Los nuevos códigos de la comunicación emocional utilizados en Internet. Teoría de la Educación. Educación y Cultura en la Sociedad de la Información, 7(2), 92-106. https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/2010/201017296006.pdf
- Sebastián, C. (2001). La comunicación emocional. Pearson Educación.