The Tree of Emotions: What You Should Know

In the following article, you'll discover how the tree of emotions can help you support your child in his emotional growth.
The Tree of Emotions: What You Should Know

Last update: 07 October, 2021

Have you ever heard of the tree of emotions? Do you know how to interpret it or what its uses are?

This analogy allows you to know a little more about emotional intelligence. At the same time, it helps you learn how to accompany your children in the process of developing this skill. The model has different applications, depending on the objective you want to achieve. We invite you to discover more by reading the following article!

The parts of the tree and emotions

Helping children develop their emotional intelligence is about more than just encouraging them to display their emotions and understand those of others. It also requires providing them with the necessary tools so that they can connect effectively with their feelings and those of the environment. This is called emotional competence.

If you take as a basis the typical structure of a tree, you can locate in it the different emotional competencies:

  • Roots: Here lie the underlying emotional competencies, which include understanding, perception, and respect for others. They also represent self-knowledge, self-regulation, and self-esteem. Without this foundation, there’s no tree.
  • Trunk: This part connects the vision of oneself (roots) with the relationship with others, through basic emotional competencies. Among them, flexibility, the ability to adapt, the way you react emotionally, creativity, empathy, initiative, and optimism.
  • Leaves, branches, and fruits: This is the area of results and brings together executive emotional competencies, which refer to teamwork, communication, stress management, delegation, assertiveness, negotiation, and active listening.
A father planting a tree with his toddler son.

“If I knew the world ended tomorrow, I would plant an apple tree today.” -Martin Luther King-

Children need a balanced emotion tree

The development of children’s emotional competencies begins at home and is closely linked to the parenting style adopted by the parents. In this sense, extreme behaviors, such as ignoring or disapproving of emotions, don’t build a healthy environment for children.

Instead, it’s possible to take actions to help the children’s tree of emotions grow healthy and robust. These are the following:

  • Strengthening the base (their roots): Letting children recognize their own feelings and emotions.
  • Teaching them to connect with others through emotions: This favors the development of a solid structure (trunk) with genuine and trustworthy interpersonal relationships.
  • Listen carefully to their emotions and tend to their needs: With this in mind, it’s also important to explain to them that, in order to achieve certain achievements (leaves and fruits), they must respect certain limits. Therefore, certain emotional behaviors aren’t appropriate to maintain a good relationship with others.

If you can apply these steps, you’re ready to encourage stable emotional development in your children. In the future, this will positively influence their physical, psychological, and social health.

Other ways to apply the concept of the tree of emotions

A tree means a lot in itself, as it gives us an image of strength and robustness. It’s also a symbol of life, like the Christmas tree.

For this reason, the tree of emotions is widely used in schools for children to hang cards with their feelings and thoughts from its branches. This is a way of sharing your emotions with others and understanding that everyone goes through the same moments of learning and growth.

Another example is the tree of emotions by Pip Wilson, a British psychologist. He created some funny drawings of characters (blobs), located in different parts of a tree. According to his studies, when children choose a certain blob, they reveal what their emotional abilities are. It also reveals how they feel in relation to themselves and others.

Through this exercise, it’s possible to detect emotional problems in children, such as the introverted child who can’t express their emotions in the face of different stressful situations. Or also, to discover if a child has leadership traits, is a great friend, an overly optimistic person, or a dreamer.

About the tree of emotions

A person holding a new sprout in their hands.

In summary, a tree of emotions is a tool that’s capable of highlighting many children’s issues. But it’s parents who must help them grow in harmony.

Your task as a mother is to consolidate the roots, strengthen the branches, and multiply the fruits and leaves. That way, you’ll give your children the emotional shelter necessary for their integral development.

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