Emotional intelligence is recognized as a crucial characteristic of any successful person.
The idea that we have a separate EQ, or emotional quotient, separate from our IQ comes from developmental psychologist Howard Gardner’s 1983 theory of multiple intelligences.
He defined seven intelligences, and what we now call emotional intelligence is a mix of what he called inter-personal and intra-personal intelligence.
This means having knowledge and understanding of others and the self.
So, are your parents emotionally intelligent? If so, you won’t be surprised to know that emotional intelligence can be taught.
If you’re not sure, here are nine signs you were raised by emotionally intelligent parents and also some pretty good clues that you’re emotionally intelligent yourself.
1) You have high self-esteem
Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself.
Do you feel loved, worthy, and proud, and overall, like you’re a good person?
If you do, you have high self-esteem, and this is probably thanks in large part to how you were raised.
If your parents have high emotional intelligence, they raised you in a way that was supportive and constructive.
They probably listened to you, asked you for feedback, and adapted to the way you were feeling.
In other words, they were trying to treat you respectfully and with care and attention. They wanted you to feel like a valued person.
When you failed, they didn’t make you feel like a loser. They helped you understand that this was a part of learning and growing.
And now you’ve grown into a person who values themself and what they can offer the world.
2) You’re able to talk about your feelings
I think one of my parents was a lot more emotionally intelligent than the other, but it wouldn’t be all that nice to name names, would it?
Well, one of them never ever asked me about my feelings nor spoke about their own.
But the other did and continues to do so.
While I was only half-guided toward this important skill, I still managed to pick it up, at least halfway, I guess.
I don’t find myself embarrassed or ashamed to talk about my feelings like a lot of my male friends seem to.
And this comes straight from how I was raised.
Emotionally intelligent parents know that their children’s emotions are important motivators for what they do.
They want to know how their kids feel and thereby teach them to express their feelings in safe and healthy ways.
So if you can do that, it’s probably thanks to at least one of your parents being emotionally intelligent.
3) You’re self-aware
Part of being able to talk about your emotions is, of course, having awareness of them.
Can you look inside and decipher your feelings?
Do you understand why some things make you angry, and others make you sad?
Being self-aware also means having an accurate concept of yourself, not one that is over-inflated (“I’m a genius!”) or way undervalued (“I’m worthless.”).
If you are in tune with your own feelings, motivations, and desires, you’re a self-aware person.
And again, this is probably because you had emotionally intelligent parents who were perceptive and communicative.
They invested time in helping you develop, of course, and as they watched you change and grow, they talked about these changes with you.
They told you what they noticed and asked you how you felt about it.
They said things like, “You seem to be taking a lot more time to get ready in the morning. Are you feeling secure about how you look?”
And by doing these things, they planted the seeds of self-awareness in you.
4) You’re highly empathetic
Empathy may be the most important interpersonal skill there is.
Notice I say “skill” because there is evidence that while levels of empathy can be affected by genetics, it is still at least partially learned.
Empathy is understanding what others are feeling and what causes or motivates them to feel that way. It’s also accepting and relating to those feelings that you perceive in others.
Parents can teach their children to be more empathetic – “You’re sister’s crying. I bet if you give her a hug, she will feel better.” – or less empathetic – “Leave her to cry by herself. She’s acting like a baby.”
If you’re a highly empathetic person, your parents were very likely demonstrating empathy to you since you were a kid and rewarding you when you showed it, too.
5) You’re more successful than your peers
According to a 19-year longitudinal study, “soft skills” demonstrated by kindergarten students were very good predictors of success later in life.
These skills that they tested for included empathy, support for others, and pro-social speech (saying things like “This is fun!” rather than “This sucks.”
Kids who had more of these “non-cognitive skills” grew up to be more successful and better adjusted, even given similar initial circumstances.
They had more education, better jobs, and better housing than their peers, who showed fewer of these soft skills as kids.
So, what can we learn from that?
Emotionally intelligent parents raise kids with more interpersonal skills which then help them to achieve when they grow up.
So if you came out of the same place with the same opportunities, but you’re doing a lot better than your peers, it’s probably because your emotionally intelligent parents gave you a head start.
6) You’re in a career that you love
So your parents had high EQs – why would that make you love your job?
The connection is not that straightforward, so give me a chance to explain.
As we’ve looked at already, emotionally intelligent parents push their kids to have empathy, self-awareness, and confidence.
These factors combine to create people who are well-adjusted and able to do well in social situations. So they may have more and better job opportunities offered to them.
But because they’re also self-aware and in touch with their feelings, they do a much better job than most people at choosing a career direction that will make them happy.
Rather than focusing only on money or on intellectual challenges, the children of emotionally intelligent parents look for fulfillment in their work and life in general.
They take jobs that make them feel happy, useful, fulfilled, and not overly stressed.
Does that sound like where you’re at?
7) You’re a great communicator
Having high intrapersonal intelligence allows you to understand yourself and what you want to communicate to others.
High interpersonal intelligence helps you choose the best way to communicate your message to different people. It helps you understand the meaning of what they say and also the important non-verbal cues they reveal.
In other words, EQ is a hugely important component of communication.
Once again, you can thank your emotionally intelligent parents for your great communication skills.
Sure, you honed and improved them to get where they are today, but the foundations were laid by your parents and how they raised you.
8) Your parents didn’t fight in front of you
The signs you were raised by emotionally intelligent parents aren’t just about how you turned out.
There are also signs you can recognize from back when you were a child.
And one of the biggest signs is that your parents didn’t fight in front of you, or at least did their best not to.
While we adults all know that fights happen in all relationships, kids don’t necessarily understand this.
And when tempers flare, and voices are raised, the situation can be very scary and even traumatic for young kids.
Emotionally intelligent parents have the sensitivity to know this and work hard at keeping this trauma to a minimum.
They work out systems of communication that are more effective than yelling at each other. Or if they really can’t, they at least keep it in until the kids aren’t around.
So if you never or hardly ever saw your parents fight, that’s probably because of their high EQs.
9) You feel gratitude, not resentment, toward your parents
One of the biggest signs you were raised by emotionally intelligent parents is that you feel grateful for having them in your life.
The fact that you feel gratitude and can focus on that is important here. This is something that your parents may have even had a part in instilling in you.
At the same time, your parents, with their high EQs, worked to build a solid relationship with you, one based on trust, respect, and empathy.
They were motivated by their care for you and their hope for your success in life.
So, while they no doubt made mistakes, as all parents do, you know they did their best and helped you become the person you are today.
These nine signs that you were raised by emotionally intelligent parents are clear.
They’ve also pointed you in the right direction, giving you a head start in life and helping you, too, to become a well-adjust and emotionally intelligent person yourself!