Being emotionally literate is not only beneficial as a way for children to express their emotions. Studies have been carried out and one of the main reports in this field The Mental Health Foundation Report The Big Picture. Promoting children and young people’s mental health (1999) stated that emotionally literate children are less likely to experience mental health problems in the long term. The report also stated that emotional literacy is gained from a combination of schools, parents and wider social networks.
The point they are making is that due to today’s environment with children being frightened of abuse, the fears on our modern roads and the fact that the extended family is no longer as tight knit as it once was, children are not used to making and consolidating friendships and dealing with conflict as they once were. They are not used to taking risks or playing team games. They see the implementation of emotional literacy as a wide scale project.
As I mentioned earlier schools would have to start looking at the whole child i.e. its health and mental health as well as the academic side and mental health agencies would have to start making provision to cover the development of initiatives in this area. Emotional literacy is an important area in childhood and something that should be promoted. Teaching children emotional literacy along with the ‘normal’ literacy and numeracy they are taught in the school and home environment will surely make the likelihood of them achieving maturity, balance and a higher skill level earlier in life much greater.
In business employees are being encouraged to work in ways that require high levels of interpersonal skills. Emotionally literate adults can be more successful in their chosen careers and in their personal lives. Children need to be given practice at dealing with adversity and taught how to take it in their stride. They need to be able to deal with the problems that life can throw at them and talk about the feelings they have in an honest and truthful way.
In today’s modern society we tend to be slightly over-protective, sometimes justifiably so, but our children need to find ways of coping with problems and developing ways of dealing with difficult situations, they need to become resilient. They cannot do this if they are shielded from problems. By promoting emotional literacy in the home and school environment we will be strengthening the children of our future and hopefully creating a calmer and more emotionally literate workforce.