[BP#5] Teaching Your Child Emotional Agility


NY Times Article (Click, alternatively link provided at the end)

Emotional Agility Quiz


This article is about teaching children to better navigate their emotions in a way that will benefit them in the future. The article focuses on a study, and a book written by psychologist Susan David. David suggest that parents are too eager to make an unhappy child happy. This then trains the child to avoid the emotion rather than embrace.

“How children navigate their emotional world is critical to lifelong success” (David, 2016)

David gives four steps for helping a child to go through their emotions and come out on top; feel it, show it, label it, watch it go.

Ethical Analysis

I believe that this article ties in with all of the ethical principles covered so far in this course. Most of all, I believe it ties in with justice, obedience, integrity and situational ethics. A just person (assuming “good” or “positive” by nature) will do something regardless of whether there is a consequence or not. An “honest” person (we will use honest to represent just or virtuous in this case) will follow the rules of the road, no matter who is or is not present. An honest person will always tell the truth (apply situational ethics here).

The case of justice and integrity being applicable to sentient beings is an individual application. To assume that all people would do something unjust if given the chance implies that all people only seek pleasure as an end, an not happiness itself.

Tying my statements into this article, as children, we are taught to “brush it off” or “get over it”. There are times where such statements are frowned upon, and even considered harsh and desensitized (i.e. death of a parent or close friend). These actions and “habits” we are taught carry on into our adult life, and even over into our parenting life as we get older. In the end, we teach what we are taught. By teaching a child how to embrace their emotions and handle them in a way that makes them stronger and more capable of handling strenuous situations, we are (essentially) teaching children to practice integrity and become just people. This ties into obedience. There are several types of  obedience, but the replication of a learned trait or habit would be considered blind obedience in this context, or accidental. Without even thinking about why we say it, we would tell a small boy that wants to cry over his toy being taken, “Boys don’t cry. Man-up”. This instills in the child’s mind, a set way of thinking that the child comes to blindly believe later in life.

By teaching children to better handle (notice the difference between handle and manage) their emotions at a younger age, we can create a future generation of potentially honest people.

*I also think that these principles can be applied to adult life as well. Even if they were not learned as children, they can still be learned and acquired in adults willing to learn and change.


  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/04/well/family/teaching-your-child-emotional-agility.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront
  2. http://www.susandavid.com/new-index/#about-the-book



One thought on “[BP#5] Teaching Your Child Emotional Agility

  1. I think it is super important to teach our children about how to deal with emotional distress. They are going to have hardships in life anyway, so instead of trying to keep them away from these hardships (which is impossible) it is important to teach our students how to deal with their emotions and how to be more emotionally sensitive. Boys can cry and girls can be tough. Slowly but surely, I think businesses and people in general are becoming more open to this idea.

    Liked by 1 person

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