Here is the full transcript of Lael Stone’s talk titled “How To Raise Emotionally Intelligent Children” at TEDxDocklands conference.
Educator and counselor Lael Stone’s talk, “How To Raise Emotionally Intelligent Children,” emphasizes the importance of understanding and responding to children’s emotions with empathy and compassion, rather than dismissal or punishment. She highlights the long-term impact of childhood emotional experiences on adult mental health, citing the need for emotional literacy in both parenting and educational systems.
Stone discusses three learned responses to emotions—repression, aggression, and expression—and advocates for fostering environments where expression is encouraged. Through personal anecdotes, including a touching story about her daughters, Stone illustrates how children learn emotional intelligence primarily through modeling by adults. She introduces Woodline Primary School, an initiative she co-founded, which integrates emotional well-being into its curriculum, aiming to cultivate compassionate, critical-thinking, and emotionally intelligent learners.
Stone argues that prioritizing emotional intelligence (EQ) over intellectual quotient (IQ) can lead to a more understanding and empathetic society. Her talk concludes with a call to prioritize internal emotional landscapes to better navigate the external world, underscoring the profound impact of nurturing emotional intelligence from a young age.
Listen to the audio version here:
Just for a moment, what I’d like you to do is imagine that you’re four years old. You’re on the ground, building a tower, and you’re really proud of this tower that you’re building. In the next minute, a kid comes running along, kicks over your tower, and you are outraged. You feel these feelings bubble inside you of hurt, panic, frustration, and helplessness. Just in that moment, an adult comes in close, gets down low, and says, “Honey, what happened?”
You see in their eyes there’s compassion. You feel that their body’s calm and regulated, and then all those feelings come bubbling out: frustration, anger, helplessness. This adult goes, “Oh, yeah, tell me all about it.” They don’t try and fix it; they don’t say to you, “Don’t worry, you can build another one.” They just let you feel all that you’re feeling, and then they open their arms, and you snuggle in, take another deep breath, and then you feel better. Then, you get back to building your tower.