Emotional intelligence (or EQ) is recognised as one of the keys to success – more important than IQ, many say. As a result, books and workshops on this subject have been selling like hot cakes. But, developing emotional intelligence is not rocket science, really. We were all born with it. The problem is that it got snuffed out along the way, some time during childhood.

In case you have not noticed, children wear their emotions on their sleeves. They cry, laugh, and love spontaneously. They do not need a cue like actors do. But children are usually told to ‘roll up’ their sleeves and move on because it makes their emotionally unintelligent parents uncomfortable. Over time, they become emotional illiterates. An emotional volcano ready to erupt without warning.

If you want your child to be emotionally intelligent, start today by asking this simple question: “How did/does that make you feel?” The good thing about this question is that it can be applied in almost every situation and conversation. You can ask it, for example, when your child shows you his test grade. Be mindful to guide your child and help him to focus on his feelings and not on how he can do better next time. That is a conversation for later.

This article is written by Parcsen Loke. He is a husband, father of three, and is currently the Head of Programmes and Development at the Centre for Fathering.