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The Secret to Raising a Resilient Kid

Resiliency is the ability to engage with a challenge, risk or impediment, and come out the other side with some measure of success. It’s a psychological principle blending optimism, flexibility, problem-solving and motivation.


Most experts say resiliency is something that can be fostered, nurtured, and developed in children from a very young age.


The ability to bounce back is more important now than ever; here’s how to impart it.

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New study reveals surge in Anti-Asian hashtags

Hateful words continue to matter, whether they are hurled attacks in person or hashtags online. A recent study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, researched approximately 700,000 tweets and found that users that used the hashtag #chinesevirus were more likely to associate it with racist hashtags.

The increase of verbal and physical anti-Asian rhetoric has had an impact on social media, Twitter specifically.  Anti-Asian hashtags using the term “the China Virus” increased after former President Donald Trump tweeted it for two weeks in March 2020, according to a recent study. Such divisive language can encourage bias and misinformation.

Such speech also shows a lack of self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness, some of the critical tenets of Emotional Intelligence.  Hateful words can desensitize to a point where the accusers see people through their lenses as inhuman and not equal.  

According to Yuin Hswen, Professor of Epidemiology at University of California San Francisco, who contributed to the study, “These results may be a proxy of growth in anti-Asian sentiment that was not as prevalent as before. Using racial terms associated with a disease can result in the perpetuation of further stigmatization of racial groups.”

The researchers believe that the former president’s action may have influenced others to imitate his language on Twitter. The study also found that users who adopted the hashtag #covid19, based on the official name of the virus used by the World Health Organization, were less likely to post racists hashtags. 

Capitol Hill has been watching the increase of Anti-Asian attacks closely and is taking action. In April, the Senate passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to combat the violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). The bill awaits the House of Representatives’ vote, which will most likely pass due to the Democrat majority. President Joe Biden supports the passage of the bill. 

The legislation puts accountability on and guides police departments that report hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. If passed, it would increase education awareness to combat discriminatory language. Congress recognizes that actions and words matter.

The developments that led up to the Senate passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act are part of the Emotional Intelligence process. The violence and divisive language of Asian Hate offline and online was an outcry for help, and the bill is Capitol Hill’s response. 

Congress is self-aware that discrimination does exist nationwide and is acting on it. They made a conscious decision to draft and support legislation that will have positive consequences for the victims and communities. 

Managed awareness and managed action against hateful online and offline attacks are part of the Emotional Intelligence journey, which can be taught and learned through Social Emotional Learning.  Such skills benefit individuals, workplaces, and communities with long last effects. 


Applying Emotional Intelligence to Combat Rise of Asian Hate Crimes

by Dyna Lopez

The rise of harassment, discrimination, and assaults on Asians and Pacific Islanders began shortly after the COVID 19 pandemic started a year ago. There’s been a surge in incidents since February. Some attacks have been fatal. And according to statistics, the trend doesn’t look like it will decline anytime soon.

It started with the divisive language of China Virus.

We all need to be more socially aware of our words. Hateful words are deeply affecting Asian American’s sense of security. 

“I don’t feel safe anymore,” said a Chinese American resident in Austin, Texas. He didn’t want to reveal his identity out of fear of retribution from the community. 

“Why did you hit me!? Why?!” That’s what 75-year-old Xiao Zhen Xie of San Francisco asked her assailant who was handcuffed to a stretcher after she fought him back. She was treated at the hospital and released for minor injuries to her face and eye. Steven Jenkens, 39, faces charges of assault and elder abuse. 

Just 30 minutes prior, Jenkins had assaulted 83-year old Ngoc Pham. He suffered fractures in his nose and neck and was recently released from the hospital. He continues to receive treatment.   

Eight people shot and killed at three businesses in Atlanta were not as fortunate. The gunman, Robert Long, was charged with murder and assault. Most of the victims were Asian. 

Words Matter

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders attribute the rise to the divisive language of “China Virus” and “Kung Flu” instead of  “Corona Virus” or “COVID 19”.

According to Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting project from Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council, there were more than 3,800 incidents of coronavirus-related discrimination in the U.S. from March 2020 through February 2021.

These are just reported numbers as many AAPI’s do not notify police due to the language barrier and/or fear from the perpetrator. 

58% of Asian Americans received racist comments since the pandemic began according to a recent Pew Research Center study.  

The ramifications are leaving psychological and emotional effects. It’s taking a toll on the AAPI community as they harbor feelings of mistrust, insecurity, and stress..

“When you attach ethnicities or nationalities to disease-related terms, it can have a stigmatizing effect on these communities,” said Yulin Hswen, Professor of Epidemiology at University of California San Francisco, who contributed to the study.   

As families and their children gradually return to the classrooms and re-acclimate with their classmates and parents, how are communities reacting to the news which is becoming all too frequent in the past month?

Are children aware of racism, bias, and stereotypes? 

Would they recognize it?

And if they did, how would they react to it? 

What conversations or words do children say to other children of a different race that may sound insensitive or indifferent? 

Professor Hswen hopes the study will make people aware and think carefully about the words they use to describe any disease.

Applying Emotional Intelligence 

Compassionate social awareness is a key part of emotional intelligence. A friendly greeting to people that we would not ordinarily associate with is a start. It’s as simple as reaching out to someone with whom you don’t normally associate with according to Andrew Yang, a former Democratic Presidential candidate who is running for Mayor of New York City. 

“And you may surprise someone, but that to me is like an immediate step towards seeing each other as human beings and trying to open up our sense of who’s in our community”, said Yang.

That first step can be towards your neighborhood or city. For starters, you or your family can support national and local AAPI owned businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Or, volunteer at your national or local AAPI non-profit organization. (See a list of anti-Asian violence resources.)

The most valuable support that you can provide is to speak out against stereotypical, insensitive, or racist behavior and words. Inaction is compliance. It’s a barrier to learn and grow from within. Asian Americans nationwide have been peacefully protesting bringing awareness with Stop the Hate themed support. 

“This kind of hatred and violence has to stop and that we have to start seeing each other as human beings”, said Yang. 

For Xie and Pham, those attacked in San Francisco, they see this wave of racial turmoil as a turning point. They want everyone to redirect the anger and frustration into empowerment.  Now that Asian discrimination is in the spotlight from the Office of President of the United State’s to local AAPA oranizers, they feel the swelling tide against hate and violence is bigger than just them. 

Through awareness they want to harness their pain into results oriented action. Xie and her family are contributing 100% of the more than $950,000 raised from her Go Fund Me goal to local AAPI local support groups. Pham stopped accepting funds when his $25,000 goal was met. He wants contributors to focus their support on fighting for equality.  

Self and social awareness are some of the key tenets of emotional intelligence.  It’s making the decision that you will learn how to behave within yourself. Learn by being mindful of your perceptions and attitudes. Learn how to deal with yourself and others makes for trusting and healthy relationships. 

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The Power of SEL

Social-Emotional Learning  empowers children to manage their own behavior in positive and productive ways, shifting control to the child.

This counters the “compliance model” widely used in U.S. schools, where adults hold all the power in classrooms and children are passive participants, not drivers of their own development and learning.

Being active in their own development is fundamental to children’s Emotional Intelligence learning, along with acquiring the ability to manage one’s emotions. Managing one’s emotions is hardly a given for a large segment of the population that, without this learning, is beset with remarkably high numbers of people suffering from anxiety or depression, anger issues, or high degrees of interpersonal conflict, violence and suicide.

In fact, most of us experience more emotional upsets and their consequences than we would prefer – in relationships, work, friendships, and in the everyday course of life.

This may be good for the bottom lines of pharmaceutical companies and therapists but is hugely costly in infinite ways to the common good and to the pocketbook of the society as a whole.

Neuroscience readily supports the positive effects of Social-Emotional Learning. Emotional reactions have been found to reside in the primordially-earlier lower brain around the amygdala while more sophisticated learning, thinking, and creativity occur in the later-in-evolution frontal lobes or “higher brain.” Brain scans show that when the lower brain is activated by emotional upset it lights up while the higher brain literally goes dark in activity.

The implications for students can’t be overstated – all learning stops while students are emotionally agitated, with their minds either distracted or full of negative thoughts about themselves, others or the situations they are in(Read more about Neuroscience.)

Conversely, academic learning takes place on a rapid scale once students are taught to manage their emotions and responses. Surveys of student and teacher satisfaction often soar into the 90 percentile after a school prioritizes Social-Emotional Learning.

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An important note: Social-Emotional Learning should not be confused with what educators call “Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS),” a widely implemented system based on “carrot-like” tangible rewards.

Moreover, in uninformed reports, some EQ goals and subset practices are mistakenly taken for the entire complex of EQ learnings students experience. Examples are “violence prevention,” “anti-bullying,” “grit,” “resilience,” “mindfulness” and “growth mindset” practices – the latter a training to be able to take on challenges and failures as normal and educational in themselves rather than as obstacles and defeats.

One other note: Education is littered with competing terms for Social-Emotional Learning, among them “emotional literacy,” “non-cognitive education,” “character education,” and “ethical and moral development.” By whatever name, schools adopting such learning should include the core competencies explained here and their goal should be the other term popular with educators: “Whole Child Development.”


A Short History of Emotional Intelligence

The concept of EQ sprang from the landmark work of Harvard Education Professor Dr. Howard Gardner’s 1983-published theory about the “multiple intelligences” that humans possess. Specifically, EQ falls into a category he defined as ”inter- and intrapersonal” intelligence.

Building on this, two researchers – then Yale psychology professor Peter Salovey (now president of Yale) and University of New Hampshire psychology professor John D. Mayer – published an influential paper in 1990 introducing the term “Emotional Intelligence,” which Goleman cites in his work.

The term EQ over time often became coupled with the term “social intelligence,” meaning the ability to understand, empathize with, and influence the emotions of others.

From Goleman: “In practical terms, this means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and learning how to manage those  emotions – both our own and others – especially when we are under pressure.”

Marc Brackett, Director of Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence, and Susan Rivers, protégés of Salovey, put it this way: “The process of integrating thinking, feeling, and behaving in order to become aware of the self and of others, make responsible decisions, and manage one’s own behaviors and those of others.”

Psychology Today dives in with this definition: “The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving….[and] the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.”

Youth-focused approaches that combine EQ development with other life skills have now come to be defined by the term Social-Emotional Learning by educators and in child development and psychology realms, as well as in certain business quarters that apply such learning to adults.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, or CASEL, the nation’s leading SEL practice, policy, and research organization, defines SEL as “the process through which children (and adults) acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

CASEL pointedly notes that for SEL to be highly effective it needs to “nest” and be practiced in all school environments by all staff, including integrated in academic classes and non-class activities, in community service by students, and with parents integrated at the school level.

CASEL believes that SEL, correctly implemented, is the platform and process for a potential revolutionary leap forward in educating the “whole child.”

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For Some Teens, It’s Been a Year of Anxiety and Trips to the E.R.

“When the pandemic first hit the Bay Area last spring, Ann thought that her son, a 17-year-old senior, was finally on track to finish high school. He had kicked a heavy marijuana habit and was studying in virtual classes while school was closed. The first wave of stay-at-home orders shut down his usual routines — sports, playing music with friends. But the stability didn’t last.”

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Keep Paying Attention to Your Kids’ Mental Health in This Pandemic

“For nearly a year, most of our children have been navigating the new, difficult normal: social isolation; deeply stressed parents; the effects of financial uncertainty; school from home — or from WiFi-equipped school buses if they don’t have internet. While Covid-19 itself has largely been sparing of children’s physical health, studies have shown it has taken a toll on their mental health, associated with an increase in suicide-related behaviors, experts say.”

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Pandemic Worsens Child Mental Health Crisis

“A bag of Doritos, that’s all Princess wanted.

Her mom calls her Princess, but her real name is Lindsey. She’s 17 and lives with her mom, Sandra, a nurse, outside of Atlanta. On May 17, 2020, a Sunday, Lindsey decided she didn’t want breakfast; she wanted Doritos. So she left home and walked to Family Dollar, taking her pants off on the way, while her mom followed on the phone with police.”

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Children of Quarantine

“Starting on April 6, a bearded and earnest neuroscientist at the University of Oregon named Philip Fisher began to send a digital questionnaire — at first weekly, and then, beginning in August, biweekly — to a representative group of a thousand American families with young children. He’s curious about how they and their kids are doing. They aren’t doing so well.”

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For Parents: A Toolkit for Introducing EQ Learning to Your Child’s School

Angela Benedetto, Ph.D.

Hello Parent:

Assuming you want to prioritize your child’s optimal development, here is our “depth” guide for addressing the role of your school and making sure it provides the emotional intelligence and social skills that optimize her or his potential to be happy and to soar in school, career and life – and to develop healthy school and lifelong relationships.