IQ or EQ: Which Measurement Is The Best Predictor For Success?

February 5

By Lisa J. Foss, MA, LPCA

Are you worried about your child’s future success? If so, this article is for you!

An individual’s intelligence quotient (IQ) is determined by completing standardized testing that assesses an individual’s mental abilities using measurements of skills from verbal to spatial abilities and comparing scores to others of similar age. However, IQ score does not provide a full picture of a child’s abilities or intelligence. There are also factors that can affect an individual’s IQ score, such as school attendance and environment. IQ’s have risen about 20 points with every generation due to better nutrition, more schooling, better-educated parents, and more complex spatial environments. While there has been some correlation between high IQ scores and high income, an IQ score is not the only factor that determines a child’s future success.

Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) refers to an individual’s ability to identify and manage their emotions, as well as understand and empathize with those around them in a cooperative, functional, and empathetic way. This begins with learning to identify emotions, embrace them, and use them to learn about ourselves and those around us. Being able to regulate emotions is necessary, and they can be harnessed to help promote thinking and problem solving. As parents, we want our children to succeed in their careers and financially, but, more importantly, we need to emphasize their success in relationships and overall well-being. Being able to regulate our emotions helps us to focus on tasks and challenges.

Depending on age, an individual’s IQ score can increase based-on changes in one’s environment; however, after a certain age, IQ scores tend to stabilize. In contrast, one’s EQ can continue to develop and sharpen with practice and guidance. Overall, studies have shown that EQ is a better predictor than IQ of how children will succeed. In addition, individuals with greater EQ demonstrate a more stable performance in academics, work, and personal relationships. As parents, we can help our children better understand and regulate their emotions; and help them to problem solve instead of solving their problems for them. This development begins in grade school and can assist in improving functioning in peer relationships and later workplace relations.

Dr. John Gottman has developed a strategy that examines the type of parent you are and how to incorporate emotion coaching into your parenting. Emotion coaching focuses on the following: Awareness of your child’s emotions; Recognize their expression of emotion as a teaching moment; Listen, empathize and validate their feelings; Help them label their emotions; and Set appropriate limits. Emotional coaching starts with parent self-reflection, which can help you make big changes in your house and relationship dynamics.

Stay tuned for more blogs on this topic where I will go deeper into Gottman’s Emotion Coaching steps.

If you wish to begin to learn these steps and put it them into practice, please contact Lisa at

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