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Emotional intelligence is also known as the sub-set of rational intelligence. Despite it being so important, it is frequently overlooked and rarely schooled or tested. There are several definitions in Emotional Intelligence described in literatures, namely by Bar-On (1997), Mayer & Salovey (1993), Goleman (1998) and many more.
According to Bar-On (1997), Emotional Intelligence is defined as "â€¦an energy of non-cognitive capabilities, competencies and skills that influence one's ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures". Bar-On (1997) added that a deficiency in emotional intelligence can mean a lack of success and the existence of emotional problems. In general, he considers emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence to contribute equally to a person's general intelligence, which then offers an indication of one's potential to succeed in life (Bar-On, 2002).
Mayer and Salovey (1993) defined Emotional Intelligence as a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's and others feeling to discriminate among them and use the information to guide one's thinking and action. According to Mayer and Salovey (1993), the concept of Emotional Intelligence is based within a model which comprised of two areas ie: experiential (ability to perceive, respond and manipulate emotional information without necessarily understanding it) and strategic (ability to understand and manage emotions without necessarily perceiving feelings well or fully experiencing them).
Goleman (1998) includes a set of emotional competencies within each construct of emotional intelligence in his definition of Emotional Intelligence. The inclusion of factors namely, self-awareness, self-discipline and empathy, add up to a different way of being smart-one he terms "emotional intelligence" (Goleman, 1998). In addition, Goleman (1998) added that emotional competencies are not innate talent, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and developed to achieve outstanding performance. In summary, Emotional Intelligence is defined by Goleman (1998) as learned-and learnable.
Essentially, the literatures above agree that the awareness on the importance of Emotional Intelligence is intrinsically inclined. In this research, the definition by Goleman on Emotional Intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened throughout adulthood and not fixed at birth, is to be adopted. This concept will be applied in this research whereby parents (leader) act as a primary role in cultivating Emotional Intelligence within children through their parenting style.
Background of Research
Researchers and theorists have started to recognize the role of parental involvement to the overall development of the children. Indeed, parent child system is related to child's socio metric  status (Barth and Parke, 1993; Putallaz and Heflin, 1990). The basic factor in child development is the social relationships and among all types of social relationships, the relationship between parents and child is the most crucial one.
Emotional intelligence is important for gaining and maintaining social success and for mental health and personal adjustment in childhood, adolescence, early adulthood followed by adult life. The family acts as a provider of the first context for recognition and communication of affective messages to develop emotional intelligence. Parents play an important role in sending affective messages to the child, with increasing expectation that child will be able to interpret and respond to them. The emotional expressiveness of parents in the course of day-to-day interaction provides guidelines to the child for the use of emotion in an on-going social interchanges. Emotional expressiveness is also known as the style of parents or patterns of behaviours in the process of parent child interaction in the socialization process.
The emotional expressiveness of parents extends emotional learning beyond the acquisition of social skills, such as coding and decoding to the utilization of rules about emotion in various contexts. As Halberstadt (1991) argued, emotional expressiveness may involve a combination of emotional states, knowledge of display rules and motivation and ability to control one's emotional express. Several studies were conducted to identify cross generational links in expressiveness and parenting. Studies found similarities between mothers and children level of expressiveness (Denham, 1993; Eisenberg et al., 1992), similarities between fathers and children's levels of expressiveness (Harberstadt, Yok and Jones, 1993). The children learn expressiveness in the family and eventually transfer their expressive style in the interactions with others. On the other hand, Cassidy et al. (1992) found links between family expressiveness and peer competence. Highly expressive parents had children who were higher in socio metric ratings of social competence. These studies demonstrate connection between parental expressiveness and child expressiveness and between parental expressiveness and children's emotional intelligence.
Goleman (1998) considered family and school are the places which can develop emotional and social competence ie. emotional intelligence. Goleman (1998) ascertained this assumption through his review of hundreds of studies that how parents treat their children-whether with harsh discipline or empathic understanding, with indifference or warmth and so on have deep and lasting consequences for the child's emotional life. Family life is the first school for emotional learning and with this intimates children to learn how to feel about themselves and how others will react to their feelings, how to think about these feelings about what choices they have in reacting, how to read and express hopes and fears (Goleman, 1998). This emotional schooling operates not just through the things that parents say and do directly to children but also in the models they offer for handling their own feelings.
Goleman (1995) identification of the three most common emotionally inept parenting styles:
Being too laissez-faire (Permissive): These parents are aware of how a child feels, however they assume how a child handles the emotional storm is fine, even though accompanied with hitting. These parents unlikely to step forward to offer alternative emotional response, but they will try their best to sooth all upsets and will, for instance use bargaining and bribes to get their child to stop being sad or cry.
Being contemptuous (Authoritarian): These parents show no respect on how their child feels. Such parents are typically disapproving and harsh in both their criticisms and their punishments. They might for instance forbid any display of the child's anger at all and become punitive as the least sign of irritability. These parents are likely to angrily yell at the child who is trying to tell his side of the story, as they perceive the child's action as being disobedient.
Being mentor (Authoritative): These are the parents who take the opportunity of a child's upsets to act as what amounts to an emotional coach or mentor. They take their child's feelings seriously by trying to understand exactly what is upsetting them and go extra miles to help the child to find positive ways to sooth their feelings. The considerable support was evident for expected links between parental models and children's emotional and social competence (Cassidy, et al., 1992).
According to a research conducted by Parke (1995), it was found that high intensity of parents' positive expressiveness was strongly related to high socio metric ratings and pro-social behaviours. Self-ratings of clarity of expressed affect (positive, negative and total) confirmed that clarity of parental affect is strongly associated with positive ratings by peers. The importance of parental styles is recognized significantly in the development of understanding and management of emotions and in the development of emotional intelligence. Effective family functioning defined by dimensions of cohesion and expressiveness of parents and highly personal growth have found to be related to peer relations and role compliance. Family cohesion in terms of parental involvement is the most significant factor influencing maturity and success in interpersonal relationship (Lanzetta and Kleck, 1970).
1.3 Statement of Problem
There was a massive migration of rural people to urban centres in Malaysia in 1980s, due to great demand of labour from an industrial area. In 2004, about 54.6% Malaysian lived in the urban areas. High cost of living in the urban areas have force Malaysian mothers to leave their children for employment. At present, 62.8% of mothers with children below 15 years of age working full-time (Malaysia, 2008). This phenomenon has created dual-earner families in Malaysia especially in the urban areas thus the traditional families where fathers are only a bread-winner are slowly disappearing.
Below is an illustration on the percentage of working parents in the labour force in Malaysia. These data were compiled and computed based on the assumption that about 20 percent of married labour force have at least one child (Bureau of Labour Statistic, Malaysia, 2010).
Figure 1.0: Total Working Mother vs Working Parents in Malaysia (1982-2010)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistic, 2010.
As illustrated in Graph 1.0, the number of working mother has increased significantly in year 2010 from year 1982. The increased in working mother is in tandem with the increased on the working parents in Malaysia as registered by the Bureau of Labour Statistic, Malaysia, 2010. There was an increase of 122.87% and 119.87% in the participation of working mother and working parents in the labour force in year 2010 compared to year 1982. On average, the increase in working parents and working mother marked 2.83% and 2.87% on a year to year basis, respectively.
As the total number of working parents increased from year to year, it indirectly signalled that more and more children are placed under the care of others. According to the data obtained by National Family and Population Board in year 2006, children are placed under the care of others as early as 3 months. In 2006, 40.0% of children less than one year old were looked after by family members, 31.0% by neighbours or friends, and 6.2% by maid. Family members constituted the majority of the caregivers for children below 7 years of age. This is seen to be the best alternative for parents due to the high cost of placing their child in the child care centre.
On the other hand, percentage of children looked after by maids was considerable, at an average of 7.28% for all category of ages mentioned in Table 2.0 below.
Table 1.0: Type of Child Care Parents used by Children below 7 years of age in 2006: Percentage of parents
Below 1 year
Child Care Centre
The above scenario is believed to have caused more indiscipline problem among school students (Norzareen, 2005). Indiscipline among students is a perennial problem due to the increasing numbers of working parents. One common discipline problem found globally is truancy. Researchers found that school children in the United Kingdom are inclined not to go to school or choose not to attend certain classes during school hour (Davies & Lee, 2006). Truancy also occurs among Malaysian students and according to Ee Ah Meng (2003), it has become a social moral issue.
The Star published a report entitled "Plantation 'lepak' spot for truant" dated 28th February 2009. It was reported that an oil palm plantation, believed to be a popular hangout of students who play truant and indulge in unhealthy activities. According to observation conducted by the authority, these students frequented the spot to sniff glue and drink beer. The plantation is not only frequented by the students but also by teenagers for immoral activities.
A local daily newspaper, The News Strait Times dated 20th June 2009 published a report on truancy stating that there were 21,000 truancy cases nationwide in 2008. As the number of students playing truant in growing significantly in Malaysia, the Ministry of Education, with the help of NGOs, had been taking preventive measures to deal with the issue. The Ministry of Education wants to take a holistic approach in dealing with truancy in view of the increasing number of students involved and they would also renew a proposal to delay final examination to prevent students from skipping school.
Meanwhile, The Star dated 28th June 2008 reported that there were thirty secondary school students from four schools in George Town were nabbed for playing truant at a cyber cafe in Bukit Jambul. The Sungai Nibong police station raided the cafe after receiving numerous complaints from the public about students playing truant there. The students aged between 12 and 14 were surfing the internet and playing games when they were caught by police.
Indeed, what is of concern is that the spread of truancy problem has given rise to various moral and social problems among students (MOE, 1997). This cannot be treated lightly as it has been reported that truancy nearly top the list of acts of misbehaviour among students in Malaysia. Indeed, Circular 6/1995 of the Ministry of Education (MOE) Malaysia stated explicitly that truancy was and still is a behaviour that violates school rules.
As of to date, many cases of Malaysian students being involved in school truancy were reported. This problem of absenteeism is regardless of gender, race and religion. Based on the records of MOE, a total of 8,266 primary school students and 10,488 secondary school students were involved in truancy in 2010. Although there was a decrease from 8,313 (primary school students) cases and 11,232 cases (secondary school students) respectively, the number of students playing truant and resorting to indiscipline is still high. Among the eight types of discipline problem listed by MOE, truancy was ranked second highest after 'lack of politeness (MOE,1997). Other discipline problems were actions that are criminal in nature, time wasting, personal neatness, delinquency, vandalism and obscenity. Students who stay away from school without permission will not only be left behind by the learning process, but they will probably end up in drug abuse, gangsterism and alcohol consumption, in the worst case scenario.
There are many factors why children stay away from school without permission. In Malaysia, these factors include influence of peers (Mohd. Shubari, 2000; Suseladevy, 2004), fear of being bullied, fear of teachers, dislike of certain subjects, thinking that they will fail (Thi 1994; Supramaniam, 1986), no encouragement from parents or family problems (Mohamad Yatim, 1999). Among other factors that could possibly induce a child playing truant, no encouragement from parents or family problems was recorded as the most significant contributing factor (Mohamad Yatim, 1999).
In view of this, it makes sense to believe that the causes of truancy are linked to poor level of Emotional Intelligence. A research was done to investigate the level of Emotional Intelligence among truant and non-truant students in a College in India (Singh, 2012). A sample of 100 students was chosen in this research and it was proven that truant students had significantly lower Emotional Intelligence compared to non-truant students. In addition, another research was done by Animasahun (2009) to investigate the relationship between Emotional Intelligence and School attendance behaviour among secondary school students in Osun State, Nigeria. A significant positive result was found between these variables (Î² = 0.541, p < 0.05).
Through the application of Goleman's (1998) concept (parents act as a leader to cultivate EI in children) and results of the above researches, this research will be focusing on how parents, through their parenting styles influence the development of children's EI. This can be summarized as below:
Statement of Problem Cause of Problem Application of Goleman's
(used in this research) theory/concept
Parent (leader) as a primary role; through their parenting style
Low level of Emotional Intelligence
Truancy among school children
1.6 Research Objective
Generally, the objective of this research is to study which parenting styles significantly affect the Emotional Intelligence in the selected school in Kuala Lumpur. The objectives of this research are specifically defined as below:
The primary objectives of this study include:
To determine the overall emotional intelligence level of students in the selected school
To determine the emotional intelligence level of the students in the selected schools according to the independent variables of parent's income, parent's education, parent's occupation and parenting styles used in the first analysis
To determine the emotional intelligence level of the students in the selected schools according to the type of parenting style (i.e. authoritative parenting style, authoritarian parenting style, permissive parenting style) adopted by parents used as an independent variables in the second analysis
To investigate the relationship between emotional intelligence and the independent variables
To investigate the relationship between emotional intelligence and independent variables in the second analysis, moderated by fathering and mothering
1.8 Justification of Study
The findings of this study is important as it functions as a platform in leading parents and care-takers to better understand the relationship between parenting style and the child's development of emotional intelligence. This present study is also important in creating competent parenting as "the style of child rearing that enables the developing person to acquire capacities required for dealing effectively with the ecological niches that he or she will inhabit during childhood, adolescence and adulthood" as defined by Belsky, Robins and Gamble (1984).
If the event that the findings of the study found authoritative parenting style to be positively correlated with children's emotional intelligence, parents can be persuaded to use authoritative parenting while teachers can be encouraged to use authoritative teaching style. In addition, the findings of this present study help to verify if the claim that has been made especially in the West on the positive relationship of authoritative parenting and children's emotional intelligence as well as the negative relationship of authoritarian and permissive parenting and children's emotional intelligence is true and applicable in Malaysian setting.