What can we do as parents to help our children overcome challenges they will inevitably face?

In what ways can we guide them so they become successful adults?

According to Dr. John Gottman, emotional suppression can underlie a child’s inability to overcome challenges faced in today’s fast paced, stressful world.

As parents we can foster emotional intelligence in our children. Emotionally intelligent adults are generally better able to cope with life’s inevitable ups and downs. Dr. Gottman developed an Emotion Coaching program, based on his own extensive research, consisting of five simple steps to help improve children’s emotional lives. The premise of Emotion Coaching is based on valuing your children’s emotions and offering empathy and patience in order to help your children trust and manage their own feelings.

1. Emotional awareness: being aware of your own, as well as your child’s emotions

2. Connecting: recognizing emotional moments as an opportunity to draw close to your child and create a bond instead of giving advice, which teaches your child to tolerate negative emotions

3. Listening: having empathy for your child’s emotions, without disapproval, criticism or indifference

4. Naming emotions: helping to build your child’s emotional vocabulary so they can better express what they need

5. Finding good solutions: setting good limits on behavioural reactions and providing guidance in finding an appropriate solution

It’s important to note that you can’t always be an emotion coach because these moments require adequate time and patience. The research reveals that parents who employ emotion coaching successfully only do so 40-60% of the time.

Try out these 5 simple steps with your child and watch their emotional intelligence soar!

See more research from Dr. John Gottman here.

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