How Parents Can Bring Out the Best in Their Children Through Emotion Coaching

Over the last few decades, experts have increasingly recognized the importance of understanding our emotions and dealing with them in a healthy manner. Here's a step-by-step approach to starting emotion coaching with your children and helping them grow more resilient, autonomous, and emotionally mature in the process.

Girl hugging the small duck
Photo by Yulia Dubyna on Unsplash

The term "emotional intelligence," coined by Daniel Goleman (1995) in his book of the same name, has become prevalent in academic and popular literature.

Emotional intelligence is taught, and a child's first emotional instructor is his or her parents. You can assist your child in developing emotional intelligence by "coaching" him using ideas that researchers have discovered to be effective. "Emotion coaching" can help you in avoiding typical traps while guiding your children to become successful, happy people.

What Exactly Is Emotion Coaching?

Emotion coaching assists children in understanding the many emotions they started to experience, why they occur, and how to deal with them. Simply put, you may teach your children about emotions by consoling them, listening to and comprehending their ideas and feelings, and assisting them in understanding themselves. Your child will feel loved, supported, respected, and appreciated if you do this. In addition, setting limitations and issue resolution will be much easier with this emotionally supporting foundation.

Emotion coaching teaches children skills that will help them love, serve others, such as growing comfortable with their own emotions and learning to express them constructively.

The Advantages of Emotion Coaching for Your Children

The better you coach your children's emotions, the better they will grow up to be happy and healthy adults. According to research, children who feel loved and supported have more friendships and enjoy healthier, more successful lives. They are also less likely to engage in juvenile aggression, antisocial behavior, drug addiction, early sexual activity, and adolescent suicide.

"Researchers have discovered that even more than your IQ, your emotional awareness and, of course, ability to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all sectors of life, including family connections," writes John Gottman, the author of the book Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.

Emotion Coaching Training

While emotion coaching may appear complicated at first, it will become second nature with practice.

Step 1: Recognize How You Deal With Emotions.

You must first understand your own emotional approach before becoming an emotional coach. Some parents, for example, are concerned about their children's negative emotions. If a child is sad, you might believe that the sadness will disappear if you solve the situation that caused the grief. On the other hand, you may be uncomfortable with your anger because it makes you feel out of control, and as a result, you discourage your children's anger.

Gottman advocates asking yourself several questions to find out why we start to feel the way we do about emotions.

According to Research, Parents Who Have Mastered the Art of Emotion Coaching Believe the Following About Emotions:

Step 2: Accept That Your Child's Bad Emotions Are an Opportunity for Bonding And Education.

Using rationality to rationalize your child's emotions rarely works. When parents try to do this, they frequently wind up bickering with their children. Instead, they become integrated when youngsters talk about, label, and feel understood about their unpleasant experiences. Children start to feel closer to their parents when they feel understood.

upset and baffled, declaring long and loudly that he didn't grasp the content in one of his classes. "Everyone else understands it, but not me!" He stated. Dad initially encouraged his kid to calm down and quit stressing, but this simply made things worse. Dad eventually realized that his son needed to express his negative emotions and have his concerns heard. Dad was familiar with this field of study, so after comprehending, Dad assisted James in working through various exercises until he understood the basics and made good progress on the required assignment.

James was willing to listen to his father's advice when he felt understood. And James felt more connected to his father since he understood and took the time to assist him.

Step 3: Listen to Your Child With Empathy And Understanding, Then Validate His Or Her Feelings.

Haim Ginott, a psychologist, expresses his belief in the book Between Parent and Child that children must be understood before accepting correction. To understand your child, you must put yourself in his or her shoes. Empathic listening can assist you in accomplishing this. The heart of emotion coaching is empathic listening.

According to John Gottman, empathic listeners perform the following:

Once your child feels understood, assure her that her thoughts and wishes are valid, even if her actions are not. The following suggestions will assist you in listening empathically and validating your child's feelings:

Simple Observations Should Be Shared

Instead of asking questions, say what you see and hear. Children frequently have no idea what they're feeling or why they're feeling it. Six-year-old Elizabeth, for example, is unusually quiet. She finishes her lunchtime snack grudgingly before going off to her room. Her mother observes all of this quietly and then remarks, "Elizabeth, you seem quiet today." When Elizabeth fails to answer, her mother adds another observation. "I'm usually worried about something when I'm quiet." Elizabeth then confides in her mother about her concerns regarding her school buddies.

Avoid Questions to Which You Already Have a Response

When you ask questions like "Who muddy the carpet?" knowing the answer, you create an uncertain environment. So instead, be straightforward: "You soiled the carpet; I'm disappointed."

Give Instances From Your Own Experience

This gives them the impression that what they're going through is normal.

Step 4: Identify And Label Your Child's Feelings.

Children frequently have no idea what they are feeling. You can assist your youngster in changing a frightened, uncomfortable feeling into something identifiable and normal by labeling an activity - observing aloud that they appear "angry," "sad," or "disappointed." Researchers have discovered that simply identifying an emotion has a calming effect on the neurological system, allowing youngsters to recover more rapidly after an upsetting experience.

When you listen empathically, you frequently have the opportunity to label a feeling. Remember that it's easy to slip into the trap of telling your child how he should feel rather than what he is feeling. For example, four-year-old Jared declares that he despises his friend Billy because Billy stole his toy and then slapped him when Jared tried to reclaim it. Instead of informing Jared that he doesn't hate Billy and that they are friends, his mother says, "It sounds like you're quite furious because Billy took your toy and slapped you."

Set Boundaries

While affirming your child's feelings is necessary, you are not required to validate their behavior. Instead, follow through and be consistent once you've placed a boundary on inappropriate behavior and its repercussions. The best time to employ emotion coaching is immediately after your child misbehaves and before you cope with the repercussions. "You're upset that Danny took that game away from you," a parent could comment. I would be as well. But hitting him is not acceptable. "What else can you do?"

Determine Your Objectives

After you've enacted sanctions for inappropriate behavior, figure out what your child was trying to accomplish with his or her behavior. Then, simply ask your youngster what he was attempting to achieve.

Consider Possible Solutions

Allow your child/children to come up with solutions to an issue before you make suggestions. This assists your child in developing problem-solving abilities. Don't dismiss his solutions if they're unworkable. Instead, ask questions that will help him in seeing the outcome of his solutions.

When your youngster provides solutions, follow up with questions like:
-"Is this a reasonable solution?"
-"Will this solution be effective?"
-"Is it secure?"
-"How do you expect to feel?" "How do you think other people will react?"

Assist your youngster in making a decision. It is allowed to proceed if your youngster comes up with an impractical solution as long as it is harmless. Allow her to learn by experiencing the repercussions of her decisions. Simply leave the option open to rework the solution if it does not appear to be working. Assist your youngster in developing a strategy for achieving the answer.