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Storms in Children’s Lives

March 29, 2011

A Great Idea…

“Parents have a tremendous opportunity to influence their kids’ emotional intelligence by helping them learn self-soothing behaviors from infancy on.” (John Gottman, professor of psychology, in his book, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child. p. 41)

In Other Words…

Children learn how to react to their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others, by seeing how we react to them when they express strong emotions. When we fly off the handle in response to their emotions, we are not teaching them good ways to manage their emotions. When we respond to children’s needs in a comforting way, they learn how to calm themselves.

How This Applies to You…

When your child is upset or afraid, first soothe yourself. Take a deep breath. Think about their challenges. Then comfort them. Instead of lecturing them, let them know that they are heard and that their feelings matter. When children know their needs will be met when they are appropriately expressed, children will learn to handle small upsets in life on their own.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at www.arfamilies.org and if you have children less than 5 years of age, check out See the World Through My Eyes.

For more on parenting, we recommend Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, or Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim Ginott.

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