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Where do you begin with kids’ strong feelings?

August 30, 2012

Here’s a great idea…

In his book, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, John Gottman says,

“[Parents] must attempt to empathize with their kids—that is, feel what their children are feeling…. Statements of understanding should precede statements of advice.” (p. 51)

In other words…

When our children come to us with problems, our automatic reaction is to jump in and tell them what to do. Before we address the problems however, we must first address our children’s feelings. We need to show that we care about their feelings. When we show our children they are heard and understood they will become more peaceful, which allows them to find solutions on their own.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…

The next time your child comes to you with a problem, don’t start giving advice. Begin by empathizing with them. You might say something like, “That must have been very frustrating,” or “I can see why you’d be upset about that.” Empathy is surprisingly healing. It also sets the stage for a great problem-solving conversation.

To find out more…

 about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey or See the World Through My Eyes programs at, follow us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.

One Comment
  1. yesletsperformanceacademy permalink
    September 1, 2012 12:53 am

    ‘Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child’ leads to an adult who looks after themselves, knows what they want and understands that the journey is not important, but whether they have the tools to deal with it!

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