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Steps to emotionally intelligent children

May 29, 2013

Here’s a life-changing idea…                                                                                                                          

In their book, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, John Gottman and Joan DeClaire say,

“When children feel emotionally connected to their parents and the parents use this bond to help kids regulate their feelings and solve problems, good things happen.” (p. 17).

 In other words…

When our children come to us with problems and strong emotions, we may be tempted to dismiss or disapprove of those feelings. But such times are great opportunities to teach children and help them feel supported. We can show empathy and help them understand their own feelings by verbally labeling their emotions. Once our children are feeling valued and calm, they can move on to solving their problems. With such emotion coaching, our children become emotionally intelligent over time. At the same time, we strengthen our bonds of love and trust.

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

The next time your child comes to you with strong negative emotions, instead of dismissing the feeling or judging the child, try to describe what you are seeing: “You sound frustrated (disappointed, hurt, lonely, etc.).” Ask your child to share with you what he or she is feeling. Help the child put the feelings into words. When the child feels peaceful, help your child come up with ideas for solving the problem. Once the problem is solved, take a moment to recognize your child’s accomplishment.

 To find out more…

about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey or See the World Through My Eyes or Getting Our Hearts Right programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You might also enjoy reading Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.

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