One of my biggest challenges has been how to properly interact with the emotions of a child. Luckily, Baba had heard of a book that could help!
When we were in Portland for the first time, we went to the wonderful Powell’s Books and bought Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child – The Heart of Parenting.
The book itself was written almost 22 years ago, however the content is still highly relevant today.
The book contains several tests to give yourself which help you to better understand your parenting style. Next is learning how a few broad parenting styles function and how you specifically intersect with those to form your own current parenting style. The book then spends the majority of content describing the optimal parenting style of emotion coaching.
When I first started reading about emotion coaching, I thought that I was already mostly in that parenting style. I quickly figured out how wrong I was! After reading even a small portion of the book and how to apply the skills in real world interactions, I was able to see real results.
An example would be if Kaili became upset such as if we were not listening to her while she was talking. She may be crying, and the old me may have said something about not needing to cry and that I’m listening now. While it’s true that I would then be listening, that response negates her feelings and is not helpful for future occurrences.
A better response which fits into the emotion coaching parenting style would be to walk over to Kaili and crouch down to her level. Then ask her if we can breathe to calm down some so we can talk about what happened. This simple act also allows me to keep my own emotions in check while simultaneously helping her to see that I’m with her while she comes down. After we have calmed down, I would ask if we can ‘talk about it.’ We would then restate what happened and label the emotions she had felt. At the same time, we would acknowledge her emotions as valid while providing alternative ways we can deal with similar situations in the future.
Although the above example requires a little more time than the former example, we were able to label emotions that previously were not tangible and also able to quickly workshop positive solutions for similar future experiences. This helps Kaili to grow emotionally in a wonderful way.
In closing, I have learned a great deal from this book. I have tried to apply the skills to interactions with a variety of social interactions even beyond the parent-child dynamic. I highly recommend this book and feel it can help others in the same way it has helped me.
Love as always, Daddy