Emotion Coaching
A Creative Discussion on the
Benefits of Developing
“Emotional Intelligence” in
Young People and Families
What are our Goals for Our
Children?What do we want for them?
• Obedience and compliance not enough
• We want our children to grow up to be moral and
responsible people who contribute to society
• We want young people to possess the strength to make
their own choices in life and to enjoy the
accomplishments of their own talents
• We want to see our children enjoy their lives and the
pleasures it has to offer
• We want young people to have good relationships with
friends and successful marriages
• We want our children to someday make good parents
What is Emotion Coaching and Why is
it Important for Families?
• John Gottman, Ph.D. has written a book on Emotion Coaching entitled
“Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child” EC is a technique that requires
emotional awareness and a specific set of listening skills
• Develops “Emotional Intelligence” in young people; term coined by Daniel
Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
• Multiple studies support the finding that one of the most significant
predictors of a child’s “success” as an adult is their ability to get along with
others; more salient than an SAT or GRE score.
• Children who are emotion coached learn to trust their feelings, regulate
their own emotions, and solve problems.
• These young people are characterized by having high self esteem, they
learn well, and have better relationships because they are adept at
reading and understanding interpersonal communication cues.
Gottman’s Theory Extension of Dr
Haim Ginott’s Work with Children
• Much like athletic coaches, emotion-coaching
parents teach their children strategies for dealing
with life’s ups and downs.
• They don’t object to their children’s display of
anger, sadness, or fear
• Nor do the IGNORE them
• Instead, they accept negative emotions as a fact
of life and use these emotional moments as
opportunities for teaching their kids important
life lessons and building closer relationships with
Anticipated Outcomes for Young
People who are Emotion Coached
• John Gottman PhD, acclaimed psychologist from University of
Washington and the Gottman Relationship and Research Institute, offers
the following as a result of his 10 year longitudinal study of over 100
• Develop ability to regulate their own emotional states.
• Develop methods to soothe themselves when upset
• Learn to calm down their hearts faster and because of this superior
performance in managing this part of their physiology,
Tend to have fewer infectious illnesses.
Better at focusing attention.
Enjoy better performance in school and healthier relationships
Five Key Principles for Emotion
• Developing an awareness of child’s emotions
• Recognizing emotion as opportunity for
teaching and intimacy building
• Listening empathetically and validating
children’s feelings
• Helping the child verbally label emotions
• Setting limits while helping the child problem
Assessing Your Parent
The path to becoming a better
parent, like almost every road to
personal growth and mastery,
begins with self examination.
The Dismissing Parent
• Treats child’s feelings as unimportant, trivial
• Disengages from or ignores the child’s feelings
• Desires that the child’s negative emotions disappear quickly
• Characteristically uses distraction to shut down child’s
• May ridicule or make light of a child’s emotions
• Believes negative emotions are harmful or toxic
The Dismissing Parent
• Focuses more on how to get over emotions than on the
meaning of the emotion itself
• Believes focusing on negative emotions will just make
matters worse
• Believes the negative emotions means the child is not well
• Believes the child’s negative emotions reflect badly on the
• Minimizes the child’s feelings, downplaying the events that
lead to the emotion
The Dismissing Parent
• Believes children’s emotions tend to be irrational,
therefore don’t count
• May lack awareness of emotions in self and others
• Feels uncomfortable and at times overwhelmed by
child’s emotions
• Fears being out of control emotionally
• Does not problem solve with the child; believes that the
passage of time will resolve most problems
The Disapproving Parent
• Displays many of the Dismissing Parent’s behaviors, but in
ways that are more negative in delivery
• Judges and criticizes the child’s emotional expression
• Is over aware of the need to set limits on their children
• Emphasizes conformity to good standards of behavior
• Reprimands, disciplines, or punishes the child for emotional
expression, whether the child is misbehaving or not
The Disapproving Parent
• Believes negative emotions need to be controlled
• Believes negative emotions reflect bad character traits
• Believes child uses negative emotions to manipulate; this belief
results in power struggles
• Believes emotions make people weak: children must be
emotionally tough for survival
• Believes negative emotions are unproductive; a waste of time
• Is overly concerned with the child’s obedience to authority
The Laissez-Faire Parent
• Freely accepts all emotional expression from the child
• Offers comfort to the child experiencing negative feelings yet
offers little guidance on behavior
• Does not teach child about emotions
• Is permissive and does NOT set limits
• Does not help child solve problems because does not teach
problem-solving methods to the child
• Believes there is little you can do about negative emotions
except ride them out
The Emotion Coaching Parent
• Values the child’s negative emotions as an opportunity for
learning and intimacy
• Can tolerate spending time with a sad, angry, or fearful child:
Does not become impatient with the emotion
• Is aware of and values his or her own emotions
• Sees the world of negative emotions as an important arena
for parenting
• Is sensitive to the child’s emotional states, even when subtle
The Emotion Coaching Parent
• Is not confused or anxious about the child’s emotional
expression; knows what needs to be done
• Respects the child’s emotions
• Does not poke fun or make light of the child’ negative
• Does not say or dictate how child should feel
• Does not feel he or she has to fix every problem for the
Uses emotional moments to:
• Listen to child
• Empathize with soothing words and affection
• Help the child label the emotion he or she is
• Offer guidance on regulating emotions
• Set limits and teach acceptable expression of
• Teach problem-solving skills
Effects of Emotion Coaching Style on
• They learn to trust their feelings, regulate
their own emotions, and solve problems.
• They have high self-esteem, learn well, and
get along well with others.
• utilizes incremental pieces of information
• includes specific praise for specified bits of
• Parents WAIT for the child to do something right
and offer them SPECIFIC praise pertinent to the
• A focused compliment is much more effective in a
teaching situation than global compliments
• scaffolding process uses each small success to
boost the child’s confidence, helping child to
reach the next level of competence.
Parental Agenda
• A goal based on a particular problem the parent has
identified as interfering with what they believe to be in
the child’s best interest.
• Such agendas are often linked to promoting admirable
values such as courage, kindness, and discipline.
• These agendas can cause parents to keep a watchful
eye on behavior, constantly trying to adjust their
children’s course based on what they believe is best for
the child.
• When conflicts arise over agenda issues, vigilant
parents see it as their responsibility and even their
moral obligation---to drive home their own points of
Parental Agenda
• To get at a question underlying misbehavior, it’s
best to avoid asking questions like: “Why did you
do that?”
• Best to steer clear of global enduring critiques of
children’s personality traits.
• When correcting kids, focus instead on a specific
event that happened here and now in their lives.
• Examples: Rather than “You are so careless and
messy” say to your child: “ There are clothes
scattered all over your room.”
• Instead of “Don’t be such a wallflower.” say: If you
speak louder, the waitress will hear you.”
Parenting Styles- A Matter of Cultural
and Philosophical Differences
• If scientists have learned anything on the
subject, it's that social connections are the
foundation for happiness, health, and success in
life. When kids build friendships through play,
their social and emotional intelligence
flourishes; social skills are a key predictor of
success later in life. What's more, research
clearly links loneliness and isolation with
chronic illness and increased mortality rates.
What are OUR Values?
Dignity we all deserve to be treated well
Responsible Contributing Member of Society
Amy Chua Challenge
• Why did her perspective hit such a nerve?
• ARE we satisfied with the way we are raising
our children?
• What have we learned about ourselves in this
• What will we do differently?
• What values are reinforced by this
If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again
If I had my child to raise over again
I’d build self esteem first and the house later
I’d finger paint more and point the finger less
I would do less correcting and more connecting
I’d take my eyes off my watch and watch my eyes
I would care to know less and know to care more
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites
I’d stop playing serious and seriously play
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars
I’d do more hugging and less tugging
I’d see the oak tree in the acorn more often
I’d be firm less often and affirm much more
I would model less about the love of power
And more about the Power of Love
Donna Lewis

Emotion Coaching - Le Jardin Academy