We love it when I come across an article or blog post that says exactly what we would say.  This great article on 5 Healthy Responses to Children’s Emotions from Positive-Parents.org does just that.  In a few short paragraphs, they offer some practical examples of how to be an emotion coaching parenting.  What’s emotion coaching?  Well it is a way of interacting with our children that helps to develop a healthy understanding of their feelings and how to use that information to make good decisions.  The five responses mentioned in the article are:

          1. Recognize the emotion. 
          2. Increase intimacy with emotion.
          3. Listen for and validate emotion.
          4. Label emotion.
          5. Set limits with emotion {behavioral responses to emotions or emotional acting out}

These steps are a perfect guideline to how to be a more emotion-coaching parent and ultimately raise children with higher emotional intelligence.  Emotional intelligence leads our kids to have a healthy sense of self, deal better with adversity and disappointment, and have healthier, more fulfilling relationships in their lives.

While it is often easier to use these steps with a toddler or younger child, it is equally importnat {I dare say, MORE important} that we implement this style of interaction with our teens.  Empathy and patience are often overflowing when faced with a tiny two-year-old face bursting into angry tears but when faced with those same emotions from a 6-foot-tall, akward, yelling teenager parents struggle to respond kindly.  However, despite the change in size and attitude teens need the same kind of validation, empathy, and guidance in dealing with difficult emotions… especially when you may be the cause of those emotions.

Take a look at the full article here and tell us what you think?  Do you have an experience where you were able to use these steps or a memory of a time when you wished your parents had done this for you?  We’d love to hear some more examples of how to use this approach with teens.  Adolescence is hard- for parents and kids- but it gets easier with some smart emotional responsiveness.