you are a loving parent, but do you emotion coach?


Well, perhaps this should start with a brief explanation of what emotion coaching is. Emotion coaching is about identifying and valuing both yours and your child’s emotions and guiding your child through emotional situations. John Gottman, a renowned psychologist and researcher studying parents and children for over 30 years has identified four parenting styles (dissmissive, disapproving, laissez faire and emotion coaching). The difference between some of the parenting styles is difficult to discern, though the point of difference is significant in terms of how your child comes to understand and experience emotions, which children carry forward into their adult lives.

There have been compelling connections made between children who have high emotional intelligence (which involves self-awareness, emotional balance, motivation, empathy and social finesse) and success in work and family life. That is to say, IQ isn’t the only predictor of success, in fact, arguably less so than emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is largely learned during childhood by parental modeling and emotion coaching. By adopting an emotion coaching style toward parenting (which, by the way, is done only during teachable moments, not all the time), you are giving your child a significant advantage. In fact, research shows that the most successful professionals are those with high emotional intelligence, which makes sense. According Daniel Goleman, a founding father of this concept,

“Emotional intelligence matters twice as much as technical and analytic skill combined for star performances,’ he says. ‘And the higher people move up in the company, the more crucial emotional intelligence becomes.”

A recent study released by Michigan State University postulates, “that a child’s social skills at age three could predict his or her future social and academic performance.” This same team of researchers has demonstrated significant success with at risk children benefited by the Early Head Start Program, which has yielded better performance on measures of social-emotional functioning at age three for participants in the program.

We at Swellbeing have long believed in the value of emotion coaching for children. Soon, we will offer a workshop for parents to understand the steps to emotion coaching. Stay tuned!