A review: The five steps Emotion Coaching Parents commonly use to build empathy into relationships with their children:
1. Being aware of the child's emotion- It is hard to ignore his feelings when he starts screaming! Ok, now I will listen to you!
2. Recognizing the emotion as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching- when his emotions are overwhelming him, he needs my presence to help him calm down. It really is a chance for us to bond, especially if I can try to understand how he is feeling. When he knows I understand him, he feels closer to me.
3. Listening empathetically and validating the child's feelings- I wanted to say, "Stop crying! You are at Disneyland! Be grateful!! Do you want to leave now?!" Instead I said, "You didn't want me to take more pictures of you. I took one more picture. You don't like it when I take pictures of you."
4. Helping the child verbally label emotions- "You seem very mad and sad that I didn't listen to you."
5. Setting limits while helping the child problem-solve- "It's ok to be mad, but it is not ok to ____fill in the blank_____shout at me." "We don't shout at each other in this family." "What can we do to make this better?" "I will feel better if...." "Would you feel better if next time..."