After a minute, I pulled myself together and said, "Honey, when I didn't know how to play the way you wanted me to, I got frustrated and I stopped playing all of a sudden. You probably didn't like how I quit playing so suddenly." He looked up at me with a super-sad face and nodded. I went on, "I am sorry I quit playing all of a sudden like that." "That's ok, " he said. I asked, "Honey, did you throw the remote on the floor?" "No, it just dropped. Sorry," he obviously felt bad about it. I verified, "It was an accident?" He answered, "It on real." I said in a funny voice, "On real! I don't know what that means!" We laughed. It is an inside joke. He tells me that I taught him to say 'on real'. I still can't figure out if 'on real' means it was an accident or on purpose. We laughed and hugged and both said I'm sorry and I love you and the emotional crisis was over in less than five minutes.
I can guarantee you that if I had not tried to consciously practice emotion coaching, that episode would have lasted at least 30 minutes and maybe would have escalated into an ugly, ugly scene before it got any better!
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
2. Recognizing the emotion as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching
3. Listening empathetically and validating the child's feelings
4. Helping the child verbally label emotions
5. Setting limits while helping the child problem-solve
I hope you love this stuff as much as I do!!!