Emotional Coaching: 4 Tips For Parents
- Jul 25, 2022
Emotional coaching means teaching children to identify and regulate their emotions. According to a survey, self-regulation of emotion equates to higher life satisfaction. This is valuable because children raised this way learn the following:
- How to self-soothe
- How to appreciate their full range of emotions
- How their actions are connected to their feelings
- How to be empathetic
Long-term effects of these lessons include increased academic performance, social competence and higher emotional intelligence. Use these four tips to get started with emotional coaching and help your child handle their feelings better -
1. Start With Yourself
The first tip is to seek an understanding of yourself and the way you are currently dealing with both your own emotions and the emotions of those around you. Parents are encouraged to act as role models, have empathy when with their child and take their emotions seriously. But to do this, you need to be self-aware. Prompts to ask yourself include -
- Do I dismiss my feelings toward a situation?
- Do I allow myself to identify the emotions I feel in a situation?
- Do I actively listen when someone else speaks about their feelings?
- Do I allow myself to express what I am feeling?
Children often experience invalidation from their families, leading to self-invalidating habits that reflect in adulthood, as well. Make sure you’re not part of the problem by taking a moment to understand your level of emotional intelligence as a parent. This will help you identify problems in your behaviour and take the necessary action before it affects your child.
2. Help Your Children Name Their Emotions
Children feel a range of emotions but they lack the vocabulary to articulate them. You can use flashcards to teach them how to name their emotions. Narrate a situation and ask them to spell out the emotion they’d feel on a coloured card. You can also act out the emotions, so your child can observe and understand what they look like in real-life situations. While they're watching cartoons, take the opportunity to point out emotions the characters are going through or ask them to name them.
3. Lead Conversations With “I Feel”
Generally, parents have a tendency to intellectualise emotional situations. This means making statements starting with “I think,” followed by the other person’s behaviour (I think you’re being unreasonable). This doesn't let you speak about the root of the issue: what the situation made you feel.
When you are in your child’s presence or are speaking to them, lead all such conversations with “I feel” and ask your children to follow suit. This helps them handle emotional situations better because they’ll learn how to name and acknowledge their feelings clearly. One thing to be careful of here is to not name their feelings for them. Allow them time to speak for themselves.
4. Validate Their Feelings
Offering a non-judgemental space and actively listening to your child’s “I feel” statements is extremely important for their emotional development. Validate their emotions verbally with reassurances like, “I understand why you’re feeling this way,” or “It’s normal to feel this.” You can also reassure them with body gestures such as a hug, squeezing their hand or patting their back. Receiving validation and learning to validate oneself boosts a child’s self-confidence, aiding their overall development.
Children learn at their own pace. We must be patient and empathetic in this process. The way you approach emotional coaching now will have a huge impact on your child’s future. So let’s do what we can to help them grow to be self-aware and empathetic towards themselves. We hope the above four tips help!
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