Rebecca's Reviews > Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child

Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child by John M. Gottman
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Jun 18, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: parenting
Read in August, 2012

A few pages in and I had a spooky sense of dejavu-- am I crazy or have I read this all before somewhere? After a few more pages, the feeling was explained. Gottman was greatly influenced by the work of Haim Ginott, who did important research in childhood and communication, but who was not widely interpreted for the public until Faber's "How so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk" translated his psychological principles into concrete parenting tools.

So reading this, after loving "How to Talk" for years, is like meeting your best friend's sister. The similarities are surprising and the differences intriguing, and I find myself getting drawn into the puzzle of interpretation and mentorship, an almost Talmudic question or revision, meaning, context, transmission, source, authenticity, and generational divisions...

But that's beside the point.

This quick-read book gently but insistently reminds parents that children's feelings matter, and that rather than dismissing, squelching, or indulging in those feelings, parents need to take on a role of "Emotional Coaches." We have to listen to what the child is experiencing, help them label their feelings, and support them as they work out solutions.

Gottman's body of empirical research-- based on years of work-- makes his parenting advice unique. Other books may say, "don't yell at your kids, it's not good for them," where Gottman is able to say, "don't yell at your kids, it causes the ambient level of stress hormones in their blood and urine to be constantly elevated which is detrimental to their emotional, physical and intellectual health."

He includes good solid Gottman advice that fans will recognize from his other works, but re-interpreted for parents. We need to have "Mental maps" of our kids' lives, and avoid the "Four Horseman" in our families. There are reams of very practical advice for communicating well with kids, and giving them the skills they need to navigate their own difficult feelings for their lifetimes.

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