Myridian's Reviews > Meta-Emotion: How Families Communicate Emotionally

Meta-Emotion by John M. Gottman
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Apr 19, 12

bookshelves: psychology, parenting
Read from June 20, 2011 to April 18, 2012, read count: 2

Gottman is famous for his research on couples, but this book discusses his less well known but equally impressive work on parenting.

I just finished reading the book for the second time. The first time I was more interested in the information about cardiovascular reactivity and vagal tone. This time I was reading it as a parent and got very different things from the book. The thing I liked best from the book at this point though was that it really made me think about my own meta-emotion stucture and made me aware of some of the contradictions between how I understand emotions logically and ways in which I react to emotions as they are occurring.

Another thing I love is that, unlike many researchers, Gottman, Katz and Hooven are wonderfully clear in their writing. The theories from the parenting literature and the meta-emotion concept that inform their research make sense and they move these theories forward in a way that makes me wonder if the research was that clean to begin with or if they are just fantastic at telling the story of their results.

For Parents out there, here are the five components of the "emotion-coaching parent"
"1. The parent is aware of the child's emotion.
2. The parent sees the child's emotion as an opportunity for intimacy or teaching.
3. The parent helps the child to verbally label the emotions the child is having
4. The parent empathizes with or validates the child's emotion.
5. The parent helps the child problem solve." (sorry, don't know how to make this indented in the way a long quote should be....)

This is a wonderful book and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in having a research-based understanding of parenting and/or emotion.

I also have the book Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting which I assume is the popular audience version of their research. I'll be interested to see how it compares with this book.
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