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Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting

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Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child is John Gottman’s groundbreaking guide to teaching children to understand and regulate their emotional world.

Intelligence That Comes from the Heart

Every parent knows the importance of equipping children with the intellectual skills they need to succeed in school and life. But children also need to master their emotions. Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child is a guide to teaching children to understand and regulate their emotional world. And as acclaimed psychologist and researcher John Gottman shows, once they master this important life skill, emotionally intelligent children will enjoy increased self-confidence, greater physical health, better performance in school, and healthier social relationships. Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child will equip parents with a five-step “emotion coaching” process that teaches how to:

-Be aware of a child's emotions
-Recognize emotional expression as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching
-Listen empathetically and validate a child's feelings
-Label emotions in words a child can understand
-Help a child come up with an appropriate way to solve a problem or deal with an upsetting issue or situation

Written for parents of children of all ages, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child will enrich the bonds between parent and child and contribute immeasurably to the development of a generation of emotionally healthy adults.

240 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1997

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About the author

John M. Gottman

79 books1,351 followers
John Mordecai Gottman is an American psychological researcher and clinician who did extensive work over four decades on divorce prediction and marital stability. He is also an award-winning speaker, author, and a professor emeritus in psychology.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 590 reviews
Profile Image for Gail.
326 reviews87 followers
January 19, 2013
John Gottman should feel sad for two reasons: (1) he buries astute analysis and fabulously practical advice (of which he is rightfully proud) inside a tomb of, frankly, boring writing and poor organization, and (2) he writes for a cripplingly heterogeneous audience. For a mother who already embraces her own emotions and honors them in her children, reading “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child” feels like a socialite perusing a manual of polite social interaction written for the autistic. I wasted time and effort slogging through dry material justifying parental emotion-coaching when the boon of Gottman’s significant work and expertise can be summarized in a few pages (just watch me); at the same time, I recognize the need to teach others to swim before instructing them in the niceties of a butterfly kick. Color me frustrated.

Gottman’s division of parents into four types helps to clarify my chief complaint: the “dismissing parent” minimizes emotion and employs distraction, the “disapproving parent” negates and belittles emotion, the “laissez-faire parent” acknowledges emotion but doesn’t guide children to resolution, and the “emotion coach” values children’s emotions, “us[ing] emotional moments as a time to listen to the child, empathize with soothing words and affection, help the child label the emotion he or she is feeling, offer guidance on regulating emotions, set limits and teach acceptable expression of emotions, [and] teach problem-solving skills.” Though we all have our moments in each camp, readers are predisposed to be most like one of the four types.

Since dismissing and disapproving parents need the “why” behind emotion coaching Gottman starts out by explaining that children of emotion coaches unsurprisingly end up with “more general abilities in the area of their own emotions . . . includ[ing] being able to regulate their own emotional states” (i.e., moderating their reactions and soothing themselves when upset, even physically calming down their hearts faster). More interestingly, his research shows that these kids also “had fewer infectious illnesses[,] . . . were better at focusing attention[,] . . . related better to other people[,] . . . were better at understanding people[, and] . . . were also better at situations in school that required academic performance.” In order to explain this link between “parents’ responsiveness and children’s emotional intelligence,” Gottman theorizes that “[w]ith adults constantly invalidating her feelings, [a child begins to accept the adult’s estimation of the event, learns to doubt her own judgment, and] loses confidence in herself.” On an even more visceral level, he explains, “[b]abies whose emotional needs are neglected . . . don’t get the chance to learn th[at it is possible to go from feelings of intense distress, anger, and fear, to feelings of comfort and recovery]. When they cry out of fear, sadness, or anger, they experience only more fear, more sadness, and more anger. . . . [T]hey experience negative emotion as a black hole of anxiety and fear.” Okay, so “no thanks” to the black hole of anxiety and fear.

Now that he has dismissing and disapproving parents on board (and laissez-faire and emotion coaching parents bored), Gottman sets about explaining how a parent switches styles: analyzing and altering her approach to her own emotions. Don’t worry, he reassures, “[f]or most . . . becoming emotionally aware is not a matter of picking up new skills; it is a matter of granting themselves permission to experience what’s already there,” and fear not, “people can be emotionally aware . . . without being highly expressive.” Finally, we get to “the five key steps for emotion coaching . . . : (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 [in order to “transform an amorphous, scary, uncomfortable feeling into something definable, something that has boundaries and is a normal part of everyday life”]; and (5) setting limits while helping the child problem-solve.” All the while making sure the child “understand[s] that . . . [a]ll feelings and all wishes are acceptable, but not all behaviors are.”

A chapter packed with helpful strategies follows. For example, I’ve long wondered whether I show too much emotion when dealing with my little ones, especially after reading the “Parenting with Love & Logic” admonition to never let your kids see you sweat. Gottman confirmed my maternal impulse that parents ought to model emotional intelligence, displaying emotions like anger and showing their children that “[s]trong feelings can be expressed and managed” (with the added benefit of showing that you care). Gottman’s other suggestions include: (1) “acknowledge low levels of emotion early on before they escalate”; (2) since “children - like all people - have reasons for their emotions, whether they can articulate them or not,” if you find your child “getting angry or upset over an issue that seems inconsequential, it may help to step back and look at the big picture of what’s going on in their lives”; (3) don’t joke or use discipline playing on children’s fear of abandonment; (4) “sharing simple observations usually works better than probing questions to get a conversation rolling”; (5) “avoid questions to which you already know the answer”; (6) “keep in mind that children also learn from their mistakes [and if] your child seems to be veering toward an idea that you know is unworkable but harmless, you may want to let her try it anyway”; (7) “avoid ‘siding with the enemy’”; and (8) “fantasy play . . . [has] utility in helping kids cope with a multitude of anxieties likely to peak in early childhood” such as fear of powerlessness, abandonment, the dark, bad dreams, parental conflict, and death. Lastly, my favorite new trick comes from one of Gottman’s study participants: ask yourself whether you and your child are “’settl[ing y]our differences like two people [or like] a guy and his dog.’”

Though I didn’t find the chapter on marriage and divorce particularly enlightening, I loved the daddy chapter and recommend that working parents of either gender read it in isolation (and sub in gender-neutral language) if they don’t have time for the whole book. Gottman writes, “[T]he best way for dads to be part of their children’s lives is to participate in . . . ‘family work,’ the day-to-day feeding, bathing, dressing, and nurturing of children.” After all, “[s]uccessful fathering is not about getting things done despite our children. . . . It’s about . . . taking time to be with our children one on one, relating to them on a level their age requires.” And the effect is cumulative: “[c]onversations come easier if you know about the events and people in your child’s life.” In sum, “family time is full of a million opportunities either to connect with your children or to distance yourself from them.” Of course, the great paternal irony is that men are socialized to work hard to provide for their families, but the harder they work (i.e., the longer hours they’re away and the more distracted they are when they’re home) the less they can emotionally provide for their families. At the end of the day, “men are often required to sacrifice financial gains and career development in order to strike a better balance between their work and family lives.�� From Gottman’s lips to God’s ears.

The next edition could certainly benefit from a heavy-handed editor and a “choose your own adventure” approach; in the meantime, parents who take the time to sift through the existing material will be handsomely rewarded with Gottman’s substantial wisdom.
2 reviews
March 22, 2015
A must read for every dad. Positively changes your perspective on parenting.
Profile Image for Leila.
165 reviews59 followers
September 25, 2019
اين كتاب راهكارهايي براي بالا بردن هوش هيجاني كودكان ارائه ميدهد كه تا حدودي موثرند.
آنچه بيش از هر چيز توجه مرا در حوزه‌ي تربيت كودك جلب كرده اين است كه: " كودك را رها كنيد و به تربيت خويش بپردازيد".
در تربيت فرزند و بالا بردن هوش هيجاني‌اش بيشترين موردي كه حائز اهميت است نحوه‌ي برخورد والدين با ناراحتي، سرشكستي، شادي و تمامي احساساتي است كه كودك تجربه مي‌كند.
احساس كودك را بشناسيم،، بر آن نام بنهيم ، كودك را درك كنيم و با او همدلي نماییم.
فروردين ٩٨
Profile Image for Elise.
315 reviews20 followers
May 10, 2011
Every parent should read this book. Parents of toddlers, parents of teenagers. There are so many things in this book that can help parents build trusting, communicative relationships with their children, and establish methods to help a child become "emotionally intelligent." The beginning of the book talks about how the emotional intelligence of a child is a far greater predictor of success (school performance, education, career opportunities, better peer relationships) in life than a child's mental intelligence, or IQ. It took a little while for me to be convinced that the strategies in this book would be effective, but now I'm trying to use them every day in my parenting.

Gottman presents five key steps to "Emotion Coaching," which help children understand and regulate their emotions. The five key steps are these:
1. Be aware of the child's emotion
2. Recognize the emotion as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching
3. Listen empathetically and validate the child's feelings
4. Help the child verbally label emotions
5. Set limits while you help the child problem-solve

Step number four I found especially enlightening as the book talked about how the act of labeling emotions can have a soothing effect on the nervous system: "talking about an emotion as you're experiencing it engages the left lobe of the brain, which is the center of language and logic." This helps the child calm down. Children rarely understand their feelings or can adequately express why they're having those feelings, so they need a parent to help them label their emotions.

Another important thing I learned from this book is when to ignore "Parental Agenda." Gottman gives this example:
Mom: "What's the matter, sweetheart? You look kind of sad."
Andrew: "I just wish I had a nicer sister."
Mom: "Well, are you nice to her?"
"Imagine now how Andrew must have felt about this question. Here was Mom, appearing to be interested in how he was feeling. But as soon as he opens up, she responds with criticism. Granted, it's well-intentioned, mild criticism, but it's criticism nonetheless."

The mom in this situation should have first responded empathetically; because she was critical, her son will probably not continue to share his feelings with her.

Gottman cites Haim Ginott's principle: All feelings are permissible; not all behavior is permissible. "The goal of Emotion Coaching is to explore and understand emotions, not to suppress them." He also talks about how giving children choices helps them to build self-esteem.

Here's some more from the book, in case you're intrigued:
"It is said that in Chinese the ideogram representing “opportunity” is encompassed in the ideogram for “crisis.” Nowhere is the linking of these two concepts more apt than in our role as parents. Whether the crisis is a broken balloon, a failing math grade, or the betrayal of a friend, such negative experiences can serve as superb opportunities to empathize, to build intimacy with our children, and to teach them ways to handle their feelings.

"For many parents, recognizing children’s negative emotions as opportunities for such bonding and teaching comes as a relief, a liberation, a great “ah-ha.” We can look at our children’s anger as something other than a challenge to our authority. Kids’ fears are no longer evidence of our incompetence as parents. And their sadness doesn’t have to represent just “one more blasted thing I’m going to have to fix today.”

"To reiterate an idea offered by one Emotion-Coaching father in our studies, a child needs his parent most when he is sad or angry or afraid. The ability to help soothe an upset child can be what makes us “feel most like parents.” By acknowledging our children’s emotions, we are helping them learn skills for soothing themselves, skills that will serve them well for a lifetime.

"While some parents try to ignore children’s negative feelings in the hope that they will go away, emotions rarely work that way. Instead, negative feelings dissipate when children can talk about their emotions, label them, and feel understood. It makes sense, therefore, to acknowledge low levels of emotion early on before they escalate into full-blown crises. If your five-year-old seems nervous about an upcoming trip to the dentist, it’s better to explore that fear the day before than to wait until the child is in the dentist chair, throwing a full-blown tantrum. If your twelve-year-old feels envious because his best friend got the position he coveted on the baseball team, it’s better to help him talk over those feelings with you than to let them boil over in a row between the two buddies next week.

"Addressing feelings that are low in intensity before they escalate also gives families a chance to practice listening and problem-solving skills while the stakes are small. If you express interest and concern over your child’s broken toy or a minor scrape, these experiences are building blocks. Your child learns that you are his ally and the two of you figure out how to collaborate. Then if a big crisis occurs, you are prepared to face it together."

Anyway, I am sold. Every parent should read this book.
Profile Image for Shae.
541 reviews
July 15, 2014
This book started off with the premise that parenting is so important YOU MIGHT MESS UP YOUR KIDS IF YOU DO IT WRONG which dropped it to a three star book right away. Other than that I did pick it up and put it down over the course of six weeks, continuing to come back to it as it gave me lots of food for thought.

In the big picture Gottman is advocating "Emotion Coaching" which broken down to five steps is: 1.) Being aware of the child's emotions 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 personally didn't get a lot out of the big picture information, but I did get a lot out of smaller points in the book. For example, it changed the way I looked at displays of fear and anger in my son and made me realize how dismissive I am of them. Also the chapters in the end about the father's crucial role recapped a lot of good research and the following chapter which explored five different periods of children's lives and their emotional development in each was a revelation to me.

So, my final recommendation for this book is to not "read" it, but use it as a reference book. Skim the table of contents, section headings, etc. to find those parts which are most interesting and relevant to your parenting situation.
Profile Image for Wick Welker.
Author 5 books342 followers
December 28, 2022
Great book about preparing your child to not only understand their emotions but to equip them for adulthood. The main premise of this book is to become an emotional coach to your children and it's really not that complex of a thing to do. There are three types of non-emotional coaching parents: dismissing, disapproving and laissez faire. The dismissing and disapproving are obvious but the laissez faire is a parent who appears to respect their children's emotions by letting them explore but the problem is they do not provide guidance about what to do with those emotions. None of these parenting styles actually help children.

And becoming an emotion coach is pretty simple: just make observations about their emotional state. Rather than dictating and interrogating children about their emotions, you offer observations, validate their emotions, empathize with them and just be there with them for those moments. Create green, yellow and red zones of permittable behavior. Yellow zone is needed because it allows children to push boundaries knowing the parent disapproves to allow them to grow.

If you're a parent you should ask yourself, from where is your power derived? If it's from your anger, from humiliating your child or from being far too permissive, these power sources will not help children grow and will likely teach them toxic coping methods. The power should be derived from the emotional trust you have with them. This is why simply being disappointed is punishment in and of itself because you have fostered a healthy emotional relationship with them prior that ensures how you feel about them matters to them.

Here's the simple but poignant point of this book: children have reasons for their emotions just like any adult. And just like any adult, you can observance, explore and empathize rather than dismiss their emotions as the incoherent emotions of a toddler or something.

Great read for any parent. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Natalie.
316 reviews137 followers
March 19, 2018
I thought this book was very helpful in terms of things not to do (shaming, escalating, etc. etc.), but that the advice for what TO do was a bit naive (the fatal flaw of many parenting books): just use words and say it the right way and your preschooler will totally be rational! Yay! Yeah right, lol.

It was also pretty 90s dated--lots of stuff in here about saving kids from the rising danger of becoming criminals and hysterics about the ever rising rate of divorce and how it will surely turn all our kids into little sociopaths. Skip the editorializing and just read the hands-on advice.
Profile Image for Natalie.
16 reviews2 followers
September 4, 2008
yes, i read parenting books. i'm a nanny and an overachiever. this one is excellent. even if you never hang out with kids, i think that at a certain age, we all realize that we need to be a good parent to ourselves - creating nurturing and discipline in our daily lives. so this book gave me tools to understand the underlying philosophy of my own parents, the way its affected my own style, and tools for changing it. Plus, it has helped immensely with taking care of a two and four year old.
Profile Image for Stacy.
462 reviews25 followers
November 20, 2019
I've read like 35 parenting books in the last 6 years. I thought I'd just skim this one. NOPE! It's a must read.

I'm a big fan of Gottman's marriage books and studies, and found his parenting advice no less compelling. When it comes to dealing with kids' emotions, he describes 4 types of parents:
-Dismissing: Emotions are uncomfortable; quickly tries to move past emotions or distract the kid)
-Disapproving: emotions are wrong/dangerous. "Don't you raise your voice at me! Go to your room!")
-Laissez Faire: Parent empathizes but sets no boundaries and offers no advice on how to resolve them.
-Emotion Coaches: Uses empathy, sets limits, coaches the child on problem solving
Here are the steps to being an emotion coach:

1. Being aware of the child's emotion.
2.Recognize 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

Don't bother emotion coaching when you:
-Are Pressed for time
-Have an audience (do it later)
-Are too upset/tired for it to be productive (later)
-Need to address serious misbehavior
-When your child is "faking" an emotion to manipulate you
Profile Image for Caroline.
Author 1 book6 followers
February 20, 2013
It's fine. Not earth-shattering or anything, but practical, substantial, and solidly supported. I had a previous love for Gottman from his marriage studies/books.

I don't really think it's necessary to memorize the emotion coaching steps or anything, since a lot of it just strikes me as common sense and practice, and once you embrace the role of emotion-coaching, you'll find your own ways to communicate with your particular kid in the way that works best for y'all. (But the specific steps might be really helpful for parents coming from a "not really in touch with your own emotions" place.) Still, there was some good advice about being mindful to separate the emotion from the manifestation of the emotion, how to recognize situations in which it is actually best *not* to emotion coach, and what to do in those situations.

In general, I'd really like for editors to recognize that PARENTING books, especially those for baby/toddler-years, are read by people who are SHORT ON TIME. I basically have the same complaint about this that I do about all the other parenting books I've read: IT SHOULD BE HALF AS LONG.
Profile Image for Ryceejo.
354 reviews
October 8, 2022
Tl;dr: There are some problematic ideas/fallacies consistent with the decade in which this was published. The target audience was gen x fathers who had been raised by authoritarian parents.

The author contradicts himself. He recognizes that past generations didn’t provide patience and kindness for children, and that we are evolving away from authoritarian parenting. Children have always needed more emotional support, and culture has suppressed it.

However, he also asserts that emotionally intelligent children used to occur more frequently, and with the decline of the nuclear family. emotional intelligence has thus diminished. I disagree completely with the latter analysis, and there is not evidence to support this. There are many factors that contribute to child and youth problems today. I appreciate that he acknowledged the lack of living wages in America, as well as the loss of the village/social community that families used to rely on for their children’s upbringing. However, his continued emphasis on the dissolve of the nuclear family is skewed. For example, he claims that more women going to work, along with the shifting roles as fathers remain at home, has had a detrimental effect on society. What is his evidence? Additionally, while the author tried to use gender inclusive language for children, he only referred to children’s parents as “the father and the mother,” eliminating healthy LGBTQ families.

Again, later in the book, he repeats that the modern wave of feminism has destroyed families. There is so much privilege in saying that families need a good father. Way too much worship of the nuclear family. I believe all of these principles can happen in non traditional families. Love that he recognizes that dads often play “babysitter” instead of father and give too much to their careers, and this needs to shift.

The actual advice after he goes on about causes, is helpful. Empathy is the foundation of emotion coaching.
368 reviews5 followers
March 18, 2011
I think this book would be really good for parents who aren't sure what emotions are acceptable and how to handle their own emotions in relation to their childs' emotions- clear as mud. What I mean is, if you are ok with your child getting angry, upset, frustrated then you probably know most of what's in this book. But if you aren't ok with yourself feelings these emotions, let alone a child, then you should read it to get on board. Kids are going to have emotions, for crying out loud, adults do. But how we teach our kids to handle them when they are young will reflect their ability to handle them as they get older.

I was looking for more advice on how to figure out what is bothering my child. I can see his frustration- through many outlets- but we can't identify what is causing it. I guess if someone wrote a book on that parenting would be not so...parent-ish. great.
Profile Image for Natali.
433 reviews301 followers
September 4, 2012
You can sum up the five main points in this book in just one chapter but I did appreciate the supporting chapters. There is a lot of really good scientific research in this book, which I always appreciate. I recently ditched a parenting book because its main supporting text was the bible. :|

This author is a psychotherapist who emphasizes empathy as the main way to relate to children. He talks about how damaging it can be to minimize their stress and the lasting effects of doing so, which can teach them to mistrust their own emotions. He also emphasizes the role of the family and the father especially, which I found fascinating.

Of course in reading these books, I am partly looking for magic beans to get my toddler to stop whining forever. Of course there is no such magical advice but there is a lot of solid advice in this book to help you relate to your child far more effectively.
Profile Image for Amanda.
319 reviews54 followers
September 12, 2017
Standing ovation

I can already tell that this is a book that I will come back to many times, I'll probably read it once a year to refresh. My mind is still reeling from all the literal wisdom I just inhaled.

If you have kids or want to eventually, this is a must-read.
Profile Image for Marianna Androulaki.
273 reviews15 followers
April 11, 2022
Στο βιβλίο εντασσόμαστε στην έννοια της συναισθηματικής νοημοσύνης και το πόσο σημαντική είναι για την μετέπειτα εξέλιξ�� του ατόμου. Θεωρώ λίγο άστοχα τα τεστ του βιβλίου, αλλά γενικά συμφωνώ με τα βασικά χαρακτηριστικά που δίνονται, δεδομένων και των πειραμάτων/αποδείξεων που παρατίθενται.
Θα ήθελα να μπορώ να θυμάμαι όλα τα βασικά στοιχεία μέχρι να έρθει η κατάλληλη στιγμή, αλλά πολύ φοβάμαι ότι αν δεν έχεις μεγαλώσει με τον υποδειγματικό τρόπο που υποδεικνύεται, πολλές αυτόματες αντιδράσεις θα είναι λάθος.
Παρ' όλ' αυτά, έστω και μια φορά να αντιδράσουμε αλλιώς ίσως κάνει τη διαφορά...
Profile Image for Chalay Cragun.
281 reviews
February 19, 2021
Loved this book. I feel like it's something you can read no matter how old your child is. I'm sure it will be one that I will revisit as I enter different ages of parenting. As I read more books to become more intentional in my parenting it seems like the underlying 'secret' to it all is creating and maintaining a connection with your kids. This book also talked a lot about becoming emotionally intelligent yourself so you can mirror behaviors to your child. Since I started reading this one I feel like all we have talked about in our house is our feelings all of the time! That being said, I do think I have been able to see positive changes already.
Profile Image for Lance Agena.
35 reviews15 followers
May 2, 2007
There are many parenting books out there that are as controversial as they are popular. You use what you find helpful and ignore what doesn't fit in with your own personal parenting philosophy. I found most of Goleman's techniques in this book to be insightful and invaluable.

Too often, we may find ourselves giving in to venting our anger or frustration at our children for our own emotional benefit, forgetting that they are not adept at reading their own feelings much less yours. It is too easy to discount our little ones' cries as merely manipulative attempts to get what they want. (The author DOES recognize that children DO try to manipulate adults in this way and recommends not using emotion coaching in those instances.) This is a realistic, practical, and easily read book told from the perspective of a father who also relays helpful instances in his own life where he'd used emotion coaching.

One benchmark that I often use to judge parenting books are their philosophies on punishment, particularly time-outs. Goleman believes in the proper implementation of time-outs. They are to be consistent and respectful, not opportunities to emotionally berate or humiliate children. He believes that it is best used for children aged 3-8 and should last about a minute. You may want use Amazon's search-within-a-book feature and search for "time-out" to get a better idea.

The author sites studies showing that emotional intelligence is linked to higher reading and math IQ's, social competence, and physical health. We all wish the best for our children, and reading this book will help you to be the best parent you can be. More than that, you've probably noticed, that our children have a lot more benefits available to them than we did (baby care gadgets, nutritional food, innovative schooling, etc.) and yet, if I were to choose one benefit of our present to have as a child, I would have wished that my own parents had read this book.
Profile Image for Russell.
115 reviews11 followers
October 9, 2010
This book has started to significantly change my parenting style. With each chapter I noticed that I was starting to soak in the ideas and principles of emotional awareness. I decided not to read it too quickly after I began noticing how it was influencing my sensitivity. I took the time to really think about experiences and situations in the past where I could have applied what Gottman was teaching. This approach required a significant amount of pondering and evaluation. I expect that I will re-read this book again in the next five years to re-visit the material and gauge my progress. I've already started experiencing positive changes in both myself and our family.

I would highly recommend this book to parents/couples interested in connecting more with their children/spouses and seeking to improve their ability to empathize and establish a more trusting relationship. My experience so far (all of three months at the time of this writing) has led me to believe that the most effective use of the book isn't simply reading it, but making it a matter of self introspection and integrating the emotional coaching steps within daily interactions at home.
June 18, 2013
This book takes me back to my college parenting and family studies classes. I feel like its a solid book that teaches you first, to figure out what type of parent you are and second, recognize how you as a parent respond to your child's emotions. It's not a parenting book with lots of tips and there's nothing earth shattering, but it reinforces 5 simple principles which are basically this:

1. beware of the child's emotion
2. prepare yourself for a parenting moment
3. listen to your kid. make them feel like you care.
4. help your kid define how they feel
5. work together to find a solution.

In order to do that, I think parents need to have reached their own level of emotional maturity and there's some practical strategies to go about it. Gottman also has a couple interesting chapters about the role of fathers and marriage and divorce and I thought it was an interesting book.
Profile Image for Ypatios Varelas.
Author 2 books40 followers
November 27, 2017
Εξαιρετικό βιβλίο ως προς το περιεχόμενο, αλλά το ύφος λίγο βαρετό. Μας βοηθάει να αναγνωρίσουμε πόσο καλοί είμαστε στη συναισθηματι��η υποστήριξη και εκπαίδευση των παιδιών μας και δίνει πρακτικές συμβουλές για αυτό. Όμως οι συναισθηματικά ανώριμοι γονείς πρακτικά όχι μόνο θα δυσκολευτούν να εφαρμόσουν αυτές τις συμβουλές αλλά ούτε καν θα καταλάβουν πολλά από τα γραφόμενα. Λείπει μία ενότητα που θα βοηθούσε πολλούς γονείς να αντιληφθούν ακριβώς αυτό και πώς να βελτιωθούν οι ίδιοι στη συναισθηματική τους νοημοσύνη γενικότερα, ώστε να μπορούν να είναι πιο σωστοί με τα παιδιά τους. Το πρόβλημα συχνά δεν είναι ότι ο γονιός δεν ξέρει τι να κάνει, αλλά ότι το "ξεχνάει" την κρίσιμη στιγμή διότι δεν συμβαδίζει με τον τρόπο που έχει "εκπαιδευτεί" ο ίδιος από τους δικούς του γονείς. Θα ήθελα να το έβλεπα αυτό στο βιβλίο!
Profile Image for Kim.
39 reviews1 follower
December 28, 2018
This is a great framework and there are many helpful suggestions. Some of the suggestions are completely unrealistic. For example, in an ideal world we would all rearrange ours and our children’s schedules to validate their wishes and concerns so they don’t feel hurried or stressed. But that is not the case for the vast majority of people. I do like his approach about not focusing on the outcome or the behavior and trying to determine what emotions drove the child to act or behave the way she did. Like Love and Logic, this is great material to have in your toolkit but I find that doing techniques like this may work for a short time and then my children become numb to it and we have to start at the beginning.
Profile Image for Ayşe Köse.
35 reviews6 followers
August 30, 2019
Okuduklarım arasında çocuğun hayatında babanın rolünü en fazla vurgulayan kitap.
Profile Image for Viktor.
9 reviews1 follower
June 10, 2018
A very interesting book about a different side of education of the children. It`s something different from what post soviet union people get used to use from day to day.

Also, some part of the suggestions could be applied to work as a manager: how to read people, how to listen to them in right way, how to find out the "real" reason of the angry state or so.
Profile Image for Sofi.
55 reviews
January 4, 2008
This book had good ideas, but I felt it was redundant; it could have made the point with half the words. I also feel it was mostly geared to those with small children.
Profile Image for Vlad.
773 reviews33 followers
May 6, 2019
Do recommend to parents. Great advice on being an emotionally intelligent parent, and good marriage advice is doled out along the way.
Profile Image for Angela Blount.
Author 5 books670 followers
May 31, 2023
A fairly short, potentially valuable read for those looking for a good-faith approach to helping their child build emotional and social intelligence.

(I'd recommend some skimming, particularly if you don't need much convincing that emotion coaching is a healthy approach to child rearing.)

I fully acknowledge that I am a parent of two middle schoolers, and so particularly in need of ANYTHING that could help me help them navigate relationally. And I do appreciate some of the solid takeaways that one can certainly glean amid the semi-regular bouts of naivete. (Unfortunately, there's not much here by way of helping you tailor the concept of Emotion Coaching to your children's very individual personalities.) Instead, the author offers what feels like a somewhat reductionist perspective on what he labels the four types of parental responsiveness:
1. The Dismissive Parent - the type who minimize emotional states and offer diversions.
2. The Disapproving Parent - the type who ignore/actively mock their child's undesirable emotions.
3. The Laissez-Faire Parent - the type who acknowledge/validate but offer no emotional resolution.
4. The Emotion Coach Parent - the type who empathizes with and values their child's emotions, soothes them, and offers active guidance on emotional regulation.

Pretty obvious which kind of parent we should all be striving for, right?

The author makes it clear that nobody is getting it right 100% of the time, and all parents are going to trend toward one of the first three types. (I'll go ahead and cop to the Laissez-Faire approach. I'm a Xennial--reared by boomers--who didn't have the first clue about emotional regulation until well into adulthood.) So as far as the know-thyself aspect goes, this book was helpful for giving vocabulary terms to tendencies I could only put instinct to previously.

Then we get to the meat of this book: the Five Steps of Emotion Coaching
(1) Awareness of the child’s emotions.
(2) Recognizing said emotions as an opportunity for teaching.
(3) Listening to and validating the child’s feelings.
(4) Helping the child label emotions out loud.
(5) Setting limits while also helping the child problem-solve... All while making it clear to the child that all feelings are acceptable, but not all behaviors are.

Gottman's prose is serviceable; if a bit dry and dated. And it generally feels like there's enough word padding that this book could be cut down to about half of its current length. (I hope they might consider abridging it in a more recent edition.) As some have already pointed out, their target audience (parents) are some of the most pressed-for-time out of the entire population.

If there is an update, I hope he'll consider adding in research regarding neural plasticity--with emphasis on the fact that it's never too late to pull out of a parental nosedive.
5 reviews
June 18, 2020
This is a fantastic book, and should be read by every parent. Even those of us who already make an effort to honor our children's feelings will find this helpful. It is short and to the point. I've read a few reviews that thought it could be boiled down to a few points, and while that is true, I appreciate how the author introduces the key ideas, and then expands and reinforces them in different ways and situations. This is essentially a book that is asking you to change your automatic responses to your child, so it bears repetition. While not perfect, I appreciated the self-assessments, and I love all the research-backed information and narratives the book provided. I also really liked the discussion of how emotion coaching will change through your child's different developmental stages. While the fathering chapter is important, I know it would be triggering for my friends who are single mothers, and already feeling awful about their child's absentee dad.
Profile Image for Becca.
611 reviews22 followers
August 11, 2020
I may circle back to this one, because the concept of emotional coaching sounds really smart, and I'd like to learn how to do it better, but so much of the first third that I read had to do with the destructive consequences of divorce that it left me feeling pretty shitty. I'd appreciate some nuance to these blanket statements; obviously, it's better for a parent to protect kids by removing them from a scary situation with the other parent. We all know divorce in general isn't ideal for kids. Let's stop harping on it and get on to what matters: how to raise our kids to be emotionally connected and resilient.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
263 reviews
April 1, 2022
I wish I had read this book sooner. I love the way Gottman writes and gives examples from real life. I really appreciated all the research he shared about the importance of Dads, and the information about each stage of a child’s life succinctly summed up at the end of the book. This book is a little outdated, but the principles remain as important now as they were in the late 90s. In a world where teens (and too many adults) numb our feelings with constant scrolling, let social media impact who we are, or perceive we are, and all sorts of problems, learning to recognize, name, and accept emotions while keeping your values is essential!
Profile Image for Apzmarshl.
1,558 reviews28 followers
March 13, 2023
Raising children is not about conquering a child's will.

First, I'm so glad this book touched on how crucial father's are.
Second, emotional interesting takes time and presence. Being an effective parent can't be done by try to fit kids in on your rigid schedule or your self focused life. You have to be willing to know your own emotions so that you can help your kids acknowledge and name their own. It takes patience and a lot of time.
Finally, children learn to regulate by having parents that are attentive and responsive. Healthy attachment cannot be underscored enough. We all have feelings and children's especially should not be brushed off or punished.
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