Daniel Goleman and John Gottman, PhD

This book was written in 1997 – I was embarking on pimples and boy fear and bloody undies.  I don’t ever remember hearing the phrase “emotionally intelligent child.” This could be because I was a child myself.  Alternately, I think it was because it was new and emerging and fresh language. The book came out a couple of years after Daniel Goleman released “Emotional Intelligence,” popularizing the idea and term.  

John Gottman, PhD, wrote this book and the title says it all.  How to Raise an Emotionally Intelligent Child. This book is clearly laid out as a recipe format to helping our children develop emotional wellness.  

He stresses the importance of the parents being able to express, identify and deal with their own emotions.  I was banking on skipping myself and just helping my kids get the hang of this, but I was, in fact, wrong.  

He came up with an effective 5 step process to raising kids with emotional intelligence.  

  1. Become aware of the child’s emotions.
  2. Recognize the emotional as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching.
  3. Listen empathetically, validating the child’s feelings.
  4. Help the child find words to label the emotion he is having.
  5. Set limits while exploring strategies to solve the problem at hand (it’s possible to move beyond these emotions.)

A common thread throughout the book is the importance of the parent having empathy for the child’s emotions.  “Empathy allows children to see their parents as allies.” Our kids need to see that we are with them and for them. Not against them.  Oh how this is difficult to achieve in the midst of the child banging the spoon on the cat’s head while screaming for another candy. Not that this is a personal example or anything.  Of course.

If we can adopt this process, we will be able to help our children identify their emotions, label them, accept them, and come up with a game plan to move forward.  

Isn’t this what we want for them?

Go out and get yourself a copy – there is so much more within the book. There are tips, strategies, specific guidance for each age range, and great children’s book recommendations to read with your kids, all in the pursuit of raising emotionally intelligent children.  

Carry on!