Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting
Why this is important
Emotional intelligence predicts a person’s personal, academic, and professional success. Part of this is inborn (nature) but part of this is nurture. Surprisingly, a great deal of this can be taught to anyone, whether neurotypical or autistic. It’s easiest to do this if it’s integrated into all your interactions with your child.
If you didn’t receive emotionally intelligent parenting yourself, it can be nearly impossible to provide it to your children. Without a model, how can you learn it?
Something that really stuck with me
This book provides a very well organized 5-step “emotion coaching” process you can use with children in both calm and intense parenting situations. It also gives example conversations or phrases you can use in each step. By taking a fairly soft skill (emotional intelligence) and creating a strong format, this can be learned by any parent. It’s also available as an online training from the Gottman Institute. (This is NOT an affiliate link, this is just in case it’s helpful to you.)
Any thumbs down?
Some of the conversations felt a little contrived–my children have never been so easy. At the same time, the concepts have still worked well for us. I read the book when Charlie was an infant at the recommendation of another young mother and it has informed our parenting throughout our children’s lives. So I guess the contrived conversations weren’t that big a problem for me. They were nearly a deal breaker for Tim, though, which meant that I read the book and taught the emotion coaching in our real lives rather than reading him the examples in the book itself.
We both believe that this method helped Tim enormously with parenting despite his difficulties related to his undiagnosed autism. It’s also helped our children be able to verbally reason through emotional and interpersonal situations. In many ways, it helped prepare the kids for Diary of a Social Detective later.