We are on Chapter 2 of “Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles” which talks about Emotion Coaching, a very important connection tool for your child. This chapter makes you think about the long-term goal of your parenting and not being afraid of “building bad habits” and instead seeing the positive results of your connection. Something that was powerful in the chapter to me was the following questions, which helped you examine what you should do in that “discipline” moment.
- Think about a significant adult in your life, someone who has helped you to understand yourself and to develop your strengths. What were his or her characteristics? — For me, this was my English teacher in high-school who encouraged and believed in me; who felt I would become something valuable as I became older. I also was greatly influenced by the social worker who saved me from being homeless and provided me with a second-chance at life. What was the significant adult in your life who made positive impacts?
- Now tell me about an influential adult you disliked. Someone who to this day the mere thought of can make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. — For me I had too many to think of but the qualities they displayed was a taking away of innocence, anger, sarcasm, punitive behavior, rough, quick-tempered, and critical. What about you?
A few good questions to ask when you are about to discipline your child are:
- Does this strategy connect with my child, empathize with his feelings, and build a relationship with him?
- Or does it disconnect us, negating or even punishing him for his emotions?
I think those questions are the most valuable to ask in the moment. Might even be worthy as a reminder to put on your refrigerator. To leave you with information on how different emotion coaching is and the results, here are some key endpoints at the end of the chapter.
- Connect instead of disconnect.
- Assist instead of taking over.
- Listen rather than lecture.
- Stop firmly rather than grabbing or jerking.
- Help instead of abandon.
- Explain instead of force.
- State rather than shriek.
- Smile more, frown less.
- Think about your relationship in the long run.
- Start with a single step.
As always, you can start your own discussion inside our online book club, GoodReads. Happy reading everyone!
Pg 12: “Emotion coaching doesn’t imply that you always say yes… it doesn’t mean you constantly negotiate… It doesn’t mean that you give him free reign on his emotions. You don’t. Emotions are never an excuse for hurtful or disrespectful behavior. It means that you will listen, trying your best to understand your child’s point of view, label his emotions for him, enforce clear standards for behavior, and teach him what he can do to express them respectfully. As a result, your child will learn that he can trust you and be open to your guidance, leading ultimately to his own sense of self-control.”
This is a book that made such a difference to me in my daughter’s younger years and I hope it does for you as well. As I began re-reading Chapter 1, I realized that it still applies to her even though she is now 12-years old. The first chapter was a great reminder and for those reading the book for the first time, I hope it wet your appetite as to why you should be reading this book to help in reducing those power struggles. Notice I wrote “reducing.” I like how the chapter indicates that most of the time it will be smooth sailing when following the strategies/information provided in this book but sometimes you are still going to experience an occasional power struggle. It is human nature… our children and parents can’t be perfect all of the time.
Chapter 1 really covers why emotion coaching is so important and gives you a brief glimpse into what it is and the research behind it. The chapter explains how the book is divided up: building connections so that your child works with you because they want to; knowing yourself and your child by understanding temperament triggers, stress, and medical factors — all impacts behavior; and lastly emotional development. As you can tell, lots of good information… I’m especially looking forward to re-reading the temperament triggers.
Two passages to leave you with:
Pg 13: By changing your reaction you can change your child’s. Even in the darkest moments when you feel totally inept and out of control, you have the power to stop and change your behavior. It is possible to learn how to keep your cool even when your child is losing his.
Pg 14: You can learn about yourself as well as your child. The exciting thing about emotional intelligence is that it’s predominantly learned behavior. The lessons don’t stop in early childhood. They continue throughout our entire lives, and we get to reap the benefits in all of our relationships — at home and at work.