Modeling emotions for your kids

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Modeling emotions for your kids

It's important for parents to remember that our emotions are really important because our kids will model our emotional responses to things. The classic study comes from college roommates who are assigned to one another, so they didn't know each other, at all. Researchers will put them in a room together and measure their emotional responses to a movie clip. Their responses are totally different from each other, of course, because they are different people. But after they've been living together for six weeks, the researchers will bring them back to the lab, show them another movie clip, and measure their emotional responses again. What we find is that their responses tend to be very similar to each other now. So, as parents, we can take this as a learning experience that our kids learn how to respond to the world around us. So if we respond with forgiveness, or kindness, or optimism; our kids are likely to respond with those emotions as well. Those emotions will lead them to be happier in life.

See Christine Carter, PhD's video on Modeling emotions for your kids...


Expert Bio

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Christine Carter, PhD

Sociologist & Happiness Expert

A sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Christine Carter, PhD is the author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. Dr. Carter also writes an award-winning blog for Greater Good, which is syndicated on the Huffington Post and Carter has helped thousands of parents find more joy in their parenting while raising happy, successful and resilient kids. Known for her parenting and relationship advice, Carter draws on psychology, sociology, neuroscience, and uses her own chaotic and often hilarious real-world adventures to demonstrate the do’s and don’ts in action.

After receiving her B.A. from Dartmouth College, where she was a Senior Fellow, Dr. Carter worked in marketing management and school administration, going on to receive her PhD. in sociology from UC Berkeley. Dr. Carter has been quoted in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle and dozens of other publications. She has appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” the “TODAY” show, the “Rachael Ray Morning Show,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” and NPR.

Carter has been a keynote speaker at hundreds of events and professional groups. In 2010, she received an award from the Council on Contemporary Families for her outstanding science-based reporting on family issues. In 2011 she won Red Tricycle’s award for the “Most Awesome Parent Education,” and so far in 2012 she has been nominated for a Bammy Award and for an award from the American Sociological Association for public sociology.

Dr. Carter teaches parenting classes online throughout the year to a global audience on She lives with her family in Berkeley, CA.

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