Emotion coaching for children

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Emotion coaching for children

When we want to help increase our kids’ emotional intelligence or their emotional literacy, one simple thing that we can do is to emotion coach them. And to emotion coach them what we’re really doing is labeling how they’re feeling – so that they learn to identify the emotion and then we’re validating what it is that they’re feeling. And the core thing that we want kids to learn is that all feelings are okay. Now, this can be really confusing for adults as well as kids, because while all feelings are okay, all behavior is not okay. So the core skill here is to learn that it’s totally okay to feel angry, it’s never okay to hit your sister. And when we emotion coach kids, we help break that down. You can have a kid who’s acting really angry and frustrated, but you might know that there is something else behind it, you can say, “I think you’re angry, but you’re also maybe feeling a little bit jealous, aren’t you? And maybe afraid that you’re going to lose that friend.” Or whatever the case may be. And so there you’ve just labeled – helped the kids label what they’re feeling by using some empathy. The next step is to say, “You know what? It’s okay to feel jealous. We all feel jealous sometimes. Now, it’s not okay to go behind her back and do something nasty to retaliate when you feel this way.” But to just know it’s okay and we can find positive ways to cope with our negative feelings.

Watch Video: Emotion coaching for children by Christine Carter, PhD, ...


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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 PsychologyToday.com. 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 raisinghappiness.com. She lives with her family in Berkeley, CA.

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