Wouldn’t it be great if there was a parenting style that when used on children resulted in them growing up to be happier, more financially well off, and even less likely to get a divorce?
Well it turns out there is!
According to researchers like John Gottman, who dedicated his life to studying the effects that parenting styles have on children, there is a certain style you can use to parent your children that results in all those benefits.
It’s called Emotion Coaching
Emotion Coaching is not something that Gottman Developed… instead it was something he observed.
Here’s how he discovered it.
Gottman wanted to see the specific effects that certain parenting styles would have on the way a child would develop emotionally. He wanted to know if certain parenting styles would make kids happier, or more depressed. More aggressive, or more cooperative etc.
So he conducted an observational study with 55 families where he observed these families throughout their children’s entire youth; even into adulthood, where he could determine how they turned out as adults.
Gottman would interview the families weekly to talk about the certain conflicts that arose that week in their home, how their marriage was doing, if their children were making friends, what fears they encountered, etc. etc.
Basically it was an exhaustive study that tried to get as close to seeing what actually goes on in different families homes.
And here’s what Gottman noticed:
Families Typically Fall Into One of Four Parenting Styles
Gottman noticed that parents typically tended to parent with one of 4 parenting styles. And through his exhaustive research, which he outlines in great detail in his book Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, he also noticed that when you categorized children into the type of parenting style that was used on them, they tended to develop certain personalities and character flaws that children who were raised with a different parenting style did not.
But there was one parenting style that did NOT end up creating children with personality or character flaws…
That style of parenting was coined by Gottman Emotion Coaching.
He noticed that there was a small group of parents in his study that really helped their children identify, label and work through their emotions.
These parents didn’t punish or ignore negative emotions their children were having. They didn’t try to “snap their children out of it”. Instead their parents would talk to their children like adults, ask them why they were feeling sad, or angry, and then worked with the child to help them discover a solution to their emotional problems on their own.
These children grew up MUCH more emotionally stable, and ended up being far better equiped to handle emotional problems as they grew older.
And as the author of Emotional Intelligence points out… the better an adult is at regulating and working through their emotions, the happier and more successful they are in their lives.
How to Be an Emotion Coach For Your Child
So if you’re interested in developing emotional intelligence in your child you really owe it to yourself to read up on everything Gottman has published. And if you’re looking for a recommendation, I’d recommend reading, “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child”.