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The Power of Parental Emotion Coaching

Allen Sabey, Ph.D., LMFT
• March 01, 2017

Imagine the following scenarios:

  • A 3-year-old girl begins yelling in a grocery store because her mother said she cannot have the cereal she wants.
  • An 8-year-old boy comes home from school crying about how a friend said he did not want to be the boy's friend anymore.
  • A 14-year-old girl's grandmother just passed away and she hasn't come out of her room for three days.
  • A 16-year-old boy argues with his parents about not letting him stay out later with his friends.

These types of emotional moments in children's lives shape their ongoing development and future wellbeing. More specifically, it is in the accumulation of these moments that children learn about their emotions and how to deal with them (Sroufe, 2000). What children learn from these experiences will either support constructive ways of dealing with their emotions, or hinder their ability to manage their emotions in healthy ways. The experiences children have in this regard are largely influenced by how their parents or caregivers respond to them in such moments of distress (Cunningham, Kliewer, & Garner, 2009).

Allen Sabey, Ph.D., LMFT

Core Faculty, Marriage & Family Therapy Program
Therapist

Allen K. Sabey, Ph.D., LMFT, is currently a therapist and core faculty member in the Master of Science in Marriage & Family Therapy program at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. He completed his M.S. degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and his Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at Auburn University.

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