The Power of Parental Emotion Coaching
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).
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