How To Effectively Respond To a Sad or Hurt Child: Emotional Coaching In Practice
(This is the third post in a series on Becoming a Better Parent)
In my last post introducing Emotional Coaching, I discussed how important it is for a parent to be attentive to a child’s emotions and feelings.
I briefly mentioned the benefits in using emotional coaching when dealing with difficult situations with ones child. In this post I want to show you two scenarios outside of the home in which I used some emotional coaching techniques and received surprising results.
One morning while dropping my six year old daughter off at kindergarten I noticed one of her best friends in the corner of the room sitting by herself and crying. Curious to see how the emotional coaching techniques work outside the home, I approached her and asked what’s wrong. Here is how the discussion went:
Me: “Hi Rebecca, What’s wrong? You look sad.”
Rebecca: “My mommy said she would give me a hug and kiss after taking me to school and she didn’t and she left.”
Me: “You’re sad that your mommy forgot to give you a hug and a kiss?”
Rebecca nods with a sad look on her face.
Me: “I would be sad too if my mommy forgot to give me a hug and kiss. I’m sure tomorrow when you mommy takes you to school she won’t forget to give you a hug and a kiss. Here, come let me take you to class”
Rebecca stops crying, wipes her face, and takes my hand as I walk her and my daughter to class.
The following week I had a similar encounter with Rebecca but this time she was sad for a different reason. As I walked my daughter into school, I noticed Rebecca sitting on the floor in the hallway crying.
Me: “Oh no Rebecca what’s wrong. You look sad.”
Rebecca (in tears): “Jenny came over to me and called me names and started making fun of me and I didn’t say anything to her.”
Me: “Oh you’re sad because Jenny was making fun of you? It’s not nice to make fun of someone. Jenny shouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t like it either if somebody made fun of me.”
Rebecca stops crying.
Me: “Come let me take you inside.”
Applying the emotional coaching techniques will seem awkward at first but once you begin to get used to it, it will become second nature. Just be aware of a couple of things: 1. If you have a drama queen for a daughter or similar for a son coaching them emotionally won’t help all the time unless the child is genuinely sad or hurt. 2. Don’t expect the child to say anything after you address their emotions. They may just get up and start playing or do something else. The point is, you acknowledged their emotions and they feel better.
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