Sydney clinical psychologist Dr Anna Cohen has a new book Parenting Made Easy: The Early Years to help guide you through what can be your toughest test.
Children aren’t perfect, nor are parents, but you can work to develop considerate behaviour from your children and what is grounds for concern, says Dr Cohen, from Kids & Co.
Here’s another exclusive edited extract from her new book out now.
Cultivating emotional intelligence
Through compassionate and assertive parenting we can facilitate the successful development of our child’s window of tolerance and the development of their emotional intelligence and whole brain.
Children with a large window of tolerance are able to regulate and control their impulses, delay gratification, motivate themselves, read others’ social cues and cope with life’s ups and downs.
Children’s window of tolerance develops throughout child- hood and is very small in children in the early years. The development of a spacious and flexible window of tolerance occurs when parents are able to acknowledge and reflect their children’s feelings.
Parents who fail to teach their children emotional intelligence in their parenting practice are:
- Dismissive (they ignore or trivialise emotions),
- Disapproving (they are critical or punishing), or
- Laissez-faire (they empathise but fail to offer guidance or set limits).
Parents who are effective emotion coaches are able to:
- Acknowledge and label a child’s feeling (anger/sadness).
- Help them name it.
- Allow the child to experience the feelings.
- Stay close while the child feels the feeling (rages/cries).
- Set limits.
When children have a consistent experience of having their feelings validated and acknowledged they are emotionally healthier and more resilient.
As a parent it is okay to express emotions but the key is to express them in ways that are not destructive to your relationship with your child.
By expressing these feelings you show your child that strong feelings can be expressed and managed and that your child’s behavior matters to you.
Affirming messages (positive comments) are validating and not only support the parent–child relationship but also help children achieve the developmental tasks of their current life stage.
Parenting Made Easy: The Early Years By Dr Anna Cohen (Australian Academic Press, $29.95) is available now through aapbooks.com.