Have a little empathy (and teach it too)

March 5, 2014

The easy thing to do when your kids are kicking each other, throwing crayons across the room or refusing to sit still to eat their Cheerios is to send them to time-out and call your significant other to complain about what’s happening!

The hardest thing to do is to calmly try to connect with them to find out what’s really going on inside their little heart and head! Teaching emotional intelligence and coping with a child’s emotional stress is challenging in many ways.

A colleague of mine uses a 5-Step strategy for mastering this feat of self-control and it is especially cool in that it allows you to teach your kids to handle big emotions by example!

Here are the 1st three steps –


Step One: Empathize – Let your child know that you can understand and tolerate his/her big feelings by saying things like:

“You are really upset about this.”

“I’m so sorry that this happened today.”

Step Two: Get Neutral – Listen to your child without judgment. Calmly let your child know you are there to help by saying things like:

“Tell me what happened.”

“I’m listening.”

Step Three: Narrow – Be as specific as possible regarding the nature of the problem by saying things like:

“When did you first start feeling this way?”

“What upset you the most about the class?”

Stay tuned next week for Steps Four and Five…and some real life examples of this strategy in action!

Credit to In Step, PC for sharing this strategy