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Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting Paperback – August 12, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, psychology professor John Gottman explores the emotional relationship between parents and children. It's not enough to simply reject an authoritarian model of parenting, Gottman says. A parent needs to be concerned with the quality of emotional interactions. Gottman, author of Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, and coauthor Joan Declaire focus first on the parent (a "know thyself" approach), and provide a series of exercises to assess parenting styles and emotional self-awareness. The authors identify a five-step "emotion coaching" process to help teach children how to recognize and address their feelings, which includes becoming aware of the child's emotions; recognizing that dealing with these emotions is an opportunity for intimacy; listening empathetically; helping the child label emotions; setting limits; and problem-solving. Chapters on divorce, fathering, and age-based differences in emotional development help make Gottman's teachings detailed and useful. --Ericka Lutz

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"A significant gift to parents and children."Common Boundary
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (August 12, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684838656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684838656
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andreas Fellner on April 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
You can find a lot of books about parenting, but many of them are just pop psychology, the solitary opinion of the author.
Gottman is definitely not one of them. He is known as one of the leading psychologists in the area of family and marriage psychology. This book presents the essence of his research findings about raising emotionally intelligent children.
His advise is surprisingly easy and is based on a 5 step model:
1. Be aware of your child's emotion
2. See your child's emotions as an opportunity to be close together
3. Actively listen to your child and validate the feelings
4. Help your child to verbalize his feelings
5. Help your child solve problems, while setting clear limits
Gottman clearly explains how you can implement this 5-step-model in daily life and what to do when problems arise. His real life examples make reading really fun.
All in all, an excellent parenting book! As a supplement, I can also recommend the book by M. Seligman: "The optimistic child"
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Format: Paperback
I am a child/family psychologist and don't like most parenting books for my clients because they present theories as facts without the research behind it. This is one of 3 books that I recommend because it is well-researched yet easy to read and comprehend. Gottman's work in the field of psychology is highly respected, and the research from which this book emanates is thorough and rigorous. Yet his format in the book is such that you can immediately begin to apply his "emotion-coaching" technique. If you are having difficulty coping with your child's emotional outbursts, read this book!
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There are many parenting books out there that are as controversial as they are popular. You use what you find helpful and ignore what doesn't fit in with your own personal parenting philosophy. I found most of Goleman's techniques in this book to be insightful and invaluable.

Too often, we may find ourselves giving in to venting our anger or frustration at our children for our own emotional benefit, forgetting that they are not adept at reading their own feelings much less yours. It is too easy to discount our little ones' cries as merely manipulative attempts to get what they want. (The author DOES recognize that children DO try to manipulate adults in this way and recommends not using emotion coaching in those instances.) This is a realistic, practical, and easily read book told from the perspective of a father who also relays helpful instances in his own life where he'd used emotion coaching.

One benchmark that I often use to judge parenting books are their philosophies on punishment, particularly time-outs. Goleman believes in the proper implementation of time-outs. They are to be consistent and respectful, not opportunities to emotionally berate or humiliate children. He believes that it is best used for children aged 3-8 and should last about a minute. You may want use Amazon's search-within-a-book feature and search for "time-out" to get a better idea.

The author sites studies showing that emotional intelligence is linked to higher reading and math IQ's, social competence, and physical health. We all wish the best for our children, and reading this book will help you to be the best parent you can be.
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This book helps parents understand how their personal philosophy about their own emotions influences what and how they teach their children about emotions, such as how to recognize, express, and control anger. The book provides a simple self-test to help parents understand what their philosopy is and how it impacts interactions with their children. For example, some parents do not permit their children to express anger at them while others are accepting of their children being openly angry with them. There are very different long-range implications of these different philosophies and parenting styles. This book helps parents to assess their own philosophy and consider changes in their parenting style.
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Format: Paperback
Many parenting books make many suggestions, of which I pick one and that is about it. This is the first book that I agree with virtually 100%. It has benefited not only my parenting but my personal and business relationships as well. I literally hand out copies to coaches, teachers and the occasional friend that is searching for a better way to parent. It has been the first book that realistically addresses not only my children but me as a parent, without making me feel guilty or stupid. We all have to deal with fun and frustration, cuddling and craziness...the reccomendations in this book helped me find great perspective on all those aspects of being a part of a family.
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I decided to read this book after completing a summer with my children and I thought it would be a good read. I don't claim to be the best father in the world, but I'm always up for areas I can improve. This book truly opened my eyes in several areas where I realized I could take a bit of a different road. My two daughters are very precious to me and I learned a lot in this book. I ended up reading it in two evenings and I must say a lot of it was very enlightening. And as funny as this sounds, after reading this book, I really appreciate my parents now as an adult because, according to this book, they did a lot things that were right on.
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