Therapy That Works...

Gearing Advantage

Doctors Sylvia and Milton Gearing have been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1985 with compassion and professionalism.

The Gearings implement the latest in psychological research to stay at the cutting edge of their field and bring the most effective and life changing techniques to their clients.

Their methods and strategies have been sharpened over the years, and are now built upon Gearing Up’s Three Gears of Change.

Emotional Coaching For Your Child - Aug 14, 2005

Emotional Coaching For Your Child

August 14, 2005

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, CBS 11 News

With 70% of American parents now working full time to support the family, they now have twenty-two fewer hours a week to spend with their kids than they did 35 years ago. Now, with less time, there is more pressure than ever to parent well. But experts now say that emotional coaching can be a big part of good parenting. Here to tell us more about this topic is Dr. Sylvia Gearing.

Q: Parents hear a lot about increasing their child's self esteem these days. Does emotional coaching help with this issue?

Dr. Sylvia: It absolutely helps! We now know that some parents are gifted emotional teachers while others are challenged in this area. Teaching your child how to handle his emotions is one of the keys to increasing their self confidence and positive self image.. By getting involved in your child's feelings--when they're happening--you can teach your child strategies to deal with life's inevitable ups and downs.

Q: Does being consistently kind help to teach self esteem and emotional intelligence?

Dr. Sylvia: Just being "warm" and "positive" toward your son or daughter does not teach emotional intelligence. In fact, it can often teach entitlement and selfishness if your child is always admired no matter how he acts. In fact, it is very common for parents to be loving and attentive, yet incapable of dealing effectively with their children's negative emotions.

Q: Are there any patterns among parents who have trouble teaching emotional intelligence?

Dr. Sylvia: There are three types:

1.) Dismissing Parents: These parents disregard, ignore or trivialize their children's negative emotions.

2.) Disapproving parents: They are directly critical of their child's displays of negative feelings and may even reprimand them for emotional expression.

3.) Laissez-Faire Parents: They accept their child's emotions and empathize with them, but they fail to offer any guidance or to set limits on their child's behavior.

Q: What is the first step in emotional coaching?

Dr. Sylvia: There has to be a commitment to deal with negative emotions as they occur. Ignoring or dismissing negativity prevents your child from learning how to handle himself. Remember that children who grow up without learning these vital skills about emotions have no clue about what they feel. They are at a huge disadvantage in relationships such as friendship, marriage and the parenting of their own kids.

Q: What are the specific steps for emotional coaching your child?

Dr. Sylvia:

  • 1.) Tune into Your Child's Emotions
  • 2.) Use Negative Emotions to Teach Him
  • 3.) Listen Empathically
  • 4.) Help the Child Label the Emotion
  • 5.) Set Limits While Problem Solving

Q: What are the specific advantages of emotional coaching for your child?

Dr. Sylvia: Children whose parents consistently practice emotional coaching have better physical health and score higher academically than children whose parents don't offer such guidance. They get along better with their friends, they have fewer behavior problems and are less prone to acts of violence. They are more positive and much more resilient to stress. They can get sad or angry but they soothe themselves and bounce back from adversity much faster and more effectively.

Q: Is there any downside to emotional coaching?

Dr. Sylvia: The only downside is that many parents simply don't know how to do it correctly. Emotional coaching does not mean the end to discipline. In fact, when you are emotionally close to your child, you are even more invested in their lives and can exert an even stronger influence. When you see your child making a mistake or slacking off, you can call them on it. Because you have an emotional bond with your child, your words matter. He cares about what you think because you have been a good emotional teacher.