1. How Do We Coach?

  • All coaching is based on influence and Influence requires connection and respect. Coaching requires willingness and a desire to follow or be like.
  • We coach in 3 areas:
    • Emotions – self-soothing, coping and "big feelings"
    • Behavior – teaching appropriate actions in different contexts
    • Skills – give them the foundation for mastery
  • When emotions spill over into "misbehavior", we need to set limits in a way that our kids will learn.
    • Remember to regulate yourself.
    • Validate the emotion/Show empathy.
    • Make it clear that the feelings are OK, but not the behavior.
    • Choose an age appropriate consequence (if really needed).
    • Explain your expectations.
  • Success and happiness are based on our connection to others and our ability to share our unique set of gifts and talents with the world. Developing mastery and connection creates success and happiness.
    • Mastery requires a foundation of unconditional love and respect.
    • We provide scaffolding for them to develop their skills through: routines, habits, expectations for behavior and modeling it as wells as giving them a safe environment to develop in.
    • We need to affirm the joy and excitement of overcoming obstacles and praising effort rather than saying success is due to talent.
    • Be their backup when you have to. Allow for or help create "softer landings" when they are needed. (Remember some failures in life are required for success.)
    • Help them develop the ability to encourage themselves.
  • Children actually learn how to behave from what they see us do and much less by what we simply tell them. If we sow self-discipline, we'll reap self-discipline from them.

2. Emotion Coaching

  • Five steps to emotion coaching:

1. We need to be calm enough to be present (self-regulate).

  • Tune in to your own feelings first.
  • Set aside your agenda and your electronics.
  • Push the pause button if you need to.
  • Remember to not take things personally.

2. Connect and create a sense of safety.

  • Your physical presence is important.

  • Model calming skills. (You want them to learn self-soothing.)

    • Sometimes touch is important here.
    • Remember that you want them to be able to learn what you want to teach.

3. Listen with empathy.

  • Avoid being judgmental or critical.
  • Ask questions to confirm feelings.
  • Watch the language you use. Try to keep it neutral.
  • Validate the emotion not the behavior.
  • Don't stifle their expression of emotion and don't insist on reinterpreting it or relabeling it.

4. Help them de-escalate and connect.

  • Checkout their perception of events and emotions.
  • Help them connect their thoughts and feelings to build a bigger richer picture. (This applies mainly to older kids.)

5. Work on problem solving.

  • How could a better choice have been made?
  • Help them figure out solutions first. Don't be quick to jump in with fixes, answers or solutions. They need to practice.
  • How do we work together on what is expected moving forward?
  • If escalation develops, go back to steps 3 or 4.
  • Reaffirm your love and commitment.
  • Thank them in advance for their love and hard work.
  • Help them move from using behavior to using words for emotional expression.

3. Temperament Part 1

The elements or dimensions of temperament:

  • Activity Level
    • On the move or likes to sit still
  • Biological Regularity
    • Does their body clock "keep good time"?
    • Regularity of eating, sleeping, pottying, etc.
  • Adaptability
    • How do they handle transitions and changes?
    • How long does it take them to be comfortable with new situations?
  • Approach/Withdrawal Pattern
    • How do they go toward or back off from or in new situations or with new people? Are they "happy" or "hesitant", "adventurous" or "avoidant"?
  • Physical Sensitivity
    • How much change in sounds, touches or tastes does it take to get a response from them?
  • Intensity of Reaction
    • What is their level of response to stimulation? Strongly or loudly? Quietly?
  • Distractibility
    • How do they pay attention when things aren't "interesting"?
  • Quality of Mood
    • Do they tend to react in a positive or negative way? Do they tend to focus on the positive or negative stuff of life? Are they more "happy", "grumpy" or "serious".
  • Persistence
    • How much stick-to-itiveness, stubbornness, persistence or perseverance do they have for the things they are working on or the point they are trying to make. Can they wait patiently? Can they "defer gratification". How do they react to being interrupted or called away from what they are doing?

4. Temperament Part 2

The nine elements or dimensions of temperament create three groups:

  • Friendly (Easy Going)
    • Flexible, "easy to raise", adapt quickly
    • Have regular biological functions
    • Usually positive with low intensity and sensitivity.
    • Remember they still need regular attention, so check in with them often and give them one-on-one attention.
    • Quiet emotions are still strong and still need to be processed.
    • Give them feedback and encourage their creativity.
  • Feisty (Spirited)
    • They are very active and have an irregular schedule and habits.
    • They tend to be moody and very intense in their reactions.
    • They are sensitive to the environment and distractible.
    • They need redirection to stay on track and flexibility in routines.
    • Reduce environmental overload where possible.
    • Prepare them for change with limits and expectations.
    • Offer choices, create lists and plan ahead.
    • They need more free time and play time than other kids.
  • Fearful (Slow to Warm)
    • Slow to adapt and tend to withdraw.
    • They are quiet and reserved.
    • Reluctant to try new and unfamiliar things.
    • They need undivided attention, especially with new experiences, transitions or groups.
    • They may need a "sanctuary" or alone time more than other kids.
    • They need a predictable, scheduled environment.

5. Listening

  • The very most important principle for us to remember and practice is listening.
  • That our kids feel important, can trust us with their emotions, that they are loved and accepted is all made possible by listening.
  • We need to listen not only to what they actually say, but to their body language, the way they're acting, the way they are expressing themselves and even to how they appear to be reacting to their day.
  • When we truly listen, we are better prepared to meet their needs, build trust and relationship.


Dr. Laura Markham, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kinds: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting (2012)

Nick Chambers, The Life-Style Dad, Mastering the Art of Parenting videos KP:21, (scroll down to near the bottom of the page)

Fat Dad Slim Dad, the father of 3 year old twins

Verses for the Week

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 29:17
Train your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.

Colossians 3:21
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Hebrews 12:11
No learning process seems pleasant at the time. It's painful. Later on, however, it produces the fruit of right character and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Leviticus 19:17, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27
Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Prayer for the Week

Help me to be mindful of myself this week. Help me to remember to take care of myself, so I can take better care of my children. Please remind me to pay attention to what I am thinking before I act, so I can respond rather than react. Help me prepare my child well for their future. Amen.