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Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting
by John Gottman, Ph.D., with Joan DeClaire © 1998.
(Simon & Schuster: New York, NY) All rights reserved.

[Answer 14 of 20 questions correctly to receive
11 hours of Continuing Education credit].


The key to successful parenting is not found in complex theories, elaborate family rules, or convoluted formulas for behavior. It is based on your deepest feelings of love and affection for your child, and is demonstrated simply through empathy and understanding. Good parenting begins in your heart, and then continues on a moment-to-moment basis by engaging your children when feelings run high, when they are sad, angry, or scared. The heart of parenting is being there in a particular way when it really counts. (p. 18)

Chapter 1 -- Emotion Coaching: The Key to Raising Emotionally Intelligent Kids (p. 19-41)
1. When Diane’s son, Joshua, did not want to go to day care, she responded, “I think I know just how you feel. Some mornings I wish you and I could just curl up in a chair and look at books together instead of rushing out the door. But you know what? I made an important promise to the people at my office that I’d be there by nine o’clock and I can’t break that promise.”
Her response is an example of
a. a dismissing parent.
b. a disapproving parent.
c. a Laissez-Faire parent.
d. an Emotion Coach.

1. Become aware of your child’s emotion.
2. Recognize the emotion as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching.
3. Listen empathetically, validating your child’s feelings.
4. Help your child find words to label the emotion he is having.
5. Set limits while exploring strategies to solve the problem at hand.

2. Dr. Gottman was heavily influenced by the writings of Haim Ginott, who wrote Between Parent and Child. Which of the following did Ginott NOT teach?
a. Parents must show genuine respect for their child’s feelings.
b. Statements of understanding should proceed statements of advice.
c. Parents should not tell children what they ought to feel.
d. Parents should never express anger to their children.

                               THE EFFECTS OF EMOTION-COACHING ON CHILDREN

The unique aspects of our research involved collecting data about the participants’ physiological responses to emotions. Our aim was to measure the way our participants’ automatic, or involuntary, nervous systems responded to emotion. For example, we asked each family to collect urine samples from their children over a twenty-four hour period of time. These samples were then analyzed for traces of stress-related hormones. Other measures of the automatic nervous system were taken in our labs where we could monitor participants’ heart rates, respiration, blood flow, motor activity, and how much their hands sweat.
Studying these physiological processes and observing families provides more objective data than relying solely on questionnaires, interviews, and observation…Keeping track of automatic responses to stress is much easier. Stethoscope-like electrodes hooked up to the chest can monitor heart rate; electrodes can also track how much hands sweat by measuring the electricity conducted via salt in perspiration…
Results of this follow-up study showed us that, indeed, children with Emotion-Coaching parents were better off in areas of academic performance, social competence, emotional well-being, and physical health. Even controlling for IQ, their math and reading scores were better. They were getting along better with their friends, they had stronger social skills, and their mothers reported these children had fewer negative and more positive emotions. Several measures also indicated that the Emotion-Coached kids were experiencing less stress in their lives. For example, they had lower levels of stress-related hormones in their urine. They had a lower resting heart rate. And…they were getting fewer infectious illnesses, such as colds and flu. -- p. 36-38

3. Children with “high vagal tone”
a. excel at sports.
b. are high academic achievers.
c. are good at soothing themselves after emotional stress.
d. have high creativity.

Chapter 2 -- Assessing Your Parenting Style (p. 42-68)
4. The author believes that when a child is sad,
a. the child is trying to manipulate the parent.
b. the parent should try to help the child explore what is making him sad.
c. the child is trying to get the parent’s attention.
d. the parent should be concerned about the child becoming too negative.

5. Which is TRUE about Emotion-Coaching parents?
a. They accept all feelings but not all behavior. They put a quick stop to offensive behavior and redirect their child to less harmful behavior.
b. They don’t feel compelled to fix everything that goes awry in their children’s lives. As one parent says, “I figure if they learn to handle little disappointments now, they will know how to cope with bigger disappointments later.”
c. They consistently respond to their child when feelings are at a low level of intensity. The child doesn’t have to act out (escalate his emotions) in order to get his parents’ attention.
d. All of the above.

Chapter 3. The Five Key Steps for Emotion Coaching (p. 69-109)
6. Which is NOT true?
a. Women are made to have a greater capacity for empathy than men.
b. During research, husbands are just as skilled as wives at knowing what their spouses feel minute by minute.
c. Men are just as capable of empathizing and responding to emotions as women. Men, however, tend to hide their emotions from the outside world.
d. Women tend to be much freer at expressing their feelings in words, facial expressions, and body language.

7. Becoming more aware of my own emotional life can make me a better parent. Building greater emotional awareness requires
a. solitude.
b. crying.
c. laughing out loud.
d. talking with someone about what you are feeling.

8. Research has proven which of the following to have a soothing effect on a child’s nervous system, helping him to recover more quickly from upsetting incidents?
a. Sitting quietly with your child and saying nothing.
b. Helping your child to verbally label the emotion she is expressing.
c. Helping your child to solve her problem.
d. Responding to your child with calm logic.

9. Which consequence (setting limits) for misbehavior does the author NOT endorse, even though the vast majority of American parents use it?
a. denial of attention.
b. spanking.
c. loss of privileges.
d. time-out.

Chapter 4 -- Emotion-Coaching Strategies (p. 110-137)
10. Suppose a mother has been trying unsuccessfully to get her daughter to diet. Her daughter comes home upset after her dance teacher made an insensitive comment about her weight. What would be the best first “emotion-coaching” comment for the mother to make?
a. “So, are you ready to start that diet?”
b. “Should we find you another dance class?”
c. “I’m sorry that happened to you. You must have felt embarrassed and hurt.”
d. “Do you want me to speak to your dance teacher?”

11. Which of the following advise was NOT given in this chapter?
a. If you don’t agree with your child’s feelings, it’s OK just to mouth the words of empathy, even if your heart is not in it.
b. Reading children’s literature aloud with your child can help you get in touch with her emotional world.
c. You don’t always need words to communicate understanding. Sometimes just sitting quietly with your child expresses empathy.
d. Emotion coaching cannot be used in every situation, such as when the parents doesn’t have time to sit and listen, when there are too many family members around, when the parent is too upset or tired, when serious misbehavior needs to be addressed right away, and when the child is faking an emotion to manipulate his parents.

Chapter 5 -- Marriage, Divorce, and Your Child’s Emotional Health (p. 138-162)
12. The most sustaining parenting problem faced by divorced mothers with custody of their children is
a. being too strict.
b. being too permissive.
c. difficulty controlling and monitoring their children’s behavior.
d. not receiving enough financial child support from her ex-husband.

13. Which is NOT true about criticism?
a. Criticism tries to assign blame.
b. Criticism implies that one’s spouse is hopelessly flawed.
c. Criticism is often an expression of pent-up frustration and unresolved anger.
d. Criticism is aimed at your spouse’s behavior; complaints are aimed at your spouse’s character.

14. The antidote for contempt for your spouse is
a. avoiding heated discussions.
b. generating more positive, loving thoughts about your spouse.
c. minimizing anger and negative feelings.
d. cultivating a great sense of humor.

15. Which is a non-defensive way of responding?
a. “Quit attacking me.”
b. “I never knew you felt so strongly about that.”
c. “So, you think I’m the problem?”
d. “I’m not the only one at fault here.”

16. Eighty-five percent of stonewalling is done by men. What can husbands do to avoid stonewalling their wives?
a. Give some indication to their wives, however small, that they are listening, such as nodding their heads or saying, “um-hm.”
b. Find ways to remain calm or to recover from over arousal such as deep breathing, aerobic exercise, and letting go of vengeful and distressful thoughts.
c. After 30 minutes of calming down, try to resume a constructive conversation with their wives.
d. All of the above.

Chapter 6 -- The Father’s Crucial Role (p. 163-184)
17. The way fathers play with their children can help the children develop valuable social skills in regulating their emotions. What style of play have researchers NOT typically observed fathers using with their children?
a. Quiet activities with little emotional excitement.
b. Rough-and-tumble activities including lifting, bouncing, and tickling.
c. Games that allow the child to experience the thrill of being just a little bit scared, but amused and aroused at the same time.
d. Physical activities in which the father is nondirective, noncoercive, and building the child’s confidence through praise.

18. Psychologist Ronald Levant, who wrote Masculinity Revisited, created the Fatherhood Project which helps dads become
a. better financial providers.
b. more effective disciplinarians.
c. better communicators with their children.
d. more involved with household chores.

Chapter 7 -- Emotions Coaching as Your Child Grows (p. 185-23)
19. What should a father do if his 6-year-old son has a fear of the dark at bedtime?
a. Read him bedtime stories about heroes who displayed great courage.
b. Allow his son to sleep with the parents in their bed.
c. Install a night light in his son’s room.
d. Encourage the boy to sleep with his stuffed animals and other characters.

20. Which advice does the author NOT give to parents regarding their teenage children?
a. Accept your teenager’s need for privacy. Don’t eavesdrop on his conversations, read his journal, or ask too many probing questions.
b. Respect his right to be restless and discontent a times, even “rapturously unhappy.” But if he opens up to you, try not to act as if you instantly understand. Take time to listen.
c. Communicate your values to him in a way that is brief and nonjudgmental. Don’t lecture him.
d. It is beneficial to use words like lazy, greedy, sloppy, and selfish to point out misbehavior to a teenager because he uses these same words with his peers.