A strong bond or attachment between baby and parent is important for them to grow up happy and leads to less emotional conflict, more empathy, and better grades. How parents deal with their child's emotional life has the greatest effect on their future happiness.
6 Parental Behaviors for Dealing with Emotions
1. A demanding but warm parenting style (authoritative) that involves good communication with your children
a. Responsive: give kids support, warmth, and acceptance; communicate affection (rather than rejection)
b. Demanding: control behavior by making and enforcing rules consistently; clearly explain rules and encourage independence while still complying with family values
2. Comfort with your own emotions: setting an example for kids so they can learn to be comfortable with theirs
3. Tracking your child's emotions (watch, listen and respond) without smothering or helicoptering
4. Verbalizing emotions: Be able to label your feelings and teach your child to label theirs - this teaches self-soothing which helps them focus and have successful relationships
a. Surprisingly, studying music for at least 10 years starting before the age of 7 can help children more easily recognize emotional cues
5. Running towards emotions - parents who do this:
a. Don't judge emotions
b. Acknowledge the reflexive nature of emotions (rather than denying/ignoring their existence)
c. Know that behavior is a choice, but an emotion is not - help kids to understand that they have a choice in how they express their emotions
d. See a crisis as a teachable moment
6. Two tons of empathy: verbalize a child's feelings, validate them, and show you understand - this works because empathy calms people down
Next up: a moral baby...