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on April 23, 2002
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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on November 2, 2007
I was overwhelmed. I had what I thought was a way to frequently angry 4yr old child. Oh yeah, not to mention the little twin brothers that were demanding almost all of my attention. I used to say, as long as my daughter was in a helpful/good mood I can manage. I don't feel that way anymore. After employing the techniques in this book and understanding where my focus should be, I've managed to feel like I can be a more effective parent. I wasn't satisfied with the typical advice, "put her in her room when she's yelling mad". I always felt like it was my job to help her find appropriate ways to express her feelings. Putting her in her room just made her more upset. The book emphasizes the importance of expressing anger and sadness, and that it is our job to "coach our children through these negative emotions". I highly recommend this book to other parents that want to help their kids learn to manage their emotions (and help themselves along the way). I've recommended this to all my mommy friends.
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on August 1, 2001
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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on October 25, 2007
The world will be a better place if every parent buys this book.

Like many parents, my husband and I were often baffled by what we thought were my daughters night terrors. She would some times wake up screaming unconsolably for half an hour at a time. None of the books seemed to be able to explain it.

I had just recieved this book when she had one of these night that particularly worried us because she was screaming "I don't like myself!". We'd never heard her say anything that concerning, before. We freaked!

I ran to the two pages..came back and asked my daughter "Did you have a bad day? Are you feeling frustrated because we got mad at you today? ... She said "Yeah!". We talked and she was asleep in 5 minutes!

We realized her terrors were a release caused by pent-up toddler emotional frustration.

Buy this book ! You won't regret it.
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on July 16, 2002
So many times, before I know it, I'm launching into telling my son what to do, how, where, why... Without giving him a chance! And I've already read most of the book! It is so important how we talk to our kids. If we say the wrong words too often, we build up a wall in them. They need to express themselves and work out their own problems and feel SAFE expressing EVERYTHING with you and TRUSTING YOU while not compromising your morals and beliefs. It's amazing how much happiness there is between parent and child. It's the best thing in the world! Yet I fear, it is so easy to watch it all disappear without knowing why. This book gives you a chance NOW, to hear yourself and gives you the instructions to hold on to that joy and pride. I KNOW when I have said the RIGHT thing. This book taught me things you just don't get with trial and error! Instead of grasping at the vapor fumes of youth's departure, I know, I'm doing the best I can to be there always, with love being true. Do NOT forget this: #1 ALL PARENTS MUST ALWAYS READ ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN. (Trust the wealth of literature! Really! Don't fool around with trial and error. A child is NOT your first model airplane where you didn't read the instructions beforehand!) #2 THIS BOOK SHOULD BE ON THAT REQUIRED LIST!
Thanks for reading! Take the stand. Be there for your kids.
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on August 31, 2000
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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on June 22, 2013
The author should be commended for taking a scientific approach to parenting. He concisely states his thesis on page 24, and fleshes it out for the remainder of the book.

Briefly, parenting can be broken down into three styles: "dismissing," "disapproving," and "laissez-faire." All three are damaging to the child's development, and detrimental to the child's well being. The preferred alternative is to be "emotion coaching." Gottman's five steps for raising an emotionally intelligent child follow:

1. become aware of the child's emotion;
2. recognize the emotion as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching;
3. listen empathetically, validating the child's feelings;
4. help the child find words to label the emotion he is having; and
5. set limits while exploring strategies to solve the problem at hand.

The challenge is: I can't get his advice to work. The problem lies in the unstated intermediate step between (2) and (3). Picture this scenario:
* Your toddler is not getting his way.
* You are aware of the child's frustration, and recognize it as the opportunity it undoubtedly is for intimacy and teaching.
* You try to listen, validate and label the feeling - but your toddler isn't interested. All he does is scream and screech at the top of his lungs, flail his limbs, resisting all attempts at reason or discussion. This devolves into a mini tantrum.

What is the preferred method of calming a child when any method of comforting that you try fails? Do you ignore the child until he calms down? That would be dismissive... Do you admonish the child sternly, when he begins pushing, shoving, etc.? That would be disapproving... The alternative is to let the tantrum progress, and the child to do as he pleases. But that would be laissez-faire...

I've sent the author numerous emails, pleading with him help me troubleshoot the process. They have all gone unanswered, which is very disappointing.

tl;dr The process isn't working for me, and the author isn't helpful. I regret the $21 CAD spent.
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on June 19, 1999
extremely interesting (and not only for parents but anyone who wants to know more about their childhoods as well) and helpful book about the nature of interaction with our children, the daily exchanges and the big picture, how different parenting styles impact your child's perceptions, behaviors and self esteem from an early age. good methologies for forging healthy emotional exchanges, well-organized and written, this one is a gem
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on December 2, 2015
Love this book! As a psychology major I wanted a parenting book that wasn't boring, or a repetition of everything I already knew. This book is amazing! It really breaks down each step and gives clear examples, for anyone who does not have existing knowledge on emotional intelligence. I recommend this book to parents and child care providers!
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on April 22, 2001
...and re-read it once a month ever after. Gottman is both a student an professor of relationships--marital and otherwise. He has so much to offer that it's difficult to digest this book in one reading. Every time I pick it up I find something new in what I've already read before. This is definitely my parenting book of the decade!
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