Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


In recent years, greater attention has been paid towards teaching individuals to be mindful and accepting of negative emotions rather than pushing them away. Gottman, Fainsilber, & Katz (1997) described parents as emotion coaching if they treated the child’s feelings as important and an opportunity to teach about feelings. Emotion coaching has been associated with children having less anxiety, less anger, better social skills, and higher self-esteem. The present study hypothesizes that parent’s attitudes and behaviors towards their teen’s feelings will be correlated with their teen’s own acceptance and comfort with feelings. Specifically, in our study of 21 families, parents and teens (mean age 16, 9 female) completed complementary, standardized interviews about sadness and anger. The teen interviews were coded for indicators of accepting and adaptive attitudes towards these emotions, using a series of 5-point scales. Separate total scores were derived for sadness and anger. The parent interviews are currently being coded. These are assigned a classification of being coaching, dismissing, or disapproving, as well as rated with a 10-point scale reflecting the degree of disapproval of how their teen expressed the emotion. With nearly half of the sample’s parent interviews coded, the vast majority of parents have been classified as dismissing. If this pattern holds with all coding completed by presentation time, this will have implications for how their adolescents deal with feelings, both on our interview and in life in general.