My car got towed away on the other day. I didn’t realize at the beginning but I basically misread a street sign and I parked where I should have not parked when I should have not parked (NYC traffic officer had no mercy for my CT number plate)…in the result, my car was gone when I came back to the spot. All sort of thoughts were spinning in my head…it’s going to cost me at least $300, how am I going toget my car back!?, how long does it take to get my car back…it’s already a dinner time, if I can’t get my car back right away, how am I going to go home that is 50 miles away with my baby, I should feed my baby first before I try to locate my car because I don’t know how long it’s going to take…etc, etc.

I got so upset and I wanted to cry and punch the street signs. I was going to crack, but in front of my 2-year-old daughter, I maintained my calmness. So I thought I did…

And then she looked up to me and said…

“Mommy, you are upset. You can use happy. Look at my sandals. It’s sparkly!” and lifted her leg like a ballerina and showed me her cute crystal sandal that she got a couple of weeks ago for her birthday present.

Let me say it again — She just tuned 2 years old a couple of weeks ago. I was supposed to worry about her Terrible Two, wasn’t I!? Instead she is already trying to console her mother!? I was stunned and amazed by how empathic, caring also creative she was. She was able to empathize how I felt (upset), recognize what I needed (happy), and utilize what resource she had at the moment to make me feel better (her sparkly sandals. Also it’s amazing that she already knows shoes make me happy!)

After this incident, I thought about a book that I read — The Go-To Mom’s Emotional Coaching Young Children by Kimberley Clayton Blaine (

In this book, Kimberley the Author talks about practical solutions on how to use “emotional coaching” for common toddler problems such as dealing with tantrums, nightmares, hitting, bedtime, whining, bedwetting, potty training, shyness, anger, etc. I got this book because I was afraid of dealing with infamous Terrible Two. Even my daughter was about 18 months old or so, I was looking for something that would equip me to deal with this monster when she actually becomes one. So I read this book.

This book taught me how to label her feelings especially when she feels them but doesn’t know what she is feeling. As the book also suggests, I always empathize with her and respect and validate her feelings, but I think this labeling feelings has helped her very much to recognize what she feels and what other people feel too. Because she is now capable of recognizing and categorizing other people’s feelings, she is capable of empathizing too. Does she have tantrums? Of course she does. All we, even grown-ups, do. But when she is upset, she can say “I’m upset” and why she is upset. It’s because she knows what she is feeling. And this is a huge benefit for me, my husband and her teachers because when we know what she is feeling, we can provide her proper emotional support. Now I see huge benefit of Emotional Coaching. If we can measure my 2-year-old daughter’s EQ, I bet it is 200…or even higher.

The Go-To Mom's Parents' Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children