How to spot emotional intelligence in teenagers?
What actually is emotional intelligence? Emotional Intelligence is the capability of individuals to recognise their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve goals.
So emotional intelligence in teenagers is when they have a good handle on their emotions, have strong self-awareness, empathetic to others, make good decisions and know how to build strong relationships. Teenagers brains are still developing, especially the pre-frontal cortex until they are around 25 years old, so signs of strong emotional intelligence in teenagers are not always consistent.
As a society, we value academic achievement highly. Emotional intelligence is not usually taught at schools yet this area can be the foundation for being successful in life – whatever your version of success is. As human beings, we are naturally social and emotional creatures, often reacting to life emotionally first before our academic head can take over and share reason. The curriculum is jam-packed with ways to increase your academic level and society teaches the students the value of achieving results – however, the skills involved with understanding and managing emotions is VITAL to being resilient and content in life.
To have high levels of emotional intelligence is to know what you’re feeling, what these emotions mean, how these can be managed and controlled and ways to be in the emotional state you decide to be in.
8 signs of Emotional Intelligence in Teenagers
- INTERESTED!! Emotionally intelligent teenagers, both introverts and extroverts, are interested in the people around them. They pay special attention and pick up on subtle cues from other people to understand how another person is truly feeling, despite what is actually said.
- MISTAKES!! The ability to let go of mistakes. Emotionally intelligent teenagers understand that their mistakes are learning experiences and not a reflection on them as a person. The ability to accept and not dwell on the past teaches lessons about resilience and ways to overcome adversity.
- GRATITUDE!! Emotionally intelligent teenagers don’t always get this right but spend time reflecting on what they have, not always focusing on what they do not have. They may not understand on an intellectual level that practising gratitude on a daily basis can significantly improve their mood but they know that focusing on what skills they don’t have ALWAYS causes a negative outcome.
- CONTROL!! Emotionally intelligent teenagers have grasped the idea that being able to accept, evaluate and control emotions is always in their power. These teens know they have the power to hand over their emotions to someone else but that means they no longer get to control how they are feeling. If they remain in control of how they are feeling by the thoughts they have, they are ultimately in charge of their own happiness.
- STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES!! Emotionally intelligent teenagers trust in their strengths while acknowledging their weaknesses. There is not enough time to waste on ‘perfectionism‘ – as that only insults those around them who share different skills and abilities. These students know that the only way to improve on weaknesses is to acknowledge them so learning can begin.
- OTHER PEOPLE!! Emotionally intelligent teenagers become aware of people around them who may be toxic to their emotional wellbeing. We often look at these people who drain our energy and after being their company, always feel emotionally drained and negative.
- CHANGE!! Emotionally intelligent teenagers do not fear change but embrace it instead. They are able to adapt to a situation when things may not have gone the way originally planned and this doesn’t affect their mental wellbeing. They can do this because they are able to change their emotional responses, always knowing they have their own back when needed.
- GRUDGES!! Emotionally intelligent teenagers have the self-confidence to know other people’s actions against them is not a reflection on themselves. By holding onto these grudges, it only causes the teen distress and this reflects in their mental health and wellbeing. Understanding they have no control over another person, allows the teen to let go and move on more quickly.
Strong Emotional intelligence can compliment any facet of life, from education and schooling to work life to relationships and self-discovery. The great news with emotional intelligence in teenagers is they are constantly evolving and developing and this area can grow strong with practice. Many adults have developed a level of emotional intelligence that no longer serves them in life but do not know ways to make changes and grow a strong emotional competence.
The way in which we manage our behaviour, make decisions and act our socially, all determine a level of emotional intelligence. What ways can you grow a higher level intelligence?