We feel emotions from the time we’re babies. Infants and young children react to their emotions with facial expressions or by laughing or crying. They feel and show emotions, but they don’t have the ability to name the emotion or say why they feel a particular way. As children grow up, they become more skilled at understanding emotions. Instead of just reacting, they are able to identify what they feel and articulate it. With time, they also know what they feel and why. This skill is emotional awareness. This skill is of the utmost importance in the teen years; during the age of mood swings it is vital that your teenager understands what they feel.
According to a study that we conducted across various schools, looking at the behavior of 13-16-year-olds, we found that 10% of the parents said their high schoolchildren were unable to identify their feelings. Knowing what one is feeling is at a certain moment is necessary when it comes to managing one’s emotions. Especially with feelings such as anger or frustration, it is important to know what your teen is feeling in the heat of the moment. Knowing what they feel allows them to react accordingly/ control their reactions. This empowers teens to react to situations better and allows them to rationalize their feelings, thereby letting them control their temper or saying no things that are bad for them (peer pressure/bullying).
When your teenager is emotionally aware:
- He/she is more likely handle peer pressure better
- They are more confident in their ability to say no to certain bad habits
- They are less likely to have body image issues
- They tend become less moody, as they can talk about their feelings, and seek help if needed
- Emotionally aware teens are better at building relationships
When a teen is isn’t aware of his/her feelings:
- They tend to overreact more and prone to emotional outbursts
- They tend to become reclusive and belligerent
- They have low self-esteem and likely to give in to peer pressure
What can you do to help your teen?
Here’s a parenting tip to get your kid to open up. Ask your child to identify feelings that he/she experiences by naming the various emotions that he/she underwent on a given day and then discussing the experience that made him/her feel a certain way. This allows your kid to explore their range of emotions and the “why” aspect, allowing them to control their emotions and reactions to a situation.
Download the Mai app to improve your child’s interpersonal skills and also assess your child’s skill in ‘expressing feelings’.