The Youth Factor: Learning how to make social emotional intelligence work for you


The Youth Factor Learning how to make social emotional intelligence work for youAs a youth in today’s world, things are much different than they were for young people a couple of decades back. One reason for this is the structure of the family, in that more and more families consist of single parent homes. As a single parent come more responsibility and often less money for everyone in the house. This style of home life can sometimes complicate things and add to the already stressful day-to-day events today’s youth face. Additionally, all pervasive technology has reduced considerably free play and social interactions.

While some young people deal with their stress by lashing out and bullying, others are learning to deal with life in a more positive and productive manner. Since being heard and fitting in remain top priority for most young people, learning how to use social emotional intelligence will help you focus and make better choices.

For example, when a bully challenges you, you can take deep breaths and decide to walk away rather than confront the bully. By using social emotional intelligence, you can learn ways to develop yourself personally, socially and professionally. Take this scenario as an example, one that many of you may have experienced:

You are alone walking across a football field heading to gym class. Walking behind you are two boys who are obviously football players. You are not a football player but are considering trying out for the team. From behind, you suddenly hear one of the boys say to you, “So, I hear you’re going to try to play football.” The other boy snickers at his friend’s comment.

You hear his words and the contempt in his voice. You close your eyes and take a deep breath then turn to the boys and reply, “Yeah. I’m going to try out for the team even though I’m not very good at football.” After a pause, you add, “But I’m great at drawing. Show me something and I can draw it really good!” Then looking at the boy who made the original comment, you continue, “I’ve seen you play. You’re a really good football player. I would like to be as good as you someday.”

Your reply is not what your antagonist expected. Instead of coming back with a mean comment, you’ve disarmed him with your conversation. To your surprise the boy replies, “Well. You’re not that bad. Maybe I can show you a few things sometime.” Social emotional intelligence is the learned process through which adolescents implement the knowledge, perspective and skills needed to understand and manage emotions.  They understand goal achievement, empathy, and how to get along with others and develop positive relationships. It’s about having the emotional tools and mental ability to understand what’s happening and then deal with it appropriately. The short interaction with the football boys is an excellent example of learned social emotional intelligence.

By hearing the skepticism in the voice of the taunting football player and keeping your cool, you will have displayed your learned level of social emotional intelligence. Wherever you may be on this earth – whatever condition you may be in life, you will always find a need to draw on social emotional intelligence experiences.

Author: Divya Parekh (ACC, CPC, LL, MS) is an international career leadership coach, Head Career Coach at International Coach Academy, and CEO of The DP Group. She assists executives, professionals, coaches and students plan, develop and achieve their career and leadership goals. She has been recognized by Worldwide Who’s Who as ‘VIP of the Year’ for showing dedication, leadership and excellence in leadership coaching. She is founder of the 1/1/1 Leader Project. The project prides itself on being simple. Set a goal. Work towards achieving it. Give someone a smile. Be nice to another person. Make the world a little bit nicer. It’s free so get started today!

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