Teaching Teens Social Intelligence

We are beginning to see the repercussions of technology in many areas, but for the purposes of this blog, we will cover social intelligence. Knowing how to form healthy relationships during adolescence is the foundation for

relationship building as adults. Healthy boundaries, problem solving, and the ability to consider others is crucial. Have conversations with your children about these topics, to help them have a healthy understanding of what a healthy friendship looks like.

1) Friendship is based on love, caring, and giving to others. Love is not limited, so putting limits on others and manipulating or bullying is not healthy. If someone is unkind to others, then that is a red flag that same behavior can be turn towards you.

2) Friendships are foundational to your morals and values, not the other way around. If your child has a solid definition of who/what your family stands for, then he/she should find others who support the same. Rather than change oneself to fit others' opinions and definitions (which leads to codependence), help your child cultivate confidence in values you support as a family.

3) Having a firm foundation in identity and life purpose is key in lessening peer pressure, anxiety and self-doubt. Dr. Carolyn Leaf, author of bestselling book "Switch on your Brain", talks about the importance of understanding the correlation between having a healthy mindset (thoughts) and an ability to step into the "Perfect You". Each of us has a designated purpose in life, but fear and negative emotions block you from feeling like you are "really you". Your brain and body respond to choices and distort thinking (you go into fight or flight).

4) Teens need to have an ability to empathetically step into others' shoes. Today there is a deficit in an ability to emerge from the ego-centric tendency today. To cultivate and maintain healthy relationships, an ability to empathize to others feelings and perspectives is paramount. Most importantly, this does not mean giving a knee-jerk response to one who thinks differently; on the contrary it's inquiring for clarification and considering perspectives from the other person.

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