Social and Emotional Skills development is the process through which adolescents acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to recognize and manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, demonstrate a caring attitude and concern for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, make responsible decisions, and handle interpersonal situations effectively. It also focuses on developing fundamental skills for life success within supportive, participatory learning environments.
Social and Emotional development is the ability to understand, manage, and express the social and emotional aspects of one's life in ways that enable the successful management of life tasks such as learning, forming relationships, solving everyday problems, and adapting to the complex demands of growth and development.
Social and Emotional Skills can be grouped into five key areas:
1. Self-awareness is essential to recognize and understand feelings and emotions and value one’s strengths and abilities. It also helps in one’s accurate self-perception.
2. Self-management skills enable to handle and direct one’s emotions in appropriate ways. These help in managing stress and also motivating self.
3. Social awareness skills help to be aware and respectful of the feelings and perspectives of others. This also includes developing empathy and respect for others.
4. Relationship skills aid in effective handling of relationship problems and other social conflicts. They facilitate healthy communication, social engagement and building relationships.
5. Social decision-making skills allow considering the consequences of one’s actions and help in making thoughtful and effective decisions. These skills help in problem identification and problem solving.
Promoting the development of social and emotional skills leads to higher academic achievement, an improved ability to function in school, increased patience and understanding to deal with day-to-day situations, respect for others and having positive interactions. These skills also aid in reducing various negative behaviors such as aggression, disrupting classes, truancy, non-compliance and indiscipline. Social and Emotional skills have been recognized as inculcating more positive attitudes and behaviors in adolescent, enhancing their commitment and motivation towards learning, and increasing their engagement and participation in school related activities. Adolescents with well-developed social and emotional skills may find it easier to manage themselves, relate to others, develop resilience and a sense of self-worth, resolve conflicts, engage in teamwork and feel positive about themselves and the world around them.
Parents can be great sources for making their adolescents learn Social and Emotional Skills. They can adopt the following strategies to inculcate Social and Emotional Skill Development in their adolescents.
1. Being a good and effective listener.
2. Modelling the behavior that one would like to see in the child, whether it is apologizing when one is wrong or treating others with respect and kindness; adolescents learn a great deal about relationships from observing the behavior of their parents.
3. Nurturing the adolescent’s self-esteem would positively impact his/her overall adjustment, academic performance, and happiness. Strategies for fostering self-esteem may include giving the adolescent responsibilities, allowing them to make age-appropriate choices, and showing appreciation for a job well done.
4. Respecting differences and avoiding comparisons, as every adolescent has his/her own unique talents and abilities. Whether in academics, athletics, or interpersonal relationships, it is important to resist the urge to compare the adolescent to friends or siblings. Instead, it is essential to honor their accomplishments and to provide support and encouragement for the inevitable challenges faced by them.
Evidence supports that Social and Emotional skill development programs improve adolescents’ social-emotional skills, attitudes about self and others, connection to school, positive social behavior, and academic performance. Research has also established that such programs reduce students' behavioural problems and emotional distress.
“All children have within them the potential to be great kids. It is our job to create a great world where this potential can flourish.” – Stanley Greenspan