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Help Your Teen Develop Emotional Intelligence

It is often good to get your teenager a counselor to help them manage their emotions and adapt to the changes that come with the age. BetterHelp offers professional therapy online and is a great way to get in touch with a counselor. There are also some ways that you can help your teen develop emotional intelligence. 

Emotional intelligence is rarely discussed in schools. It is not even discussed much with family. However, it is important to teach emotional intelligence to your children and teens. Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage and understand your emotions. This includes empathy, emotional reactions, and the ability to recognize your emotions as appropriate or inappropriate. 

Higher emotional intelligence can help you build better relationships. It can even help you with problem-solving, being assertive, and improve your decision-making. This can make a world of difference in a teenager’s life because they can develop a better support system and carry these benefits into their adult lives. How can we teach emotional intelligence to a teenager?


Communication is important for any relationship, including the one we have with our teens. It is good to talk about emotional intelligence with teenagers. Teens often need guidance for dealing with their emotions. Teenagers can have strong emotions and not have the ability to deal with them in a healthy way. Communication is the essential first step in helping a person develop their emotional intelligence. 

You can ask your teenager some questions to help them develop an awareness of their emotions. You can ask them how they feel about certain things, their reactions, and why and what fears they have. 

Use movies and other experiences as learning tools. You can have a conversation about the characters and events. Ask your teen what they think the characters are feeling or why they are doing the things they are doing. 


A teenager needs to have a role model that has good emotional intelligence. If they see you poorly managing your own emotions, they are unlikely to develop their own emotional intelligence. Consequently, if they see you handling your emotions maturely and healthily, they will look up to it and learn from your actions. 

It is important to note that modeling emotional intelligence does not mean modeling perfection. Maturely embrace your imperfection so that the teenager can learn how to treat emotional mistakes. 

Accept and Learn from Outbursts

Everybody from children to adults will explode internally or externally when they are angry enough. We need to accept this and move on from the outburst. Give your teens a chance to grow and learn. It may be a good exercise to have them rephrase something that they say during an outburst. 

Practice Empathy

Being able to understand the way other people behave is essential to the development of emotional intelligence. A good way to help develop empathy is to play a game. When you see someone have an outburst or negative emotions, whether in real life or on television, in a movie, or in a book, have everyone give a reason for the behavior. Maybe they received some bad news or lost their job. The answers do not have to be serious, but they can help people learn about emotions. 

Emotion Journal

Emotional journal
Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

A lot of people of any age can benefit from keeping an emotional journal. It is also a good idea to keep an emotion wheel to identify new or rarely felt emotions. When someone writes down the emotions that they feel, they will be able to identify and manage them in the future. It may also help to write down why they felt this emotion. This should be done with both positive and negative emotions that the teen feels every day or week. 

Active Listening

Active listening means focusing on the person while they are talking while also being aware of your own non-verbal cues and thoughts. It is important to discuss this type of active listening with your child. This can help them have the correct emotional reactions to the words they hear someone say. 

Teach Assertiveness

Assertiveness is an important part of emotional intelligence. Have your teen practice asking for things while simultaneously expressing their emotions. For example, if you are at a restaurant and the waiter forgot to bring the ketchup, have your teen ask for it in an empathetic yet assertive way. 


Developing a high emotional intelligence can improve a teenager’s life. In addition, it can help them prepare for their future adulthood. Assertiveness, empathy, emotion management, and active listening are important pieces of the emotional spectrum required for a mature and developed emotional intelligence. 

Featured Image by Jess Foami from Pixabay

Marie Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.