This post: 10 Signs Your Teen is Emotionally Intelligent – Even if They Think They Aren’t
There’s a lot of buzz right now about the importance and value of emotional intelligence. Even if you’ve heard the term, chances are you may not know exactly what it is or given it a whole lot of thought as it relates to your teen.
But, maybe you should…
According to Travis Bradberry, co-author of the bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, “Emotional intelligence (EQ) is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.”
While it’s true these “skills” are a work in progress for most teenagers, there’s a fairly good chance your teen is further along in their EQ development than you realize.
And, the cool part is that experts agree that having high emotional intelligence just might prove more beneficial in your child’s life than their IQ simply because people with a high EQ typically perform well in their careers and in relationships because of their ability to harness those skills to foster meaningful relationships.
“Decades of research point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. In fact, according to studies, 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence,” says Bradberry.
So, even if your child hasn’t mastered key skills in their life just yet (like picking up wet towels off the floor or putting their dishes in the dishwasher), there’s a pretty good chance they’re well on their way to being a star performer later in life. Here are a few signs your teen is emotionally intelligent.
10 Signs Your Teen is Emotionally Intelligent
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#1 They’re Empathetic
Teenagers who are not only empathetic and compassionate toward others, but also have deep, meaningful relationships with others are often considered emotionally intelligent. They’re not only able to recognize when a friend or family member is struggling, upset, angry or disappointed, but they also go out of their way to reach out to them, listen to them and find ways to relate and give them the emotional support they need.
#2 They’re Good Communicators
One of the key attributes of emotionally intelligent people is their ability to understand and communicate their feelings. However, considering the fact that teenagers are considered some of the most confusing creatures on the planet as it relates to moods, emotions and their ability to communicate their feelings effectively, this might take them some time to master.
Still, a good sign that your teen is on their way to being an emotionally intelligent communicator is if they’re curious about others, willing to jump into conversations and get to know people, if they’re a good listener and if they have the ability to pick up on other’s non-verbal cues.
#3 They Have Self-Control
Emotionally intelligent teens understand the impact their words and actions have on others. When they have a crummy day at school, get into a fight with a friend or lose a game on the field, they don’t lose their cool, throw things or become hell-bent on making everyone else around them just as miserable as they are. They do their best to control not only their emotions, but also how they react to them.
#4 They Think About Feelings
Just as others’ feelings can affect the message they’re trying to convey, our teens’ feelings have a tremendous impact on how they communicate, both verbally and non-verbally. Teens who are emotionally intelligent (or in the process of honing their skills) pause and think about what they’re feeling before blurting out anything that comes to mind.
Rather than passive-aggressively sending out a scathing text to a friend who riled them or responding to their parents with sarcastic comments, they try first to identify the emotion they’re feeling.
#5 They’re Self-Aware
According to Bradberry, “People with high self-awareness are remarkably clear in their understanding of what they do well, what motivates and satisfies them, and which people and situations push their buttons.”
Even though most teenagers may not be fully aware of “who they are” quite yet and they’re still evolving as a whole, emotionally intelligent teens look at themselves objectively and are slowly becoming more self-aware of what makes them “them,” including what motivates them, their beliefs and what makes them happy.
#6 They Apologize
It takes a boatload of strength and courage to be able to say you’re sorry. (The truth is, some adults haven’t mastered this skill.) But teens who realize the importance of apologizing and aren’t afraid to fess up when they mess are demonstrating a level of emotional intelligence (and humility and unpretentiousness) that draws others closer to them.
(The real test of emotional intelligence will be when they realize that apologizing doesn’t always mean they’re wrong – but rather, that they value a relationship more than their ego.)
#7 They’re Adaptable
If your teen does their best to keep a positive attitude despite the curveballs life may throw their way and they make the most of situations by turning lemons into lemonade, they’re likely far more emotionally intelligent than they realize. (Now more than ever, our kids have been challenged to be adaptable, fluid and open to change.)
#8 They’re Not Afraid to Be Themselves
One of the most difficult things for teenagers to do is to simply be authentic. But, emotionally intelligent teenagers are just that.
They know that authenticity doesn’t necessarily mean sharing everything about themselves, but they stick to their guns by saying what they mean, meaning what they say and holding true to their values and principles above all else.
#9 They Let Go of Their Mistakes and Disappointments
Whether your teen failed a test they studied hard for, didn’t make the team or got skipped over for an internship they desperately wanted, if they look at life objectively, understand that mistakes and disappointments are simply part of life and (eventually) pick themselves up, brush themselves off and keep moving full steam ahead, chances are they’re emotionally intelligent.
#10 They Realize the Importance of Setting Boundaries
Your teen may be setting boundaries in their life without even realizing it. Perhaps they don’t respond to every text that dings their phone when they’re focused on studying. Maybe they inadvertently ventured into a toxic friendship and recognize the harmful impact it’s having in their life so they’re now gently pulling away.
Setting boundaries, apologizing, being socially and self-aware, and honing in on their communication skills are all signs your teen is becoming more emotionally intelligent and perfecting the aptitudes that will one day serve them well in their relationships, their career and their life.
It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky