3 Tips for Helping Youth Harness Their Emotional Power

Posted on by Heidi Brunsting

By Elizabeth Parroet, school counselor

As teens are growing and developing, they experience new feeling and emotions. Here are some awesome tips to guide you as you help young people harness their emotions.

  1. Let kids fail. Don’t fix everything for them. People learn from mistakes and that’s where confidence comes from. If we fix everything, kids won’t learn how to live in the tough moments. As they learn to manage their emotions, they are sure to make big blunders. They will blurt out feelings in an inappropriate context, tempers will explode in public places, and they will say hurtful things. After the mistakes happen, talk through the circumstances, and help young people identify ways that they can reconcile any hurt relationships and plan new behavior patterns for future circumstances.
  2. Their brains and their bodies are developing faster than they want. Youth often feel like everyone’s watching them; they feel like they have their own audience watching and waiting to see how they will do, waiting for them to make a mistake, for them to fail. Empathize with young people. Use gentle humor to lighten situations. The world is not ending because something embarrassing happens. Help them learn to laugh at themselves and realize that everyone makes mistakes. Help them learn not take themselves so seriously.
  3. Listen. Are you listening with eyes, ears, and heart? Or are you listening with what you will say next? Listening is the most important thing. They don’t want you to fix them. They just want their voices to be heard. When they feel supported, they will have more courage to look at their behaviors and consider changes that need to be made.

These tips are excerpted from The Asset Edge's new book, Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth. It is full of strategies to help educators, coaches and youth workers bring out the best in young people! Check it out and share it with someone else that loves young people. Used with permission.

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