Module 3: Social emotional learning - making friends and managing emotions
Knowing how to make and keep friends is an important skill for young children to learn. For preschool and school-age children, friends are fun to have around. They can also be important to success in school! Here are some facts about friendships.
The effect of friendships on school success shows up very early
Young children who know how to form and maintain close friendships tend to:
- adjust well to school and do well in classes
- have high self-esteem
- learn important social skills, such as cooperation and problem solving
The benefits of childhood friendships can have lifelong effects
People who learn at an early age to make and keep close friends tend to engage in fewer risky behaviors as teens and have fewer mental health problems as adults than do those who have no close childhood friends.
Parents can help their child learn how to be a good friend
The best social skills teacher of all can be the example you set in your daily interactions with others. (Actions speak louder than words!) You help your children learn how to make and keep friends when you:
- model cooperation and kindness with other people, including neighbors, shopkeepers, and teachers
- invite friends over and find times for your child to play with others
- talk to your child about what it means to be a “host” and how to look out for another child’s needs
- help your child learn how to listen to others’ ideas
- discuss fairness with your child—how to take turns, how to share, and how to solve problems
- help your child learn words to express his feelings
- discuss the importance of being honest and loyal with friends
- discourage hurtful behaviors in your child, and offer other ways to solve problems
- talk to your child about being kind and helpful to others
- help your child recognize and respond to others’ feelings
Five Domains of Emotional Intelligence
1. Knowing one’s emotions
Self –awareness – recognizing a feeling as it happens – is the keystone of emotional intelligence. The ability to monitor feelings from moment to moment is crucial to psychological insight and self-understanding. An inability to notice our true feelings leaves us at their mercy. People with greater certainty about their feelings are better pilots of their lives, having a surer sense of how they really feel about personal decisions from whom to marry to what job to take.
2. Managing emotions
Handling feelings so they are appropriate is an ability that builds on self-awareness. [This ability involves] the capacity to soothe oneself, to shake off rampant anxiety, gloom, or irritability – and the consequences of failure at this basic emotional skill. People who are poor in this ability are constantly battling feelings of distress, while those who excel in it can bounce back far more quickly from life’s setbacks and upsets.
3. Motivating oneself
Marshalling emotions in the service of a goal is essential for paying attention, for self-motivation and mastery, and for creativity. Emotional self-control – delaying gratification and stifling impulsiveness – underlies accomplishment of every sort. And being able to get into the “flow” state enables outstanding performance of all kinds. People who have this skill tend to be more highly productive and effective in whatever they undertake.
4. Recognizing emotions in others
Empathy, another ability that builds on emotional self-awareness, is fundamental “people skill.” [This ability involves] the roots of empathy, the social cost of being emotionally tone-deaf, and the reasons empathy kindles altruism. People who are empathic are more attuned to the subtle signals that indicate what others need or want. This makes them better at callings such as the caring professions, teaching, sales, and management.
5. Handling relationships
The art of relationships is, in large part, skill in managing emotions in others. Social competence and incompetence are the abilities that undergird popularity, leadership, and interpersonal effectiveness. People who excel in these skills do well at anything that relies on interacting smoothly with others; they are social stars.
Source: Peter Salovey, Yale Psychologist, Co-formulator of the Theory of Emotional Intelligence, “Emotional Intelligence” (p.189)
Source: Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence (1995)