Support in the emotional education of children and young people
People experience a wide variety of emotions that influence everything we think, do, and decide. Emotions have an important adaptive function that helps us to prepare ourselves and to respond to the various situations in life. Thanks to emotions, human beings have survived to the present day, as they have given us invaluable information to keep us alive. All of them, both pleasant and unpleasant, are vital in our daily lives.
People experience a wide variety of emotions that influence everything we think, do, and decide. It is therefore essential that we learn to listen to emotions and understand them in order to benefit from the information they give us about ourselves and our environment, as well as learn to manage our emotions properly so as not to be dragged down by the its intensity. This learning about one's emotions is progressive and complex and must be adapted to each age as it goes hand in hand with the development of cognitive abilities.
HOW TO EDUCATE EMOTIONALLY IN CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE
Children need to be educated to recognize their emotions from an early age, to learn that there is a word for each emotion, to expand their emotional vocabulary, and to be able to detect how and where they notice emotion in their own body.
With this basic learning, children learn to identify and express the emotion they feel. Little by little, it will be important for them to also understand what made them feel this way and what they did when they felt this emotion, in order to understand the causes and consequences of these emotions.
It is very important to value all the emotions that children feel, even the most unpleasant ones to feel, as they need to learn that they are all natural, valuable and give us information. We need to allow them to experience anger, frustration, sadness, envy, jealousy... so that they can get to know them, accept them, and help them regulate themselves socially.
In parallel with this learning, it is necessary to work on understanding the emotions of others, to detect how other people feel, at in what moments they feel like this, to learn how to understand non-verbal communication, to understand their gestures, facial expression... and thus better understand and relate to other people.
All these learnings need to be developed with the guidance of the adults who accompany the growth of the children: parents, grandparents, teachers and other reference adults as well as through their social experiences.
Once they have acquired this basic emotional awareness, they will be able to continue building the other socio-emotional skills that will need to be acquired throughout childhood and adolescence, such as better regulation of emotions, increase the ability to understand the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, develop greater empathy, master basic social skills, and the ability to communicate assertively. Also to learn to resolve conflicts with others, as well as to strengthen one’s own autonomy, capacity for self-care and self-esteem. All these skills will give them tools to manage the challenges of their daily lives.
Emotional education consists of teaching and accompanying in the progressive acquisition of the various emotional competencies, which could be included in the following areas:
- Emotional awareness: Ability to accurately perceive one's own emotions, name them correctly and also understand those of others, being skilled in verbal and non-verbal language.
- Emotional regulation: Knowledge of the relationship between emotion, cognition and behavior, having the ability to express emotions in a socially appropriate way, managing and regulating the intensity of emotions, as well as having the competence to generate positive and well-being emotions.
- Personal autonomy: Ability to self-motivate, develop adequate self-esteem, responsibility, resilience, ability to seek help and resources and generate a positive attitude.
- Interpersonal intelligence and social skills: Ability to master basic social skills, show respect for oneself and others, communicate assertively, develop prosocial and cooperative behavior.
- Conflict resolution: knowing how to identify problems, set realistic and adaptive goals, solve problems and have the ability to negotiate.
Developing these skills helps kids to have greater health and personal and social well-being. In addition, emotions are closely related to cognitive processes such as memory, attention, concentration, decision making ... which are very important in teaching-learning processes. Therefore, if we provide children and young people with good socio-emotional skills, we will also be providing them with tools to improve their academic learning.
THERAPEUTIC ACCOMPANYING FOR EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
At the therapeutic level, we help in the correct development of each emotional competence, in order to maximize the adaptation of the child or young person in their environment and in the development of their well-being. To achieve this we use various techniques and tools such as emotional literacy, attention development, emotional management guidelines such as relaxation, breathing or mindfulness, guidelines for behavior with children or young people, parents and teachers, the development of social skills and assertive communication strategies, as well as the detection and restructuring of thoughts, the development of autonomy and personal security and the generation of enjoyable activities, among others.
Therapy sessions allow you to create a space for reflection and learning to help each child with those emotional aspects that have been found to be most difficult.
- Bisquerra, R. (2002). Educació emocional: una proposta per al desenvolupament de competències per a la vida. Revista Catalana de Pedagogia, pp. 95-122.
- Ortega, M.C. (2010). La educación emocional y sus implicaciones en la salud. Revista Española de Orientación y Psicopedagogia, Vol. 21, Nº2, pp. 462-470.