What Is Social Competence in Teens? Why Is it Important?

Humans are social beings. And so, the peer support system that our teens have around them is important. Yes, your kid may like being alone, playing video games, painting art, or perfecting their musical skill. But that doesn’t mean they won’t need social relationships later in life. Learning social competence as teens is just as important as any other skill, we would argue.

Developing Adolescent Identity

Among the profound and exciting changes taking place in adolescence is the process of self-discovery. Our teens are working to figure out who they are, making adolescent identity development a central feature of teen life. Young people’s identities are shaped by lots of factors — family, cultural and societal expectations, experiences with institutions like school and the media, and friends. Young people also take active steps and make choices that shape their identity. They select the environments and people they want to be around. They adjust their beliefs and behaviors based on feedback. And they reflect on all of this while working to figure out who they are.

Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?

Once a small corner of education theory, S.E.L. has gained traction in recent years, driven in part by concerns over school violence, bullying and teen suicide. But while prevention programs tend to focus on a single problem, the goal of social-emotional learning is grander: to instill a deep psychological intelligence that will help children regulate their emotions.

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