Considering the recent controversy over Netflix's "13 Reasons Why," conversations on emotional intelligence extremely important. Teens are increasingly stressed and this can lead to negative behaviors such a violence and depression. Stress also hinders development of the prefrontal cortex, which helps in the regulation of emotion and cognition.
The good news is we can do something to help. Conveying messages of belonging and connection will help students to feel encouraged and supported by the community. As adults, if we help to create an environment where every student is valued for exactly who they are rather than how they preform, then they will have a much better chance at success.
This is why Netflix's series (and the book it is based on) can serve as a window into the lives of teens. What is it about our culture that leads teens to drinking, violence, suicide and many other harmful practices?
We would venture to say that one issue for youth is a lack of understanding of and ability to manage their emotions. Research shows that understanding emotions better and receiving training on these applicable practices can help students during the stressful teen years.
We need to understand EQ for ourselves so that we can aid our students in regulating and understanding their own emotions. We can only help them bridge this gap if we have done the difficult work of understanding our own emotions first. Check out these numbers and encourage others to support SEL!