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Helping Teenagers Recognize Their Emotions

by Tiffany Raiford

You might realize that your teenager is an emotional wreck, but she might not. When you're young, you aren’t always able to recognize your emotions in the heat of the moment, which can be disastrous. Teens are flooded with hormones their bodies haven’t yet become accustomed to, which means your teen is bound to have dramatic mood swings. Part of dealing with her emotions in a healthy manner requires your teen to recognize exactly what it is she is feeling, which is a skill you can help her master.

Becoming Emotionally Aware

According to Health Guide, a nonprofit resource for health needs, your teen needs to become emotionally aware if he is ever going to get a handle on his emotions. This requires that he learns to recognize his emotions as they occur and evolve, and be able to handle these ever-changing emotions at the same time. To help your teen become emotionally aware you can open the lines of communication. Ask him how he’s feeling, ask him what he thinks and teach him to recognize when his emotions are changing by considering how he feels about something. For example, discussing how he feels about his sister moving across the country for college might help him learn to recognize his emotions. Maybe he is sad to see her go, but happy that she’s accomplishing so much.

Managing Stress

When stress is prevalent in your teenager’s life, it makes it difficult for her to handle and recognize her emotions. According to Help Guide, teaching her to manage her stress in an appropriate manner will help her learn to recognize and deal with her emotions. It is difficult for her to recognize what she is really feeling when stress is clouding her judgment. Encourage her to face her problems, to take a time-out to calm down or to spend a little time exercising, which is an effective reliever of stress.

Labeling Emotions

According to Kids Health, many teens go through the entire day without recognizing or acknowledging their emotions. You can help your teen to overcome that by teaching him to label his emotions as he’s feeling them. For example, have her mentally recognize her emotions as they occur. When she notices she’s feeling sad, have her tell herself that she feels sad at the moment. When she’s feeling happy and content, have her say that sentence in her head. Practicing this will help her subconsciously begin to recognize her emotions regularly.

Handling Emotions

When your teen is able to recognize her emotions successfully, she will become much better at handling them. For example, if she is prone to acting out in anger before she thinks, recognizing that she is angry will give her a head start in calming down and reining in her anger so that she remains calm and levelheaded. This will help her minimize her emotional outbursts and her emotional distress.

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