National trends show we are sending kids off to college with impressive resumes, but without the tools to handle their emotions or make meaningful social connections. Educator Margo Long joins The Open Door Sisterhood to give us the "state of the union" as far as teenagers' social and emotional health. A lifelong educator of educators, Margo has spent her career training young adults as they enter the education field. She has worked specifically with gifted students who often have the academic skills to complete assignments or talent to compete athletically, but not the emotional and social skills to be truly successful.
Margo reminds us that it is never too early to introduce the language of feelings to our kids. We can ask them about tasks AND ask them how they feel about the tasks at hand. We can also practice speaking and listening through regular times at the dinner table or through weekly family meetings, giving everyone the chance to take a turn sharing successes and struggles. As kids grow we give them age-appropriate space and responsibility so they can practice the range of social, emotional, and academic skills they will need to be successful adults.
The pandemic has made it especially difficult for teenagers to have meaningful connections with people outside of their immediate family. We can be intentional about their stressors and our conversations around them as we move ahead. This conversation can help us coach our teens with a little more intention.