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Social and emotional competence is described as the processes by which children and adolescents “apply knowledge, attitudes and skills in order to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), an organization that is entirely dedicated to advancing the development of academic, social, and emotional competence for all students in America, underscores the five fundamental social and emotional competencies for children and adolescence as follows: 

  1. Self-awareness: Self-awareness is explained as “a conscious knowledge of our thoughts, emotions, values, experiences, etc., and how they influence our actions. Such awareness can give us insight into our lives to foster positive change.”
  2. Self-management: Self-management involves learning impulse control, stress management, self-discipline, self-motivation, goal setting, and developmentally age-appropriate organizational skills.
  3. Responsible decision-making: Responsible decision-making involves identifying problems, analyzing situations, solving problems, evaluating, reflecting, ethical responsibility, and recognizing the consequences of every action. 
  4. Social Awareness: Social awareness involves learning to understand social behavioral norms, recognize other people’s emotions, empathy, and developing a general respect for others. 
  5. Relationship skills: Relationship skills aim to help a child foster healthy and meaningful human connections. It involves skills like communicating effectively, listening well, understanding appropriate and inappropriate social behaviors, the ability to compromise, conflict resolution strategies, and the ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others.

Cognitive, social, and emotional, capabilities do not exist in isolation, but rather are profoundly interrelated. The benefits of social and emotional competence are far-reaching. Long-term research has found that greater adolescent social and emotional competence can increase the likelihood of high school graduation, readiness for postsecondary education, career success, positive family and work relationships, better mental health, reduced criminal behavior, and engaged citizenship.

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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