Social Emotional Learning for Preteen Girls: Developing Healthy Thought Patterns

As parents of preteen girls, it’s important to keep in mind that this time can be a challenging and sometimes stressful period of life. From navigating through school and friend groups to dealing with increasing pressures and emotions, there’s a lot that can be going on in the minds of preteens.


Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is an important part of helping preteens manage their emotions and relationships with peers, and it serves as a basis to build emotional intelligence. SEL is the process of developing self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.


One way to help preteen girls learn healthy thought patterns is to focus on positive reframing. When your preteen is going through a stressful experience or gets caught up in negative thinking, it’s important to help her reframe her thoughts in a more positive way. For example, if she says, “I’m never going to figure out this math homework, it’s way too hard for me.” Try reframing it as a more positive thought: “This math homework is hard, but I’ve done hard things before. I can figure it out.”


In addition to positive reframing, it’s important to help preteen girls recognize and express their emotions. Modeling healthy expression of emotions like joy, anger, sadness, and fear can help girls learn to identify and process their emotions, as well as communicate them effectively to others. Teaching preteen girls that it’s okay to feel strong emotions, and that it’s important to communicate them in a healthy way, can help them develop emotional intelligence.


It’s also crucial to help preteen girls learn to manage stress. Healthy habits and communication skills can help preteens cope with stressors. Using outlets such as journaling, exercise, art, or music can also serve to alleviate that stress in a positive way. Encourage those hobbies to help minimize negative, self-harming behaviors.


Social emotional learning is a vital part of helping preteen girls develop strong emotional intelligence. Focusing on positive reframing and thought patterns, expressing emotions in a healthy way, and learning ways to manage stress can all help preteens build the skills they need to succeed.


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Emily Stanley

Emily is the founder and Executive Director of GEMS (Gaining Emotional Mastery Skills). She is a former teacher and a certified girls' empowerment coach.

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