Emotional Skills



Premature babies have an increased risk to develop socio-emotional problems. Teenagers start gaining emotional skills as babies and gain new skills as they get older. All teens struggle with controlling their emotions due to the flood of hormones but those that have emotional dysfunction have a more difficult time.

Teenage emotional skills include the following:

  • Identify emotions you are feeling
  • Ability to soothe your own emotions
  • Identify what emotions someone else is feeling and having empathy
  • Are more aware of others perceptions
  • Try to express feelings with words but may resort to aggression when upset

Emotional dysfunction is the extreme side of not being able to manage emotions and difficulty calming down when upset and in teenagers might include:

  • Excessive crying
  • Extreme Anger
  • Risk taking
  • Suicidal thoughts or self harm
  • Eating orders
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Promiscuity
  • Physical aggression toward self or others


You can help by guiding your teenager and encouraging positive behaviours to help them learn to behave in appropriate ways. Teaching them breathing and relaxation techniques can help with self-regulation. You can talk to them about emotional intelligence, discussing what it means and asking them questions such as how do you feel about that to make them aware of their feelings. You can teach your teenager to be resilient by helping them to be comfortable with their feelings and to be able to express themselves.

You should seek support and treatment from your GP, a Counsellor or Psychologist. Medicating is always a concern but, in some cases, medication combined with therapy is more beneficial than therapy alone.

Questions for your Health Care Team:

  • What signs do I need to look out for Emotional Dysfunction?
  • What ways can I help my teenager?

It is difficult seeing your teenager not being able to regulate their emotions and it can affect the whole family. Talking to a counsellor or psychologist will help ease the anxiety and will give the parents coping strategies and activities to help your teenager and you.

Useful Links:

“A child whose behaviour pushes you away is a child who needs connection before anything else”
- Kelly Bartlett

Need support? NurtureConnect allows you to connect with our NurtureProgram support team, or call our 24 hour NurtureLine 1300 622 243 or join our Facebook community.


Confirmation Content

Disclaimer: This publication by Miracle Babies Foundation is intended solely for general education and assistance and it is it is not medical advice or a healthcare recommendation. It should not be used for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment for any individual condition. This publication has been developed by our Parent Advisory Team (all who are parents of premature and sick babies) and has been reviewed and approved by a Clinical Advisory Team. This publication is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Miracle Babies Foundation recommends that professional medical advice and services be sought out from a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your personal circumstances.To the extent permitted by law, Miracle Babies Foundation excludes and disclaims any liability of any kind (directly or indirectly arising) to any reader of this publication who acts or does not act in reliance wholly or partly on the content of this general publication. If you would like to provide any feedback on the information please email [email protected].