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How do I help DD(14) with emotional intelligence? Or is it something in your personality rather than 'learnt'

(6 Posts)
MyballsareSandy Tue 19-May-15 12:18:24

DD seems to struggle with empathy and 'putting herself in other people's shoes' for want of a better expression. She has always been like this but I put it down to age and thought as she matured things would improve.

Her world is very black and white, no grey. Loads of examples but one recent one which has prompted me to think about this again, is a family friend having lots of trouble with her teens. My other DD (same age) is horrified at how these kids have changed, how they're treating their mum, prompting lots of discussion and talk about how we can help her, how down she must be at the moment etc etc.

My other DD just doesn't seem to 'get it'. It's as though she doesn't ever want to talk about or face anything unpleasant in life, if we don't talk about it, we can forget about it. She will occasionally agree to do something she doesn't want to, for example to please her old auntie, but only if her sister has pointed out how much that would mean to her auntie, it's only a short time but would mean a lot etc etc. I'm pretty sure she would not reach this conclusion without our inputs.

Am I expecting too much at her age - is the fact that they are twins and one is so much more in tune with everyone else's feelings than the other, highlighting it. Maybe the more empathetic twin is unusual for her age, I don't know. But interested in views/experiences. She worries me.

MyballsareSandy Tue 19-May-15 12:20:08

I should add that she is a very happy girl, lots of friends, not a particular close friend, but has friends she goes out and about with. Happy in her own company as well, very much more so than her sister.

cdtaylornats Tue 19-May-15 14:43:21

People are just different, some of us just are less emotional. I understand that if you tend to the emotional side yourself that it's hard to appreciate how those of us who tend not to empathise work. Over time she will learn to simulate the appropriate response. That is not to say she is unemotional, just that she doesn't feel the need to display it.

Being happy in ones own company is a gift, I enjoy seeing friends but a lot of the time I am happy to have peace and quiet to do what I want to do. Nothing is more horrifying than someone visiting to keep me company, which generally means they were bored and want to be entertained.

Who says empathising is an improved state anyway, while those of you who are feeling the other persons pain get on with that, the others like your DD can get on with actually doing something to help.

modernfemininity Tue 19-May-15 21:02:59

The other poster says stuff which makes me bristle a bit. I read it as a bit of a challenging response.

I disagree with the sentiments in their response, and truly believe that a good understanding of others and showing empathy towards other's plights makes life easier and happier for individuals
And it is better for groups and communities. For the individual it gives depth to life experience and helps friendships, which gives support.

Sandyballs, it sounds like your twin daughter is slightly more tricky than the other one. And us Mums do worry

I suppose you move on and accept it. And train her as best you can. You can ask the other twin to express what the other's true beliefs are. She could really help. Maybe the girl is anxious, and fears drama which is beyond her black and white thinking. She might already sense she is an outsider and her twin is more easily accepted in groups. So she has given up trying to understand emotions. An added worry is your daughter might not like herself much for not understanding others.

Your daughter might be good at many things which you can praise. You might be able to let her be socially absent more often. (We do that with our different one).

"Noticing the positives" could be a project for you for a few days, whilst you try to accept your girl's current limited relationship skills. And try to wipe the slate with each fresh day. There is loads of time. Being 14 is very early days. She'll grow up.

Be kind to yourself.

Springintosummer Tue 19-May-15 21:08:25

There are lots of skills in life which some people just get but other people need to be taught. I think emotional intelligence is just one of those skills. Perhaps you can try by making a point of dicussing the different options and emotions of characters in media eg Hunger Games or coronation street.

14 is a difficult age and her brain still developing and does not yet work at the same capacity of an adult brain.

3catsandcounting Tue 19-May-15 22:45:21

My DD17 is very similar. She's always been pretty quiet and was fairly shy until a few years back. She seems to have very little ability to show any empathy towards others. If we're all watching Children in Need, for example, whilst all the rest of us are in tears, she's seemingly unmoved and looks at us as if we're all mad!
Her only emotion seems to be anger, which can flare up whenever, but especially during PMT time.
She just doesn't 'get' emotions in others - it's made situations quite difficult sometimes, I always seem to be making excuses for her as I'm sure other people think of her as hard or cold.
So, don't know what the answer is really; maybe something that will change and mature as they do? I'm hopeful!!

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