Chapter

Research, Applications, and Interventions for Children and Adolescents

pp 247-261

Date:

Positive Youth Development in Organized Programs: How Teens Learn to Manage Emotions

  • Natalie RuskAffiliated withMIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Email author 
  • , Reed W. LarsonAffiliated withDepartment of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • , Marcela RaffaelliAffiliated withDepartment of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • , Kathrin WalkerAffiliated withExtension Center for Youth Development, University of Minnesota
  • , LaTesha WashingtonAffiliated withDepartment of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • , Vanessa GutierrezAffiliated withDepartment of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • , Hyeyoung KangAffiliated withDepartment of Human Development, Binghamton University, State University of New York
  • , Steve TranAffiliated withDepartment of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • , Stephen Cole PerryAffiliated withDepartment of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Abstract

Organized youth programs provide opportunities for adolescents to develop life and career skills while working on real-world projects, such as planning community events or creating public service announcements. In this chapter, we focus on adolescents’ development of skills for managing emotions. We first discuss how youth learn strategies for handling emotions that arise in their work on projects, and then look at how adult program leaders facilitate youth’s learning. Key findings from our qualitative research are that youth learn about emotions through active, conscious processes of observing and analyzing their experiences; and they learn not only to regulate frustration, anger, and worry, but also to use the functional aspects of these emotions in constructive ways. Program leaders facilitate youth’s active learning process through emotion coaching – helping youth reflect on unfolding emotional episodes, consider alternative strategies, and persist in problem solving. The chapter shows how effective organized programs provide rich affordances for positive youth development.