Adolescence is a phase of life full of change. It is a stage in our development where we are constantly searching to find our place in the world. We feel the need to try different roles and experiment. That is why teenagers and self-esteem are strongly linked. Otherwise, they may develop in an unfortunate direction.
It is in adolescence that we feel a strong need to reflect deeply on ourselves. At the same time, the teenage brain matures and learns new things. All of this is part of finding our identity. And it is only when we develop a coherent idea of the self that we will be able to build our self-esteem.
Self-esteem is based on the concept of the self
Our concept of ourselves is the overall representation we have of ourselves. It feeds our self-knowledge. For example, the self-concept is seen in ideas such as “I am a very impulsive decision maker”, “I love walking my dog in the park” or “I am very competitive when it comes to sports.”
In our first year of life, our self-concept is more flexible. Therefore, we are more likely at that time to incorporate values, evaluations, and expectations into our role models during this time. But in adolescence, these are more arbitrary and are likely to change. They are also much less cohesive.
When we are aware of who and what we are, our self-concept also determines our worth. Therefore, the self-concept includes self-worth. It depends on our assessment of our value.
Teenagers and self-esteem include the thoughts, feelings, sensations and experiences they have had throughout their lives. They judge all these things. They then assess whether they see themselves positively or negatively.
When do we form our self-esteem?
We begin to create our self-esteem early in life, just like our self-concept. It is the product of various interactive factors. One factor is genetics (temperament) and the other is environmental (personal, social and cultural). We assimilate and internalize these as we grow up. This evaluation may also vary depending on age.
How does a teenager assess himself?
When you ask a teenager to describe themselves, they will usually talk about external, physical characteristics (attractiveness, traits, figure) and the activities they perform (intellectual abilities and how they relate to others).
Likewise, their perspective will by itself revolve around their concepts of worth and competence. It is closely linked to school success, social competence and emotional balance.
Teenagers and self-esteem vary to some extent depending on gender:
- Teenage girls tend to have lower and more vulnerable self-esteem. They tend to worry more about physical appearance, social success, and academic achievement.
- Teenage boys’ self-esteem is governed more by their ability to meet male stereotypes; be confident, strong and fearless.
Teenagers and self-esteem
Many aspects of a teenager’s life will have an impact on their self-esteem: school, family, relationships, etc. These factors will in turn affect their personality and happiness later in life.
Teenagers with high self-esteem…
- Feeling loved and accepted by those around them. In addition, they are motivated to learn and try new things and experience new places.
- Tend to be optimistic about their future and may see problems from different points of view.
- Creates goals in the short and long term. They are able to take responsibility for their own behaviors and decisions.
- Know their strengths and weaknesses. Likewise, they know how to accept criticism, they may experience themselves as self-critical, and face their problems.
- Has emotional stability and ability to show empathy.
- Are sensitive to the needs of others. They communicate easily and have a healthy social circle.
Teenagers with low self-esteem…
But behaviors that indicate the onset of low self-esteem in teens are based on a lack of confidence in themselves and their abilities. Young people with low self-esteem…
- Seeing themselves as subordinate to others does not feel respected and underestimated. They may refuse to do group work that involves collaboration.
- Feels insecure and has a crippling fear of failure.
- Often lacks discipline, commitment and the ability to take responsibility.
- Trying to stand out and because of their constant need for attention can tend to lie and be deceptive.
- Blame others, and may have an aggressive, violent, regressive, defiant or anti-social attitude.
What does self-esteem need?
According to Erikson, adolescence is a search for identity and meaning. Although it is a period marked by crises and hormonal chaos, it is healthy and will result in a stronger identity in adulthood. Finding our identity is important when it comes to thinking about the future.
Therefore, self-esteem helps us to accept ourselves and value our unique qualities. We should know our weaknesses, but we should also be aware of our strengths and let them shine through.
It’s not about being selfish. It’s about being realistic and feeding our self-esteem. Self-esteem is a sign of respect for yourself and others. A person who respects himself is a person who respects others. And someone who values himself, values others.