Developing self-esteem involves being able to successfully achieve social-emotional developments both in childhood and during teenage. According to Erikson, successful socialization requires that one solves all the eight crises experienced during development. In adolescents, attaining self-esteem involves achieving autonomy, which can renegotiate relationships with parents during the adolescence period.
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The ability to renegotiate relationships is prompted by the natural changes that occur during puberty and the changes in their reasoning and thinking. They participate in decision-making processes and feel that they should now be treated as adults. They become responsible for the consequences of their actions and decisions (Basak & Ghosh, 2008).
The parent enhances an adolescent’s self-esteem development by promoting independence and self-determination in the adolescent. The parent helps the adolescent discover his or her interests and values. The adolescent develops a sense of oneself, and he or she can distinguish his or her own beliefs and attitude from that of the parents. The adolescent achieves self-governance (individuation) (Basak & Ghosh, 2008).
Family characteristics help the adolescent develop identity. He or she explores options as the family provides emotional support. Self-esteem gives the adolescent the self-certainty to try different roles and options, and, as a result, becomes able to resolve the identity crisis. The adolescent becomes ready and willing to engage in risky behavior and to live with uncertainty. The adolescent develops a sense of self that is purposeful and is coherent. Self-esteem gives the adolescent the motivation and the ability to interact and socialize and gain more experience, which enables identity formation (Basak & Ghosh, 2008).
The Level of Changes in Self-Esteem
In the adolescent period, the level of reasoning and thinking changes significantly. The adolescent can socialize and search for more information to answer the questions that cause diffusion in his or her mind. Self-esteem makes them feel the need to be more responsible. They also gain self-confidence to involve in various tasks and to participate in decision making. These changes are influenced by the biological changes that occur at puberty. They feel that their physical developments reflect their maturity. They also acquire maturity in reasoning and behavior. Therefore, they want to be associated with adults and not children (Basak & Ghosh, 2008).
Factors Influencing Self-Esteem
Factors that influence self-esteem in adolescents include the changes that take place in their body images during puberty. They begin to compare themselves with those they see around them. This may, in turn, make them feel uncomfortable. Their self-esteem is also affected by the media as they try to compare themselves with the images they see in the media. The family may also affect an adolescent’s self-esteem, depending on how the family members treat him or her.
The social status of the family also influences the level of self-esteem in an adolescent. Comments from people who surround the adolescent, such as peers, also affect self-esteem in an adolescent. Self-esteem in the adolescent is also affected by the experiences encountered during childhood, and the adolescent inherited personality traits (Basak & Ghosh, 2008).
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Consequences of Extreme Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem may cause avoidance as well as destructive behavior in the adolescent. The adolescent underrates his or her worth and always feel that they are likely to be rejected if they were to try interacting with others. Therefore, they avoid social interactions to escape the rejections from their peers. On the other hand, high self-esteem enables the adolescent develops a high level of self-confidence and a stronger mentality (Basak & Ghosh, 2008).
Developing High Self-Esteem
High self-esteem in adolescents involves helping them understand themselves. They should be enabled to understand their strengths and to value themselves the way they are regardless of weaknesses that they may have. They should be able to accept their physical appearance and socio-economic backgrounds. They should be helped to develop positive, optimistic attitudes.
Basak, R. & Ghosh, A. (2008). Ego-identity status and its relationship with self-esteem in a group of late adolescents. Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, 34(2), 337-344. Kolkata: Indian Statistical Institute.