Understanding Teenagers with Low Self-Esteem
What is Self-Esteem?
“Self-esteem is basically the underlying beliefs we have about ourselves (Raising Self Esteem: Interview With the Parenting Professor).” It is the belief of our capacity and it helps us create our own character. We gather these beliefs as we grow up and encounter people of different traits and are in situations which give you experiences. It helps you gather your own identity. Self-esteem has been called the “survival of the soul (Rice & company, 2002 Adolescent, Development, Relationships).” It is what we need to human existence. Self must be considered important to everyone. It grows to small accomplishments, praise and success. We can survive life if we believe in our own capability and not by just giving up on failures. In adolescents’ stage, self-esteem is important for the growth and also for achieving independence of a teen from his/her family or with someone whom he/she depends its strength. Teenagers require enough self-esteem to handle different relationships they build with other people and to handle different situations they encounter. For example, friends are great factors that affect a teenager’s self-esteem and his/her desire to belong in a peer group. Rejection will be the greatest factor that will lower a teenager’s self-esteem. To avoid it, a teenager will do everything to belong to the group. If he/she succeeds, he/she gains self-esteem. If he/she fails, the feeling of weakness, embarrassment and fear of socializing will lower down self-esteem. (Palo Alto Medical Foundation, ND). The strength of an adolescent’s self-esteem is coming from the treatment of the persons present during his/her growth. What the child develops into is a product of his/her growth years. As the child develops, his/her self-esteem is a factor of what he/she will become. From there you’ll understand why the person acts the way he/she does now. The child’s development starts from his/her infant years up to the present. According to Clarke (1978), self-esteem starts developing in infants. A new born child develops self-esteem through the touch of his/her parents or guardian. Positive strokes for infants contribute to the building of positive self-esteem from infancy. Touch is important to babies for it is the first medium of communication with the outside world because it is the only way they feel that they are taken care of. To caress babies is said to help them grow healthy and smart. Clarke also said that as the child grows, he/she begins to explore his/her capabilities, trying to be independent and doing things on their own. Proper guidance from parents or guardian will help them develop positive self-esteem. Parents should try to encourage their child to do better. The way a parent addresses to a child is also considered as a factor in developing self-esteem. Speaking to the child with an admiring tone of voice will help. A simple message like “you did that well” is important no matter how little work they have done well. As long as it is delivered in an admiring tone, it helps them do things independently and helps build their positive self-esteem (1978). Negative messages may be sent to children to help improve their behaviour. But if negative messages strike their capabilities, it lessens their confidence and it makes them feel or think that they are incapable of doing things independently. It destroys the self-esteem of a child. For negative messages to become effective there is an alternative way of saying it: “1. Do not do that... 2. Because... 3. Do this instead...” (Clarke, 1978, p.7)
Parents and guardians play an important role in developing the child’s self- esteem. They are the ones who build the character of the child through the treatment they do. Whoever the child will become is a result of how he/she is raised by the family. But it is not only the child who is built by the self-esteem. Parents and...
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