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Increasing Adolescent’s Self-esteem

Self-esteem is the nature of the central image with the expression of proximity to or distance from the childish feeling of power and longing for a return to that blissful state. It is at the very core of one’s identity, yet it can be as fragile as spun glass, a sparrow ready to fly away at the nearest puff of cold air. Self-esteem is thinking that you are someone, that you are better than other people, and that you do not let anyone push you around.

Self-esteem is one of those psychological ideas that we meet frequently in our everyday lives. Everybody seems to have an idea concerning what it is. Parents want their children to have lots of it, teachers attempt to promote it in their pupils, lawyers and politicians at times seem to have too much of it, and clients in therapy have too little.

Thus it almost certainly comes as no surprise that self-esteem has been concerned in numerous areas of psychological functioning, including delinquent behaviors ( Anderson 1994, 112); substance abuse (Brown and Dutton 1995, 712-722); depression (Brown, Andrews, Harris, Adler, and Bridge 1986, 813-831); anger, antagonism, and aggressive behavior ( Baumeister, Smart, and Boden 1996, 5-33); life satisfaction ( Diener and Diener 1995, 653-663); intimacy and satisfaction in relationships ( Griffin and Bartholomew 1994, 430-445); and reactivity to evaluative events (Brown and Dutton 1995 712-722; Campbell, Chew, and Scratchley 1991, 473-506).

As is the case with numerous issues relating to the self, James (1950) provided the grist for a great deal of ensuing theory and research. With respect to the nature of self-esteem, he in fact offered two views. In one view, he asserted that self-esteem reflects the ratio of one’s “successes” to one’s “Pretensions” or aspirations. In other words, self-esteem is a summary assessment that reflects the degree to which a person believes she is performing well in those domains or areas in which she aspires to do well.

Identify the core factors that cause low self-esteem A. Self awareness and Physical appearance The body image yet when the body is defective, incidentally–is not inevitably a source of low self-esteem. Freud was well responsive of the dynamics underlying children’s perceptions of themselves when he wrote in the New Introductory Lectures (1932) that it was not a birth injury per se that resulted in narcissistic injury but a mother’s negative response of her child, who was not, in her opinion, perfect. Kohut stated it differently:

A mother’s lack of confirming and approving “mirroring” responses to her child prevents the transformation of the archaic narcissistic cathexis of the child’s body self which normally is achieved with the aid of the increasing selectivity of the mother’s admiration and approval. (1973, p. 373) Just as the adolescent’s appearances can origin great unhappiness if it does not conform to the idealized self, so failure to conform to self-imposed standards of performance, equally academic and social, cans also consequence in narcissistic injury.

Many teenagers just give up trying when lowered self-esteem obstructs with motivation to achieve in the academic, athletic, or social sphere. Lastly, there is a large group of pathological conditions that avert appropriate attachment and effect in low self-esteem, not as of traumatic external events or inadequate maternal care, but as the infant is born with central nervous system impairment. The condition may be severe, as with autistic children, or mild, as in the case of atypical or medium children (Ekstein and Wallerstein 1956, 11:30311).

Most mothers of such children feel a sense of refusal from the lack of body molding, eye contact, or smiling. B. Poor parenting Children who exhibit low self-esteem have been capable to form meager attachments, but these children have experienced numerous separations or losses or have suffered from insufficient maternal care. Never able to rely on a stable adult, they defend themselves against further loss by keeping all emotions “under wraps”; they emerge suspicious and guarded. These are the future hollow men and women concerning whom Fraiberg (1959) writes leftovers of society, redundant and unattached.

Such children demonstrate chronic low grade depression, feelings of insignificance, impaired self-esteem, and a devalued body image. Bowlby (1966) and Freudenberger and Overby (1969) allude to low self-esteem as a frequent connected of maternal depression. Freudenberger holds that feelings of unimportant, impaired self-esteem, devalued body image, and a weak sense of personal or sexual individuality are other factors commonly seen in these patients. A healthy sense of self-worth is, in Freudenberger’s words, built up through the interest that parents explain by telling their children stories and listening to them.

Preoccupied and uninterested mothers neglect these activities. Children reared in the fundamental absence of this kind of maternal attentiveness, he found, lacked not only a healthy sense of self worth but also the discipline with which to relate themselves later on in any pursuit that might prove rewarding. Thus, in speaking of self-esteem in adolescence, one cannot overlook early childhood experience. For Freud, the emerging ego was a body ego formed by the detailed biological attributes of the infant–male or female–and was a mental depiction of one’s own body.

Sullivan (1953), along with many other psychoanalysts and developmental psychologists, observed that the infant experienced pleasure and an ultimate sense of security, which Freud (1914) termed infantile omnipotence or primary narcissism. Critical to the developing sense of competence is the holding environment the “good enough” mother who gives a sense of protection and security (Winnicott 1965, 98). Parents who are mainly tuned in to the special signaling characteristics of their infants assist them develop feelings of security and eventually of mastery.

If the baby fits their expectations, the consequence is a harmonious interaction, but, if by chance the two are on diverse wavelengths, tension and turmoil can result. Escalona ( 1968), along with Thomas, Chess and Birch ( 1968), reminds us that temperament is inborn, not the consequence of environmental influences that consequently shape the personality. The mother must acclimatize herself to her particular infant’s style so that smooth synchronous interaction can persist despite temperamental differences between the two participants ( Kirshenbaum 1980).

C. Peer pressure At times Peers become biased in their perceptions of a child and alter their behavior toward a child once they have recognized that child as liked or disliked (Baumeister, Smart, and Boden 1996, 5-33). This behavior, sequentially, may lead the child to respond in ways that effect peers’ perceptions. Disliked children are held more responsible for negative behavior than are liked peers. Thus, social behavior tends to be professed as a function of prior attitudes and beliefs about the child.

The majority children are realistic, more or less satisfied with themselves, their lives, and their families. This is not the case with susceptible children, particularly those who are depressed. Poznanski (1982) found that negative self-image or loss of self-esteem was of main importance in understanding the psychopathology of childhood depression (308-13). Children who suffer from extremely low self-esteem, moreover, may demonstrate severe academic underachievement despite usual intelligence and the absence of a specific learning disability.

Progressively deteriorating school performance in the lower grades often culminates in school failure in early adolescence. D. Ethnic and Social class Factors contributing to the present-day prevalence of low self-esteem are inherent within the societal support. To attribute, however, the comprehensive component of self-esteem to a single set of conditions within the culture is issue to the weakness of factorial theorizing (Larson, R. W. 2000, 170-183). In the study of culture and personality it is often postulated that a sick, neurotic culture forms an environment of dehumanization and vice versa.

As individuals are subjected to the slings and arrows of their culture, every culture is also subjected to slings and arrows of the world culture. No longer do one-off individual nations operate within their own cultural framework; rather, they are units operating within a world economy. This world economy might then form the basis for low self-esteem as a by-product of crisis, nuclear terror, and economic disorientation. The world can be divided into nations classified as the haves and the have nots. The have-not nations, by virtue of their positions in the world configuration, are bound to feel inferior.

This national feeling of inadequacy has its basis in a nation’s inferior status and is dispersed to all of nations’ citizens, producing individual feelings of inadequacy resultant in low self-esteem. In part, we are pawns in the game of chess played by the world powers. Numerous factors of today’s social world form the basis for the development of low self-esteem. This is not to say that the social world causes low self-esteem, although that it manifests conditions that create socio-psychological barriers to the improvement of good self-esteem (Marsh, H. W. , & Hau, K. 2003, 364-376).

High-status people are typically identified in an economic framework: the amount of money they make, the area and house they live in, the kind of car they drive, the clothes they wear, the school they attend. Statuses are either attributed or achieved. The basic status positions are those that are agreed by the society and remain rationally consistent over long periods of time. Achieved statuses are those that are mainly related to change in social-class structure. An individual may, through satisfactory role performance, take on a higher-status position.

Goal determined precedes the status achievement. As individuals begin to function productively in a new role, they achieve status in and recognition by the group. In reference to self-esteem, status becomes a particularly important construct on the material/situational level of self-esteem. High- and low-status positions lean to provide a sense of worth; that is, if we hold a logically high status position in the community, we lean to feel good about ourselves, whereas if our status is low, we have an affinity to feel inadequate or inferior.

Self-esteem is based on the determined for superiority where superiority is a goal constructs (Anderson 1994, 115). We cannot endeavor to be superior without a central point or goal that we have set for ourselves. In essence, the striving for dominance is a goal-striving behavior and provides the motivation for action in the self-esteem pattern. III. The relationship like a source of increasing adolescent’s self-esteem A. Family- parents, family’s members To nurture self-esteem, parents need to be aware of effective styles and methods of disciplining. Family experiences greatly influence children’s self-esteem.

Unfortunately, at times, in negative ways. Parental domination, indifference, lack of respect, disparagement, and lack of admiration and warmth are some of the ways in which children’s self-esteem is lowered. Most of these parental behaviors are non-intentional and are made by parents who are not well-informed about children’s development. Parents need to be informed about the important conditions in the home environment that nurture children’s self-esteem. Thus, one important way to help children develop self-esteem is through effective discipline (Harter, S. 1999, 142).

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