How does self esteem develop in children?

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21st Apr 2017 Psychology Reference this

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We can not touch it but it affects how we feel, we can not see it although it is there when we look ourselves in the mirror, we can not hear it, but it is there everytime we talk about ourselves. Of course I am talking about our self-esteem. Self-esteem is a psychological term to reflect a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of her or his own worth. Self-esteem encompasses emotions such as pride ,shame , despair and triumph and beliefs.Psychologists most of the times regard self-esteem as a personality trait, another words a personal characteristic that is stable over time and that is called “trait self-esteem” although short-term variations exist as well, what in psychology is called “state self-esteem”.

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According to self-esteem’s history the term has three major types of definitions. The original definition presents self-esteem as a ratio found by dividing one’s successes in areas of life of importance to a given individual with the failures in them or one’s success (James, 1890). The main problem of the approach come from making self-esteem contingent upon success: this implies inherent instability because some kind of failure can occur at any time. Another definition is the one created during the ’60s by social-learning theorists and especialy by Morris Rosenberg who defined self-esteem as a stable sense of personal worthiless or worth. This definition is the most widely used in research but it has problems such as boundary-definition. In 1969 self-esteem was defines by Nathaniel Branden as being worthy of happiness and the experience of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life. That approach of self -steem appears to be balanced enough to deal with the limits of defining self-esteem primarily in terms of worth alone or competence.

Sometimes self-concept and self-esteem are not precisely defined and are often used interchargeably. As it was told before self-esteem refers to the person’s self-image or self-worth and it is a person’s global evaluation of itself. On the other hand self-concept refers to specific domain evaluation of the self. Children make evaluations in various domains of their lives such as physical appearance, academic, athletic and so on. To sum up, self-concept refers to specific domain evaluations and self-esteem refers to general evaluations.

Self-esteem is not always a reflection of what happens in the reality. A child’s self-esteem might be a reflection of whether he or she is attractive or inteligent although if that belief is not necessarily accurate. Therefore a low self-esteem may reflect either a perception of the reality that is accurate or distorted or even pathological inferiority and insecurity. In the same manner, a high self-esteem might reflect an accurate perception, justified by a person’s worth, successes and accomplishments but it can refer to an unwarranted sence of superiority over others, gradiose and arrogance as well.

The self-esteem is the degree to which children feel accepted and valuable by adults and peers they are important to them. The development of a sence of self is very complex. It is developed from within the person and shaped as well by the people around them. The develpoment of self comes in phases and is shaped by experiences. The first step in developing a sence of self in children is developing a sence of trust for the caregiver and the people around them. Children should learn to trust other in order to trust themselves in turn. Adults who cuddle their children, give love touches and warm, and answer their calls for what they need, these children are providing the first ingredients which are essential for the development of a healthy sence of self in their child. Another words make the child feel loved, valued, and wanted. When children begin to toddle and walk around they should have a supportive and safe environment in order to learn and explore things around them. Without this natural desiring for touching, feeling and tasting the things around them, they can not learn or get ready for school. If the children can not explore their surround in an independent manner they are going to begin doubt their abilities and feel ashamed. By about 18 months old children begin to act independantly. Parents who do not begin a power struggle and expect this need for independence will be rawarded afterwards by having a child who is excited and interested in learning new things on its own. These children will not depend on adult but on their own for every answer. Young children when they acquire language and see themselves as separate thay begin to have a very self-centered way to think about the world around them and this situation continues until about the age of seven years old. This is a very important stage of their child’s development because they have to work hard and to be patient in order to set the possitive example they want to be mirrored in their child.

There is a wide variety of strategies in nurturing a positive sence of self in children but they vary by the age of the child. Therefore we will categorize them according to their age into 3 different categories: pre-schoolers, school-age children and adolescents. As it was said before the development of a sence of self is very complex and preschool period is a vary critical period for developing our self-esteem. Some ways of developing a good self-image for a pre-school child are the following: 1. Involve the child with helping tasks and real chores in order to give them a sence of accomplishment, 2. Build on the child’s interest to learn and experience more about a topic, 3. Treat the child with a sence of respect. Ask their opinion and listen to them and afterwards give them a feedback which is meaningful, 4. Learn about their overall stage of development, including the development of independence, trust and initiative, 5. Model the skills that we want the child to have such as picking up after ourselves, being kind, brushing our teeth reading or voice control, 6. During phases of dissapointment let the child know that you still support and love him/her, 7. Listen to the child and pay attention to our responding tone of our voice, 8. Teach them problrm-solving skills and allow them to make decisions under our guidance, 9. Reinforce the positive, 10. Prepare the child for social settings. Before going to a social setting let them know what will be expected but on the other hand we should remember that their age has a bearing on their actions.

In school-age children some of the strategies that should be followed in order to obtain a good self-image are the following: 1. Provide help to the child in order to set its own goals and then link the success with the ongoing efford, 2. Respect the child’s strengths and they will respect you, 3. Examine the child’s values. Self -esteem is based in what a person values, 4. Know what the child is learning at school. Talk and show some interest about its school subjects, 5. Model healthy manners to express anger and talk about the ways anger should be released, 6. Talk and identify the child’s feelings. Even if you can’t do anything to solve its problem show care and interest, 7. Introduce to the child the self-talk. Adults learn to weight options mentally. Teach the child how to make decisions by talking out options, 8. Model acceptable behaviors such as cooperation, manners, kindness, safety, empathy and sharing, 9. Respect and value the child’s opinion, 10. Help the child in order to develop a sence of self control.

The next and final age group is adolescence. Some of the strategies that should be followed in order to obtain a good self-image during adolescence are the following: 1. Keep talking to the adolescent even if it seems he/she do not care or listen, 2. Talk to the teen how to express how we feel about others and about making good choices, 3. Before talking about bad things mention some good, 4. Tell tha adolescent something about yourself in order to feel safe and tell some things about himself/ herself as well, 5. Help adolescent plan about the future and mention its options that are available, 6. Respect the adolescent’s need for privacy but continue monitor what they do and with whom, 7. Use humor and enjoy it when they are fun or humorous, 8. Build on interests by finding outlets for their talents.

Variations in self-esteem have been linked with a wide variety of aspects in child development. Correlation does not equal causation, thus if a correlational study finds an association between low academic achievement an children’s low self-esteem, low self esteem causes low academic achievement as much as low academic achievement can cause low self-esteem. In fact there are only a few correlations between slef-esteem and school performance and these correlations do not suggest that better school performance is produced by self-esteem.

A child with high slef-esteem show greater initiative, but this can lead to both negetive and positive outcomes. High-self esteem children are prone to both antisocial and prosocial actions. For examples children with high self-esteem are more likely to defend victims against bullies, but they are also prone to become bullies themselves.

Researchers have found as well strong links between happiness and self-esteem. For example, these two elements were strongly related in an international study of thirteen thousant students from forty nine universities in 31 countries and we assume that probably self-esteem helps in increasing happiness.

Many studies have also found that depression is linked with self-esteem. People with low self-esteem claim that they feel more depressed than those with high self-esteem. Low self-esteem has also been linked to anorexia nervosa and suicide attempts. A recent studt shown us that teenagers who had low self-esteem had also lower levels of physical health, mental health and economic prospects as adults than teenagers with high self-esteem. Another study that has taken place recently found that depression in adolescence and early adulthood is linked also with low self-esteem.

Another study investigated the between child’s self-esteem and parents characteristics and behavior and this investigation resulted that these parenting attributes were asssociated with boys’ high self esteem: concern about the child’s problems; expression of affection; participation in joint family activities; harmony in the home; availability to give competent, organize help to the boys when they need it; abiding by the rules; and setting clear and fair rules. We should remember that these findings are correlational, another words we can not say that these parenting attributes cause high self-esteem anyway.

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Harter (1999) says that intervention have to occur at the level of causes of that childs self-esteem if that individuals self-esteem has to be improved significantly. Children are able to have the highest self-esteem posible when they are competetive in the domains that seem to be important to them and that is the reason why a child must be encouraged to value and identify the areas that they are competent.

Social approval and emotional support are also influencial in the child’s self esteem. It is very normal that children coming from conflicting families or experienced neglect or abuse that they have a low self-image because in such families the emotional support was not available. For these children the support can coma by alternative sources of emotional support and social approval such as a coach, a teacher or by someone else that is significant for them.

Achievement is as I said before also a way to boost a child’s self esteem. The teaching and learning of real skills often results in increased achivement and enhanced self esteem. When a child get clear of what goals are necessary to achieve and have the experience in order to perform these or similar tasks, their self-image rises and their self-esteem as well.

Self-esteem is also improved when a child tries to face straight forward a problem rather than just avoid it. If coping rather than avoidance shows that the child faces the problem honestly, non-defensively and realistically. This situation produces a favorable evaluation about the self and as a results it creates a self-generated approval of its self which leads to self-esteem raise. The converce is true about low self esteem. Unfavorabe evaluations trigger deception, avoidance and denial which leads to self generated disapproval.

A good relationship between our self-image is one of the most important conditions in order to achieve a state of personal happiness and satisfaction in our lives. S. Coopersmith has shown that the conditions which help the child to develop a high level of self-esteem are a combination of a set of limitations and the allowance of freedom and autonomy in the child. Self-esteem is important because it is an essential building bloch in character development. Self-esteem impacts confidence, attitude, skills learned , decision making and personality. Another words self-esteem plays a key role in hor we are going to be as adults, so it is very important that we foster high self-esteem in the younger generation.

Referances

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental

disorders (4th ed. text revision). Washington, D.C.: Frances, A. , Pincus, H.A. , First, M. B.

Durkin, K., (1995), Developmental Social psychology from infancy to old age. United Kingdom, U.K.: Blackwell publishing

Lewis, M., (1991). Child and adolescent psychiatry,London: Williams & Wilkins

Santrock , J. W., (2009), Child development (12th edition), New York: Mcgraw Hill

We can not touch it but it affects how we feel, we can not see it although it is there when we look ourselves in the mirror, we can not hear it, but it is there everytime we talk about ourselves. Of course I am talking about our self-esteem. Self-esteem is a psychological term to reflect a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of her or his own worth. Self-esteem encompasses emotions such as pride ,shame , despair and triumph and beliefs.Psychologists most of the times regard self-esteem as a personality trait, another words a personal characteristic that is stable over time and that is called “trait self-esteem” although short-term variations exist as well, what in psychology is called “state self-esteem”.

According to self-esteem’s history the term has three major types of definitions. The original definition presents self-esteem as a ratio found by dividing one’s successes in areas of life of importance to a given individual with the failures in them or one’s success (James, 1890). The main problem of the approach come from making self-esteem contingent upon success: this implies inherent instability because some kind of failure can occur at any time. Another definition is the one created during the ’60s by social-learning theorists and especialy by Morris Rosenberg who defined self-esteem as a stable sense of personal worthiless or worth. This definition is the most widely used in research but it has problems such as boundary-definition. In 1969 self-esteem was defines by Nathaniel Branden as being worthy of happiness and the experience of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life. That approach of self -steem appears to be balanced enough to deal with the limits of defining self-esteem primarily in terms of worth alone or competence.

Sometimes self-concept and self-esteem are not precisely defined and are often used interchargeably. As it was told before self-esteem refers to the person’s self-image or self-worth and it is a person’s global evaluation of itself. On the other hand self-concept refers to specific domain evaluation of the self. Children make evaluations in various domains of their lives such as physical appearance, academic, athletic and so on. To sum up, self-concept refers to specific domain evaluations and self-esteem refers to general evaluations.

Self-esteem is not always a reflection of what happens in the reality. A child’s self-esteem might be a reflection of whether he or she is attractive or inteligent although if that belief is not necessarily accurate. Therefore a low self-esteem may reflect either a perception of the reality that is accurate or distorted or even pathological inferiority and insecurity. In the same manner, a high self-esteem might reflect an accurate perception, justified by a person’s worth, successes and accomplishments but it can refer to an unwarranted sence of superiority over others, gradiose and arrogance as well.

The self-esteem is the degree to which children feel accepted and valuable by adults and peers they are important to them. The development of a sence of self is very complex. It is developed from within the person and shaped as well by the people around them. The develpoment of self comes in phases and is shaped by experiences. The first step in developing a sence of self in children is developing a sence of trust for the caregiver and the people around them. Children should learn to trust other in order to trust themselves in turn. Adults who cuddle their children, give love touches and warm, and answer their calls for what they need, these children are providing the first ingredients which are essential for the development of a healthy sence of self in their child. Another words make the child feel loved, valued, and wanted. When children begin to toddle and walk around they should have a supportive and safe environment in order to learn and explore things around them. Without this natural desiring for touching, feeling and tasting the things around them, they can not learn or get ready for school. If the children can not explore their surround in an independent manner they are going to begin doubt their abilities and feel ashamed. By about 18 months old children begin to act independantly. Parents who do not begin a power struggle and expect this need for independence will be rawarded afterwards by having a child who is excited and interested in learning new things on its own. These children will not depend on adult but on their own for every answer. Young children when they acquire language and see themselves as separate thay begin to have a very self-centered way to think about the world around them and this situation continues until about the age of seven years old. This is a very important stage of their child’s development because they have to work hard and to be patient in order to set the possitive example they want to be mirrored in their child.

There is a wide variety of strategies in nurturing a positive sence of self in children but they vary by the age of the child. Therefore we will categorize them according to their age into 3 different categories: pre-schoolers, school-age children and adolescents. As it was said before the development of a sence of self is very complex and preschool period is a vary critical period for developing our self-esteem. Some ways of developing a good self-image for a pre-school child are the following: 1. Involve the child with helping tasks and real chores in order to give them a sence of accomplishment, 2. Build on the child’s interest to learn and experience more about a topic, 3. Treat the child with a sence of respect. Ask their opinion and listen to them and afterwards give them a feedback which is meaningful, 4. Learn about their overall stage of development, including the development of independence, trust and initiative, 5. Model the skills that we want the child to have such as picking up after ourselves, being kind, brushing our teeth reading or voice control, 6. During phases of dissapointment let the child know that you still support and love him/her, 7. Listen to the child and pay attention to our responding tone of our voice, 8. Teach them problrm-solving skills and allow them to make decisions under our guidance, 9. Reinforce the positive, 10. Prepare the child for social settings. Before going to a social setting let them know what will be expected but on the other hand we should remember that their age has a bearing on their actions.

In school-age children some of the strategies that should be followed in order to obtain a good self-image are the following: 1. Provide help to the child in order to set its own goals and then link the success with the ongoing efford, 2. Respect the child’s strengths and they will respect you, 3. Examine the child’s values. Self -esteem is based in what a person values, 4. Know what the child is learning at school. Talk and show some interest about its school subjects, 5. Model healthy manners to express anger and talk about the ways anger should be released, 6. Talk and identify the child’s feelings. Even if you can’t do anything to solve its problem show care and interest, 7. Introduce to the child the self-talk. Adults learn to weight options mentally. Teach the child how to make decisions by talking out options, 8. Model acceptable behaviors such as cooperation, manners, kindness, safety, empathy and sharing, 9. Respect and value the child’s opinion, 10. Help the child in order to develop a sence of self control.

The next and final age group is adolescence. Some of the strategies that should be followed in order to obtain a good self-image during adolescence are the following: 1. Keep talking to the adolescent even if it seems he/she do not care or listen, 2. Talk to the teen how to express how we feel about others and about making good choices, 3. Before talking about bad things mention some good, 4. Tell tha adolescent something about yourself in order to feel safe and tell some things about himself/ herself as well, 5. Help adolescent plan about the future and mention its options that are available, 6. Respect the adolescent’s need for privacy but continue monitor what they do and with whom, 7. Use humor and enjoy it when they are fun or humorous, 8. Build on interests by finding outlets for their talents.

Variations in self-esteem have been linked with a wide variety of aspects in child development. Correlation does not equal causation, thus if a correlational study finds an association between low academic achievement an children’s low self-esteem, low self esteem causes low academic achievement as much as low academic achievement can cause low self-esteem. In fact there are only a few correlations between slef-esteem and school performance and these correlations do not suggest that better school performance is produced by self-esteem.

A child with high slef-esteem show greater initiative, but this can lead to both negetive and positive outcomes. High-self esteem children are prone to both antisocial and prosocial actions. For examples children with high self-esteem are more likely to defend victims against bullies, but they are also prone to become bullies themselves.

Researchers have found as well strong links between happiness and self-esteem. For example, these two elements were strongly related in an international study of thirteen thousant students from forty nine universities in 31 countries and we assume that probably self-esteem helps in increasing happiness.

Many studies have also found that depression is linked with self-esteem. People with low self-esteem claim that they feel more depressed than those with high self-esteem. Low self-esteem has also been linked to anorexia nervosa and suicide attempts. A recent studt shown us that teenagers who had low self-esteem had also lower levels of physical health, mental health and economic prospects as adults than teenagers with high self-esteem. Another study that has taken place recently found that depression in adolescence and early adulthood is linked also with low self-esteem.

Another study investigated the between child’s self-esteem and parents characteristics and behavior and this investigation resulted that these parenting attributes were asssociated with boys’ high self esteem: concern about the child’s problems; expression of affection; participation in joint family activities; harmony in the home; availability to give competent, organize help to the boys when they need it; abiding by the rules; and setting clear and fair rules. We should remember that these findings are correlational, another words we can not say that these parenting attributes cause high self-esteem anyway.

Harter (1999) says that intervention have to occur at the level of causes of that childs self-esteem if that individuals self-esteem has to be improved significantly. Children are able to have the highest self-esteem posible when they are competetive in the domains that seem to be important to them and that is the reason why a child must be encouraged to value and identify the areas that they are competent.

Social approval and emotional support are also influencial in the child’s self esteem. It is very normal that children coming from conflicting families or experienced neglect or abuse that they have a low self-image because in such families the emotional support was not available. For these children the support can coma by alternative sources of emotional support and social approval such as a coach, a teacher or by someone else that is significant for them.

Achievement is as I said before also a way to boost a child’s self esteem. The teaching and learning of real skills often results in increased achivement and enhanced self esteem. When a child get clear of what goals are necessary to achieve and have the experience in order to perform these or similar tasks, their self-image rises and their self-esteem as well.

Self-esteem is also improved when a child tries to face straight forward a problem rather than just avoid it. If coping rather than avoidance shows that the child faces the problem honestly, non-defensively and realistically. This situation produces a favorable evaluation about the self and as a results it creates a self-generated approval of its self which leads to self-esteem raise. The converce is true about low self esteem. Unfavorabe evaluations trigger deception, avoidance and denial which leads to self generated disapproval.

A good relationship between our self-image is one of the most important conditions in order to achieve a state of personal happiness and satisfaction in our lives. S. Coopersmith has shown that the conditions which help the child to develop a high level of self-esteem are a combination of a set of limitations and the allowance of freedom and autonomy in the child. Self-esteem is important because it is an essential building bloch in character development. Self-esteem impacts confidence, attitude, skills learned , decision making and personality. Another words self-esteem plays a key role in hor we are going to be as adults, so it is very important that we foster high self-esteem in the younger generation.

Referances

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental

disorders (4th ed. text revision). Washington, D.C.: Frances, A. , Pincus, H.A. , First, M. B.

Durkin, K., (1995), Developmental Social psychology from infancy to old age. United Kingdom, U.K.: Blackwell publishing

Lewis, M., (1991). Child and adolescent psychiatry,London: Williams & Wilkins

Santrock , J. W., (2009), Child development (12th edition), New York: Mcgraw Hill

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