Triggers Leading to Adolescent low Self-Esteem

Triggers Leading to Adolescent low Self-Esteem

I see 5th and 6th grade as pivotal points in self-esteem development. Between the ages 10 and 12 puberty sets in, increased socializing between the sexes occur and in many cases, verbal teasing begins.  More defined social groups and cliques form where peers become a major influence on a child’s self-esteem. Think about it, adolescents spend more time in the classroom with peers than at home with family members.  This peer network can define approval or disapproval for actions and behaviors, similar to a  “mob mentality.”  Their influence on one another can impact future choices and actions based on past experiences.  During adolescence many core values and beliefs about self begin to take shape and the relationships that teens build have an influence on that development. Therefor, as adolescents get older, they will choose environments and situations that are inline with their beliefs about self.  In other word, if she feels good about herself, she picks healthy environments and supportive friends. If she feels poorly about herself, she makes bad choices. This is where low self-esteem takes shape. Here are a few triggers that can lead to adolescent low self-esteem.

  • Being criticized by peers (or an adult figure) for a prolonged period of time.
  • Being ignored, ridiculed, or bullied by peers.
  • The self-imposed expectation of perfection which cannot be sustained.
  • Forced group think conformity so individual needs and interests are denied.
  • Being identified as physically different by peers. Too tall, too short, too thin, different hair, braces, etc.
  • Having few trusts friends or community outlets  (sports team, church group, social clubs, etc.)
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