Positive Self-Image

Adolescence is a time when teenagers develop their own identity that paves a way for the development of their personality as an adult. Self-image or the self-concept that they carry about themselves plays a crucial role during the adolescence stage when teenagers start to notice and adapt to changes in their own environment, and in the outside world.
 
A positive self-image in adolescents often relates to positive values and principles.  Adolescents with a positive and healthy self-image are able to feel good about themselves, accept themselves for who they are, appreciate their own worth, and take pride in their abilities and accomplishments. They also acknowledge that while they may not be perfect and may have lapses, these lapses need to be worked upon rather than have these work against one's self-concept. A negative self-image in adolescence and young adulthood is a risk factor for negative outcomes in most domains of one's life. 
 
An adolescent with a negative self-image may:
  • Avoid trying out new things because of fear of failure
  • Blame others for their shortcoming
  • Feel unloved and unwanted
  • Doubt their ability to do well at things
  • Focus on the times they failed rather than the times they succeeded, and lack confidence
  • Feel self-critical and use negative self-statements
 
Parents play a vital role and can help their teenagers develop a positive self-image by: 
 
  1. Helping the adolescent learn to focus on their strengths by pointing them out to them, including their achievements and attempts.
  2. Encouraging them to develop hobbies and interests which give them pleasure and which they can pursue independently.
  3. Helping the adolescent to think in terms of alternative options and possibilities rather than depending upon one option for satisfaction.
  4. Being generous with praise and commending not only for accomplishments but also for efforts.
  5. Being less critical, and keeping their approach more constructive; criticism must never be done in a hurtful or demeaning manner.
  6. Laughing with the children and encouraging them to be able to laugh at themselves helps develop a good sense of humor and a positive attitude.
  7. In case an adolescent is seen to be facing a low self-esteem or negative self-image, it is important to consult an expert to identify the causal factors and help them develop a strong and positive identity, which will enable a the adolescent to gain a stronger sense of self.
 
"The 'self-image' is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self image and you change the personality and the behavior." - Maxwell Maltz