Self-image in during Middle Childhood and Adolescence

Self-image in during Middle Childhood and Adolescence

SELF-IMAGE IN DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE 8

Self-imagein during Middle Childhood and Adolescence

Self-imagein during Middle Childhood and Adolescence

Self-imagein middle childhood and the adolescence is the mental picture thatyoung people depict about themselves, especially in regard to theview of others. The type of the mental image that children form atthis stage of life is affected a number of factors. These factorsdetermine the mental picture by influencing their view aboutthemselves and relating their self view with how others see them.These factors also influence how a person perceives how otherindividuals view him or her. The discussion about the topic willexplore the factors that influence the on the self-image of youngpeople during the middle childhood and adolescents.Physicalcharacteristics form one of the main factors that influence themental image formed by young people in the middle childhood andadolescent stages. The physical characteristics in this case are thebodily features and abilities that a young person has. A child or anadolescent person strongly relates the way they view themselves withtheir physical characteristics like height, weight, skin and bodystrength (Schacteret al, 2011).The image formed by the young people about themselves is pinnedagainst their own expectations of how they should look like or howthey should be viewed. At the young age, they have certainexpectations of how they should be viewed or how their physicalcharacteristics should be (Lerneret al, 2012).If they possess the expected physical characteristics, they form apositive self-image. However, if they feel that they do not possessthe physical characteristics of their expectations, they tend to formnegative self-images.Theformation of the self-image also depends on the comparison of theirphysical characteristics with those of their peers. At this stage inlife, the influence of their peers is strong in an individual’slife. Therefore, they seek to identify with their friends orrelatives that they want to look like. For instance, a shortadolescent boy who is engaged in a group of tall friends may viewhimself as inadequate and adopt a negative self-image (Florack,2005).The situation may get worse when the members of the group mock himfor being the shortest in the group. The same case applies to middlechildhood or adolescent girls with regard to physical characteristicslike skin color, skin texture or body size. The use of physicalcharacteristics as the basis of comparing themselves with othersinfluences the self-image formed during middle childhood andadolescence stages.Theuse of physical characteristics to form self-image by young people inadolescent or middle childhood is informed by the society’sexpectation of the perfect physical features. The physicalcharacteristics of a person are considered desirable or not if theyare celebrated by the society and considered superior (Rhodes et al,2004). The media has played a significant role in defining the bestphysical characteristics and those that are considered low. Forinstance, the society has labeled tall and muscular men with flattummies, to be handsome or appealing to the ladies. Therefore, anadolescent will view himself negatively if he is obese and does notpossess these characteristics. On the other hand, he will have apositive self-image if he possesses such features and is appreciatedby the peers.Thesecond main factor that influences self image in adolescent of middlechildhood is social interaction with peers. The social interactionwith the peers is different from physical characteristics because itdetermines the attitude that a child or an adolescent takes from thefriends. If a child engages in a positive, social interaction withpeers, he will have positive attitudes that will influence hisself-view and perception (Schacteret al, 2011).Therefore, exposure of a child or an adolescent to peers who havepositive-image of themselves will lead to the creation of a positiveimage of the individual. Social interaction with the peers ispowerful because it is determined by the views of each of the peergroup, and taken up by a person to view himself (Florack,2005).Socialinteraction with peers also creates a platform for a child oradolescent to learn how others view them. Once they discover the viewof the peers about them, they tend to take those views as part oftheir own view about themselves. It is challenging for the youngpeople in the middle childhood or adolescent stage to differentiatebetween the views of others about them and their own views aboutthemselves (Lerneret al, 2012).As a result, they take the opinion of their peers as part of theirreality. This is a strong determinant of the way they will perceiveabout themselves, which directly translates to their own self-image.Inaddition, social interaction with the peers creates a perceptionabout a person by comparing himself or herself with the others. Theyuse the attitudes of their peers to perceive themselves and determinewhether they are worthy or not. Interacting with the peers gives anadolescent the pressure to be like the rest of the peers and becomelike them. This contributes to the way a child or an adolescentconsiders his abilities, personalities and achievements in relationto the other peers (Lerneret al, 2012).The social interactions open the child and the adolescent to theviews of others about him or her, which determines the parameters thehe or she will use to form self-image.Aspectsof cultural identity are the other factor that influences theself-image formed by the young people in middle childhood oradolescent stages. Cultural identity gives pressure to a child or anadolescent to align with the image that the culture expects him orher to have in the society. The cultural identity gives the child orthe adolescent the expectation that he should meet as per thepractices of the culture that he belongs to (Florack,2005).Therefore, to feel attached or a sense of belonging to the culture, achild or an adult is compelled to view his life in a certain way.This influences the way he perceives himself and the way the societyperceives about him.Ifa child or adolescent feel to be adequate to the identity that theculture expects of him, he is likely to have a positive self-image.This is because he will feel a true sense of belongingness as hethinks he fulfills the cultural aspects that the society dictates onhim (Lerneret al, 2012).On the other hand, if a child or an adolescent perceive theinadequacy in his personality to fulfill the expectation for hiscultural identity, he tends to have a negative self-image. This isbecause he feels that he is not worthy of being in the society thathe is supposed to belong to. However, cultural identity does notaffect children or adolescents who do not identify with the culturethat the society dictates to them. Riskand Protective FactorsFromthe discussion, one of the main risk factors for the self-image inmiddle childhood and adolescent stages of development is peerinfluence. At these stages of development, young people tend to takewhat the peers present in all views (Lerneret al, 2012).This means that their view about themselves and life is dependent onthe views of the peers. Another significant risk is the lack ofguidance for the young people in the middle childhood and adolescentto appreciate their physical characteristics. This guidance should beprovided by their parents and social counselors in schools andreligious institutions. Moreover, the social and culturalexpectations from the society are a risk factor that children andadolescents face when forming self-image. To protect the peersagainst these risks, it is important that the following protectivefactors be considered.First,young people at middle childhood and adolescence should be taughtabout self-esteem. This will help them to take views about themselvesbased on the way they are and not based on the way others view them.This works as a protective factor against the views of the peers andtheir opinion from being the reality adopted by a child or anadolescent. Children should be informed of the importance ofdeveloping positive view about themselves (Rhodes et al, 2004). Thiswill give them the confidence of forming positive self-images thatare not influenced by their peers. They should also be taught aboutcareful social interaction with their peers in a manner that limitsthe negative views of their peers. This will protect them againstforming self-images from the opinion of their friends.Anotherprotective factor is parental guidance. According to Schrodtet al (2011),proper parental guidance is needed to engage with children and guidethem to form positive self-images. The influence of the peers and thesociety towards the formation of self-image by young people in theirmiddle childhood and adolescents is effective because it thrives fromthe absence of parental guidance (Schrodtet al, 2011).Taking time to talk to young people at these two stages is importantin order to protect their views about themselves from theexpectations of the society and the opinion of the peers.Toprotect the children and adolescents from the influence of thecultural identities, parents and schools should teach them positivesocial aspects of their identity. They should educate the youngpeople in these stages about the influence of the society and how tomanage the expectations of the cultural aspects of the society(Schacteret al, 2011).Formal educational programs like schools and religious institutionsshould guide children and adolescents to embrace positive aspects oftheir culture and repel the negative ones. In addition, parents cantake children and adolescents to formal programs like counselingsessions and personal development seminars to enable them form apositive self-image.Theformation of self-image during middle childhood and adolescencestages is influenced by a number of factors. Among the factorsinclude physical characteristics, social interactions with peers andvarious aspects of cultural identities. These factors present therisk factors that affect the type of self-image that young people inthe two developmental stages take. To protect young people atadolescent and middle childhood stages from the risks, parentalguidance is needed as a major protective factor. In addition, formalguidance programs such as schools and religious institutions shouldbe used to guide adolescents and children in middle childhood to havepositive self-image. References

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Lerner,R., Damon, W., Kuhn, D., Siegler, R.S., &amp Eisenberg, N. (2012).Childand Adolescent Development: An Advanced Course. Hoboken,New Jersey: John Wiley &amp Sons

Rhodes,J., Roffman, J., Reddy, R., &amp Fredriksen, K. (2004). Changes inself-esteem during the middle school years: a latent growth curvestudy of individual and contextual influences. Journalof School Psychology,42 (2004) 243 – 261

Schacter,D.L., Gilbert, D., &amp Wegner, D.M. (2011). Psychology(2 ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers

Schrodt,P., Ledbetter, A. M., &amp Ohrt, J. K. (2007). Parental confirmationand affection as mediators of family communication patterns andchildren`s mental well-being, Journalof Family Communication, 7(1),23-46