A Child's Self Esteem

A Child's Self Esteem
Many factors contribute to the mental state that forms as a child grows to become a young adult. His/her self-esteem, or lack of, is a key factor. Unfortunately, low self-esteem is more common than high self-esteem. Most cases of low self-esteem begin during the pre-teen and teenage years of a child?s life. These are the years containing the overwhelming pressures of high school. Teenagers are forced to cope with unmotivated teachers, ignorant peers, doubting parents, and possibly not knowing, or not being able to afford, the trends of the time. Such burdens are unmistakably the main causes of low self-esteem.
Too often, teachers of all subjects lose their patience and desire to teach. When this situation occurs, a student who already doesn?t have a fair amount of confidence in him/her self is unable to achieve the necessary praise and cooperation. Teachers fail to realize that they are, for the most part, well respected authority figures who their students try to impress and make proud on a daily basis.
However, when nothing the student says or does is impressive, then he/she begins the downward spiral of doubting him/herself. Before the student knows what has happened, he/she is receiving poor grades, which does nothing to help the situation, and in fact, only makes it worse, for it is much harder for him/her to recover after he/she has already fallen. After this point, the student tends to begin believing that he/she isn?t capable of doing better than previously deemed by the teacher; he/she just stops trying. Teachers aren?t the only influential aspects in school that can cause a teenager to feel that he/she is less of a person; there are also peers who are too ignorant to know that their hateful words hurt everyone who hears them.
Peer pressure is a common term used to describe the unique forceful bond that all people of the same age or group level hold over one another. The most dangerous and influential type of peer pressure is found in high school among teenagers. That is the age when groups are distinctly labeled as the ?jock group,? the ?geek group,? the ?popular group,? the ?skater group,? or the ?I-don?t-really-belong-to-a-group group.? These labels are unfortunate because they subtly, or sometimes directly, eliminate the individuality that teenagers are just discovering. Such labels also give certain groups superiority over others, in turn causing the others to feel inferior. More often than not, members of the ?inferior? group are the ones to lose their self-esteem first. The ?popular? students are surprisingly ignorant when it comes to the terms in which they discriminate against their ?inferior? peers. ?Name calling? begins as the incredibly smart kids are made fun of by being called ?nerds? or ?geeks,? the skaters are spoken of as ?losers? or ?weirdos,? and the jocks are deemed ?stupid airheads.? All the while, every negative remark is directed toward a teenager who was already struggling to survive in the jungle that is high school. The opinion of a peer means a lot to all teenagers, and even more to those with little confidence, harsh words and actions only inflict more pain onto an already tormented person. However, not all pain is inflicted by words, sometimes it is the words not spoken that leads a teenager to doubt him/her self. If it is impossible to make a friend in a vast school containing a couple thousand students, how is a teenager supposed to feel if not unworthy? Not only are the words and actions of peers valued, the role of parents is important as well.
Above both teachers and peers, a mother and father have the biggest and most significant influence over their teenager. It is in the home that a child needs to be told and then reassured time and again that he/she is special. If he/she can?t obtain such exceptional treatment from those who bore him/her, then he/she won?t expect or believe to be worthy of such treatment from others. Again, when he/she starts to even remotely feel inferior, that feeling of dissatisfaction with his/herself will carry over into every situation, never allowing the hurt soul to heal properly. This makes each instance of rejection hurt more and more. The worst part of the hurt is that it came from a parent, a parent whose job is to love his/her child unconditionally, so a teenager then asks him/herself ?If they don?t love me, then it must be my fault, so what?s wrong with me?? This is a question that no one should ever consider asking themselves, especially during the trying times of a teenager.
With each of these causes of low self-esteem there is an equally important effect. However, each cause doesn?t produce a specific effect. Each case of a loss of self-esteem is different for all teenagers and generates a different effect depending upon the will of the person. The most common effects are social anxiety, severe depression, or the worst case scenario, a suicidal teen.
Social anxiety and depression are unfortunate circumstances for a teenager to develop. High school is one of the most social events of a person?s life, and to spend four years being depressed or afraid of speaking around other teenagers is nothing short of distressing. It is normal for a teenager to find him/herself in an uncomfortable situation every so often, but every day is unhealthy. Each of these conditions is serious and requires medical attention for a permanent resolution. It is unfair for a teen to have to deal with such occurrences. Both social anxiety and depression are serious conditions that no one should have to endure, but neither of them is nearly as life threatening as suicide.
Suicide is the absolute worst thing for people of all ages to consider. If a teenager is contemplating ending his/her life, he/she may ask him/herself, ?Why was I created, I?m not good enough to be alive?? These thoughts show an enormous amount of lost potential. They may have been created in the mind of the next president or Bill Gates that the world will never know because of some injustice that the child encountered during his/her days of high school. Also, the families of suicide victims undergo tragic emotions that can never really be fixed. The family will always wonder what they could have done to rectify the situation. In all cases, suicide doesn?t solve any of the problems it is meant to; instead it makes the situation worse.

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