Self-identity & Self-worth

Our identity is important to all of us; such as, who are we and what is our purpose? The adolescent years is when we begin to form our personal identities and build on our self-concept and self-esteem. These years are crucial to an adolescent development because it is important to have a sense of who you are and what your morals are.

Virtually all teenagers become increasingly concerned about other’s opinions, but those who are overly dependent on social acceptance and approval from their peers, place their self-worth “on the line” (Harter & Whitesell, 2003). This can be hazardous to an adolescent’s self-worth because they are searching for acceptance and validation from other people instead of within themselves. Teenagers who rely on other’s opinions to fuel their own self-identity may end up feeling depressed. Establishing a strong self-identity throughout the adolescent years is necessary for normal development through relationships, morality, and a sense of worth.

This is the time in their young lives when they are trying to figure out who they are.  They may act differently while hanging out with certain friends or with different social groups, than they do when they are at home with their family.  These conflicting feelings of who they really are and who they are supposed to be may confuse them. They have not yet learned the necessary coping skills an adult may have to deal with these contradicting behaviors of self-concept. This may be dangerous to their self-worth.

As adults we know that self-concept is fluid, and that it is okay to change a little bit based on different situations or environments. For example, one may not behave the same at work as they do at a party with their best friend. We mold our self-identities slightly based on the appropriateness of the situation. Because self-identity is so new to teenagers, they are still learning how to navigate this and it may be sensitive to them.



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