Related on TestTube:
Why You Still Love the Teddy Bear From Your Youth
Ways Being a Kid Affects You Forever
The the book "The Psychology of Self Esteem" was published in 1969, many parents focused on building up their kid's self esteem during their childhood. Some childhood development experts have claimed that this hindered the development of adulthood for an entire generation, while others claim it has empowered them just the same. In this episode of DNews, hosts Julia and Amy tries to find out what the science says. A recent study published in the journal Experimental Social Psychology found that a child's level of self esteem might be established by the time they are just five years old. This study polled 200 five year olds to measure their feelings of self-worth, and found that most of the kids in the study associated themselves with more positive than negative words.
We tend to think of self-esteem as individualistic, something we have control over, but it's according to another recent study, it's actually a collaboration between you, your parents, and society. The study from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that young people base their self esteem less on their own personal values and more on those of the society they're in. The researchers in this study identified four key factors affecting a teenager's sense of self: control over their own life, achieving social status, doing one's duty, and benefiting others. In Western societies that value individual freedom and exciting personal lives, teens are more likely to derive their sense of self-esteem from control and social status. In Eastern societies where conformity is key, teens draw stronger feelings of self-worth from how well they contribute to the overall community.
It would therefore seem logical to boost your kid's esteem early and often to counteract any negativity they might feel from society. A review published in the journal Psychology Bulletin, which analyzed more than 150 studies on the effects of praise, found otherwise. Their study found that praise can sometime undermine a child's motivation. They can become uncomfortable being evaluated by praise and deliberately misbehave to fight back. Children internalize the praise the receive from their parents and assume they are naturally smart and skilled. When they face struggle, in school or at a job, they're quick to give up. They see failure as an inherent flaw and assume they're stupid, which causes greater damages to their self esteem. A study published in Psychology Bulletin suggests a different parenting approach. The researchers found that praise actually increases motivation in specific situations: emphasizing factors a child can control like hard work is the most important. Instead of telling a child they're just "smart", praise them for the hard work they did to get an A on their test.
Children's self-esteem already established by age five (Science Daily)
"By age 5 children have a sense of self-esteem comparable in strength to that of adults, according to a new study."
Culture influences young people's self-esteem: Fulfillment of value priorities of other individuals important to youth (Science Daily)
"Regardless of our personal values, we base most of our self-esteem on the fulfillment of the dominant values of our culture, reveals a global survey. The results of the study reflect the responses of more than 5,000 teenagers and young adults in 19 countries."