Adolescent Egocentricity: What You Should Know

· September 25, 2018
Discover what egocentricity in adolescence is about, and up to what point it can be considered a "passing phase."

In teenagers’ search for an identity of their own, adolescent egocentricity seems almost inevitable. 

We must remember that teenagers are in a stage of development in which various biological changes occur that affect their thinking and their emotional world. They haven’t defined their personality yet nor have they managed to acquire a clear sense of self.

In this sense, for teenagers, everything revolves around them. The pressure generated by uncertainty plus the various forms of social adaptation means they can develop adolescent egocentricity as a defense mechanism, more or less unconsciously.

Of course, if this attitude is reinforced, they’ll end up believing that they’re the center of attention and that without this, they aren’t complete. To avoid this from becoming a problem, it’s important to keep a healthy perspective and establish healthy limits.

Stages of adolescence

  1. Early Adolescence. From 10 to 13 years old. Character strengthens and rebelliousness appears. Friendships are formed, usually of the same sex.
  2. Middle Adolescence. Occurs between 14 and 16 years old. Groups of friends are better established, interest in a partner and abstract thinking begins. They become more understanding.
  3. Late Adolescence. Between 17 and 19 years old. The first relationships and sexual contacts take place. The young adult already studies or works, making the relationship more appeased and less critical.

Characteristics of the adolescent personality

Up to a certain point, it’s normal for a young person to be incomprehensive, moody, voluble and feel misunderstood. 

It’s also very common to show concern for their appearance, constantly talk about themselves and seek to be accepted through different behaviors and attitudes. This is part of the process of self-awareness and social learning.

Teenagers will try to distinguish themselves and be the exception in a crowd. This helps to create a sense of security and is a part of building confidence and self-esteem. However, this distinction can become excessive and thus lead to adolescent egocentricity.

Adolescent Egocentricity: What You Should Know

Why do teenagers think about themselves so much?

Self-image is central to adolescents. Both their aspect, weight, height, and fashion are central elements in building and communicating the type of person they want to be.

Likewise, the need for independence is also a central part of the process. By nature, we humans emotionally detach ourselves from our parents as we get older. Adolescents are at a crucial point in their lives.

Adolescent Egocentricity: What You Should Know

Thus, their thoughts are no longer focused on their parents’ example or opinion, and whatever they decide becomes most important.

This is accompanied by the development of abstract thinking that allows teens to be more critical and analytical about their surroundings.

In short, what they want is acceptance and attention. Therefore, they try to become what they seek or what they know pleases others. That’s why it’s essential to be aware of every detail of our own way of seeing and acting.

Pretending to be someone else to please others is never good, since it can lead to identity crises and further adolescent egocentricity.

How to deal with adolescent egocentricity

Being egocentric can lead teenagers to put their interests above others, think of themselves as the center of attention or as always right. It’s logical that this may bother you, but you must take it for what it is: one more phase of life.

The first advice to overcome adolescent egocentricity is to not confront it with aggressiveness but with respect.

Avoid creating or feeding their insecurities. Try to be understanding, open and show yourself as a trustworthy person – without pressuring, of course.

Likewise, try to impose limits when necessary. Being understanding doesn’t mean that you must be permissive at all times.

While it’s true that you won’t always receive a positive reaction, you need to be firm. Some day they’ll thank you for this.

As a final recommendation: enjoy this phase. Try to take full advantage of this stage in your children’s life, because it also brings joy and fun. Learn how to become an accomplice, a friend, a guide, and a support for them.

Whoever says that they went through adolescence without falling into self-centeredness is probably lying or exaggerating. There are very few people who don’t express this attitude in their teens. After all, at this stage, the uncertainties are the order of the day and they have to do with a deep search for one’s identity.