Complexes During Adolescence: Why They Emerge

Complexes during adolescence are closely linked to young people's level of self-esteem. Fortunately, a strong, well-informed family can help overcome these problems.
Complexes During Adolescence: Why They Emerge

Last update: 16 December, 2018

Adolescence is a complicated time in a person’s life, dominated by physical and psychological changes. A teenager’s social life can become a source of drama when complexes during adolescence begin to emerge.

These complexes are also the result of emotional factors. In addition to the sudden changes in a teenager’s body, the psychological factor of insecurity plays an important role. All of this is exacerbated by the media, who sell young people an ideal image of physical perfection.

At this age, boys and girls are very sensitive to the demands imposed by family, the media, and social life. These variables, when combined with their own set of expectations, lead to feelings of doubt, fear and worry.

The most common complexes during adolescence

As anyone can see, the media sells young people on unattainable physical ideals that can be unrealistic and even dangerous.

Girls in particular are susceptible to body weight issues, which are sometimes the result of the extreme thinness they see in celebrities. Meanwhile, boys feel pressure to become more muscular.

Similarly, they also absorb ideas about what makes for an attractive face, including a small nose, perfect white teeth, and beautiful skin. Young people become convinced that you need to be “sexy” in order to “be someone.”

The list continues with qualities like height and clothing, going on ideas received from Hollywood and the world of advertising. As a result, failure to live up to these empty standards can cause real distress among adolescents.

It’s normal for a teenager to be an individualist, since it’s the time of life when people start defining their personalities. Their minds are preparing to exercise independence and build a future for themselves.

Complexes During Adolescence: Why They Emerge

Seeing the signs

Parents and teachers should pay close attention to how adolescents behave. Taken to an extreme, their concern with meeting the aforementioned physical standards can cause significant frustration and suffering.

The typical signs of complexes during adolescence include excessive shyness, bad moods, aggressiveness, sadness, and apathy. Being attentive to these signs will allow you to understand the problem and address the changes they’re experiencing with empathy.

“Complexes are the results of emotional factors. In addition to the sudden changes in a teenager’s body, the psychological factor of insecurity plays an important role.”

Risks of complexes during adolescence

The reactions described above can develop into harmful behavior and even serious disorders. Some of these include:

  • Social isolation: a negative self-image can lead a teenager into isolation, depriving him or herself of healthy social interaction.
  • Depression: the feeling of not living up to the standards imposed by the outside world can lead to depression. There are many appropriate measures you can take to address this.
  • Eating disorders: anorexia and bulimia are problematic responses to wanting to be thin. Exposure to media images over valuable cultural resources has made this tendency even worse.
  • Obsession or mania: obsession with wanting to change unwanted physical features can lead to unhealthy self-corrective behavior, such as undergoing multiple plastic surgeries. Most of the time, these are unnecessary and even detrimental, as the body has yet to reach full maturity.
Complexes During Adolescence: Why They Emerge

How to manage adolescent complexes

Complexes during adolescence closely mirror the young person’s level of self-esteemThe presence of a strong and united family that is informed and willing to communicate can make all the difference.

For parents, the first step is to recognize that adolescents are going through a very turbulent time, and sometimes have difficulties coping. You need to educate yourself about the most appropriate measures to take.

Punitive and repressive reactions usually make the situation worse, doing further damage to the child. Proper family support will help adolescents realize what is really important in life, encouraging them to accept themselves and see unrealistic and unhealthy expectations for what they are.

Meanwhile, seeking psychological help is a good option in difficult situations caused by low self-esteem and the discomfort it causes.

Finally, restoring their personal health and well-being goes hand in hand with strengthening their sense of identity. This includes taking an active role in helping them relearn better values and convincing them that image isn’t everything.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.