Self-Awareness and Self-Acceptance in Adolescence

May 8, 2019
In a world where bullying and peer pressure are so common, teens constantly feel overwhelmed and unsure of their true identity. In this article, we'll explain self-awareness and self-acceptance in adolescence and why they're so important for teenagers.

Self-awareness and self-acceptance in adolescence can make the difference between a teen with stability and balanced mental health, and a confused, unstable and malleable teen. What are these concepts?

Parents of teenagers will question themselves every day on how to teach them key values that they’ll need for life. It’s important to help teens learn to be their own person and love themselves unconditionally. Additionally, they should learn to ignore the distractions and desire to fit in to an empty and artificial society.

Self-acceptance and self-awareness in adolescence are hard. Often, teens compare themselves to what society, religion or their parents say they should be like. They may also compare themselves to their friends and social media influencers.

This will undoubtedly lead teens to start changing their identity to be like someone else, simply because they want to be accepted. Therefore, in extreme cases, teens can develop serious personality disorders.

We know this is a delicate and complex topic. In this article, we’ll explain it so you can use some simple tools to help promote self-awareness and self-acceptance in adolescence.

Self-awareness and self-acceptance in adolescence

Self-awareness and self-acceptance are very closely related to self-esteemWe can define them as the deep knowledge of your physical aspects, character and reality. In addition, both of them involve accepting yourself with respect, gratitude and love.

Self-awareness starts to begin at an early age, when you understand that your physical features and behavior might be different than those of your classmates and family. Also, you can only roughly identify what your character is like, and generally what your attitude is like.

Self-Awareness and Self-Acceptance in Adolescence

In addition, this goes hand in hand with all kinds of information that teens receive every day from their environment. This comes mainly from their parents and classmates. Then, they decide if things are cute or ugly, good or bad, among many other adjectives.

All of these qualities circle in teens’ minds, and give them an idea of who they are in the eyes of other people.

This aspect is extremely important. If your teen starts to feel like he’s radically different from the fashion trends or accepted code of conduct in society, he might feel rejected. Additionally, he could lose his self-esteem and self-acceptance.

How to help teenagers with self-awareness and self-acceptance

For adults, it can be hard to understand the generational differences between themselves and their children. What parents might think is just a phase might be the start of a serious problem with self-awareness and self-acceptance. 

In that sense, the question is how to help teens strengthen their self-esteem and self-acceptance so that daily issues in society don’t hurt their peace of mind.

The solution to this question can be positive words. When teens feel full of love, there’s no room in their minds for doubts about who they are and how much they’re worth.

“If your teen starts to feel like he’s radically different from the fashion trends or accepted code of conduct in society, he might feel rejected. Additionally, he could lose his self-esteem and self-acceptance.”

Words of affirmation

Words of affirmation serve as a constant stimulus for teens to understand how great they are. Also, they can learn to be proud of themselves for their uniqueness.

It’s not enough to just say, “You’re beautiful just as you are.” Instead, try phrases like:

  • “It’s not bad to think differently, don’t compare yourself to anyone else.”
  • “Fashion trends are temporary, don’t try to imitate anyone.”
  • “Whatever you don’t like about your personality, you can change it.”
  • “There’s a special love for each one of us.”
Self-Awareness and Self-Acceptance in Adolescence

You should always keep in mind that the words you say to your children may stick in their minds for a long time. Don’t ever skimp on reinforcing how important it will be in your adult life to love yourself, to know that you’re unique and special without having to be just like anyone else.

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to check your teen’s mood and self-esteem fairly often. If you feel like he’s going through depression, a personality disorder or that he doesn’t love himself, take him to a psychologist or other professional as soon as possible.

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  • Roa, A. (1982). La adolescencia. Revista Chilena de Pediatria.
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