Differences between Self-Concept and Self-Esteem
Self-concept describes how we view ourselves in terms of one’s perception and personal evaluation (Charlesworth, 2011). Self-concept includes an individual’s assessments of his own personality traits and physical attributes. It also includes an individual’s goals, values and abilities. Self-concept heavily influences how an individual relates with the environment and how he or she will handle challenges and different situations in life. This is a developmental process that begins during infancy where a child acquires information about himself so as to understand how he will relate to the world (Birbili, 2006). This process occurs because of a child’s developing cognitive and social skills as he relates to friends and family members. In early childhood, self-concept is undifferentiated and revolves around a child’s perception of his physical attributes and skills. In mid-childhood, there is more differentiation; the child can compare himself socially and can see itself as possessing distinctive psychological characteristics. As the child progresses into adolescence, self-concept and the ability to process self-relevant information becomes more complex (Birbili, 2006). Self-Concept And Self-Esteem Essay Paper
Self-esteem is the attitude one has a result of self-concept. In essence, self-concept is the raw information that one has about himself (Plummer, 2007). Self-esteem is the emotional aspect; how the individual feels about the information he has gathered about himself. Depending on the knowledge gathered, an individual may have a negative or a positive self-esteem. It may also be subject to a situation or feedback from environmental forces (University of California, 2011). Self-esteem is therefore affected by how an individual perceives himself. They may be differences in this perception; one may have differences in the ideal self and the real self. The ideal self is how an individual would want to be while the real self is what he actually is. In case the two perceptions are very mismatched, a person may suffer from low self-esteem.
Development of Healthy Self-Concept and Self-Esteem
During childhood, a caregiver is able to assist a child to develop a healthy self-concept. One way is through representational mapping. Representational mapping occurs when a child is able to relate his mental state with that of a different person in response to something (Birbili, 2006). Here, a caregiver or mother mirrors the child’s response as appropriately as possible, and organizes a child’s response and is able to give a ‘label’ to what the child is experiencing. Self-Concept And Self-Esteem Essay Paper. This means that the child’s affect is mirrored on the face of the mother, which is in turn mapped onto how the child views himself or his state. The mother should therefore be careful about how she interacts with the child. The mother should neither overreact to the child’s experiences nor be unresponsive or be cold because this may cause distortions in the child about his state.
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According to Charlesworth, (2011), another way to build a healthy self-concept is by being sensitive to the child’s efforts and not necessarily results. A caregiver should praise a child for his efforts at a certain task and encourage the child in case of failure. The caregiver should aim to instill a sense of confidence in the child about his abilities and capabilities. The caregiver should also aim to provide feedback which i accurate and positive instead of berating or negative. Even if the child has made a mistake, his feelings should be acknowledged and should be encouraged to make better choices in the future.
The caregiver can also aim to provide a child with an environment where cooperation is encouraged and not competition (Plummer, 2007). These include team games or activities where he has to collaborate with other children. In these team activities, every child’s input is vital in the accomplishment of a goal that makes the child feel valued and loved. Self-Concept And Self-Esteem Essay Paper
Self-concept is developed right from infancy and it is therefore the responsibility of the caregiver to participate actively in the development of a healthy self-concept. A healthy self-esteem is the result of a good self-concept and this affects how the individual reacts with the world (Maldonado-Duran, 2002). It is therefore important that each child is assisted in developing a healthy self esteem so that he can be able to handle challenges and cope well in a competitive world.
Birbili M. (2006). Mapping Knowledge: Concept Maps in Early Childhood Education. Early Childhood Research and Practice 8 (2). Available at http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v8n2/birbili.html
Charlesworth R. (2011) Understanding Child Development. California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Maldonado-Duran J. (2002). Infant Toddler Mental Health. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Publishing Inc.
Plummer D., (2007). Helping Children to Build Self-Esteem. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
University of California (2011).Psychosocial Development in Early Childhood. Available at http://www.unc.edu/~car8630/developmental/chapter8.html. Self-Concept And Self-Esteem Essay Paper