Child Psychology: the development of self-image

Published: 01st July 2007
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As children grow and develop, they gradually become conscious of their:

own name

place in the family

own home

page, and of growing up.

Each child forms a mental image of him or herself and becomes aware that they are unlike anyone else - they begin to form a 'self-image'. They also come to understand that they have:

physical capabilities and limitations - they may find that they have a talent for sport or they may realise that they are differently-abled to their peers;

intellectual capabilities and limitations - for example, they will find that they are better in some school subjects than others;

dependence on others - and to realise that others depend on them;

a place in their family and wider community - where they 'fit in'.

They will also experience both success and failure, learn how to give and receive love, learn about self-discipline, and learn how to be self reliant and make decisions for themselves.

Much recent research has shown that the most important way in which children develop a self-image is by relating to others. They take important messages from the way others react to them, treat them and value them.

There is much parents can do to promote a positive self-image in their children.

things that encourage general development and a positive self-image

talking to children in a way that tells them they are valued - listening and asking questions

playing with them

spending time with them - watching television together, cooking, walking, shopping, etc.

providing toys, objects and experiences that are right for the individual child's level of development

reading with them

encouraging each child to practise new skills - dressing themselves, drawing, tying their shoe laces, etc.

exploring new places together

giving each child opportunities to play with other children

giving them opportunities to be creative.

Conditions that may hinder development or create a negative self-image

lack of opportunities to play, talk or explore the environment

lack of parental attention

constant nagging or bullying from other people

abuse of any kind

frequent absence from school

frequent illness or a long-term disability.

Article from the Psychology Team at Learning Curve Home Study

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