Friday, February 4, 2011

Youth Culture Update: Is Self-Esteem A Good Goal Teens?

You may think that the obvious answer is yes, but according to a new study the pursuit of self esteem may in fact be more dangerous to young people than the pursuit of sex or money, "The problem isn't with having high self-esteem; its how much people are driven to boost their self-esteem. When people highly value self-esteem, they may avoid doing things such as acknowledging a wrong they did."  There are a great many things that could be said in response to such a question, but I know that in my experience as a youth worker that it is definitely more important to focus on the heart of a matter than it is to look as the behavior of a young person.  I think that tapping into the findings of this study could draw us away from the typical adult responses that we have toward young people (i.e. because it is bad for you, because I said so, No daughter of mine is going out dressed like that).  Instead we can focus on questions that ask why they do the things they do and listen to the answers without waiting to spring judgment on them.  If they are pursuing self-esteem it is likely that they will make some bad decisions along the way, but if they are confident in who they are already then the long term benefits are endless.  The problem is how can we make the words, “just be yourself” make more sense.

Find out more about this study here:
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