The Impact Of Family On Young Person’S Self-Identity

Coming from the viewpoint of a teacher and working with my current students in the detention center, I can see the effects that these barriers take place in establishing a youth’s identity and self-efficacy. A primary focus is on what the home life is like for the individual. The people that surround a student make an everlasting impact. Families set the tone for adolescent behavior, expectations, and goals. Parents serve as models for children, however, as they grow older, this influence dwindles as their social networks grows. It seems that within today’s society, youth are becoming less influenced and attached to their families. Because there isn’t as much of an emphasis on traditional restraints, there are more avenues for youth to take in to constructing their futures. In Gullen’s article, research indicates that developing an integrated sense of oneself and one's place in the world is challenging for young adolescents, especially African Americans, due to mixed-messages about how they should think, feel, and behave to be successful.

When youths transition from elementary schools to larger schools, they are expected to stick out academically and fit-in socially. Looking at how schools are structured today, there are less structured paths for individual ones that many students might not fit into. While this can be a good thing for youth to create and direct their own path, there can also be a sense of fear and hesitation for them to take on adult roles. This is where it can become overwhelming and the individuals do not feel supported or have a lack of guidance. Choices aren’t made to promote self-efficacy, but more-so just basic survival choices that gets them to the next day. This is what they are seeing being done by the people around them in their home environment.

Looking into Lewin and Atkinson perspectives, I see implicit and explicit motives. Explicit and implicit motivations have an impact on behavior. A person with a strong implicit drive will gain satisfaction from achieving a goal in the most efficient way. The increase in effort and overcoming motives are built around a person’s self-image. This type of motivation shapes a person’s behavior based on their own self-view and can influence their choices and responses from outside persuasions or even being compared to classmates who might be more skilled.

In reference to my students, they tend to get into this mode of choosing not to try and deliberately withhold efforts on a task in class. If poor performance is a threat to their sense of self-esteem, this lack of effort is likely to occur. Youth can deal with something like this in a problematic way and form a negative identity or develop a feeling that something is absent. Culturally speaking, for an African American child in an urban setting, having a strong will-power and confidence is something that is expected of them. They are not to be defeated and if they are, they must continue to show pride and then go through denial which isn’t healthy. Such outcomes of the identity process may allow them to say who they are, however they may always be in a state of conflict. This most often occurs after an experience of failure. With failure, threatens their ability and creates an uncertainty about their capabilities. If there performance turns out to be poor, then doubts concerning their ability are confirmed. What better response to avoid this than by withdrawing? Withdrawing efforts allows failure to be qualified to lack of effort rather than low ability which reduces the overall risk to their self-value.

Through these findings suggests that collectively as a society, efforts to develop or improve adolescent behaviors, a relationship with adults is beneficial. To gain a strong sense of self-identity, adolescents need to overcome the risk they face by being exposed to negative nonparental adult behavior. It is common to see that most youth have someone in their lives that they look up to and that they are primarily an adult relative. Knowing this, it is vital that these relatives model positive behaviors and demonstrate reachable expectations for the youth to overcome. Providing such skills can be effective to a youth’s development and can also help them adverse effects of negative influences and guide themselves to more positive experiences.

11 February 2020
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