Teens must be responsible for their actions

Personality development during puberty

The personality of the person

The personality of a person comprises the totality of his being, his dignity and the multiplicity of all characteristics that make up his uniqueness; this also includes his feelings, his thoughts, his will, his morals, his intelligence and his actions. The personality comprises all talents and abilities as well as the moral strength of the person. Even an infant has a personality that can be defined by very specific skills and character traits. Over the years, the child learns an infinite number of things that further shape his personality.

The formative first years

According to Erikson, the personality development of the young person is crucially dependent on the emotional development in childhood. A person has the best prerequisite for undisturbed personal development if he:

  • can build up basic trust in the first year of life, i.e. has the feeling of being able to rely on his caregivers,
  • in the second to fourth year of life can realize a beginning autonomy, that is, can make decisions himself,
  • in the fifth year of life developed a not too sensitive conscience and finally
  • from six to twelve years of age has the opportunity to deal constructively with tasks and achieve achievements that are accepted by others.

But every child, even with good qualifications, develops not only trust, but also distrust, both self-esteem and shame, doubts and feelings of guilt, and shows performance as well as feelings of inferiority. The decisive factor for further development is which experiences predominate. But even if a child's bad experiences are in the foreground, feelings of trust, autonomy, initiative or productivity can develop even later due to favorable social conditions or positive traits can be destroyed by unfavorable circumstances.

The role of education and the environment

It is important for parents to know what influence the upbringing has on the child's personal development and what educational measures contribute to a positive character formation. Because the parenting style and the behavior of the parents have a decisive influence on the personal development of children and young people.

The following shows the individual parenting styles that lead to different behavior and personality development:

  • Parents with an authoritative parenting style meet your child and are open to their needs. They expect mature and responsible behavior and are consistent in their demands on the child in an emotionally warm family atmosphere. They expect behaviors that are appropriate to the child's development and value the development of independence and self-confidence. Young people raised in this way are confident, responsible, adaptable, creative, curious and socially integrated.
  • Parents with an authoritarian upbringing style place high demands on their child without addressing their needs They place great emphasis on conformance and obedience and do not shy away from punishment. They don't care about discussions. Children of authoritarian parents tend to be passive, submissive, not very self-confident, not very curious and have problems in contact with other people.
  • Anti-authoritarian parents are tolerant of their child and accept everything. They support their child wherever they can, set no limits, and do not place high demands on the child. You don't punish. Children brought up in this way are just as inclined to be passive as their parents; they tend to remain childlike in their development, have no stable self-esteem, find it difficult to assert themselves in life and are less responsible. They distance themselves less from their peers and are less able to take on the leadership of a group.

The role of the environment

But not only the parenting style of the parents and their attitude towards the child are decisive for personal development. It is also the experiences the child has with their environment that shape them. The child not only has to deal with the views and opinions that prevail in the family, but also in the wider social environment, for example in school and in friendships. The resulting opinion formation is part of the moral development of the child, which again represents an important aspect of personal development.

The development of morality

Moral development is primarily shaped by the social environment such as family, church, community, group of peers or clubs. These groups derive their moral and ethical attitudes from cultural and religious traditions as well as from the norms and rules of state institutions.

In doing so, the child unconsciously adopts the norms of the environment in which it lives. The internalization of the respectively valid norms and rules leads to the fact that the person perceives these laws and norms as part of his own personality and submits to them, even if nobody monitors the observance of the laws.

This internalization of the rules and norms of society leads to the formation of a conscience that arises at around five to six years of age and represents, so to speak, the internalized police, which ensures that the rules established by parents and society are adhered to even without their presence.

In the course of development, more and more rules and laws, most recently the laws of morality and ethics, are internalized. Our conscience ensures that we feel guilty and shame as well as self-reproach if we don't follow the rules.

This internalization of the rules represents the first phase of the development of morality, which, according to Kohlberg (1972), takes place in three stages:

  • In the first stage up to prepuberty, the child judges his or her moral judgment according to the generally applicable rules.
  • In the second stagee, which begins in prepuberty, moral judgment is determined by the expectations and principles that apply in the family, age group, or culture.
  • In the third stage, which occurs in adolescence, the adolescent begins to develop ethical principles, the value and validity of which are independent of whether they are represented by an authority. This development begins with the young person beginning to accept other opinions and realizing that the family's views are only part of the truth. The opinion of friends and clique becomes much more important than that of parents and teachers, and he increasingly learns that these do not always, and even very rarely, correspond to those of the family. The young person begins to critically examine the rules and norms that apply in the family and to compare them with his own experiences. Ultimately, he forms his own opinion, which also shows him that his family's views and opinions are not infallible. Therefore, more or less disappointed, he turns away from the views of his parents. Since the young person is convinced that he is right, but the parents reject his opinion, arguments very often arise.

The development of intelligence and abstract thinking

Intelligence is an important part of the human personality. It describes the ability to acquire knowledge and apply it in such a way that sensible action emerges from it. It is about combining facts, experiences and perceptions from the real environment in such a way that problems can be reasonably solved on the basis of new knowledge and behavior.

With increasing age, new intelligence structures develop, thanks to which people can adapt to new requirements. If you acquire new knowledge, this is incorporated into the existing knowledge. New perspectives and a better understanding of the most varied of contexts arise.

From the age of twelve, the adolescent is able to carry out mental operations that relate to things and processes that cannot be perceived, experienced, imagined or grasped. Young people begin to deal with problems in society, e.g. B. with war, hunger, environmental pollution, racial problems, human dignity, contempt for human beings, love, hatred, freedom and oppression. Political thinking emerges. And they try to find possible solutions. Since the young person can make himself the subject of his thoughts, the time for self-assessment and self-criticism now begins. In the event of problems, the young person can also implement the solution to the corresponding problem by imagining a situation. Finally, he develops the ability to logically recognize situations and properties in the right context, to appreciate them and to derive conclusions for his actions.

However, this development depends on the intelligence of the individual. Children with a low IQ never reach the level of abstract thinking. With increasing ability to reflect, the adolescent begins to understand himself as an intelligent being with his own personality, his own judgment, his own moral concepts and his own identity and learns that others see and respect him in the same way. This gives him strength and courage to confess his views, opinions and actions responsibly, even if the result of some of his actions arouses little enthusiasm in his family.

The emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is also part of personality. Based on the intelligence quotient = IQ, emotional intelligence is abbreviated to EQ.

Emotional intelligence is understood to mean those traits of a person that we previously called character.

Research shows that these skills determine a person's success in life and the future quality of life more than their intellectual traits, and that they can above all be learned.

According to Shapiro (1998), emotional intelligence includes the following characteristics: understanding feelings and being able to express them yourself, learning to deal with difficulties and stress, willingness to make efforts, willingness to perform, perseverance, hard work, ambition, moral abilities such as helpfulness, tolerance, respect, honesty, keeping promises , Friendliness, respect for other people's privacy, discipline, realistic thinking, optimistic attitude towards life, problem-solving strategies, ability to get along with others, humor, courtesy, independence and initiative, ability to make friends, ability to cooperate, effective time management.

The EQ, which is less hereditary than the IQ, can be specifically promoted by parents and educators: a loving, open, affirmative affection of the parents to their child, while at the same time raising responsibility, is the best prerequisite for a good self-esteem , the ability to solve all kinds of problems, good life management and a high EQ.

The development of identity

The ego identity represents the core of the personality. It includes the feeling of always being and staying the same even in different situations. The ego identity describes the awareness that the ego combines the opposites within the personality into a unity. It conveys the feeling of being free, of feeling good in one's body, of meaning and of being recognized by others as an independent person.

How the ego identity is formed

The ego identity develops in the examination of the norms and values ​​that apply in the environment. If the social environment supports the young person's endeavors according to their own views and attitudes, a stable identity is created. If the environment does not support the endeavors or even boycotts them, disruptions in the development of identity arise because the young person cannot live his own ideas. However, there is also the possibility that the young person does not develop his own behavior, but rather adopts the behavior, norms, views and interests of other people and makes them his own. Such role models can be parents, friends, peers or adults. If these role models are people who exemplify the young person's good qualities, the identification is positive, but if they are people with bad qualities, with addiction problems, aggressiveness, criminality, then the young person will more or less identify with these qualities and in his personal development Get damaged. If the identity is not found or only inadequately, this leads to a multitude of problems. Such young people do not rest in themselves, but are dependent on the opinions of others and thus easily manipulated and seduced.

The gender identity

Gender identity is understood to be the awareness of one's own gender. Around the age of six to eight, a child realizes that their gender is fixed and cannot be changed. Linked to this is the adoption of the essential elements of the social differences determined by society, which are linked to the respective gender, the gender roles. Girls and women almost always describe themselves in relationships with others, either as friends, lovers, future mothers or wives. The focus of women’s experience is still connected today: care, care, affection. She is emotional in her thinking. In contrast, men do not describe their self-actualization through contact with others, which they experience more as a limitation. They want to achieve their own goals: personal performance, success, big ideas and non-attachment are benchmarks for men's self-assessment. Your thinking is not emotional, but formal and abstract.

How parents can promote the personality, intelligence and identity development of their child

Parents are role models

Personal development is very much dependent on the family structure and the role model behavior of the parents. If the relationship is characterized by trust, if the parents promote the young person's performance through benevolent support and if they allow him or her autonomy and initiative, he can develop a strong personality with a stable identity. The development of gender identity is also very much dependent on how the child and adolescent experience their parents, whether or not they can identify with them.

Parents convey values

Of course, parents also play a major role in the moral development of their children, as the young person internalizes the norms of his or her caregivers as they develop. They teach their children what is good and bad.

Parents encourage their child

Parents have an influence on the intelligence development of their child not only through their genes, the structure of which they naturally cannot influence, but above all through the optimal support of their child in its intellectual and school development. You should ensure that your children acquire as much knowledge and insight as possible, and teach them how to use them so that they can turn them into sensible behavior. In a trusting, conducive environment, self-confident and socially open, skeptical, informed young people who are interested in other people and who have an open but critical relationship with their parents develop. Since values ​​and norms are conveyed above all in social relationships, the moral judgment and conscience of young people is particularly pronounced, as they can have a variety of social experiences and can also participate in decision-making processes in family, peer group, school, workplace and in these institutions.
 

source

Roswitha Spallek, Puberty - Understanding Conflicts, Finding Solutions, Recognizing Opportunities, Kreuz-Verlag, Stuttgart, 2001
 

literature

  • Kohlberg, L .; Turiel, E. (eds): Recent research in moral development. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York 1972
  • Shapiro, L.E .: EQ for children. How Parents Can Promote Their Children's Emotional Intelligence. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich, 1999

 

Author

Dr. med. Roswitha Spallek

Mother of three grown children, lives in Bad Wurzach in the Allgäu. After studying medicine, psychology and training as a pediatrician, she settled in Bad Wurzach as a pediatrician. In addition to her job, she completed an apprenticeship as a psychotherapist. In addition to her practice, Dr. R. Spallek Lectures on topics relating to children and young people, especially problems with upbringing, behavioral problems and especially ADD. She has published several successful parenting guides.

Created on April 30th, 2002, last changed on March 19th, 2010