Negative Self-concept in Teen Girls

By K. Nola Mokeyane
Help your teen develop a more positive self-concept by reminding her of her strengths.
Help your teen develop a more positive self-concept by reminding her of her strengths.

A decline in positive self-concept often occurs among young adolescent girls beginning around age 12, according to the non-profit children's research center Child Trends. Child Trends also reports that "having an overall negative self-concept in adolescence has been associated with depression, drug use and eating disorders in girls." If you suspect that your teen is struggling with a negative overall self-concept, give her praise for her accomplishments and help her strengthen areas in which she believes she needs additional help.

Limited Social Contacts

An adolescent girl's social interactions are an important aspect of her development. Teen girls explore their identities within these relationships and also hone their social skills for success later in life, notes Maria R. T. de Guzman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's continuing education extension. If your daughter's negative self-concept is adversely affecting her social relationships, speak with her about joining school clubs or other extracurricular activities where she can meet like-minded friends.

Poor Anger Management

Anger is a normal emotion that is sometimes managed poorly, which is evident by excessive, even violent, displays of anger or suppressing angry feelings due to negative perceptions about this emotion. Therapist and adjunct professor Jane Bolton, in an article posted on the Psychology Today website, lists four negative approaches to addressing anger that can adversely impact one's self-esteem and self-concept, which are aggression, suppression, turning against the self and failing to recognize anger altogether.

Poor Academic Performance

A teen girl's self-concept can be higher in some domains and lower in others, such as academic performance. School psychologist Maureen A. Manning states that a positive self-concept is often a consequence of positive academic achievement, so a focus on improving your teen girl's academic skills may help strengthen her self-concept in this area. Manning also notes that increases in a teen's academic self-concept can also contribute to better behavioral outcomes.

Mental Health Issues

As mentioned by Child Trends, a negative self-concept in teen girls has been associated with depression and drug use, although some critics, including Manning, argue that the association is a weak one. The juncture at which each of these sources agree is that of preventative measures you can take to assist your teen, which include helping her increase competencies in areas in which she may perceive a deficiency, which, again, will ultimately enhance her self-concept.

About the Author

K. Nola Mokeyane has written professionally since 2006, and has contributed to various online publications, including "Global Post" and Modern Mom. Nola enjoys writing about health, wellness and spirituality. She is a member of the Atlanta Writer's Club.