ABSTRACT

This chapter explores the processes through which the child’s and adolescent’s sense of self evolves. It explains key changes in the child’s sense of self as a separate entity from that of others and discusses the nature of self-concept and self-esteem at different stages in childhood and adolescence. The chapter describes general emotional literacy programmes that aim to increase self-esteem, and pro-social behaviour, to reduce aggression and to enhance young people’s capacity to relate well to one another. The child’s sense of self is related to the ways in which he or she expresses and interprets emotions. Self-concept can be usefully divided into three inter-related aspects: self-image, and self-esteem. Self-image usually refers to the descriptive way in which a person portrays or represents him/herself, in terms of their social identity, their personality or their physical appearance. The researchers conclude that traditional adult-constructed self-esteem scales may underestimate the scope and richness of children’s self-concept in both the physical and social domains.