MANAGING IDENTITY CRISIS IN ADOLESCENCE
A person experiences an identity crisis during adolescence when they must determine their place in society and transition into adulthood.
I, who? We have all occasionally encountered this question. Every function we perform in society contributes to the continuing development of our identities. You are a student while you are in school, but if you are also working, you could be a doctor, teacher, accountant, writer, or any number of other professions.
In addition to these roles, our interpersonal connections—mother, sister, cousin, spouse, etc.—also play a role in how we develop our identities. Your identity changes when you transition from one role to another; this momentary transformation may make you feel anxious and uncertain. This misunderstanding typically begins once you leave for college in your adolescent.
This uncertainty typically first appears in adolescence, when you start to question your future in society and start to lose sight of your identity as a student.
Erik Erikson’s theory on developmental phases includes a description of an identity crisis. He contends that identity development starts in childhood and that in order to go to the next developmental stage, a person must successfully navigate each crisis, including those involving autonomy, independence, and trust. Identity formation, which becomes more important during adolescence, must go through identity crisis.
However, Why Adolescence?
Many physical, psychological, and social changes occur during adolescence. Sexual maturity brings about several emotional changes as a result of hormonal changes, as well as the exploration of romantic options and other job paths. Teenagers go through a period of temporary instability known as an identity crisis during which they battle with crucial life decisions and try out several identities in an effort to figure out who they truly are and what might be their place in society.
Identity formation is crucial for teenagers. A teen who is forming their identity must balance the need to fit in with knowing what makes them special. This process may cause youth who feel socially isolated owing to their cultural, racial, gender, or sexual identity to start engaging in dangerous conduct. Other obstacles to the development of a solid and empowering self-identity include:
- Absence of parental attachment
- A low sense of self
- Absence of or adverse adult influence
- Being rejected by a supportive peer group
Common Issues and Practices Relating to Negative Teen Identity Issues
The aforementioned factors increase a teen’s propensity for dangerous behaviours like drug use, substance abuse, and promiscuity. These teenagers are also more likely to engage in obsessive behaviour, perform poorly academically, and have low self-esteem. This is because adolescents are more impulsive than adults are at this age because their cognitive processing skills are still evolving. Therefore, peer approval alone may be sufficient to convince a youngster to act recklessly without giving it any thought. Teens that act rebelliously or promiscuously could experience a negative self-perception as a result, which might trigger a downward spiral of negative patterns and behavior.
Red Flags of Teenage Identity Problems
- An erroneous or unrealistic view of oneself
- Inconsistent attitudes and actions in many contexts
- Self-worth depends on what other people think.
- Failure or poor academic achievement.
- Possessive behavior
- A low sense of self
- Minimising others (i.e., teasing, name-calling, or gossiping)
- Dramatic or inappropriate actions
- Looks around to keep an eye on people
- Negative self-talk
- Keeps their own beliefs and views to themselves.
- Intense feelings of despair or rage
- Peer change and/or avoiding enduring friendships
- Disregarding the law and boundaries
- Use of illicit drugs
If your teen exhibits multiple of the aforementioned traits, they are probably having trouble developing their identity. Making ensuring their teen has the support he or she needs at home is the next step parents may take to promote healthy practices.
Counselling for a crisis of identity
While doubting your identity can be upsetting, it can also be beneficial in the long run. You can develop personally by better understanding about who you are and learning to adapt to change.
Here are some strategies for overcoming an identity crisis:
Examine and introspectively
Spend some time reflecting on who you truly are and asking yourself what you like and no longer like.
Over time, ask yourself questions and see if you can come up with responses. Also observe if the solutions aid in your problem-solving. Remember that you don’t need to know every answer, and that those answers could change from year to year or decade to decade.
- Possible questions include:
What traits and qualities best describe you? What modifications have been made over time?
If you’ve undergone a significant change in your life, how has it affected you? Are these adjustments to your liking? How are you going to handle these novel situations?
What values do you hold? Is there anything that is working against them? What hobbies, interests, and passions do you have? Do you enjoy what you’re doing? If not, why not? What obstacles stand in the way of your passion of tennis, if you haven’t played in a while?
What anchors you? What supports you while you’re having a hard time? What matters most to you in terms of your morals, goals in life, or sense of self? Do you believe there is anything you can do to enhance your feeling of self?
Look for happiness and other coping mechanisms
What brings you joy? What brings you happiness and a sense of purpose in life?
Even if you don’t have the ideal career, you could feel like you’re in a crisis because you aren’t engaged in anything meaningful in your life.
You might find fulfilment outside of your job by volunteering, picking up a new activity, interacting with others, or doing any number of other activities. Or you might discover that a new position is a better fit for your personality.
Good social support can have an impact on how you handle significant transitions, pressures, or identity-related issues. There are countless locations where you can get support.
Look for assistance in:
- Relatives, close friends, and partners
- A fresh group, club, or meeting that shares your interests in your neighbourhood or church
- A support group, particularly when facing a fresh health concern
- Group or individual therapy for mental health
- Actions that involve a team
Neglect your and other people’s opinions.
Our feelings can be greatly impacted by both our own and other people’s expectations. But resist letting social norms define who you are and what you should value.
You don’t have to adhere to something just because you belong to a certain generation, gender, or cultural group if you no longer believe in it. Your total well-being depends on how you perceive yourself, so don’t waste time or effort on judgmental thoughts. Even though it could take some time for the people you care about to accept any changes you make, staying loyal to yourself will make you happy in the long run.
Look for outside assistance
Take into account getting outside assistance if the stress ever becomes intolerable. This can be from a dependable friend or family member who you can talk to, or it could be from a mental health expert who can assist you in overcoming and coping with your situation.
Never be reluctant to seek assistance. Life, especially significant changes, can be frightening, but we all experience it.
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