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The influence of adolescent self-awareness on other features of his personality
The formation of self-consciousness has a very large impact on the behavior of a teenager, as well as on a number of features of his personality. All adolescent researchers in the old classical psychology both here and abroad considered typical for the teenager such traits as egocentrism and autism, the desire for loneliness and self-affirmation, “rebellion” against adults, against any restrictions and generally accepted morality. Many of them associated these features with the advent of introspection and the “discovery” of the “self” by a teenager. These features are really characteristic of adolescents brought up in certain specific historical conditions, namely adolescents from the privileged layers of a class society, on which the corresponding psychological research was mainly conducted. However, it is undoubted that the development of self-consciousness is crucial for the formation of other more general features of the personality of a teenager, not so directly related to the specific conditions of their life and upbringing.
In this regard, our laboratory was tasked with identifying the specific features of the personality of the Soviet teenager, comparing them with those that are considered typical of adolescence in general, and identifying the importance of self-awareness for the formation of these features. In this context, we dwell on the research of T.V. Dragunova, conducted in our laboratory.
The main research method was to study the attitude of adolescents to the so-called typical manifestations of adolescence, embodied in the image of a literary hero. As such a hero, Nikolenka Irteniev was chosen, in which L. N. Tolstoy, due to his inherent exceptional strength and truthfulness of the artistic image, presented the most typical features of the teenager of his time. The fact that this is indeed so is also evidenced by the work done by L. D. Sedov . He systematized and compared the data collected both by himself and by a number of other Russian and foreign psychologists, and showed that the features embodied by L. N. Tolstoy in the image of Nikolenka Irtenyev coincided with those that were identified as typical and all others sponsored by.
Studying the attitude of our adolescents to Nikolenka — his dreams, ideals, aspirations, experiences, we could not only characterize the characteristics of their personality, but also understand how these features relate to those that traditional psychology assigned to the adolescent “in general”.
The study was conducted as follows: adolescents were given the task to read "Childhood, adolescence and youth" and mark in the fields the places that made the greatest impression on them. After analyzing the remarks, a conversation was held with them on what they read. In this case, it was especially taken into account whether the teenager had read the book to the end, which he remembered from what he read, to which he paid special attention, that he released during reading. The conversation ended, as a rule, with the question: “Could Nikolenka be friends with our guys, and if not, what would prevent it.” Then, in the contents of each chapter, those places were highlighted in which Nikolenka’s actions, thoughts and experiences were most clearly and expressively presented. These places were re-arranged in such a way as to produce separate compositions that included a compact and relatively complete description of those personality traits of Nikolenka that are most typical of him as a teenager. For example, the desire for introspection and self-deepening; a sense of exclusivity and superiority and, at the same time, a feeling of loneliness; desire for self-affirmation and vulnerability; dreams, ideals of Nikolenka, etc. Based on these compositions, a further conversation was conducted with teenagers. This selection of material allowed us to more organizedly and purposefully identify the attitude of our adolescents to certain qualities of Nikolenka’s personality. He allowed us to judge that it was precisely in the behavior, thoughts and experiences of Nikolenka that our teenagers seemed close and familiar, which causes sympathy and which, on the contrary, is perceived as something alien and unacceptable.
Based on the analysis of all the material collected, it became possible to obtain a comparative description of the most typical traits that are equally characteristic of adolescents living in various specific historical conditions, and at the same time those traits that are specific to our adolescents.
In this study, it turned out that, unlike children of primary school age, absorbed mainly in the external events of their lives, our adolescents, in connection with the development of their self-consciousness, have a keen interest in the inner world of the people around them and their own.
During this period, they need not only to understand the personality characteristics of another person and their own, to give an account of their experiences, but also to evaluate their capabilities.
Children at the age of 11, as a rule, passed by those places in Tolstoy’s novel in which Nikolenka’s attitude to herself was revealed. They not only did not mark these places as particularly interesting, but often did not even notice them and did not remember at all. It turned out to be impossible to start a conversation with children of this age about Nikolenka’s attitude to herself: the children either did not understand what was going on or started to get bored and clearly expressed a desire to quickly end the conversation. Often, starting to characterize Nikolenka and compare him with our children, they slipped from the personality characteristics to a description of the events from Nikolenka’s life and his actions.
However, from the age of 12 the picture begins to change drastically. Margin marks are increasingly found, indicating that teenagers have a special interest in the inner world of Nikolenka. His moral qualities become the subject of lively discussion, for each of his actions and actions they try to find the motives of Nikolenka and others that characterize his personality traits. They become stern judges of Nikolenka and, most importantly, themselves, without a special question, begin to make comparisons between him and themselves. During this period, adolescents themselves note that they “began to think of themselves” as something new. At the same time, thoughts about oneself acquire a special intentional character in them. Some of them even say that from time to time they want to retire in order to properly understand themselves.
The need for adolescents to cognize and evaluate the qualities of their personality (revealed in the research of T.V. Dragunova), on the one hand, and the level of generalization at which this knowledge is located (according to G.A.Sobieva), on the other hand, leads, as we think, to a number of features characteristic of adolescents in general. The need to understand and evaluate the quality of self creates in teenagers increased sensitivity to the assessment of others. And since their self-image has not yet developed and they fluctuate in self-esteem, they are very keen on perceiving and experiencing
other people's opinions about themselves and all the nuances of their relationship. Hence, the so-called “vulnerability” of adolescents, their resentment, “causeless” and “unmotivated”, from the point of view of adults, violent reactions to the words and deeds of others, as well as to certain circumstances of their life, can be understood. In the study of T.V. Dragunova, very expressive data were obtained in this regard. The vast majority of our adolescents were very sympathetic to the experiences of Nikolenka Irteniev related to the attitude of other people to him. They emphasized the appropriate places, put exclamation marks, took notes on the margins, testifying to their full solidarity with Nikolay. In the conversation about the appropriate places in the book, they, as a rule, switched to comparing themselves with Nikolenka. For example, “I was rightly offended!”, “And it often seems to me like that”, “You know how insulting it is when you are not respected”. Sema G., a 14-year-old boy, evaluating Nikolenka’s behavior at the ball, said: “He rebelled correctly, the teacher mocked him, humiliated his soul like a man! Nikolenka also had a sense of dignity. Let the teacher try to put me on my knees, I don’t know what I would do! .. You can get punishment for a unit, I wouldn’t mind. And the teacher humiliated Nikolenka, and even at the ball! .. ”, etc.
The teenager also acutely perceives and experiences the successes and failures of his activity. Unable to understand the reasons for success or failure, he is often inclined to attribute both at the expense of his personal qualities. This, as we think, explains the inadequacy of the reactions of children of this age to the obstacles, difficulties, to one or another result of their activities and actions. Random luck or praise, which an adult might not even pay attention to, can easily lead a teenager to high spirits, cause an overestimation of his abilities, a sense of self-confidence and even arrogance; on the contrary, even a temporary failure, especially emphasized by others, often causes the teenager to doubt his strength, fear of not being at the highest level, a feeling of uncertainty, depression, timidity.
In all psychological studies of the adolescent, the ambivalence inherent in his experiences and personality was noted. From the foregoing, it can be assumed that this feature should also be explained by age-related peculiarities in the formation of the adolescent’s self-awareness, creating variability in his relationship to his environment and to himself.
The level of cognition of a person’s inner world, characteristic of a teenager, leaves a special imprint on the attitude of teenagers to other people.
In a study by T.V. Dragunova, it was found that adolescents are often attracted both in literary heroes and in people, some personality traits that they like by themselves and which they still can’t evaluate in terms of goals for which these qualities directed, not in terms of what kind of person their owner is. Such a fetishization of some personality traits (especially such as strength, courage, perseverance, dexterity, invincibility, etc.) leads teenagers to be fascinated by people who discover these qualities even when the person himself does not deserve worship at all. This is reflected, for example, in the fact that among the favorite heroes of our teenagers, along with people such as A. Meresyev, P. Korchagin and others, are the heroes of Dumas (Three Musketeers), heroes from the movie The Magnificent Seven, and even "Amphibian Man". Among adolescents there is also a fascination with the outside of an act, a feat out of touch with the purpose for which they are committed, and with the motives that motivate them.
The inability of adolescents to assess the personality of a person as a whole, to take his point of view, to take into account and weigh all the circumstances of his behavior, the goals and motives of his actions explain the peculiarity characteristic of adolescents that they judge a person in a very straightforward manner, often transferring an assessment from one quality on his whole personality. Everyone knows that sometimes it’s enough that a person performs only one honest act or, on the contrary, makes one oversight in order to determine the attitude of a teenager for a long time. That is why it is very easy and very difficult for teenagers to gain credibility. This also explains the fact that during this period, schoolchildren begin to make exceptionally large demands on their comrades, strictly, even mercilessly judge their actions, their attitude to the team, to the common cause, to their duties.
The same explains the peculiarities in the attitude of adolescents to relatives and other adults. For adolescents, there is little awareness that these are adults, that these are his parents, they must win their respect and love with their personal virtues. This explains, for example, that it is in adolescence that some parents lose their authority, while others, on the contrary, acquire it.
Until now, we have focused on those features that turned out to be characteristic of both Nikolenka Irtenyev and our teenagers. We tried to explain these features with a special self-awareness structure specific to this stage of the child’s development.
However, a study by T.V. Dragunova showed not only similarities, but also the difference between our adolescents and the image of a teenager that is traditional for psychology. At the same time, it turned out that the traditional traits of adolescence were not simply absent from the subjects, but acquired a different specific content and a different form of expression. For example, the study found that our adolescents lack a “feeling of loneliness” as a constant feeling of life, always associated in psychology with the teenager’s “discovery” of his “I” and his attitude to himself as an exceptional and unique personality. However, the experience of loneliness as an episodic feeling also occurs in our adolescents. The psychological nature of this experience is well revealed in the following statement of the girl: “Nikolenka was alone,” she said, “because he considered himself superior to others, could not join any group of comrades. One was, from his point of view, lower than him, the other he was wild. I do not understand this. I have a feeling when you quarrel with someone or make sure that they are hiding something from you, which means they don’t love you. Everyone knows, but you do not. So insulting! But it happens like this: you suddenly get sick, nobody is there, all the time, you rush about, you don’t want to do anything, you won’t find a place for yourself. So lonely! Everyone seems to have forgotten me. And so sad, I want to cry. "
The nature of the experience of loneliness in our adolescents is explained by the fact that during this period of their life the most intensive formation of collective ties and relationships takes place and there is a need to be and feel like a member of the team. However, at this age it is not enough to recognize oneself as a member of a collective; the teenager needs constant actual participation in the life of the team, real communication with friends, joint practical action. In this regard, the adolescent has an acute experience of loneliness in those cases when, for one reason or another, most often associated with his resentment and increased self-esteem, is for some time excluded from the life of the team. Thus, the feeling of loneliness in our adolescents is not the result of dissatisfaction with reality and the desire to leave it, which is characteristic of the “traditional” teenager, but, on the contrary, the result of the unmet need for communication with the team, which during this period of development acquires special significance for the student.
Along with this, in adolescence, children begin to have an urgent desire to sometimes be alone, unusual for younger children. This desire is also due to the nature of the development of self-consciousness of the adolescent: the allocation of thoughts about oneself as an independent internal activity and the need to understand oneself, one’s impressions, feelings, feelings. Therefore, the desire to be alone is associated with the desire to create the best conditions for the realization of one’s attitude to oneself, to the world, to people; it has nothing to do with the desire for loneliness, resulting from the egocentrism and individualism, supposedly inherent in all teenage children.
In the studies of T.V. Dragunova, it was also shown that self-interest, analysis of one’s behavior and activity, as well as self-esteem, do not acquire the character of self-deepening and self-digging in our adolescents. Introspection and self-esteem occur in our adolescents based on their account of the social consequences of their actions. Moreover, the main criterion for evaluating both the acts themselves and those motives and personality traits with which they are associated is their compliance with the requirements and assessments of the team.
Thus, due to their upbringing in the collective, among Soviet teenagers, self-analysis not only does not lead to self-deepening and fruitless self-digging, but, on the contrary, strengthens their outward orientation, their connection with surrounding people, with the collective, and with society.
As one of the most characteristic features of adolescence, the desire of adolescents to self-affirmation has always been noted and is still being noted. Apparently, it is also associated with the logic of the child’s mental development, namely with the development of his self-consciousness and with the desire to find his place in the peer team and the desire to affirm his adulthood in the eyes of others. However, the specific nature and internal psychological nature of this trait is very different in children, forming in different conditions of life and upbringing.
The point here is mainly in the peculiarities of motivation, which encourages a teenager in his relationship with other people. Эгоцентризм и эгоизм, чувство исключительности толкают подростка на самоутверждение в самом дурном смысле этого слова. В этих случаях подростки стараются выдвинуться, командовать сверстниками, стремятся доказать свое превосходство, готовы действовать в ущерб товарищам. Такого рода самоутверждение, связанное с индивидуалистической направленностью личности, часто приводит к конфликтам, возникающим между подростком и окружающими его людьми, делает подростка трудным в воспитательном отношении. Однако самоутверждение может и не носить такого характера. Оно может быть связано с желанием подростка завоевать уважение окружающих, доказать им свою самостоятельность, свои умения и способность быть на уровне «взрослых» требований. Такой характер самоутверждения может иметь место и у подростков с общественной направленностью личности, и оно не ведет к тем отрицательным последствиям, о которых мы говорили выше.
Как показывают материалы исследований, у наших подростков нередко встречаются срывы поведения, связанные с ложными формами самоутверждения. Отчасти это объясняется тем, что у значительной части наших подростков все же формируется направленность на себя. Но это может объясняться и другим, а именно неправильным подходом окружающих, не умеющих учесть те новые потребности и стремления, которые характеризуют мотивационную сферу детей этого возраста.
Для того чтобы закончить психологическую характеристику поведения и личности подростков, следует отметить еще одну особенность их психологического развития. Эта особенность связана со своеобразной ситуацией, характерной для среднего школьного возраста, а именно: некоторое несоответствие между уже сформировавшимися возможностями и стремлениями подростков, с одной стороны, и с характером их объективного положения — с другой. Это несоответствие накладывает отпечаток на все их поведение и на все их взаимоотношения с окружающими людьми, но в качестве специфической особенности оно порождает стремление подростка вырваться из условий повседневности, оно рождает у него стремление к романтическому, необычному и таинственному. Если понять эту особенность подростков и ее корни, то многое в подростках станет гораздо более понятным, а их воспитание более эффективным.
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