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Lisa Mecham

UNIT 5 -- CHAPTERS 9 & 10 -- Choose one of the following:
Do you think that other factors besides changes in cognitive development may contribute to
adolescent egocentrism? How might the emphasis in TV commercials on appearance affect an
adolescent's concern with self? Can you recall any specific instances from your adolescence
when your thinking underwent a change? How might this change have related to your cognitive
Just one question. How can parents help their teenagers deal with the conflicts of adolescence?
Its hard not to tie both of these subjects into what I would like to discuss in my essay.
Both, I believe coincide with each other. I believe that there are a few major factors into the
contribution of adolescent egocentrism, some I believe are: changes in cognitive development,
bullying, and worldly/social views and what happens in your home.
TV commercials have a self absorbing power and influence over all that watch them. To
some, it may that the McDonald's big mac commercial may drive someone to the restaurant and
to others, it be applying for a credit card so you can purchase the latest and great exercise
equipment out there. This example, I believe is part of the social/worldly views. Everyone is out
there trying to sell someone to someone, because they KNOW people will follow.
A couple experiences I would like to share have deeply impacted my way of thinking and
till to this day, it takes time and effort to change my thoughts because I know for a fact they
impacted my cognitive thinking because it happened as my cognitive thinking was developing.
As I mentioned before, I think bullying can have a huge effect on how you think about yourself
and others makes a drastic change. I remember the first time I was bullied, a group of girls got
me standing against a tree, while they danced around me singing a song that they made up about
how fat and ugly I was. They did this almost everyday at recesses. That was 4th grade. Our
school had a transfer, because another school was built and I was part of that transfer. I ended up
going to the new school, away from those girls, the following year.
That next year, I took a spanish class. For some horrible reason, we learned the word
ugly and beautiful that first day in class. After the class ended, a boy that every girl in the
school had a crush on (including me), came up right to my face, and told me I was ugly in
Spanish. I just began puberty, at the young age of 11, and my self confidence in myself was
already pretty low, and that was the icing on the cake. On top of that, at home, my mom was
trying every diet out there, and for that, I felt like I needed to go on a diet as well, because I was
told that I was a mini-me of my mom, and so therefore, if my mom thought she was fat, I surely
had to be fat too, because I was a mini-me of her.
I had already been sung too and told that I was fat, I was already told to my face that I
was ugly by apparently the cutest boy in school, so in my eyes, the truth was already set in front
of me. I remember my first weight watchers meeting at age 11, weighing 102 lbs and being
overly joyed when I lost 11 pounds in one week. I didnt know, as I do now, how damaging that
choice to do that, would be on the rest of my life.
I then became fixated on diets, magazine pictures, comparing, self-hating, and so many
hurtful things to myself to try and live up to the world and those around me. I literally drove
myself insane and to a point of no self-worth.

I still to this day, have to remind myself that any thoughts I put in my head, I can put out.
That I dont have to dwell on what I wish was better about myself. It was a hard but a sense of
relief when I was able to admit to myself that I believe, had (have) a mental eating disorder (and
yes, there is such thing as that). I dont know if any of this could or would have been prevented if
those girls didnt sing that song to me, or the boy say I was ugly, or go on WW at age 11, because
I was told by Mom it wouldnt hurt to lose a few pounds, but I do know now, that I should have
given myself break and not have been so hard on myself.
Just as stated in the book by a story that recalled Steinberg agrees with his son. As he
expresses it, The problem is not that Bens decision-making was deficient. The problem is that it
was nonexistent (Steinberg, 2004, p.52) (Berger, 2014, pg 331). I believe half the time during
those difficult times in my life, I wasnt thinking. I was DWELLING on what others thought of
me, and because of that, I made some poor choices. These kids are going to need help at times
making those choices that they really cant think for themselves at the time. So, I think its
important as us parents, to make sure we have a good support system for them and that we teach
them the best we can about questions they may have about themselves and that period in time in
their life that they will be going through.
Berger, K. S. (2014). Invitation to the life span (2nd ed.). New York, NY:Worth Publishers.
Steinberg, Laurence. (2004). Risk taking in adolescence: What changes, and why? In Ronald E. Dahl & Linda Patia
Spear (Eds). Adolescent brain development:Vulnerabilities and opportunities (Vo. 1021, pp.51-58.) New York:New
York Academy of Sciences.