Helping Kids Form Their Own Identities
By: Sally Sacks
|Children develop their identities by learning to know what they like about their environment, their way of dressing, and their way of relating to others and the world. For your child to develop an identity of his own, you must sponsor this development of identity by being aware of your child's actions and behaviors, and what these tell you about him.|
For example, if your child has a cluttered room and has to save everything, you probably have a sentimental child that doesn't like to part with things. If you cleaned your child's room and threw away "the junk" that she had too much of, you might be ignoring who your child is as a person.
|How Children Reveal Their Identities|
Your kids show off their colors through how they choose to decorate their rooms, the friends they like to associate with, their dress, food choices, activity choices, and more. They are giving you clues about who they are as well as taking from you certain things they admire and incorporating those into their identities. Many parents forget to ask children important questions that can reveal their child's belief and value system; asking such questions can sponsor a healthy sense of self in your child.
|For example, Miriam didn't like her daughter Leigh's taste in clothing, because it was different than her own. Every holiday Miriam would buy what she liked for her daughter, but Leigh wouldn't wear it. Mom would be disappointed, and her daughter felt guilty.
Leigh also read magazines that Miriam disapproved of, and Miriam would get angry that her daughter was reading these magazines; however, Miriam never thought to ask her daughter what she liked about the magazines. Such a question would have given Miriam valuable insight into her daughter's individuality and character.
|I asked my son the other day what he liked so much about sports and in turn got some great clues to his personality. He replied that he liked the teamwork, the goal setting, the movement, and the success. This response not only tells me about sports, it tells me more about my child.|
Emotional awareness is becoming aware of who your child is, and offering him support in growing that self into a very well-formed identity—one that will offer him the ability to make positive choices and decisions in his life.
|Tips for Sponsoring Healthy Identities|
|The healthy identities of children are their keys to knowing themselves and seeking what they want in life.|