Build a Sense of Identity

Children with a sense of identity have a strong sense of individuality, accurate self-perception, and feel comfortable with praise. Here are some suggestions for building a sense of identity:

Value the uniqueness of each person.

  • No two people look or think exactly alike.
  • People have different preferences.
  • People grow and develop at different rates.

Accept children's feelings as valid for them.

  • Help them understand that it is OK to have feelings, and that there are appropriate ways of expressing feelings.
  • At appropriate times explore with them acceptable ways of expressing feelings.

Take children seriously.

  • Build on their interests.
  • Become involved with them as human beings.
  • Show sincere interest in what they think and do. It's often more effective than praise.

Show faith and confidence in young people.

  • Value them for what they are.
  • Let them know you believe they have the resources to meet all of life's challenges.
  • Express your belief in them both verbally and non-verbally.

Avoid the use of "put-downs" or other belittling expressions such as:

  • Name-calling.
  • Pointing out others' mistakes in such a way as to cause embarrassment.
  • Asking questions to point out shortcoming.
  • Using sarcasm, ridicule, etc.

Share your beliefs, values, and opinions.

  • Express them as your point of view, not as the "truth".
  • Encourage children to do the same.

Help children recognize their worth as a person.

  • Explain their worth is independent of winning or losing in a game or contest.
  • Avoid competition between siblings.

Teach your children how to feel.

  • Teach your children words to express feelings.
  • Encourage your children to use the words.
  • Discuss emotions displayed in movies, books, and on television.
  • Tell and show them you love them.

Some fun ideas

  • Write down the qualities that make each of your children unique and hang them in their rooms.
  • Get up early one day and have breakfast together.
  • Leave a note under their pillows.
  • Go out together.
  • Do a family tree.
  • Make a timeline of each child's life.
  • Make a collage depicting favorite things.
  • Look over family photo albums.
  • Establish family traditions