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How to Help Your Children Build Their Self-Identity

A child’s sense of individuality can be influenced by a variety of people and experiences. And although self-identity takes place throughout a person’s lifetime, the foundation of who your child is usually takes place during his or her youth.

Children gain most of their influence from their parents, especially from their young, ripe age. With that in mind, helping your children discover their passions, strengths, and the best parts of themselves, are best done when you still can — when they’re young or not quite old enough to feel like they can do everything on their own.

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Provide the Right Environment

Children today are constantly bombarded with external influences. Just think of all the messages their brains receive from daily digital consumption alone. There’s social media, video games, mindless apps and internet browsing, etc.

As they are immersed in the ins and outs of the digital world, it is up to us as parents to create a world at home, where they can escape from the noise and clutter of online activities. Parents can provide a healthy lifestyle and teach core values that will help them feel their best. Values that shape a child’s identity include:

  • Compassion
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Hard work
  • Responsibility

Believe it or not, everything that happens in your home sends a message to your child about these values. Be conscious and aware of what message you give.

Be a Model of Healthy Self-Identity

Parents have the difficult task of walking the walk. If you struggle with your own identity or don’t feel genuine about who you are, it’s time for a personal evaluation.

help children with self-identity

There is no better time to find your purpose than now. Find your purpose in your daily interactions and live your life with awareness and intent. Your internally derived and well-defined self-identity will be something your children will emulate. After all, you are their most important influence and much of who they are is simply after a model of your own actions and values.

Share your passions with your child by letting them see you study, learn and doing things that better yourself. Express your dreams and allow them to be part of the processes you endure to make stuff happen in your own life. Share with them your failures and what you learned from them.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

As you share all these things with your child, you’ll be surprised how interested they are in your “adult life”. Many kids can wait to grow up and do adult things. So let them see you in your daily life helping others, showing up and giving it your all, being your best self.

Ask your child questions and create discussion about them:

  • What makes them excited?
  • Which things do they dread?
  • What would they like to achieve or accomplish today? This month? This year?
  • Who do they admire and why?
  • Do they have a great friend? Who is it? Why is this person so close to them?
  • What worries them in the world we live in?

There are so many questions that can get a conversation rolling with your child that will give you a glimpse inside their head.

Be Your Child’s Biggest Cheerleader

Your child arrived here on earth as an individual and the best way a parent can serve that individuality is to run with it. Guide them to their strengths, help them accept their weaknesses and work to improve themselves in healthy ways. Cheer them on as they try new things and help them navigate emotions that accompany both successes in life and failure. Take their interests to new levels in all areas including academia, athletics, arts, and many more.

There will be ups and downs with a child discovering who they are. Parents have a tricky job of mentoring a child through those young years. Keeping it real, challenging them, talking and listening will provide a great base for helping them navigate this adventurous road.

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and writer, with experience as a content writer and outreach coordinator for HelpYourTeenNow. Tyler has offered honest advice and humor to struggling parents and teens. Tyler has researched and written on education problems, disorders, the world of social media, addiction, and pressing issues with raising a teen today. Follow Tyler on:
Twitter | Linkedin | Google +

15 comments

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  • It’s so important to be open with your kids and gain their trust and confidence too. Mentoring your kids is s tricky process but with the right balance you can achieve a lot.

  • Hey great post! Although I am not a parent anytime soon. Seeing my parents and other people parents’ traits made me realized what to do, and what not to do with your kids

  • Maintaining a sense of self and being a role model of a healthy sense of health is so important. I think it’s so true in raising my daughter. Trying to model proper self health helps her do the same.

  • I don’t have kids yet, but I think a lot about the kind of parent I will be. One thing I need to get better about? Not bashing my body or calling myself stupid.

  • Hey Tyler, this is well-written. I’m not a parent yet but this made me appreciate my mom and dad. I appreciate how they brought us up by being role models to us, and by exposing us to a good environment.

  • A child who perfectly understands him or herself is just any parent’s joy but that starts with teaching them right from a tender age. I agree that parents should be role models to their kids since they influence them directly. And also, growing the communication bond between parents and kids is as important.

  • And then, I’d add… wait with fear but also with enthusiasm, the moment when they are “ready” to deconstruct the parents, putting the blames on them and putting their knowledge in doubt: that’s the most complicated though important moment in their self-identity making up

  • This is a really helpful post indeed. I think its important to let our children find their own identity and nurture that. This is a really useful resource

  • This is a very helpful resource. It’s our job as parents to help our kids grown into healthy, happy adults, which isn’t always easy. Giving the tools they need to navigate this crazy world can really help.

  • I love these ideas to help children build self identity. I think that kids today are exposed to so much with technology it is easy for them to lose sight of who they are!

About Author

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and writer, with experience as a content writer and outreach coordinator for HelpYourTeenNow. Tyler has offered honest advice and humor to struggling parents and teens. Tyler has researched and written on education problems, disorders, the world of social media, addiction, and pressing issues with raising a teen today. Follow Tyler on:
Twitter | Linkedin | Google +