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:
- 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