A Child’s Identity

Did you know that children do not have a sense of identity?  Have you ever watched a baby sit there and learn – as they touch their feet and suck on their fingers.  At one point in their development (and how they figured this out, I don’t know) they could not distinguish themselves as seperate from the world.  Everything is the same to them.

As they grow and explore and become more self-aware, they are able to test their sense of identity.  It’s during this time that they are able to think in terms of “mine” and “me.”  The next step is a development of self-reliance and the ability to do things on their own.

Identity is something that we are all working on.  Identity is a lifelong pursuit, but we can help children develop their sense of identity early.  The biggest way to help them is to not stunt their identity development by superimposing your sense of reality with theirs.  When they talk about purple monsters and green dinosaurs – those ideas are very real to them.  Help encourage that cognitive development – don’t shoot them down and tell them that there is no such thing.  They will eventually figure it out for themselves.

You can give them a strong sense of identity and self.  You can help children in their identity development by letting them explore for themselves and allowing them experience that crisis for themselves.

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