What is Social Identity?
For many single people, the social identity crisis is around everyday interactions. However, it’s not always easy for parents to express that they want to be more understanding and accepting. We’ve all been overtalkative children ourselves, only to be told to shut up when we did.
Sometimes they don’t hear it – because there’s no voice for them to understand. Instead, these children are left clueless about what they stand for. A few years ago, I decided to look through the blog posts and writing samples of friends who had written about identity. I had never found them. I thought perhaps I had missed out on meeting them – but I soon found out that they were my friends!
When identifying with one identity isn’t the best example, others who don’t fit the norm will have to explain why. Parents can help make their children realize that they don’t have to fit in, and is okay to choose their own path.
What is Social Identity?
When defining identity, it’s common to view it as something that only requires to be expressed in the context of one’s day-to-day life – like most people have to; but, who is defining what that is? Social identity is made up of your self-perceptions and aspirations.
For children, their social identity is considered to be defined by how they identify with their friends, their hobbies, and their family members. Identity is one of those words that people don’t mean when they say it, and there is never such a thing as “themself”. Instead, identity can mean who you are in relation to your family, friends, and the rest of the world. Children of divorced parents and those whose families live separately are often burdened with identity issues due to their parents not being present for them.
Do We Need to Talk About Social Identity With Our Kids?
I don’t think we should waste time writing about our children’s social identity. There’s no need to talk about social identity with your kids because they don’t have it yet. If you think they do or just don’t understand it, start by taking a moment to help yourself feel more confident. Tell yourself that you will teach your kids to always be themselves – whether it’s positive or negative – and never ever define who they are.
In addition, you could make time to be vocal about your identity as a parent. Let your kids know that you value them and that you will always be there for them. If they see you as being vocal about your identity, then they will be reassured that they are important, even if you aren’t showing them that very much.
If your child has never been heard and they are under five years old, make sure you are speaking the right language with them. Tell them that everyone is different – people look at you the way they do for different reasons. They shouldn’t feel weird or ashamed of themselves for not “feeling like the same person”.
You know that you’re right – and they don’t want to be different. Social identity is something that everyone wants to feel and is important in our lives. What you say and do can make a big difference in how your child feels about themselves, and that is something that you can impart on them from an early age.