Intro: This month I am previewing a book I am working on Inspired Parenting. This week I will be briefly discussing the different developmental stages children go through.
Eight to Thirteen: Who Am I?
Some children know exactly who they are from the time they are young. Other children have their identity shaped through strong family influence. As a person tries on clothes, until a coordinated outfit is found, many children try on personalities. When they were younger many had no problem wearing princess outfits or superhero costumes out into the world. But as they get older they become more self-conscious of what the world, especially their peers, will think of them. They often ask themselves, who am I? Am I an athlete, an artist, an academic, a techie, a loner, or someone who has a lot of friend? During this delicate time, it is important for the parent to try to hold back any judgement and try to support exploration, as long as the personality they are choosing is a functional one to themselves and others. And we should also remind them that they they can be more than one thing, not even needing to choose: an athlete and an academic, an artist who happens to be a loner and a socializer all at the same time. The more important question we should teach our children to ask is how can you take your talents and use them to benefit yourself, your community, and the world?