Adolescence & Identity

Adolescence & Identity

Sep 07, 2022

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Today I’m talking about the evolution of self concept and identity, and specifically, how that develops throughout adolescence. 

The onset of puberty and adolescence (usually around the age of 12), is when we really start to see our kids starting to figure out who they are and what they think and feel about themselves. They begin the process of creating a self concept. 

In this episode, we’ll go on a little tour of the different stages of self concept and how you can best support your teen through it.

Childhood Identities

Prior to middle school, your child has inherited their self concept from others.  They start out with the thoughts and feelings that you and others have about them. 

Some of these may be positive, like I’m a good student, I’m a kind brother, I’m an artist. Others may not be so great - I’m a troublemaker, I’m bad at math, I don’t have friends.

You can set your child up to build a strong self concept by exposing them to lots of positive thoughts and identities when they are younger.

As they approach adolescence, they begin to develop self consciousness - simply being conscious of themselves as an individual within the group.

The Middle School and High School Years

The middle school years are when your kid begins to build their own self concept. 

At first, they are really sorting through those inherited thoughts and feelings and deciding for themselves which ones they want to keep and which to let go of.

Along the way they’re constantly bumping up against new self concepts and trying on different thoughts to see if they fit.

And of course there’s the added challenge of being surrounded by a bunch of other kids who are trying to figure this all out at the same time.

As parents, we sorta have to watch from the sidelines, and it can be really hard to see your kid trying out a self concept that you don’t want for them.  

They may choose their friends based on similarities in their thoughts and self concepts and they might also pick up new thoughts and identities from people they hang around with. 

When you’re in it, you might feel pretty panicked as a parent sometimes. You want to engineer and manage the whole thing. But you can’t.

Ways You Can Support Your Adolescent Child

Become a witness. You still have a lot of influence over them, even if you no longer have a lot of power.

Actively choose thoughts and beliefs about your kid that you want them to believe about themselves. When you keep exposing those positive ideas to them, they're more likely to pick those pieces of their self concept. Those are going to feel really easy for them to try on and identify with if they’ve been hearing them their whole lives.

Focus more on who you DO want your child to become rather than who you are afraid they’ll become.

Remember, self concept is always evolving and changing (our entire lives!). Just because your kid has picked up an identity you don’t love, doesn’t mean it’s permanent.

You’ll Learn:

  • A helpful exercise to guide your teen’s self concept
  • Some of the biggest, most powerful thoughts you can think about your child
  • What to do when you’re stuck in a negative thought loop about your kid




Connect With Me: 

If you’re feeling worried about your kid’s self concept - you think you don’t know how to shift your thoughts, what to say to your kid or how to help them, I want to invite you to my LIVE Teen Masterclass coming up October 12th.

I’ll teach you all the things you need to know about raising teens right now. We’re talking about your mindset, practical skills to build self concept in kids, what kids are thinking, what they're struggling with and how to help them.

It’s only $25 and you can sign up right now!

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