Helping Instill Identity in Children

There's one question that boys and girls ask off and on throughout childhood; and that is "who am I, and where's my place in life?" It's our job as parents to help them answer that probing question. I'm Dr. James Dobson with Focus on the Family.

There are several good ways to develop and ensure the individual identity of all your children, and it starts by occasionally relating to each boy or girl as an individual; rather than merely as members of the family or group.

One suggestion that has worked for others is to ask each of your children to design his or her own flag or banner, which can then be sewn into canvas or cloth. That flag can then be flown in the front yard on birthdays or other special days when a celebration is in order.

It's also a good idea for Mum and Dad to spend time alone with each of the children at least every month or so. Let the child choose a special activity just for him or her and one parents. You can play miniature golf, or go bowling, or play basketball, or eat tacos or pizza, or go ice-skating; whatever. But be sure to pick an activity that encourages interaction and conversation. 

There are other ways to accomplish this same purpose, of course. The target again, is to plan activities that emphasize one child's individuality, apart from his identity within the family. If you help him know exactly who he is and where he fits into the scheme of things, that individual will have to spend less time and energy dispelling his doubts and fears at home. This is Dr. James Dobson for Focus on the Family.

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