In a social environment, how does one recognize their individual potential and qualities determines their self-identity? The feeling of the ‘self’ is known as self-identity and it helps us become who we actually are in a societal context. We may have to invest a lot of effort and time to search for our true self-identity and trust me, it can be a complicated process, which is what makes us feel amazing when you eventually find it. We also influence the identity of people around us, especially children.
But, why do we need to maintain it? We may lose our self-identity and feel like our life is a complete mess. Therefore, it is important that we maintain a self-identity to avoid hindrance in our day-to-day life and relationships. Maintaining a self-identity strengthens one’s character and definitely, makes the individual confident.
It gives us more strength to practice self-love and embrace ourselves for who we actually are, the talents we possess, and the way God has made us. It makes us comfortable with who we are, and trust ourselves. We become more aware of our position in the environment we live in.
So how can we help someone build a positive sense of who they are, i.e., help them build their self-identity? This is especially important to be built at a young age because a strong sense of identity will help a child grow into a successful adult. A successful adult will maintain their self-identity at home and in a societal environment, completely aware of their true purpose, role, and position everywhere. It is not possible to teach someone “who they are”, however, you can always assist by pointing them in the right direction.
One good way is clearing the communication gap, that is, talk to them. For adults, it is usually difficult, but younger ones are generally full of information about themselves that they are keen to tell someone about. You just have to lend your ears, and ACCEPT them for who they are, even if you disagree with it. We always try to accept what we want to hear, see, and what we want someone (especially a child) to like and dislike.
You need to practice forgiveness when it is necessary. If someone makes a mistake and you overreact, it is important that you forgive the person and you also ask the adult/child to forgive you for overreacting. This way, you are giving the other person, a chance to solve the issue. It will strengthen trust in that relationship, and this helps children learn problem-solving skills and the significance of taking responsibility for one’s actions.
Correcting Their Behavior, But Not Letting Them Lose Their Identity
Instead of saying “You are mean”, use statements, such as “That’s a mean thing to say” or provide an instance of what’s right and wrong in the situation.
Also, when you are praising someone, instead of saying, “I’m proud of you for getting such a high score in the exams” or “I’m proud of you for doing such a great presentation”, you can say, “You are so smart. Look at these grades!!” or “You are so good at communicating the right thing to the audience. You have great presentation skills.” This helps one understand who they are, and show this through their actions frequently.
Discipline Vs Punishment
Well, this may look like a total parenting topic, but this will be helpful for all of us, to help others maintain a positive self-identity. Discipline and punishment are not just two terms that can be used interchangeably. To discipline means to teach and train someone to practice a certain code of behavior. One would explain how to do something, and develop a future desirable behavior. Whereas, punishment is scaring someone out of bad behavior i.e., to inflict suffering for past behavior. Punishment can influence a child’s brain adversely. Discipline calls on the thinking brain. But punishment influences the emotional brain. Punishment is a fear-based coercive discipline, and frequent fright is not good for the brain.
Sometimes, punishment comes from a person’s feeling of frustration or even desperation. “Punishment is about controlling a child, rather than teaching the child how to control himself. And most often, punishment changes the way a child thinks about himself.” Discipline fosters positive relations between two people, (e.g. a parent and a child). This motivates one to behave in the right way and avoid people to dwell on their anger toward the person who punished them.
One needs to make their rules or demands clear, and convey to the other person that you are helping them grow into a better human, someone who is happy and successful.
Let Them Know What They Can Do
Tell them what they should do instead of telling what they should not, this will help them understand what rules you want them to follow, as well as it helps them build effective communication skills. Always respect their feelings. As a parent, it is important to know what triggers a child emotionally, and what can be some effective ways to deal with those triggers. It’s important to learn emotional vocabulary as a child. Parents can do so by asking their children how they feel, and what improves their mood. Don’t make someone hide the way they feel.
Teach a child that it is completely normal to find help, and praise them for getting the help they require.
These ways will help you as well as others near you, to live with more optimism and understand that they are in control of their lives.
About Ms. Simran Maghnani
A post-graduate student & a keen learner who loves to teach, and wishes to impact the world in little yet impactful ways.
Ms. Simran Maghnani is a lover of ice-cream and coffee who believes in child rights and aims to educate every child on the planet with her philanthropic ways.
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