Identity formation, is the development of the distinct personality of an individual in which individual characteristics are  formed and  the person is recognized as a unique individual. The question, "Who am I?" is pertinent during adolescence and this process defines the individual to others and themselves.

Identity formation, begins in childhood and gains importance during adolescence.. Faced with physical growth, sexual maturation, and career choices, adolescents must accomplish the task of integrating their prior experiences and characteristics into a stable identity. Psychologist Erikson coined the phrase ‘identity crisis’ to describe the temporary instability and confusion adolescents experience as they struggle with alternatives and choices. To cope with the uncertainties of this stage, adolescents may over identify with heroes and mentors, fall in love, and bond together in cliques..

Friendships play a major role in the lives of adolescents. A circle of caring and supportive friends can help an adolescent's transition to a successful adult. They get a sense of security and comfort in being with others going through the same experiences.
Still, forming and maintaining friendships during adolescence can be challenging. Peer pressure – good and bad – often affects decisions young people make.

Parents, can help young people learn how to make and keep good friends by:

1.        Being warm and supportive, staying connected and actively listening to your child. Don’t be judgmental. This will help her/him to be more open to you.

2.      Being a good role model is very important. Parents who are keen to spend time with their own friends are more likely to have children with lots of healthy friendships. It’s important for your child to see you looking out for your friends.

3.      Teach your child that friendship is a two-way thing. There must be give and take in the relationship ( mutual sharing).

4.      Praising teens when you see them being fair, trusting and supportive of others encourages them to keep working on those positive social traits.

5.      Think about your child’s interests and strengths. Based on this, you could look for new extracurricular activities for your child or encourage your child to join a club, sporting team or social group.

6.      Make sure your child feels comfortable inviting friends home and give her/him space when she does. Make friends with your child's friends. Being the ‘favourite aunt/uncle’ of your child’s friends will bring you get closer to your child.

7.      Don't restrict them to speak to teens of opposite sex. Teach them to respect the other gender as well.

8.      Most importantly teach your adolescent to say 'No', to his friends, when he is put in a situation to do what he is not comfortable doing or against his value system. This will help him deal with peer pressure for wrong reasons.



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