Children develop their identity by learning to know what they like about their environment, their way of dressing, their way of relating to others and the world. In order for children to develop an identity of their own, parents, the children's earliest programmers, must sponsor this development of identity by being aware of your child's actions and behaviors, and what those tell you about him/her.
For example if your child has a cluttered room, and has to save everything, you probably have a sentimental child that doesn't like to part with things. If you cleaned your child's room and threw away "the junk" that they had too much of, you might be ignoring who your child is as a person.
Children, not unlike adults, show their identity in many ways
They show it through their pictures in their room, through the friends they like to associate with, through their dress, food choices, activity choices etc. They are giving us the clues about who they are, as well as taking from us certain things they admire, and incorporating those into their identity. Many parents due to a lack of awareness forget to ask children important questions that can give clues to their child's belief system, and value system, and really help them to sponsor a healthy sense of self in their child.
For example, Miriam didn't like her daughter's taste in clothing, because it was different than hers, and she wasn't taught in her family to have her own identity. Every holiday she would buy her daughter what she liked, and the daughter wouldn't wear it. Mom would be disappointed and her daughter felt guilty. Leigh, the child, read magazines that mom disapproved of. Mom would get angry that her daughter was reading the magazine. However Mom never thought to ask her daughter what she liked about the magazine. That would give a clue as to why she was reading it, Mom simply didn't know to do this.
I asked my son the other day what he liked so much about sports, and got such clues to his personality. It was great. He liked the teamwork, the goal setting, the movement, the success. This not only tells you about sports, it tells you about the child. Emotional awareness is becoming aware of who your child is, and offering them support in growing that self into a very well formed identity that will offer them the ability to make positive choices and decisions in their lives.
To sponsor this healthy identity you need to:
The healthy identity of a child is their key to knowing and seeking what they want in life.