3 Ways to Support a Strong Sense of Identity in our Children

I'm Michelle!

Master Life Coach, Wife & Mom, Certified Nervous System Fitness Expert, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Podcaster, Attorney, and Deep Believer in Curiosity and Self-Compassion

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One of the greatest gifts and strengths our kids can have is a strong sense of who they are. Figuring out their identity is something our children struggle with, especially as they get older. That deep sense of knowing who they really are, what they stand for, where they are going, what their strengths and weaknesses are, everything has to do with the exploration of the inner self.

The world is going to come at them hard and fast – trying to tell our kids who they are and who they aren’t – especially in the tech connected world we live in. They’ll hear from the world how they should dress, how they should speak, what they should think, how they should look – and some of that might be ok – but most of it is probably lies.  It’s no wonder they struggle with confidence and self-worth. We want to be intentional to enforce and speak truth over them in their identity.  Encourage them to think independently when it comes to their authentic self.

As moms, we have a lot of power and influence to speak out against the lies.  We can build them up in truth.  We can remind them of their true identity.  We can speak life-giving words over them.  We can be deliberate about teaching them their worth.  We can give them different experiences – those are going to be their greatest teachers about themselves. We can empower them through their experiences. Their experiences are going to shape how they see themselves, how they see others, how they perceive the world around them.  

So here are 3 ways we can help them cultivate a strong and true self-identity.

1. Create opportunities for them to explore

The point here is to expose our children to different things: foods, sports, cultures, books, movies, games, activities, and places. The more they can do and try, the more opportunities they have to find out what they like and don’t like, which is a big part of their identity formation.

Our kids are probably going to go through phases, just like we did, that we’re not going to understand or totally love, just like our parents (think of that emo/punk/grunge phase you went through), and it’s all part of the process.  We can love them in it. We can show interest and support through whatever it is that they’re safely exploring. Leave that judgment behind.  

The truth is, nearly every trait or interest that might annoy us about our kids is likely related to their God-given personality and strengths.  So your quiet child who might before the library to the football field, maybe God’s spoken wisdom over them and they’re going to share ideas this world needs. Maybe that child of yours who is on the debate team and driving you crazy questioning every single thing you say or ask – maybe God’s creating a human that’s going to stand up and speak for so many who have no voice.  One of our greatest jobs as parents is to let them explore these things so they can develop them. 

And if you’re exposing them to things that aren’t catching on, it’s ok if they move on. We can have conversations about giving things a fair chance, being responsible, and not giving up when things are tough. But, if we’re honest, those factors probably aren’t really in play as often as we use them as excuses as to why we want our kids to stay in something but really what’s at stake is our own expectations, interests, or interests, even dreams that we are trying to fulfill through our children.

Our kids can keep experimenting with new things – I promise you they’re going to find something that sticks and that THEY are really passionate about.  And that thing is going to become part of their identity. 

2. encourage them to find and use their voice

A big part of identity is how we express ourselves with our words. We must teach our children to express their feelings safely and attentively. With this, they will learn to oppose peer pressure, to say no, to do what makes them happy no matter what their friends or pop culture imposes on them. By encouraging this as parents, we ensure that they feel listened to by us and empowered towards the outside world.

Let’s create time each day to have conversations with our kids and give them space to practice using their voices. Maybe you go on walks together, maybe it’s while you’re making dinner or sitting around the table eating, ask them thoughtful questions, and let them use their voice to share their thoughts and opinions.  Be curious.  Ask them where they learned things, how they came up with things, and how they came to certain conclusions. Just dig a little deeper.

3. Allow them to fail

I’ve talked about this before on the podcast, but I’m such a proponent of letting our kids fail safely. When there’s no room for failure, there’s no room for growth. There’s no room for exploration and discovery.

As parents, we are programmed to protect our children. But we must be aware that if we want to control everything, we can end up taking away valuable learning moments. Children must learn that success is found after a lot of hard work, persistence, resilience, struggle, and sometimes failure.

Failure isn’t bad.  The only true failure is not trying in the first place.  What we often perceive as failure is just a process of gathering information – what works and what doesn’t.  And if our kids get comfortable failing and then getting back up, adjusting, and continuing on – mamas, what a beautiful part of their identity they’re discovering. 

Research has shown over and over that kids who are resilient, kids who are more comfortable failing and trying again, those kids have a strong sense of self-worth. And I think the failing process also brings empathy.  It brings humility.  It brings collaboration.  And working with others is a huge part of forming identity.  How do we relate to others?  How do we treat others?  How do we speak about and to others? How do we communicate our needs? And it’s not just in our interactions, but the people in our circle and community form a huge part of our identity. 

It is the experiences, whether curated by us as parents or simply what life throws at our children, that shape their inner voice and shape their character. All experiences are not easy, but when we empower our children to persevere, stay true to themselves and stand up for what they believe in, they are able to manage and shape their identity as well.

So we talked about a few ways we can help our kids form a strong sense of identity, but I think that at the end of the day, the best ways are those that also teach them to respect themselves and their interests, while building healthy character traits to help them navigate through their lives.

How have you guided your kids in exploring their identity? Let me know in the comments below!

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You my friend, are called to a life of fullness and abundance - no matter how wild this motherhood journey is. It's time to trade the exhaustion and overwhelm for peace and joy.  No more hot-mess express.  I've got you. 

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Let's redefine what's possible in motherhood.

cool as a cucumber, ENNEAGRAM 3, book hoarder, MATCHA LATTE LOVER, growth seeker, accountability partner, and your biggest cheerleader

I'm Michelle.
Your Master Coach.

You my friend, are called to a life of fullness and abundance - no matter how wild this motherhood journey is. It's time to trade the exhaustion and overwhelm for peace and joy.  No more hot-mess express.  I've got you. 

Learn more

Let's redefine what's possible in motherhood.


Cheers to starting your day right!  Make yourself comfortable and get ready to dig in, learn, and most importantly, take action!

You got it, Mama!

Game Changer

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Michelle Grosser

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