Identity development is said to be a defining process of adolescence, a time when a teen is grappling with the multiple roles they play in terms of culture, ethnicity, gender, peer group, and family structure. However, it does have roots earlier. In infancy and childhood, children first recognize that they are individuals, distinct from caregivers and others. They learn that they have their own desires, likes, and dislikes and gain a self-concept. This self-concept, then, is tested against the social bonds they have formed with family and the emerging relationships with playmates and friends.
In this Discussion, you examine the interplay among identity, family, and peer groups in middle childhood.
- Explain the role peer group acceptance plays in identity development among children in middle childhood. Also discuss whether peer acceptance is a predictor of successful adjustment in middle childhood.
- Then, imagine that you are working with a child being raised by older relatives, as in the Big Mama video. How would you expect the family situation to affect the child’s identity development?