According to theoretical work on self and identity development, children develop a sense of competence and a first sense of themselves as valued members of society in middle childhood. An adult's overall confidence may frequently be linked back to specific events and experiences throughout this time period. For example, if an adult believes that he or she is competent at school, this might be because the child recently succeeded at math class or because they failed something else but still had a good day at school overall.
Children's developing sense of competence is also linked to their emerging sense of personal autonomy. They begin to understand that people are responsible for their own actions and cannot simply be pushed around by others. This process continues into early adolescence when children start to feel confident enough to make choices about what kinds of people they want to be like. They begin to understand that their actions have consequences and can either help them or hurt them. All in all, this is a very important developmental step toward becoming an independent person.
Identity also involves knowing yourself as a unique individual. You learn how different you are from other people, and this helps you recognize your strengths and weaknesses. It is also related to understanding others' perspectives so you can communicate with them. Finally, it involves making decisions about what kind of person you want to be.
All in all, these are some important developments in identity construction that happen around age 10.
Middle childhood children have a more realistic sense of self than early childhood children. Their self-descriptions are no longer physical, and they see themselves as persons with personalities and abilities that exist within a social framework. For example, a middle childhood child may say things like "I'm bad" or "I'm good at math." He or she is not saying that physically. Rather, the child is describing his or her own personality and how it fits in with what others think of as good or bad.
Early childhood children tend to view themselves in absolute terms as either good or bad without considering their differences traits or qualities. For example, an early childhood child might say things like "I'm bad" or "I'm stupid." Such children lack perspective about themselves; they feel completely negative about themselves.
Children's concepts of self continue to develop through middle childhood and into adulthood. By middle childhood, most children understand that they are not just one thing but rather a combination of traits and qualities. They also realize that other people see them differently than they see themselves. For example, a child might say things like "I'm cute" or "I'm funny." She is not claiming that she is only one thing but rather acknowledging that she has traits that make up who she is.
In adolescence, the process of identity formation continues.
Adolescent self-identity serves as the foundation for adult self-esteem. A teen's identity is formed by a combination of internal and external forces. According to James Marcia, a developmental psychologist, teen identity formation develops in reaction to crises in areas such as school, relationships, and values. Within these areas, teens struggle to make sense of what has happened to them and their world, and they try to find solutions that will help them cope with the changes they are experiencing.
Identity development involves thinking about one's strengths and weaknesses, comparing oneself to others, and making decisions about future goals. This process is influenced by one's environment: friends, family, culture. For example, adolescents who grow up in an open relationship between their parents tend to have more positive identities than those who do not.
Adolescents form personal identities in three main phases: pre-teen/early adolescent, middle adolescent, and late adolescent.
In the pre-teen/early adolescent phase, which typically begins around age 11 or 12, individuals start to differentiate themselves from other people and begin to identify as members of groups. They may want to be like certain peers or celebrities, or avoid being like other peers or celebrities. This is also a time when individuals start to think about future goals and plans. For example, a young person might want to go to college or get a job once he or she graduates from high school.