How Does Family Shape Identity?

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Family shapes identity through affecting self-confidence, political identity and occupational identity, according to Global Post. Although individual identity is influenced by many other factors, the family is the first group with which a child identifies, and familial interactions influence attitudes and beliefs well into adulthood.

Family interactions can build up or break down an individual’s self-confidence. A united, communicative family, for example, can help children gain self-confidence. Children who are allowed and encouraged to pursue their own choices typically gain a greater sense of confidence and individuality. Family activities, such as camping or community service, can also instill skills that help children build self-confidence. Conversely, a family that is often critical of a child’s performance may lead to reduced self-esteem.

Family life can also influence political identity. Family discussions of politics typically encourage children to become more politically engaged and attempt to seek out news sources. A focus on politics can also cause children to think more deeply and critically about current events and world issues. Children who actively engage in family political discussions are also more likely to assume their parents’ political views.

Family life also influences occupational identity and career choices. Families that enforce standards and encourage hard work often raise more motivated, ambitious children. Conversely, a hostile family environment may produce less motivated children who lack the skills to succeed in a career.