Who are you? It's a question we're often asked, but finding the answer isn't an easy process. Here are the steps tweens and teens take while forging their unique sense of self.
Children and young tweens typically haven’t even begun to consider the big question of who they are. They are also not concerned about their lack of self-knowledge; it’s simply not yet an issue. This state is called “identity diffusion” by psychologist James Marcia.
With age, tweens typically begin to hold a rudimentary sense of who they are. This sense of self tends to be adopted from those around them, without thinking through possible alternative identities. They are said to be in a state of “identity foreclosure.”
At some point in the late tween or teen years, the active search for a sense of self begins. Here the tween or teen tries out various identities to see which “fits.” This potentially painful process is called “identity moratorium” or an identity crisis.
Once the individual has explored a variety of identity options, he or she settles on a true and well-earned sense of self. This state is called “identity achievement.”