chapter  6
11 Pages

To Be or Who to Be: Th e Question for Parents and the Budding Adolescent

As we continue to explore the theme of how identity develops, the following letter addresses the changes that a pre-adolescent child experiences during this process. Some children are embarrassed by or ashamed of these changes. Other children take on a new appearance, identifying with a pop culture or sub-group to announce to the world who they are, or whom they now believe themselves to be (Sullivan, 1953; Greenspan, 2002). Th e identifi cation with a particular group can be met with both approval and disapproval by parents and peers. In this particular letter, the child’s parents have a version of what they want the child to look and act like that diff ers from the child’s. Th e group sessions that follow demonstrate both normative identity-formation concerns as well as those particular to youngsters experi encing the interaction of regulatory disorders and intrapsychic factors.