Adolescence is a time for the exploration of identity. This process takes place in the context of many different factors, such as family and culture. Identity formation for adolescent girls of color (AGOC) can take place in an immersive fashion, where individuals immerse themselves into aspects of their identity that are important to them. However, these individuals must also balance these identities with others that are needed to fit into society at large. These other obligations may include family and cultural expectations, academic achievement, and future opportunities such as employment or college entrance.
An Adolescent Girl’s Identity
Identity development is a lifelong process that begins in early childhood and continues throughout the life span. It is influenced by many factors, including biological, cognitive, emotional, and social influences. In addition to individual characteristics, the social environment plays a significant role in an adolescent girl’s identity formation. For example, she may feel uncomfortable with peers who engage in behaviors that differ from her own because of social pressure to conform or because she fears rejection from others if she does not follow their behavior patterns. She also may experience pressure from her family to behave according to its beliefs and values or even externalize those beliefs through public displays of faith (e.g., wearing religious clothing). These external sources of influence are referred to as “sources” because they exert influence on how we develop our sense of self.
The Role of School
A place where girls can be themselves, feel empowered, and connect with other girls is important.
This power is something that you have as a teacher or mentor. You are in a position of influence and authority. So use your power wisely to help the girls in your life find their voice!
The good news is that adolescence is also a time when girls start to develop their identity. Girls who are able to seek out opportunities to express themselves may be more likely to find their own voices than those who do not have access or support at home or school.
The Role of Family and Culture
The role of family and culture in identity development for girls of color is an important one. It can influence how a girl’s self-identity is formed, as well as her self-esteem and confidence. The family dynamic can have a significant impact on the way in which a young girl develops her own sense of who she is and where she comes from, so it’s important to understand what this means for adolescent girls who live in the United States.
The Role of the Social Environment
The social environment is the second key aspect of identity exploration and formation. This is important because, for girls, the quality of relationships with peers and adults can have a significant effect on their sense of self-esteem.
Peers: Whether it’s in school or in social media settings like Facebook or Instagram, having positive relationships with friends is crucial to a healthy sense of identity and self-esteem. When adolescents feel accepted by others, they are more likely to develop an accurate perception of themselves as well as an appropriate level of confidence in their abilities. These qualities are essential for success in school and later in life because they allow us to take risks without fearing rejection or embarrassment.
However, not all friendships lead to positive outcomes—girls may find themselves surrounded by individuals who put them down or make fun of them; these negative experiences can lead girls away from developing a strong sense of self-worth. It’s also important that young people have adult role models who support them during this period because these mentors often influence how teens view themselves.
By understanding the factors that influence adolescent girls’ identity development, educators can make their classrooms more inclusive.
Identity development is a lifelong process that is influenced by many factors, including society, culture, and family. Identity development also occurs within the individual. These influences can be external (society) or internal (the environment). Ultimately these factors influence identity formation for adolescents of color within their schools and homes.
As educators, we have the opportunity to be inclusive in our classrooms by understanding each student’s unique experiences with identity development.
It is important to remember that each person follows their own unique journey. There is no set pathway for girls to engage in identity exploration, but there are many useful resources available for parents and educators who want to help their children along the way.