Identity and the Peer Group

In her book Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain, Sarah Jayne Blakemore reminds us that for teenagers, what she calls the social self becomes central. A teen’s social self is all about expressing who you and how you are. It’s all about putting yourself out there in front of your peers in a way that you would like to be seen by other people. Blakemore says that the sense of self stems from thinking about how we are seen by others. This is called “the looking-glass self.” We imagine how we appear to other people and how they will judge us. Adolescents are more likely than younger children to place a high priority on these peer judgements, and they will try on different selves and identities in an effort to be seen by others in a positive rather than a negative light. We must consistently point them to think about forming an identity that is rooted in who they are as people made by God in his image, rather than re-creating themselves in the image they think the world desires.