God is big on kids.
Psalm 127:3 (NIV) – Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.
The Bible tells us what God says about our worth and our value in His eyes.
“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.” Psalm 136:13 (Message Bible)
Therefore, our worth is not really our “self-worth” at all; rather, it is worth given to us by God. We are of inestimable value to Him because of the price He paid to make us worthy—the death of His Son on the cross.
A buzzword that burst on the scene about 40 years ago was “Self-Esteem.” I can remember attending lots of self-esteem convos during my 21 years in the school system. Teachers, parenting experts & even churches placed a priority on a child’s view of themselves. Yet studies show that people, even with all the emphasis on affirmation and praise for our kids, are more depressed and anxious than ever before and have lower self-esteem.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines self-esteem as: a feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities. But as Christians, we believe self-esteem is found in God, not our own works, which fall short, but in His grace.
Only in His grace can we do what He has called us to do. I want my children to learn to see themselves through God’s eyes and not through the lens of the world with its unrealistic and ungodly expectations.
Here are a few things that parents should know that can help support their child in developing self-esteem God’s way………
Stability Counts. If there is a stable living environment that makes the child feel loved and regarded, that goes a long way toward building self-esteem. And this goes far beyond the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. It includes routine, limits, laughter, love and sense of belonging. Knowing that you and their home are a safe haven is the foundation on which all other building blocks for self-esteem will rest. Every child in the world needs this.
Let your children face difficult tasks – praise effort and not outcome. “You worked really hard on helping plant the garden. Look how nice the plants look!” “You never gave up on that math problem! Good for you!” “I really enjoy listening to you play the trumpet. When you had a hard time on that new piece of music, you didn’t give up, and you got right! Way to go!” This builds up their mental muscle and let’s them feel a sense of accomplishment when they are able to complete a task that they had not earlier been able to master. Don’t focus on perfection but focus on progress. Be there to cheer your child on in victory and support them in defeat.
Help Children Be YOU-nique !!!!! Encourage them to explore their God-given talents and abilities, and not focus on their appearance, and then to hone their talents and use them in ways that honor Him. Each of us have special talents and abilities. Some are artists, some are musicians, some are athletes. Some are highly intelligent, some are technically gifted, some are extremely compassionate. But being too aware of our own strengths can breed vanity, pride, self-centeredness, entitlement, snobbishness, and a host of other sins. So we must teach our kids to recognize their abilities as God-given and find ways to use them to His glory and in His service and not a source of sinful pride. We as parents must resist the natural parental urge to praise them lavishly for those things that aren’t character-related.
Let them know that they matter and that you notice them, without constantly offering praise. One important barometer of a child’s self-esteem is the attention of their parents. Just being noticed matters so much more than we realize. On the other hand, too much praise can cause our positive words to lose their meaning. Your child needs some time alone to dream, doodle and entertain herself. But, they also need and deserve your full attention, at times. So put that tablet or phone down. Stop multi-tasking. Look into your child’s eyes. LISTEN. Really listen. Reflect back to them what they are asking or saying to you. Make them feel understood and wanted.
Limit leisure screen time. What does this have to do with self-esteem? Studies show that spending large amounts of time in front of the tube or computer limit social growth. After all, God created us with a need to be needed and to be purposeful. And since screen time can encourage laziness and lack of productivity, it really should be limited and supervised.
Create opportunities for them to serve. Kids should be serving at home, helping in church ministries, serving in outreach opportunities, and helping in their communities. God gave Adam the tasks of naming the animals and tending the garden (Genesis 2:15, 19). Work makes us feel purposeful and needed. It makes us realize that we can contribute to the betterment of others. That we can make a difference in God’s kingdom and that we have something to offer – all of which are important aspects of self-esteem.
Confidence centered on Christ’s coming Kingdom cannot be shaken. So teach your children to find their confidence in God’s living and everlasting Word and the eternal life found in His Son – and they will enjoy a gift that endures through eternity.
Share some confidence builders that you use to bolster up your child’s God centered self esteem !!!!!!