Blog posts that provide encouragement for marriage and family success.

Encouraging our Children's Self Concept

(Originally published January 15th, 2021 on my previous web-hosting platform.)

I feel like I need to begin by reassuring you this is not some "feel good all the time" post. I'm not advocating we encourage our children to be out of control. (Tim Hawkins' "allergies" bit comes to mind.)

Rather, I'm saying that God made our children the way they are on purpose (Psalm 139:13). He has a perfect plan for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11). The world is going to tell our kids they aren't enough - not good enough, skinny enough, fun enough, smart enough, happy enough, serious enough, hard working enough, "bad" get the idea.

If we don't support our children to be who God made them to be, who will?

I'll be honest, I've typed several different things and I keep deleting. I have lots of examples of how I've done this well...and not so well. I can point to pop culture examples of this, as well.

Here's the bottom line. Love your kids. Love your kids knowing that very few other people will love them JUST THE WAY THEY ARE. Sure, we try to curb their "bad" habits and foster "good" ones. We try to help them make good decisions and have safe, healthy relationships. We want to teach a good work ethic and shape a life they can eventually live outside our home.

But the bottom line is to love them. Not sure what that means?

"I love you" Always works.

"Thanks for noticing I'm having a rough day. You're always good at tuning in when I'm upset."

"Great job choosing an apple for a snack today!"

"I see you working very hard to keep on top of your homework this year and I'm very proud of you." Sure, there may be other things you'd like to "fix" about his work at school. Save that. For now, just encourage what he IS doing.

"Thanks for taking time to play with your sister today. I know she really enjoyed having you to herself."

"That shirt looks great on you, Suzy. It really brings out your blue eyes."

"Thanks for bringing the garbage cans up from the road without being told."

Gratitude, love, reinforcement - these are all forms of encouraging who our kids are as people. There's a time for correction and a time for encouragement. Sometimes they co-occur but often we can also pull out times to just encourage them.

Find something to reinforce who he or she is as a person, the good choices and actions he or she is making - and say it.

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