When we feel good about ourselves, we are ready to tackle the world. Bring it on! Nothing is too tough. Whatever happens we believe in our ability to handle it.
Brennan Manning in his book, “Abba’s Child,” quotes David Seamon from his book, “Healing for Damaged Emotions”, who writes that many Christians are defeated by Satan’s most powerful psychological weapon.
“This weapon has the effectiveness of a deadly missile. Its name? Low self-esteem. Satan’s greatest psychological weapon is a gut level feeling of inferiority, inadequacy and low self-worth.”
He goes on to say that even when we believe and have had “wonderful spiritual experiences”, low self esteem can “shackle” us and keep us from living a full life that God has put in place.
It is one of the most powerful motivators and encouragers. It acknowledges that we don’t have it all together, we don’t have all the answers but we have the love of God to sustain and encourage us.
With self esteem we do not have to create false fronts; we can be honest and genuine with all our faults and strengths and can humbly and joyfully accept the grace of God and then extend it to others.
Esteem is a precious gift to cherish and use with high regard. Its value is worth its weight in gold.
When we feel good about ourselves, and know we have merit and value, we are able to meet the challenges life gives us. While genes and heredity set the groundwork for our potential, self-esteem enables us to develop it.
Helping our Kids develop a Sense of Worth
We want our kids to be happy and confident. How we interact with our kids makes a big difference in their ability to go into the world, develop their talents and live meaningful lives.
Research tells us that “patterns established in infancy” remain fairly consistent throughout childhood and adulthood influencing both behaviors and relationships. As children experience close emotional attachment with their parents, that nurturing helps them develop a more secure sense of who they are when they grow up.
Here are some ways to help your children develop worth and positive self esteem.
- Tell your child you love him. Unconditional love means we value them for who they are with all their faults. When behaviors are separated from the child, we can teach them to make better choices. Misbehavior or hurtful behavior is not acceptable, but they are.
- Listen when your children talk. Help them identify feelings and find constructive ways to handle anger and frustration. Let them see your own anger handled appropriately.
- Really see your children. Be as courteous as you would a friend.
- Set reasonable expectations. Your children are not adults. Learning how to behave, learn social skills and set boundaries takes time. It is a process that occurs throughout childhood.
- Teach problem solving skills. Have them Stop, identify the problem, create options and choose one to try out. Encourage them to evaluate the results of their choices to see how effective it was.
- Make rules appropriate to your child’s developmental ability to follow. Be sure they understand the importance of the rule and the consequences attached.
- Give children choices with logical and/or natural consequences and follow through with those consequences. Extend grace when appropriate.
- Complement children on their accomplishments. Comment both on their effort and improvement as well as completing tasks. Surprise them when they least expect it and tell them how well they are doing. When they have struggled with homework, complement them on their hard work.
- Help your children identify his/her individual talents and specific abilities. Encourage and support ways they can strengthen them. Avoid comparisons between your children. One child might be good at sports and have difficulty in the classroom while another is the opposite. Help them to appreciate their individuality while encouraging them to work hard to improve in all ways.
- Model the kind of behavior, attitudes and worth that you want your child to see and follow. Words are important; but what they see is more powerful. As you model values and principles, your children will emulate. When you value yourself and value the child they will develop self esteem and worth.
When children hear on-going negative comments, either directly or indirectly that says they are not good enough, or are flawed in some way, it becomes the backbone for their beliefs about themselves and their world and makes self-esteem difficult.
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