Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How to Create Self-Esteem Without Creating a Brat

Self-esteem is a huge topic. Just flip open any parenting magazine and you'll quickly find out that creating healthy self-esteem in your children is one of the hottest topics out there.  But the not-so-hidden danger of creating self-esteem in your children is that they become prideful.  If your child never hears anything except, "you did do a good job of finishing your muffin," then eventually you end up with a child who thinks that they are a rock star and that they are God's gift to this world.  Pride is the seedy underbelly of self-esteem.

So how does the gospel speak into parenting on this issue?

A Christian's worth comes primarily not from what they can do, or accomplish, or are good at, or get paid for, rather a Christian's worth comes from the fact that they are loved by Christ and accepted by him unconditionally through Christ's forgiveness of sin.

So for a Christian parent, your child's primary sense of worth must come from their belonging to your family and your unconditional love.  Please don't hitch your child's self-esteem to their competence or performance or they will be riding that wagon until the day they die. Certainly, it's not bad to praise your children when they perform well.  But their sense of self-worth must be intimately tied to their unconditional belonging in the family and your unconditional love for them.

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