Self esteem is an interesting topic in parenting. Christian parenting adds an additional depth to the discussion. How do you raise children who realize they are deeply valued and loved by God, but who also recognize their sin separates them from God and they need to repent? How can you raise children who are confident to use the gifts God has given them to serve Him, yet humble enough to realize those gifts come from God and are to be used to serve Him as well as perhaps to earn a living or just enjoy? How do you raise kids who have a realistic view of their strengths and weaknesses and work on improving their weaknesses avoiding using their strengths to merely gain power, control or other purely worldly goals?
It’s not easy. Many times others will intentionally or unintentionally undo what you are trying to accomplish. And let’s not forget, Satan can use self esteem that is too low or too high to help accomplish his purposes….so he’s working against you, too. That doesn’t mean it is impossible. God wants your kids to have a balanced, healthy, godly self esteem. That’s one of the reasons He gave us a Bible full of His wisdom on the topic and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Christians to help us keep that delicate balance.
If you want to raise kids with godly self esteem, here are some things you can do to help.
- Teach them how God feels about them. The good and the bad. Teach them how much God loves them. Teach them how sad it makes God when they disobey Him. Balance teaching them about God’s tremendous love for them with teaching them how sin fractures that relationship (but not God’s love) unless they repent of those sins.
- Help them discover, develop and use the gifts God has given them to serve Him. Understanding God has given them gifts to develop and use to serve Him will give your kids a sense of meaning and purpose. Those are both important parts of a healthy, godly self esteem.
- Teach them their confidence should be in God, not themselves, but that God will help them live the Christian life if they will let Him. Your kids need to understand they don’t hold the power, God does. They also need to understand that with God’s help they can be more and more like the person He wants them to be.
- Teach them how to learn and grow spiritually. Your kids need to understand life, especially Christian life, is about continuing to learn who God wants them to be and striving to become that person. They will never reach perfection, which is why Jesus had to die on the cross. The very process of learning and growing will give them a sense of progress – no matter how slow – that can also help their godly self esteem. Partially by the positive aspects of growing spiritually, but also from the humility of realizing they will never be able to stop learning and growing.
- Teach them how to be godly servant leaders, modeled after Christ. They should be doing things to develop enough confidence to boldly share their faith, while also learning how to serve others joyfully in the humblest of ways.
Like many things in Christianity, godly self esteem is about balance. Teaching your kids how to maintain that balance will help them avoid the pitfalls of negative or overly positive self esteem.