Helping Your Child Discover Their True Identity

blog parenting Aug 12, 2022
Help your child see themselves with the correct perspective or identity

Our family loves to play around with the videos and pictures we take of ourselves and each other from our smartphones. The endless filters can make you look and sound hilarious. From images that make you look old, to having long hair, no hair, big lips to strange things coming out of your ears, nose, and mouth.

These apps have given us many opportunities to laugh at ourselves and with each other as a family. In these innocent situations, it's easy for us to laugh at ourselves because we know that the pictures are inaccurate, contorted images—they're not accurate reflections of who we are.  

Sadly and unfortunately, many of us spend much of our lives living with an inaccurate, distorted picture of who we are. In "The Self Esteem Book," Dr. Joe Rubino states 85% of the world's population are affected by low self-esteem.

According to Dr. Alexandra Dells-Abrams, "Low self-esteem has been linked to violent behavior, school dropout rates, teenage pregnancy, suicide, and low academic achievement.”  The truth is, the image we have of ourselves can make or break how we live and the choices we make.  

As parents, it is so vital that we help our children discover their worth and true identity at the earliest possible age. According to the late Zig Ziglar, the first four years of a child's life are more valuable than the four years they will spend in college. Even at an early age, children are forming opinions about themselves that are either positive or negative. How do you help your children develop a healthy self-image? There are three beliefs that we must instill in the hearts and minds of our children.

First, they must believe they are...

1. Acceptable

The most hurtful thing in life is to be rejected by someone. Therefore, we spend most of our lives doing everything we can to avoid rejection. Our need to be accepted is so powerful it is the driving force behind much of what we do and the decisions we make. There is a myth about acceptance; it goes like this, "If I can get everyone to think I'm perfect, they will accept me." Parents play a crucial role to help their children know that they are loved and accepted, not on the condition of perfect looks, behavior, or achievements but based upon who they are. Kids need to know they are unconditionally loved and accepted by mom and dad no matter what. 

The second belief we must instill is that they are...

2. Valuable 

Imagine me handing you a crisp, new, one-hundred-dollar bill. Would you want it? Suppose I crumpled it up, so it didn't look as attractive as when it first came from the mint. Would you still want it? Sure, you would! But, wait. What if I took it outside and threw on the ground and stomped on it so that it got so stained that the picture on the bill was barely recognizable. Would you still want it? Of course! Like all of us, there are going to be times in your child's life when they are going to feel crumpled, stomped upon, and stained. However, they still need to be reminded they are still valuable. Just as that hundred-dollar bill maintains it's value; your child needs to know that no matter how many mistakes they make in life, they will never lose their value and worth as a person. We are not what we did, nor is our future defined by our past.    

And the third thing our child needs to believe is that they are...

3. Capable 

Psychologists tell us that a child needs two things to develop a healthy, strong self-image: love and a sense of being capable. It's no different for adults. All of us need to know that what we do matters, and we do it well. Have you ever watched the Kentucky Derby? We marvel at the grace, power, and speed of those horses - even those that finish in the back of the pack. We must remind ourselves that those horses didn't arrive at Churchill Downs that day by accident. Their owners carefully bred them to be champions. When they were colts, some of these horses appeared to be nothing special. They wobbled and stumbled when they first started to walk. However, their owners and trainers knew they had the bloodlines of winners. Slowly, the young horses' potentials began to emerge.

As parents, one of the most significant opportunities we have is to help our kids believe they are winners. They are not only loved, but they are capable, and they can accomplish anything they put their mind and heart towards becoming and achieving.  

Imagine what our children's self-worth and confidence would look like if the image they have of themselves is acceptable, valuable, and capable.  As parents, let's commit to reinforcing these truths and beliefs in the lives of our kids so they can have strong, healthy self-images and soar to reach their unlimited potential. 

To learn more about topics related to marriage and parenting relationships, subscribe to our podcast, The Winning Family. In one of our latest episodes, Helping Your Kids Learn Their True Identity, we share more about why it is so important that your child learns their true identity, and how you can help them. 

Rodney and Michelle Gage are the founders of ReThink Life Church and The Winning Family. For over 30 years, they have devoted their lives to helping people win at home and in life.

One of the ways that Rodney & Michelle support families is through monthly mentoring where they provide live mentorship and Q & A to couples and parents. You can sign up today for a free trial of The Double Win Club and receive a free copy of Rodney's new book, The Double Win.