Parenting: Raising Confident and Secure Children
The Fall is an exciting time for families with the anticipation of school. When that first bell rings, there is the surge of excitement of reconnecting with friends, the new classroom setting, the new teacher and the new opportunities. To parents though, school starting means something else. Be honest, we finally get back to “our” routine and can get something done.
The influence of teachers and school is so significant. That being said, never for a second underestimate the incredibly important role you play as parents in the shaping of a life. You are always the number one, instrumental force that forges your child into who they will ultimately be.
I want to affect your ability to impact your children’s lives. Fill you children’s heads and hearts with these 3 essentials to create confident and secure kids. Withhold them and lose!
“You Will Always Belong.”
Can you give me any reason why you would ever withhold your ACCEPTANCE? Children need a sense of belonging. They want to know their place is secure. They must know that “home” is where they are loved, esteemed and valued. At one time, when Jody, our oldest went off to university, she and I wrote and emailed tons. In a teasing way, she signed one of her letters home, “Love, Jody, Your Perfect Daughter”. Thirteen years later, the letters “YPD” are still after her signature. When Keldy, our younger daughter (at age 11) got wind of the special letters, she saw it as a special connection between Jody and I. She concluded I must love the perfect daughter more. Within weeks and a good talk, she had a set of unique letters too and became my “Faultless Daughter.” You see, each child longs to feel attached. They want to have that special unbreakable connection.
With one family I helped, after a clearly disappointing set of actions by the son, the father said, “No son of mine will ever…” and went on to describe the poor behavior. The son muttered these words through brimming tears as he walked away, “I guess I am not your son”. Parents, accept your kids – warts, wrinkles and all. Don’t let behavior affect belonging.
“I Will Never Disown You.”
Can you give me any reason why you would ever withhold your FORGIVENESS? Children make mistakes – we all do, right? It’s how we handle them that matters. Making mistakes is okay. But making adjustments and making amends is essential. Help your kids learn from their screw-ups and move on. And when they blow it and even make you look bad, be willing to forgive them and give them a fresh start…a clean slate. My wife, Donalyn, and I took the stance and told our kids, “there is nothing you will ever do to make me stop loving you.” To withhold forgiveness is to withhold love. Model a forgiving heart. Teach how to do it right. Love them through it all.
“I Know You Can Do It.”
Can you give me a reason why you would ever withhold ENCOURAGEMENT? Words of affirmation as like air to breathe. We all need it to survive. Research shows that for every negative comment a child receives, they need 4-6 times the positive verbal reinforcement to bring their self-worth back to a state of equilibrium. Picture a spilt milk incident and you as parent saying something like “You stupid klutz. Can’t you do anything right? Is it that hard to pour a glass of milk? How many times have I told you to be careful? Now clean up this mess good!!” Easily said and done. Would most parents in the course of the next 24 hours build up that same child with 6 encouraging remarks? I doubt not. That is one of the primary reasons why 80% of teenagers have low views of themselves. Constant criticism and condemnation crush the spirit and erode their confidence. Build your kids up. Believe in them. Be their greatest fan. Let them know, in word and action, “I am behind you, I know you can do it!”
When you see families that are fractured, alienated and not speaking to each other, it is usually one or more of these relational gifts that they are withholding from each other. I suggest that you give these things generously.
If you want to see a great example of how to do it right, take time to read the story of the prodigal son and how his father treated him (See Luke 15 in any Bible). Wow, what an example! Even though his son made a huge mess of his life, you got it, there were 3 things that the father never withheld…acceptance, forgiveness and encouragement. It might be time for every parent to do the same.
You’ll never regret putting your marriage and family first – especially extending this kind of love to raise confident and secure children. Pass this on to all the parents you know to encourage them as they build the next generation.
© Dr. Dave Currie, August 2010