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Here is a parenting concept I wish every parent would adopt:
Tell your kids who they are instead of who they are not.
That’s what identity is all about. Beliefs determine behavior. What our kids believe about themselves will determine what they do. And Identity for children is first bestowed by their parents.
What does it look like to bestow identity into our children? Here are some quick tips:
- Give acceptance even when they mess up.
One of our boys were playing on an eight-year-old select baseball team. In one game, the team was making a lot of errors and the parents were collectively agonizing over the play of the team. One parent said, “How can these kids be playing so bad?” To which my wife Suzanne said, “Maybe because they are eight!” Sometimes we forget that our kids are growing up and learning. Their bodies and minds are changing all the time and they may not always be perfect like us adults J. We can inspire them to high standards while still showing grace in their mistakes.
- Your love is not conditional.
Your kids need to know there is nothing – I mean nothing – they can do that will make you stop loving them. There may be consequences but withholding love will not be one of them. So often parents do real damage to the identity of their kids by their disapproval which the kids take in as rejection.
- Speak life into them all the time.
“You are a mighty man of God!”
“I love it that God put you in our family!”
“You are a leader! Go out there today and be the leader God has called you to be!”
“You are such an awesome older brother! Thank you for helping me with your younger siblings!”
Are you saying statements like these to your kids? If not, start. We so often are really good at the correction but not so good at speaking life. We build identity by speaking identity statements into their lives.
Tell your kids who they are instead of who they are not and watch them be filled with confidence as they tackle their world.