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How to raise confident, not prideful kids

parent child

Every morning, I drive my four-year-old daughter to school. Although the distance from our home to her school is quite short, this is one of my favorite times of the day. I truly treasure our mommy-daughter time together, and these seemingly brief moments create such big, impactful memories in my heart. Every morning, during our drive, we do two things together—we sing along to my daughter’s favorite soundtrack and we recite positive affirmations.

“God loves me.”
“I am kind.”
“I am a leader.”
“I am smart.”
“I can everything I put my mind to.”

Those are a few of the affirmations I taught my daughter and requested she recites aloud. I want her to have a solid sense of confidence, especially as she enters an environment of peers, so that she can make sound decisions and feel comfortable with her choices.

As parents, we often encourage our children to make healthy, positive decisions and think happy thoughts. We work very hard to instill self-confidence through praise, affirmations and love, and this is an ongoing journey for parents until our little ones leave the nest. Even then, when our kids become adults, our job is never done. To this day, my father preaches the importance of confidence to me, his 30-something-year-old daughter. Amid these lessons, however, there are times when confidence is no longer about a positive self-image because it teeters into egotistical territory, a place God does not want our hearts to explore.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself. —Philippians 2:3

Self-image is an important concept to teach our children because the way they feel about themselves impacts their relationships with others. We want our kids to choose their friends wisely, steer clear of peer pressure, and be a leader in their own right.

However, we also want to make sure they do not become pride-filled people. Pride can lure children (and adults) into thinking about themselves and only themselves.

Pride can also lure children into having unrealistic expectations, thus developing unhealthy thoughts and patterns. Worse, pride can lure children away from their budding relationship with God. When the ego enters the picture, God takes a backseat because people begin to operate out of self-interest. With self-interest comes an unhealthy need for control, outside approval and attention.

We want our children to love themselves and know that this love starts and ends with our Lord and Savior. So, as we affirm their precious spirits, we must be careful that pride does not kill their passion or desire for God. Instead, we want our children to embrace our Creator and develop their self-esteem through His Word and principles.

As we encourage our children to see themselves through the eyes of God, we must remember that the greatest lesson in self-love derives from this biblical principle—no matter what we do, whether wealthy or poor, popular or unknown, fit or overweight, our self-worth is rooted in Christ. Parents, we can affirm and uplift our children by concentrating on the importance of His Word, sharing God’s truth that He loves us just the way we are.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38-39

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