Celebrate Your Child’s Unique Identity
Raise the children you were given, not the children you wish you had.
This is a statement I often declare in my seminars when the time is right. I also include it in Start with the Heart as one of the beliefs that can secure children’s hearts.
There are few things more important for children to know then who they are and why they are the who they are. For them to know, their parents need to know who they are and more. Right? Parents also need to value who their children are and be grateful for who they are. Children need to be celebrated for who they are for them to be comfortable in their own skin. This is their security. Parents are key!
Parents need to do four things to help their children believe in and want their identity.
- Grieve what isn’t. Perhaps you wanted a soccer player and you didn’t get one. Maybe you wanted an excellent mathematician because that’s a strength you enjoy and you get an artist instead. Did you want a child who enjoys music as you do? If you don’t grieve the loss of your dreams, your children will know it.
- Accept what it is. If you don’t accept your artist or your non-soccer player they will know it. Can you know in the knowing of your knowing that God did a good thing to make your children the way He did and to choose you as their parent? You may need to work through both of these with God as you pray and journal. Hopefully, you have good family and friends you can talk with and be honest with. Hopefully, tears will help cleanse you of any doubts and disappointments. I know some who begin to laugh joyfully about the beauty of God‘s choices when they’re able to see their children for who they are. I pray this will be your reality.
- Reject lies. Do you hear them? “Your child will never amount to anything.” “You’ll never figure him out.” “He won’t develop any strengths he’ll enjoy.” It’s okay not to understand her.” Lies, lies, lies. Reject them! Hang out with people who love you and your kids. Read Scripture to know what God says about your precious children. Repeat truths out loud and over your children.
- Work on what you can. Maybe your son will never be a great soccer player, but he enjoys soccer. Encourage him to play. Help him with skills he’s willing to develop. Go to an art-supply store with your daughter and work to understand her joy. Invite her to teach you something so you can better connect. And, listen to your child’s dreams. Embrace those you can and help them see if some are unrealistic.
Which of these is most important for you to do now for your son? Your daughter? Maybe even yourself? I pray you get to a place where you value who your children are, are truly grateful for who they are, and can celebrate them. This is their security and their very lives depend on it.