From a parent’s vantage point, the world can seem like a troubling place. The dangers of cyberbullying may keep you up at night. Then there are the devastating tide pools of social-media driven comparison for our kids to slip into. And finally, there are the concerning points of public school curriculum that conflict with Christian values.
What kids need most as they navigate this social media-centered and content-crazy world is a strong, Christ-centered foundation. This is the enduring basis for positive self-love from an early age.
Even though it seems as if we are constantly fighting against a world that is trying to take God out of everything, we can remain hopeful as we turn to the Bible and remain steadfast in God’s word. Here are five ways to help our kids build strong self-esteem anchored in Jesus Christ.
1. Be Present
As a parent, life can get so busy that it’s hard to catch your breath. You’re trying to balance your own work and home obligations with the responsibility to get your kids to sports practices, medical appointments, school obligations, and more. However, it’s important to remind yourself that all responsibilities come second to loving and ministering to your children.
In the formative years of elementary school, children need love, nurturing, and attention. Sometimes we don’t realize when we become physically and emotionally absent because of our overwhelming schedule and other distractions.
Lead with a Christlike love, always. Actions speak louder than words, and when our actions show our children how much we value their feelings, we teach them to be independent and self-confident Christians who will pass these same principles and practices to their kids someday.
It’s our job to cultivate a safe environment, and they will spread their light and self-confidence wherever they go, including school.
2. Lead by Example
At The Academy of Scholars, we place a high value on leading by example. If you wouldn’t want your child to say something to themselves, don’t say it about yourself in front of them. Our children look up to us, watch us and absorb our every word and action.
Be self-aware about what you say and do in front of their little eyes and ears. Be careful when it comes to obsessing over weight, dwelling on a past mistake, and comparing yourself to others. If you do it, you can’t expect your child not to pick up on it. Teach your children that they don’t have to perform a certain way to gain your or Jesus’s love; it’s there unconditionally.
3. Encourage Wholesome Extracurricular Activities
Preschool and elementary years will mold our children in more ways than one. It’s essential to encourage wholesome, Christian-based activities and teach our children the importance of balance so they can grow intellectually, spiritually, physically, and socially.
Make sure that kids balance out their self-development with service toward others. Matthew 5:16 reads: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Teach your children to love serving others from a young age, and they will carry that passion with them throughout their life. Teach them to love school, sports, academic clubs, and church not just as a means of self-development but because it helps them learn from others, bless others, and become more like Jesus.
4. Prepare Them for Uncomfortable Situations
It’s much easier to make the right decision when put on the spot if we’ve prepared for the right scenario and determined in advance how to react. Teaching your children what is right and wrong will help them to confidently and proudly make good decisions and not feel blindsided and confused when challenging situations arise.
Teach them healthy coping strategies and how to implement them in real life. This might include teaching them how to respond to bullying, peer pressure (Isaiah 59:2), or overwhelming emotions. We know you might be thinking, “I don’t even have the coping skills myself,” but have faith in yourself, lean on God for strength, and follow the nudges of the Holy Spirit to guide you in preparing your child for scary and inevitable situations. Don’t forget to teach your children the goodness of prayer and the comfort of turning to Jesus.
5. Monitor Their Internet Usage
Your kids may hate you for it now, but they’ll love you for it later. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like we’re invading our child’s privacy. Still, it’s our job to help them avoid exposure to harmful content that could rewire our brains and initiate harmful addictions at a young age.
Giving our children free reign on the internet is a disservice to them. Some ideas for monitoring the internet may include:
- Waiting until they reach a mature age to give them a cell phone
- Putting parental controls on their phones
- Having them turn their phones in at night
- Regularly checking text messages on their phones and search history on their devices
In today’s complex and conflicted world, children face identity crises earlier than ever. At our Christian academy, we are proud to assist our students in discovering their divine purpose on this earth, their worth in the eyes of God, and their potential as God-fearing academics. We teach our students that their value is not tied to what they wear, do or say but to what Jesus did for them on the cross.
The world is scary, but we can certainly teach our children to create a Christ-centered environment filled with self-love, healthy communication, and good decision-making. Your role as their parent is the most crucial role in their life, and we promise that we will continue cultivating the supportive, interactive, and nurturing environment your child receives at home. Whether you enroll your child in our Christian homeschool curriculum or our interactive in-person academy, we offer a quality education anchored in strong Christian values.