Teaching Our Kids Worth

Teaching Our Kids Worth
We live in a time where our kids are being battered by all kinds of voices and comparisons, more than when we were kids, for sure. It seems like they are continually hearing lies about ways they don’t measure up. Depression, anxiety, and suicide are on a serious increase. As adults, we are facing these things too, but we have history, context, and experience to know these things come and go, but our kids don’t.
“Am I worth it?” Especially during the pandemic, hopelessness and questions can be very loud voices. With current events as they are, it’s more important than ever to notice what our kids are going through, and identify how they are feeling about themselves. Teaching our kids how to have a healthy sense of worth is paramount. [1 m]
2-3 Minute Share Time:  How in tune are you with how your kids are doing? What stressors are they experiencing that concern you most when it comes to their sense of worth and value?
[4 m]
All this month we’ve been building our idea of worth using the acronym VIP---value, identity, and purpose. We are going to use these same ideas to explore practical ways to teach our kids a healthy sense of worth.
First, psychologists agree a good place for parents to start is by modeling what healthy self-worth looks like themselves. We don’t have to be perfect or have everything figured out to do this. The process is as important, if not more important, than being able to show our kids we know and understand our own value.. If this is an area of uncertainty for you, check out our November podcast series that focuses on these each week.
Even as we grow in our own sense of worth, we can reinforce the lessons we’ve learned with our kids.  Teaching our kids value from day one creates a foundation they can use to maintain a healthy sense of self-worth their entire life. This sense of value is first found in who God is and what He says about us. We often measure ourselves by comparing ourselves with other people. When we focus on another person’s strengths, traits, and attributes, we sometimes determine incorrectly that we are less valuable than they are. But the good news is that value has everything to do with God and nothing to do with us. When we start with who He is, we can accept that our great Creator, who hung the stars and moon and created everything on earth, also thought it was important to create us too. He loves each one of us personally and brought us to life because He decided we needed to be here. His decision demonstrates our intrinsic value. [6 m]
I think we can agree that we can only pass on to our kids what we have learned ourselves when it comes to a healthy sense of worth. 
2-3 Minute Share Time: How would you describe where you are on your journey of understanding your worth? Stuck, taken some hits, improving, recovering after being damaged? 
So, how do we teach healthy self-worth to our kids? Even as we are growing in this area ourselves, we can still take practical steps to teach them their value every day  We can do this by:  
  • Showing affection
  • Speaking affirmation
  • Creating space
1) Show Affection
We can first encourage a sense of worth in our kids by showing them affection. Our kids need to know how much they are valued by us. They need to know we are glad they are here, and that they are not an accident. We can’t assume our kids know how proud of them we are or how glad we are to be their mom or dad. We must demonstrate this regularly by showing them affection. Our kids need daily reminders that we enjoy being around them. We can show them this with hugs, sitting together, or telling them with words or acts of service that they matter to us. Showing affection can look lots of different ways, like being at their sporting events, remembering their favorite things, and taking time to know what’s important to them.
With older kids, don’t let them isolate to their rooms too much. It’s normal for teens to want some space but make it a priority to be near them when you can - after work, at meals, at bedtime. Use eye contact and body language to show your kids of all ages how much you care. Being in each other’s physical presence helps our kids develop a sense of importance and value. Smile and let your eyes light up when they enter the room. Set aside other things whenever possible to show them they are worthy of your undivided attention.
2) Speak Affirmation
Not only does showing affection build a sense of value but so do words of affirmation. Kids need our affection and our presence, but they also need to hear we are proud of them just as they are. Robert Beeson, Solo Parent Society founder, shares that these words matter to us as adults, so they matter to our kids too. After putting together a successful event recently, Robert shared the highlight wasn’t the accolades he got from colleagues but rather the simple words of his dad saying, “I’m very proud of you, and your mother would be too. I’ll always love you.” These words meant even more because Robert wanted to hear them while he was growing up but they just weren’t expressed often. Kids need us to show affection AND they need to hear affirmation from us. Words matter. Don’t assume your kids know how you feel about them. Tell them you love them and that you’re proud of them.
If this is an area that you missed from your parents as a child, be the one to break the cycle. Change the paradigm and intentionally speak words of life and love to your children. The more you speak affirmation to them, the more they will grow in security and knowing their value. Especially for kids who have experienced divorce or the loss of a parent, we must be deliberate in letting them know they are seen. We must also talk to them about how God sees them. Not only can we build them up with encouragement as a parent, we can build them up in the truth of God’s word. Reinforcing their origin as children of God is critical for them to understand their value. [12 m]
Will someone read these verses from Psalm 139?
Psalm 139:14-16
“ For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”
Our value is determined by God. This value goes beyond the bond of family or humanity. It’s supernatural in origin and does not change on a whim. Let your child know that God thought it was just as important to create them as it was to create their favorite sports hero, gaming pro, or whomever they admire most. Speaking affirmation helps our kids know they are valued. [12 m]
2-3 Minute Share Time:  Of these two, which is easier for you and why? Showing affection through your presence or intentionally speaking words of affirmation? 
[15 m]
3) Create Space
A third way we can teach our kids about their value is by creating space to be with them and to let them be themselves. When we carve out time to just be with our kids, we show them they are important. God shows us the same value by prioritizing our relationship with him. He wants us to talk to Him and spend time with Him. When we express the same desire to be with our kids, and give them freedom to be who they are, we help them understand their worth. Create space by joining in the things they love to do whether playing video games, building Legos, or jumping on the trampoline with them. Meet them where they are and show them you enjoy time with them. This reinforces a healthy sense of value.
As we show affection, speak affirmation, and create space to be with our kids, we lay a solid foundation of healthy self-worth. When things are uncertain around them, they will feel secure in our love and care. From there, they will feel confident to seek out and embrace their unique identity and purpose in life. Just like we need to pay attention to our history, story, and life path, we can pay attention to our kids’ journeys too. When we intentionally notice our strengths and weaknesses and celebrate both, we teach our kids to embrace their unique design too. None of us are good at everything but that doesn’t make us less valuable. We can encourage our kids to try new pursuits even if they won’t be the best at it. This gives our kids freedom and permission to explore in healthy ways, without expecting perfection or a specific outcome.
Single parents, we help our kids understand their worth by reminding them their value is determined by their Creator. Our voice and our actions can remind them they are here by design, and that they are valuable, created on purpose for a purpose.  [17 m]
2-3 Minute Share Time:  Which of these three are you doing well and which needs improvement? How is God nudging you to teach your kids worth more intentionally?
[20 m]
As you walk the journey of single parenting, we want to help you any way we can. Join our Solo Parent Society community by participating in one of our online groups meeting every week. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@soloparentsociety). Subscribe to our weekly podcast via AccessMore or wherever you get your podcasts and download our Solo Parent app FREE in the app store. We love to connect single parents to resources that offer hope and help. If you want to donate so we can reach more single-parent families, go to www.soloparentsociety.com. Questions? Email us at info@spsociety.com.

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