#5 Nip the self-criticism. Words have power, even our own words to ourselves. And it is important to teach our children not to talk poorly about themselves. But wait a minute. Don’t we also want to instill a little humility into our kids? We don’t want them thinking too highly of themselves, do we? Welcome to the balancing act called parenting.
Yes, we want to teach humility to our children. And this is where – by knowing your child – you know which extreme they tend toward. But remember, humility is not a talented person thinking themselves unskilled, or a smart person thinking themselves foolish, or any other way we depreciate what God has given us. It is a false humility to deny God’s good gifts to us. True humility is not taking credit for these talents and gifts. True humility is not thinking ourselves inherently better than those around us. True humility is recognizing that all we have is a gift from God, not a product of any superiority on our part.
Our concern here is the Eeyore personality who wakes up in the morning focused on the negative including themselves. We must encourage cheerfulness, gratitude, and a healthy self-image. And one of the ways we build these qualities is to discourage negative self-talk. We also help that process along in our dinnertime chats by pointing out the positives we see in our children in front of the whole family.
Does this approach immediately change their personality? No, but seeing themselves as God’s “good design” sets the stage for receiving His affirming messages for the rest of their lives.