29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #14

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
14.  Encourage positive character qualities.  While we may be challenged to compete or excel in the beauty, brains, and brawn pageant, we all have the ability to be honest, courteous, cheerful, loyal, enthusiastic, faithful, and much more.  The ability to develop these qualities is totally separate from what anyone thinks of us.  And the affirmation aspect of this goal is the great value these qualities will be to your children in the workplace, their future marriage, the mission God calls them to, etc. When I visit with high school students on the topic of dating, I like to ask what makes a girl or boy popular with the "in" crowd.  Good looks and a confident personality usually top the list.  When I ask a group of guys if they sit…
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29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #13

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
#13  Teach self-control.  One of the fruits of healthy discipline is self-control.  Children are generally motivated by a desire to have their needs and wants met right away.  They want their desires attended to pronto.  Self-control, on the other hand, brings some patience and thoughtfulness into the equation. There are three aspects of self-control we want to teach our children.  First, we want to teach the concept of delayed gratification.  Not everything has to happen right now.  Sometimes the desired activity or reward needs to wait.  One way we taught this concept to our kids was in how we let them spend their money.  We encouraged and guided them in how to save their spending money for something they really wanted but required more than their cash on hand; rather than running…
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29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #12

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
#12  Discipline in an emotionally healthy manner.  Children do not feel good about themselves when they "get away with things."  At the same time, discipline that is arbitrary or angry is unhealthy and frustrates our children.  We encourage our kids when our discipline instructs and teaches rather than serves as an avenue to "get even" with our disobedient child. In the early years, children are motivated by discovery and feeling, not by reason.  As they develop their understanding of right and wrong, we need to make the rules abundantly clear as well as the consequences or punishment if the rules are broken.  One of the areas we need clarity is recognizing the distinction between childish irresponsibility and willful defiance. Things like leaving their baseball glove out in the rain or spilling…
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29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #11

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
#11  Develop self-confidence.  Teach your children that other's opinions of you do not determine who you are.  I made a career out of embarrassing my kids at the Olive Garden restaurant to make a point about self-confidence.  When the waiter did not return with the pepper grinder as promised to top our salads (an ongoing problem it seems), I would roll over in those great chairs they had with the casters to the nearest pepper grinder and roll back with the goods.  My point was, "Don't worry what people are thinking of you if you are doing something that needs to be done." (Of course, as Rhonda points out, I enhanced the embarrassment with my showmanship.) The kind of self-confidence we wish to instill is not some boastful or arrogant…
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29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #10

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
#10  Help your child compete.  Even though we recognize the injustice of the beauty, brains, and brawn value system, it is the world our children are growing up in.  As parents, I believe we have a responsibility to help our children compete.  What do I mean by compete? If your child's crooked teeth are a beauty distraction, get them braces.  If your child struggles academically, search out some tutoring options.  If your child suffers with a severe acne problem, seek medical help.  If you son wants to increase his strength, buy him some weights.  In short, take action to help your child compete. Now, two reasonable objections to this approach must be addressed.  The first objection is, "By teaching our children to compete are we actually training them to value the world's system?" and…
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29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #9

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
#9  Teach your child to compensate.  As children grow up, their view of themselves is the product of two important influences.  First, the quality of life at home.  Second, their social experiences outside of the family setting.  Influence number one is something we can generally control ourselves, but what strategies can we implement for influence number two? The world judges us by three primary standards; beauty, brains, and brawn.  That the world judges by outward beauty needs no explanation.  It is woven into the fabric of our culture.  As for brains, despite being sometimes ridiculed as nerds or geeks, intellectual acumen is a highly-valued talent.  And every bully knows the value of physical strength.  We also value strength of personality and are attracted to the magnetic types who command attention wherever they…
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29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #8

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
#8  Develop your child's gift.  As a follow-up to discovering your child's gift, the next goal in the affirmation process is to help them develop their interests, talents, and skills.  If your child has the gift of service, find a place for them to serve.  If your child is the mechanical type, find something for them to build.  If your child likes to read, find material that teaches and challenges. For our family, some of these situations looked like this.  Our oldest son, Josh, had an early interest in computers.  He took a class in junior high where he built a 386 computer from scratch.  (Thank you Mr. White).  He soon had a business designing websites while still in high school.  This interest led to a four-year degree in graphic design…
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29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #7

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
#7  Discover the gift in your child.  One of the most affirming things we can do for our children is to help them discover their gifts.  Again, as with almost every one of these suggestions, we would all nod in agreement that this is a good idea.  But will we also agree to take the time and effort to make it happen? Discovering your child's gifts takes the time and desire to know and study your child.  This may take getting "outside" our own personality.  We often view our children and our expectations for them through the grid of our own gifts, talents, and bent.  In short, through the lens of how our personality sees the world.  Discovery may take some flexibility on our part. For example, if the number one…
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