Build Them Up – part 2

The Don'ts - and then the Do's

In my last post, I showed you the importance of building up your children because of the low self-image that so many suffer from. Today, we will look at the most powerful do’s and don’ts for affirming your children.

First, the DON’TS.

DON’T notice every failure. This is a biggee. Try to catch yourself before saying “You always” or “You never” as these can have long-lasting consequences. If you notice and comment on every failure, pretty soon the child will begin to conclude that he or she is the failure.

DON’T look through the mail before you look at your child. This is especially the case for those of you with young children. When you come home from work, don’t pick up the mail – or the newspaper – before you look at them and engage them. Otherwise, the message they receive is that my dad is more interested in the mail than he is me.

Now for a couple of key DO’S.

DO let them know that second place, third place, honorable mention, or even active participant are all good. Being #1 is not always required. They should know that all you want is to see them giving whatever it is their best shot.

My personal favorite DO: Once in awhile give a flat-out verbal statement of total approval. “I just think you are the greatest – I’m proud of you just for being you.” And remember that God is an affirming father: “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Why don’t you let us know one or two ways you build your child up.

Build Them Up

A Foundational Way to Provide Unconditional Love

It’s always helpful to get down to the fathering basics. And Basic #1 of “The 6 Basics of Being a Great Dad” is Provide Unconditional Love. And one of the foundational ways to provide unconditional love to your children is to build them up.

Here is why “build them up” is so important. Joe White, who runs a Christian camp for teens, has discovered this truth: every tragic teen problem has a common root which is low self-image. And the #1 cause of poor self-image: lack of unconditional parental love.

Consider what kids are up against. From their parents, they hear 10 negative comments for every positive one.   At school, they hear 10 negative to each positive. It is little wonder that one study found that when children enter first grade, 80% feel good about themselves but when they leave 6th grade, only 10% feel good about themselves.

Remember that the foundation for all self-esteem is this: a person’s basic value comes from God. We are created in the very image of God. That gives each person infinite value.

So affirm your children. God is an affirming father: “This is my son whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Many children today are starving to hear those types of affirming words from their father.

Give your children ongoing gifts by affirming them with your words of love and praise.

Check out my next post for some practical do’s and don’ts for building your children up.