8 messages to strengthen your child’s self-perception

Written by Amy Braun
Published on September 29, 2023

As Christian parents, one of our most important responsibilities is to nurture our children’s self-esteem. The way we talk to our kids profoundly impacts their self-image and confidence. In a world often filled with doubt and insecurity, the words we speak to our children have a profound impact on their self-perception. As parents, we want to lay the foundation for healthy self-esteem which will help them navigate the challenges of life with confidence and faith.

Here are eight messages we should share with our children as often as possible:

1)     “I believe in you”

Express your confidence in their abilities and potential. Belief from a parent can be a powerful motivator for a child to believe in themselves and their dreams. Whether they’re tackling a homework assignment, facing a new challenge at school, or pursuing a new sport or hobby, simply reminding them of your belief in their abilities can make a huge difference. It’s a message that will help them push forward in moments of difficulty and provide reassurance. 

2)     “Your feelings are valid”

Validate your child’s feelings even if you don’t understand them. They may have big feelings over something that doesn’t feel like a big deal. Remember, it is a big deal to them. Let them know their feelings matter and you are there to support them through the ups and downs. Avoid saying things like “you shouldn’t feel that way,” or “don’t be sad.” Let them know it’s okay to feel what they’re feeling. This affirmation not only validates their emotions, but also teaches them empathy and reinforces that their thoughts and feelings are safe with you, no matter what.

3)     “I pray for you”

Let your children know you pray for them regularly. Prayer shows they are always on your mind, and you trust God to guide and protect them. Whether it’s before a big test, when they’re facing difficulties with friends, or as a nightly ritual, reassure them you are lifting their concerns to God. This will model the importance of seeking God’s guidance and giving our worries to him. It also shows our love for our children and gives them a deep sense of peace they are being prayed over.

4)     “I love you unconditionally” 

There’s no greater reassurance for a child than knowing they are loved, faults and all. Emphasize there is nothing they can do to make you love them any less. Let them know your love is unwavering, regardless of their actions or mistakes. When they succeed, when they stumble, or when they simply need a reminder they are loved, your unconditional love becomes a constant source of security for them. This assurance not only nurtures their self-esteem, but also models God’s unconditional love for them. 

5)     “I love being your parent”

Expressing that you love being your child’s parent reinforces the idea they are cherished and valued for who they are. It sets a positive example of expressing love and gratitude, teaching them the importance of appreciating the people in their lives. As a Christian parent, it also reflects God’s love for his children, reminding them of their special place in his heart.

6)     “I am proud of you”

Tell your child you are proud of them as much as possible. Whether they’ve got an A on a spelling test, did something kind for their sibling, or simply tackled a hard task, make sure to tell them you are proud. Knowing you are proud of them reinforces the idea that their actions matter. It’s a reminder your love and support are always going to be there, and you take pride in the person they are becoming.

7)     “God has an amazing purpose for you”

As often as you can try to connect your child’s self-worth to their faith. Tell them they are part of God’s plan, and he has a purpose for their lives. This empowers your child to embrace who they are and develop a sense of purpose bigger than themselves. Remind them that they matter, and their unique gifts make a difference. 

8)     “I love who you are”

Expressing “I love who you are” is a powerful way to show them you love them for being uniquely themselves. It’s a message that goes beyond accomplishments or appearances but speaks to the core of their being. Let your child know you cherish their authentic self with all their different quirks and strengths. This teaches your child to embrace who they are rather than trying to fit in or compare themselves to others. It reinforces they are fearfully and wonderfully made by God with value just as they are.

As Christian parents, our words carry so much weight for our children’s lives and futures. We have the responsibility to shape their self-esteem and their perception of themselves in God’s eyes. By consistently sharing these messages, we can help our children grow their self-confidence. Remember, the words we speak today can have a lasting impact on their lives tomorrow.

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Amy Braun

Amy Braun is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who is passionate about helping moms become the best version of themselves. She owns a counseling practice specializing in Christian Counseling for moms during pregnancy, postpartum, and the early years of motherhood (amybraunlcpc.com). She lives in Chicago, IL with her husband, their three bio boys (ages 11, 10, and 6), their adopted daughter (age 9), and their crazy cat, Polly Paws.

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