Help your child learn to share what he has with others, since giving of one’s self and one’s time stimulates a healthy self-concept.
This could mean baby-sitting without pay for a neighbor who is sick, or helping with the yardwork at an elderly person’s home. A good self-image comes from looking outward, not inward.
When your child receives a gift from someone, discuss with him how much the gift—and the person who sent the gift—are appreciated. Then ask the child to write a thank-you note.
Talk often together about the principle in James 4:6—”God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Discuss it not in a threatening way, but gently, helping your child realize that learning humility is as important an achievement as anything else he accomplishes.
The description of our sin in Isaiah 53:6—”Each of us has turned to his own way”—is a good reminder that selfish independence is wrong.
When your child’s pride is hurt, help him deal with the hurt by encouraging him to pray about it, and by talking it over with others. “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” (Proverbs 13:10).
Also, let him know you love him and will continue to love him no matter what mistakes he makes. (How can we do any less, since God loves us so unfailingly?)
Don’t encourage your child ignore those who hurt him or who disagree with him. God wants us to develop a healthy interdependence with others, not a prideful independence.
As parents, we need to see our child’s hurt as a situation for godly growth, rather than trying only to stop the hurt. Children often seem to be able to handle more hurt than their parents think. They find it easier to forgive and forget than most adults do.
Self-control is another key component of self-worth. Learn how to help your child recognize more and more his own responsibility for his conduct.
Remember that each child must be loved according to his unique personality, and that developing his self-worth is a little-by-little process.
You’ll do the best job by praying for God’s direction and searching for wisdom in the Scriptures.
Le Etta Bradshaw