Your child is already learning about who they are just from hearing outside voices from inside the womb. He/She is developing and processing who is speaking to him, the tone of voice they are using, and the message behind the tone. Within minutes as they are birthed, infants are using their sense of sight, smell and touch to form an identity of worth, value and being cared for. In the next few months infants are intuitive observers of those around them. They form attachments, especially to their mothers, and they are able to recognize those who are familiar as well as strangers. As infants interact with others they begin to develop a sense of self and their brains begin forming their self-concept. They start imitating and becoming like those they are surrounded by as their concept of identity is being formed.
Each of us is made up of a soul, spirit and body. Your soul is made up of your mind, will and emotions. Your spirit is the part of you that is eternal and hears and connects at a deeper level to God your creator. Your body is what you live in on earth and envelopes your senses and personality. From the moment of conception these three aspects of your identity are being formed. As a parent, you have the privilege of speaking into this identity from the moment of conception and helping your child to form a healthy concept of who they are.
You may be wondering how you can help to shape and mold your child’s identity. Below are ways to practically help you start. If you are pregnant, now is a great time to get started. If your children are already toddlers, tweens, teens or even adults it is never too late to start applying these ideas!
1. Speak outloud the worth, value, significance and identity your child holds.
It is so important to speak words of LIFE over your children. Tell them directly that they have worth, value, significance, identity and destiny. By speaking it outloud you are speaking directly into their soul and spirit who they are. As they hear your words they are soaking up the truth behind those words. If your children are grown, speak life over them even when they’re not around. Your words have the power to activate the unseen, and when you speak outloud you are actually creating with your words. The Bible speaks about the power of life or death is in the tongue. This means that what we speak outloud either tears down or builds up those around us in an emotional and spiritual realm that we may not be able to see. This includes the formation of your child’s self-worth and identity. By speaking life over them you are actively creating inside them a concept of significance whether they are aware of it or not.
2. Read scripture verses outloud to your child.
One way of speaking LIFE over your child is to directly read scripture verses over them. Pick a few that have messages on worth, identity and value and read them outloud to your child. If your child is old enough to understand have him say them with you as a bedtime ritual. Insert his/her name into the verse and speak it in first person so it’s personalized and sinks in a little deeper. For example, you could read Jeremiah 29:11 like this: “For I know the plans I have for Susan, declares the Lord, plans to prosper her and not to harm her, plans to give her hope and a future.” If your child is too young to understand still speak them outloud while you’re rocking them or while they’re sleeping. And if your child is an adult and not living with you anymore you can still speak scripture outloud over him on your own and it will have a direct effect on his spirit.
3. Play music or messages in your house that speaks of identity
Messages that are played through music are another way of getting into our hearts who we really are. Music is not just for fun and entertainment. It has an effect on our souls, and what we listen to shapes and forms who we believe we are. Specifically play music that is uplifting and encourages confidence and a strong sense of self around your child or while they are sleeping. Be careful what you listen to for fun around your child. Pay attention to what is being spoken in song over the radio or through the TV. If it doesn’t encourage healthy self-esteem or messages you approve of then don’t listen to it, especially around them.
4. Filter what comes into your household through television, movies, social media and all electronics.
Be the example for your children. What you listen to, they will listen to. Take note of the kinds of music, television, books and information you allow in your home. Are they uplifting? Do they promote security? Are their messages healthy ones that you want your kids to live by? Even as your child is in the womb or your baby is an infant be careful of what you allow yourself to watch and invite into your home. You may think that they’re too young to understand and so it’s harmless to let them listen to anything and everything in the house. The negative messages that are on TV, movies, radio, internet, electronics…etc actually effect the atmosphere in your home. Have you ever noticed how watching the news on TV can put you in a bad mood? That’s because negativity is being released into the atmosphere of your home and you are probably not the only one effected by it. Be aware that your children are also. Watch what their eyes and ears hear and listen to and yours as well. Be the “gatekeeper” of your household and monitor the messages that come through.
5. Buy books that specifically talk about self-esteem and a healthy concept of identity and read them to your child.
More and more children’s, teenage and even adult books are being created that speak positive messages. Find ones that teach and speak of your child’s unique and special identity, worth, value and significance in this world. Read them to your child and have them read them outloud when they’re able to read. Talk to them about the messages in these books and why they’re true. Affirm and re-affirm to your child these messages.
6. Speak positive words about yourself around your children
Your children will grow to emulate what they see modeled in their household. If you are constantly speaking discouraging thoughts about yourself, your child will be sure to pick up that habit. For example, refrain from saying things such as, “I’m so fat, I need to lose weight”, “Uh, I can’t ever get it right”, “I’m terrible at…”, “If only I could be like_____”. These types of comments tear down your own self-esteem and teach your children to respond the same way. Talk about yourself with confidence even when you don’t feel it. Speaking life over yourself and your children is not about how you feel, it’s about how you want to shape your belief system. What you say will effect what you believe and how you live your life. Model for your children what is sounds like to know your own identity and worth as an individual.
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