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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Welcome to my week's worth of parenting help from my book, "When Your Child is Hurting."  I've found that there are ways to proactively help my children and equip them to deal with life's inevitable hurts.  I'm also doing some giveaways in honor of Mother's Day.  Keep reading to learn about today's gift.

One source of pain in most children's lives is their looks.  Most children start comparing themselves to others at a young age.  Comparison are never healthy.  Either we are prideful over what we have, or  envious over what we don't have.  Helping a child accept their God-given physical makeup is extremely important in today's looks-obsessed society. 

Even though our appearance shouldn’t define us, our bodies have value because God created them. The Bible tells us that God was involved from the very beginning: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb” (Psalm 139:13). God created every part of us – our inner and outer being. One way God created us was with a need for love, which isn’t surprising since the Bible tells us that God Himself is love (1 John 4:8).

Author William Richards, PhD says, "Our children too are wonderful works of God with hundreds of thousands of assets. However, we lack the vision to see them. Our fallen world has trained us to miss the obvious."

Richardson suggests parents should discover the assets, verbally label the assets and verbally express pleasure or delight in the assets. I’ll use my daughter Cathrine for an example. Cathrine was born in Africa and her facial features are dramatic. She particularly has full lips. Knowing that this could be a source of insecurity, I have intentionally affirmed this God-given attribute. I have said simple things like, “You have beautiful lips, I love how full they are.” I also tell her that some women spend lots of money for lips like hers.

Our son Dylan has lovely green eyes. I have made comments like, “Dylan your eyes are such a cool shade of green. I really like them.”

My father wasn’t effuse with praise, but I can still picture myself standing in front of his chair as he counted the freckles on my face. “Let’s see how many there are today!” he would say. Then with a smile on his face, he would touch the tip of his finger to my face and begin to count. My father’s enjoyment of my freckles was like a protective covering for any unkind comments directed my way. My sun-kissed face was never an embarrassment to me. While the other girls spread lemon juice on their cheeks to fade the brown spots, I was content.

My youngest son has my coloring, and I’ve applied my father’s legacy to him. However, I elect to suggest that perhaps his freckles are places where angels kissed him. Then I place my finger on his tanned cheeks and begin the count.

For an easy and enjoyable exercise, make a list of your child’s many assets. Think of your child from head to toe, and identify her physical characteristics. Then plan to address them one by one at different times in the coming weeks.

Today's Mother's Day giveaway is a Memo Mousepad from my business Rose Lane Cottage.   To win, please post a comment about one of your child's physical characteristics you can affirm today.  I'll select a winner over the weekend and announce it on my blog on Monday.  Please check back or make sure I can contact you.

Tomorrow I'll write about helping children deal with failure.

In His Love,


Shelia said...

My daughter has the most beautiful red hair. It has always been such a beautiful attribute of hers however even at a young age she's always wished it was blonde or brown like the 'normal' girls. I've always praised her beautiful coloring and so has everyone else. She's always getting compliments and comments on how gorgeous it is. It's strawberry red with blond highlights (all natural by the hand of God). Even at 10 years old people are aksing if we get it 'colored'. Never!!! and I pray she never starts. Reaffirming how beautiful it is by reminding her how unique she is because that's how God chose to make her special has really helped her self esteem. I'm trying to Help her realize that God chooses each of our attributes because that's how HE wants to see us - in His image yet regardles how beautiful on the outside we are, if there's ugliness on the inside - it'll erase all that outward beauty everytime. Satan will always steal the spotlight if given the chance.

Jennifer Renee said...

Glynnis, I was thinking about Cathrine yesterday and prayed for her. I love the compassion that you have for children and helping parents by giving encouragement and help.

I don't have any children but I do have two nieces. Since I'm blind I'm unable to see their physical characteristics but I see their heart. They are two sweet kids who willingly help me if I need it when I visit them. As for me, when I was growing up I don't remember my parents affirming any of my physical characteristics except one. I had platinum blond hair growing up and by the time I was a teenager I wanted a darker hair color because I didn't like the color I was given by God. It did get darker when I turned 15. My dad would always talk about how blond my hair was. I guess in his own way he was affirming one of my physical characteristics. I think if I had told my parents about being made fun of in school because of my disability they might have given me encouragement about that as well. However, I don't think they would have said anything about God making me the way I was.