You are!!! As parents, we are the first and primary teachers for our children. In an age where morals are corrupted, innocence is snatched away, and the truth is hidden, it is critical for the divine role and responsibilities of parents to be reinstated. Our active presence and voice of sound reason have the power to safeguard the mental health and overall well-being of the next generation.
When children know who they are, where they come from, and why they are here, they will be better equipped to ward off the dangers of peer pressure, cultural indoctrination, and identity crisis.
Who Am I?
The number of youth experiencing gender dysphoria is increasing at an exponential rate. As parents, we can sit back and view this with nonchalance, naivety, and ignorance - “Not my child. That’s them crazy, suburban kids with too much time on their hands.” Or we can begin asking questions that matter such as “How can I help my child develop a healthy self-identity?”
Because children do not come into the world as mature beings possessing fully developed brains, they lack the ability to accurately perceive themselves and the world around them without wise guidance. To help children know who they are, they must first know how their miraculous lives were shaped and designed by the hands of God. (Read Psalm 139:13-16). Unlike an ice-cream flavor, self-identity (as it pertains to gender and ethnicity) is not something to pick and choose, but rather a choice made by God to accept and appreciate. When our children see themselves as a gift (Psalm 127:3) and are treated as such, confidence will naturally begin to grow. Here are a few practical ways to cultivate and protect a healthy self-identity from Pre-K to adolescence:
-Read books to your children that will encourage them to accept how God uniquely created them. (Click here to view recommendations.)
-Install pornography blocking software on all devices to help protect their innocence.
-Be diligent to closely monitor your child’s social media account(s), and eliminate influences that contradict your teachings by using parental controls.
-Utilize apps and programs such as AppDetox to limit screen time, and spend more time doing activities that involve self-discovery, such as learning a trade.
-Read Bible stories, biographies or watch biopics together of men and women who demonstrated the character traits you desire your son or daughter to embody.
-Study biology together and discuss how human beings are made in the image of God.
-Teach and reteach children about body safety and boundaries.
-Explain to children and youth the difference between images and lyrics that are respectable versus content that is degrading, as well as what to do when they come across media that is inappropriate.
-Have age appropriate discussions with your child about sex, the beauty of it, and why God created it.
-Help your child detox their playlist. Read the lyrics of their favorite songs with them. Then determine if the words reinforce the values and principles you are teaching.
-Postpone sleepovers until your child is at an age that he or she can defend themselves.
-Reassure your child that struggling with social awkwardness or thinking that someone of their same gender is attractive is normal, and that it does not make them queer.
Next up in this series, we will take a look at another question that matters, “Where did I come from?” Teaching your child about your family’s ethnic and spiritual heritage will help them gain self-respect and gratitude for all the sacrifices made for their betterment.