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Positive Self-Esteem in Single-Parent Families


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#1 Debp

Debp

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 05:25 PM

Written by Kenneth Sanderfer
This article is courtesy of Christian Single.


Question:

My ex-husband has had very little involvement in the lives of our three
children, and he is not a Christian. We're all comfortable and have learned to accept the single-parent-family way of life. However, I often worry that this lifestyle might negatively impact the self-esteem of my children. What can I do to keep this from happening?

Answer:
Regardless of family composition, the best judge of family health is whether things are working for the family as a unit and all its members. It sounds like your family fits that description, and you should be commended as a single mom.

There's been a lot written about how to develop positive self-esteem in children. Just the word itself can mean different things to different people. It's a word that has created some uncomfortableness in religious circles. The fear is that the concept might encourage a self-centered approach toward life. This obviously doesn't comply with Scripture and the lifestyle that Christ modeled for us. But I think some of the confusion and controversy surrounding the concept can be cleared up if we place it in the context of family.

Self-esteem is really about developing a healthy respect for one's self and others. We know God didn't create us to live in isolation. In fact, He created us to be relational beings. The family is the crucible where children learn to respect themselves and others. The development of self-esteem has more to do with the atmosphere and attitudes of family members than how the family is put together.

Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:3-5, "I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my forefathers did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy, clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also."

It's debatable as to whether or not Timothy actually grew up in a single-parent family home. But it is fairly undeniable that his dad was not active in his spiritual development. Who can argue that Timothy's single-parent family did not develop in him a healthy respect for self and others? The apostle Paul highly praised Timothy and referred to him as "my true child in the faith" (1 Tim. 1:2).

It takes teamwork to make families function. In sports, successful teams know and believe that the whole is more important than its parts. In families, when each member contributes to the success of the whole family, everyone enjoys greater feelings of self-image and self-worth. Respect and value for each member develops. When this happens, we know children will develop the following feelings.

Acceptance — Children who learn to respect others feel accepted and thus are more likely to accept and respect themselves. When family members encourage and accent the positives in one another, children will see themselves as lovable and accept love from others and God.
Belonging — Children who learn to respect others also develop a sense of belonging. The message they get is: I'm important, I count, and I'm a good fit.
Empowerment — Children who learn to respect others also feel capable. They develop the attitude that they can do all things in Christ.
Therefore, when each family member becomes responsible and supportive to the whole family, each individual is impacted in a personal way and enjoys the feelings of acceptance, belonging, and empowerment.
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#2 Debp

Debp

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 12:45 AM

I think the article is very good. Also, when I was in Bible college, one professor taught a course on Biblical self-esteem. He said that it is important to base our self-esteem on being children of God, rather than on any works we do or talents we have. Because if there is a time in our lives when we can't do those things anymore, our self-esteem won't falter. We will still know that God loves us.
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