Christian Home & Family: Poor Self Esteem Is NOT Your Child’s Problem

Christian Home & Family: Poor Self Esteem Is NOT Your Child’s Problem April 14, 2015

Christian Home and Family

From Carey Green, author, blogger, speaker, coach and pastor:


For years we’ve been told that our children have a fragile, but incredibly valuable sense of self-esteem, and that if we aren’t careful, we could damage it beyond repair. As a result many attempts have been made in educational theories, parenting philosophies, and other areas, to bolster and build up a child’s sense of self worth.

Some of the tactics that have been tried in this social experiment are…

  1. Contests and sports where “everybody is a winner.” Everyone gets a trophy, even if they never won a game, scored a goal, or even played in a game. In my thinking, the only thing that approach accomplishes is to convince our kids that they don’t have to work hard to accomplish anything, it will all be handed to them just for participating.
  2. Teachers are afraid to fail kids who are not achieving the level of academic proficiency needed in order to advance to the next subject. So amazingly, children are getting into high school without even being able to read and comprehend what they read. What’s that accomplishing besides the dumbing down of society?3 Kids are told, “You can be whatever you want to be,” which is clearly untrue. Each of us is wired, designed, and gifted differently. No matter how much my 13 year old son wants to play basketball like LeBron James, he’s never going to because he doesn’t have the height or the athletic skill for it.

Let me ask you, how would you say this “protect their fragile self esteem” approach has been working?

In my view, it’s been a disaster. The generation of children who are moving into adulthood at this time are some of the most self-centered, “the world owes me” minded individuals I’ve ever met. Of course, there are exceptions, but overall, I believe my statement is true.

Low self esteem is NOT your child’s problem, pride is. . Ninety percent of people in the world don’t struggle with thinking too little of themselves, they struggle with the exact opposite – thinking too highly of
themselves. Jesus was very clear on this…

Mark 7:21-23 “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

So what am I suggesting, that we beat down our kids, tell them what rotten, no-good sinners they are, and make sure they feel absolutely terrible about themselves?

What I’m about to say here is going to go against most of what you’ve been taught for most of your life, so get ready for your gears to be stripped.

Our children need to have a right, truth-based perspective about who they are. The Apostle Paul says it this way…

Romans 12:3 – For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

What Paul is saying is this…

1 – We, and our children, don’t need a pep talk to tell us how great we are. What we need is a dose of reality that enables us to see how pitiful and needy we are without the grace of God. Notice Paul’s language… he says we’re to think about ourselves with “sober” judgment. In other words, we are not to be like a drunkard who can’t see the world or himself clearly. As believers in Christ, we can’t continue to drink the wine of
self-esteem and fall into the drunken stupor of thinking we are the best thing going. We, and our children, need to understand that we are sinners.

I know that sounds pretty depressing, and it would be if not for the grace of God. Notice the last part of what Paul said…

“think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith God has assigned.”

Paul is telling us that God has been gracious to provide us the opportunity to have faith in Jesus, and that changes everything. When we place our entire trust in Jesus Christ, all of our sinful shame and inner rot,
is laid on the cross with Jesus. He takes our sinful being and in exchange, He gives us His holy, righteous self. We are acceptable before God, not because we are something special, but because Jesus did something special for us. At the end of this life, every Christian, from Billy Graham to the most unknown, believing person on the planet, will ride into eternity on the coat-tails of Jesus.

So, we, and our children, need to know…

  1. We are sinners in need of a Savior.
  2. Because God is love, He has given us a Savior – Jesus Christ.
  3. Any good that comes of our lives, Jesus does.

The result of knowing these two truths is a humble, God-fearing, people-loving individual who is able to learn and apply things like self-control, consideration, and service to others.

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