One of our jobs as parents is to nurture our kid’s sense of identity. Through the time we spend with them our kids learn who they are, what they’re good at, as well as our family’s belief system. They develop a mental image of who they are as they receive feedback from the world around them. It is through rejection, mistakes, and failure that our kid’s learn to train their brain to think differently and manage their emotions. Hopefully, we have within us as parents to provide refuge and acceptance that our kids learn that no matter what they do, they’ll always be accepted by family.
It’s called unconditional love.
As our kids start moving into the tween and teen years, their desire is to fit in and be accepted by their peers. These years become critical as they want to be part of the popular group or known for their prowess on the soccer field or in the classroom. Most kids want to be more than “average” and our job as parents is to actually help our kids to find their place in this world even though culture would tell us that we need to be pushing for “the top of the class” or the “most valuable player.”
After all, the majority of all of us are just that. Average. Sure, we might excel in one area or another. But in reality, God created us by His design to do what He has called us to do.
Most of us continue to tell our kids “You can be anything you want to be”. But is that really true? And is that the message we want to send?
I’m guessing a lot of the kids who have graduated from college in the last few years have gotten a dose of reality that everyone can’t be anything they want, especially given the recent job market. I’ve watched college grads take jobs they are overqualified for and parents saddled with college debt their kids can’t pay back.
I’ve watched as we as parents have become a generation so involved in helping our kids reach their potential that we forget what belongs to our child and what is ours to own.
Maybe we are the ones with the identity crisis.
Is our identity wrapped up in our kid’s activities? In their behavior?
What will happen to us as moms when our kids leave our home?
Our kids are the most precious thing that we have. But are they ours?
I had someone in our With All Due Respect eCourse say it best, “As moms we are the steward, not the owner.” If only we could remember that as we choose to not wrap our identity up in our kids. It’s our job to help our kids see who God created them to be and to show our kids that God has purpose for us as individuals. Our teen needs to see us as separate from them. And while we will always want relationship with them, our job is to launch.
If we are two separate beings that God created to serve two different purposes, what are you as a mom doing to help your child see your sense of identity outside of being a mother? Yes, we are to nurture, train, encourage, clothe, feed, and do all the things that mothers do. But who are we outside of that role?
Are we so focused on them, that we forget about us? How can we give them a sense of identity (strengths, God given design for that child, and a reality of who God created them to be) if we are focused on pushing them toward success while we’ve forgotten who we are outside of being mom and making our child be all that we think he should be?
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Dare you to have a conversation with your tweens and teens to talk about identity. How do they see themselves? How do they see you? Once you’ve had time to consider the conversation, start a spiritual dialogue about their identity in Christ and who He wants them to be.
“Let go…and Let God”,
Communication is key in all our relationships. And learning to reduce the conflict and stress in our homes is paramount. Wouldn’t you like to have a more peaceful home where the stress of the day to day interactions can calmly be resolved? Knowing our kids, anticipating ahead, and making small changes in our communication can have a huge impact with our tweens, teens, and our 20-somethings.
If you’d like to learn more about how to have a peaceful home, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up a time to talk.