Tag Archives: worth

Before The Teen Years: Your Kids are Not Your Identity

Your kids are not your identity summarizes #4 on my list of 8 Things Parents Can Do Now To Shape The Teen Years Ahead. In that post I wrote:

Seek to understand and love them for who they are rather than conform them to who you want them to be. Sometimes when our children have different personalities or interests than ours we try to push upon them the way we do things, or our hobbies. Without meaning to this can make them feel shame for not measuring up to your standard or for not being more like their sibling. If they do have similar interests, do not make them feel like they are in competition to your previous successes. Their performance is not why you love them, but if they grow up thinking it is, the idol of performance and perfection can drive them to despair as teenagers.”

One of my children does not care one bit about making weekend plans. It honestly doesn’t cross his mind. It’s not that he’s anti-social; he seems to be friends with all his teammates- just not “weekend friends.” For a long time this really bothered me. I thought something was wrong and he was missing out. But as my husband pointed out, if this is how he is wired, we needed to be careful not to heap shame on him just because he is different than how we are wired.

This is when I realized the problem is not him, but me. If I’m honest the reason his lack of a social life bothered me was because of how I thought other people would view him… and me. Not in the popular crowd, out being seen- worthless. How messed up is that! I was projecting on him my own false gods.

We do this with our kids because we see them as an extenstion of us; our mini-me’s. So easily their accomplishments, failures, successes, challenges, social life, sports, and obedience (as we discussed in the last post) can become our identity.  But how well they perform, what they do and who their friends with is not their true identity and should certainly not be ours.

If it is, we need to ask oursevles some probing questions: Are we living vicariously through them? Are we adding pressure for them to be a certain way? Are we making them feel like they don’t measure up (to us)?  Do we think the way we do things is the only way/right way? Are we imposing on them our own idols?

I don’t think it’s a great jump then to see what leads us to often becoming “helicopter” parents. But as we talked about in the first post of this series, we need to get to the root of the why we hover over them, try to control and to ensure their success and status. When we do we will likely find our own insecurities and sin mixed in with well-meaning intentions.

It is important we see though that much of the “help” we think we are offering to our kids is actually harming them. Studies show the following repercussions of helicopter parenting on kids:

  1. Lack of confidenece/need for affirmation
  2. Inability to cope with adversity
  3. Increased anxiety/depression/fear of failure and disappointing others
  4. Entitlement
  5. Undeveloped life skills/lack of independence
  6. Indecision

Our kids are not our identity. Let’s give them the freedom to fail without worrying what other people might think about them, or us. Let’s not revolve our worlds around them to the point they act as if life is all about them. Let’s not push them to seek their identity in performance, based off what they perceive we value and praise. Let’s point our kids to their true worth found only in Christ as we look to him for our identity as well.

Previous posts in this series:
Before the Teen Years: Getting to the Heart of Sin with Our Kids
Before the Teen Years: Living Redemptively in Our Homes
Before the Teen Years: Shepherd Hearts Rather Than Police Behavior
8 Things Parents Can Do Now to Shape The Teen Years Ahead

Face Time Podcast Episode 004: Affirmed in Christ Alone with Kelsey Glover

One week from today until the release of  my new book, Face Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World! So this is the concluding podcast of my mini-series. Have you enjoyed listening? I hope so!

With each recording, my goal was for the truth of who Jesus is to be heard. For it is foundational to freeing us from the lies of Satan and our selfie world that beg us to believe worth is found in something other than Christ. As you will hear from today’s guest, Kelsey Glover  (a recent Oklahoma State University graduate and youth ministry intern), none of the false sources we turn to – whether it be seeking affirmation from guys (or other people), our appearance or performance – are big enough or valuable enough to give us a secure identity. Hoping in anything but Christ will leave us empty.

To that end, she and I hit on the inexaustible topics of identity, idolatry, shame, redemption and boundaries in everyday living kind of ways, so don’t miss the truth she shares. In case you missed one of the other three recordings, I have posted each link at the bottom of the page.

Thank you, Kelsey, for your willingness to share your brokenness as  a testimony to the glory of God’s goodness and grace!

Show Notes:

  • Interested in the youth mininstry where Kelsey serves? Go to: Henderson Hill Baptist Church.
  • Scripture references mentioned: 1 Peter 2:9, Genesis 21:8-21 (story of Hagar), Romans 8:1, Matthew 5:29
Kelsey Glover is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State where she got her degree in Management Information Systems and Marketing with a minor in Religious Studies. Kelsey’s heart and desire is to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9) for all the days the Lord allots.
Want to go back to listen to previous podcasts?
Episode 001: Martha Kate Stainsby on Trying to be Good Enough
Episode 002: Mary Carlisle Crehore on Striving for Perfection
Episode 003: Kendal Conner on Creating a Gospel Grid for our Teens

Order your copy of Face Time HERE.

What Teen Boys Battle Just like the Girls (and Adults too!)

In 2015 I conducted an online anonymous teen survey that spread nationwide. I created the survey after learning how social media had negatively contributed to my own daughter’s sense of worth and belief that if she was struggling so many other teenagers must be too. I was right. This data collected is the backbone of my new book.

The original survey went to both girls and boys, but after talking to my publisher about the heart-breaking and eye-opening information filling my inbox we decided to hone in on just the girls. But it absolutely does not mean teen boys are not also struggling. They are… maybe even more unnoticed.

Everything I wrote in Face Time is everything boys need to hear too. I know that from the survey results, and more personally because I have two teenage boys.  Therefore, I felt like I needed to write this post to say that while Face Time is for girls it does not mean boys are immune to struggles with identity and worth. In fact, the content of Part I of Face Time is as applicable to a teen boy, as a teen girl or an adult man or woman. This is because no matter who we are, our hearts are the same!

By God’s design we long for approval, acceptance and love. But we were made to know and feel our worth perfectly in his absolute approval, irrevocable acceptance and loyal love.  But we think his approval, acceptance and love is not enough. So instead of resting secure in who Jesus is for us, we try to secure our worth by gaining the approval, acceptance, attention and love of others.

We do this by looking to our appearance, performance, achievements and status as the qualifier for how well, or how poorly we fair. For a teen boy it may play out like this…

  • He feels inadequate not playing on the “A” team or varsity so he tries to prove his worth and gain the acceptance of others by bragging about how good he really is. The may be coupled with how unfair tryouts were and by talking smack about the guy in the position he covets. By tearing the other guy down he seeks to elevate himself so others accept him; think more highly of him.
  • He is insecure about some aspect of his appearance, so he overcompensates by acting as the class clown. But by drawing attention to himself and receiving laughs what he seeks is to know his worth. To know he’s okay despite his perceived flaws.
  • He is excluded from a social gathering, and retreats into himself, secretly feeling like a nobody. He may blame the others (and there is no doubt kids can be mean), but his own idol is looking to the approval or inclusion of others as the basis of his worth.
  • He gives into peer pressure -starts drinking, smoking pot, having sex – in an effort to look/be cool or to fit in.  Appearing cool, or rebellious, gains him the approval, friends and popularity he craves, which is where he looks to find his identity and worth.
  • He asks for nude pictures from a girl and then shares them in the locker room. Because of the so-called respect he gets from the guys, he too feels cool. At the girl’s expense, his own status and felt worth is increased. On the flip-side her reason for sharing the pictures also stem from a longing for approval and love, which is unpacked further in Face Time.

As parents we can’t take everything at face value. We have to get to the heart (the root) of why they do what they do, and see it for what it is – the idol that’s ruling them.  Whatever it is they (or we) turn to for identity and worth, to fill us, to give us security apart from God is an idol. Uncovering these idols and seeing them as sin is hard, but necessary and good.

Until our kids (and again, us) see how deeply entrenched our sin is – that it’s not just bad external behavior, but our inner desires, motives and idolatry – we miss seeing how deep our need of Jesus’ worth and work for us really is. Therefore, our view of Jesus rises and falls on how much (or little) we need him.

I don’t know about you, but more than my sons’ happiness and success, I want them to become men who know they need Jesus, live under his smile and desire to please him not out of duty, but delightTo get there, my job must be to help them peel back the layers of why they do what they do to see what rules them. And then point them to Jesus.

It is his perfect performance – not theirs – that their true identity must be rooted in.  When it is:  They won’t have to try to assert, defend or prove themselves, work to impress others or try harder to measure up. They won’t have to live threatened by others’ accomplishments or less than in comparison. And while they will experience disappointment, hurt feelings and rejection (just as teen girls do) my prayer is it won’t define them or rock their core because they will know their secure identity and worth in Christ.

For us as parents, being rooted in Christ means we can live free of tying our worth to our kids successes and/or failures and worrying what other people think. We can live loved – fully accepted, knowing we have the absolute approval of the King. And when we do, may his love and acceptance of us drive us to be compassionate toward others in their sin.  For our kids too, let’s encourage them to reach out to love (not ostracize and judge) those seeking an identity in all the wrong places. Because when we know our own sinful heart tendencies and God’s goodness to us despite it, we should be people of grace and mercy who speak to the hope and security found only in Christ.

If you woud like to further unpack the content of this blog for yourself and to help speak into your kids's hearts, Face Time may be the book for you (even if you don't have a teen daughter). To preorder click: here.