Friday, January 16, 2015

When Your Daughter Feels Insecure

You hate to see your children suffer.  As a parent, you want to gather your children under your wing and protect them from all the bad in the world.  I find myself in a place where, as a mother, I am not sure how to navigate.  From time to time, one or more of my children (and not just the girls though this post is about them) exhibit signs of insecurity or feeling bad about how they look or their personality or any number of other things that girls and women wrestle with.  These feelings all stem from lies that the world tells them, that they tell themselves, or that the devil whispers in their ears, in an attempt to tear them down at an early, pivotal age in their development.

My middle daughter seems to struggle with these thoughts and feelings the most.  She is a little eccentric and most of the time it is endearing.  But other times, I think she struggles with knowing what's appropriate and what isn't when it comes to interacting with others.  To some, this can be off-putting.  Especially with other kids who may see her behavior as weird or creepy.  She has a deeply sarcastic personality, and sometimes says things she should maybe keep to herself.  We're working on that and she has come a very long way.

But recently, while she doesn't really talk to me about it much, I think she has been wrestling with loving the person God created her to be. She comes off most of the time as confident and maybe a little arrogant, but I think it is a front to cover up the pain she feels and the negative emotions she has regarding her self-worth.

More than anything, I want my kids to know that their worth is best seen through God's eyes.  I'm not naive.  It took me 33 years to learn this.  But I don't feel like I had someone teaching me that as I grew up, whether at home or at church or wherever.  I am in a unique position to share my struggles in this area with my children, and I feeling completely ill-equipped to do this.  Even though I know the truth, I find myself wrestling with how to convey it to my kids.  I find myself filled with worry over it, and I immediately recognize that that fear and worry is not from God, thus it is something I need to surrender.

I recently found a chat between my daughter and a boy at school.  It was not inappropriate in a sexual way or even wrong for the conversation to be taking place - though I do have concerns about my kids having chats with the opposite sex, especially when they try to hide that from me.  It is addictive behavior, and indicative of how I lived my life when I was always trying to hide.  Because I knew that I was doing something I shouldn't be doing.  I think there was this intuitive desire to hide the dark that was in my heart and I see that in my 12 year old, and it nearly breaks my heart.  Because she is creating unhealthy habits.  On the other side of things, I thank God that this was brought before me, because I can take steps now to try to stop some of it before it becomes a pattern or lifestyle for her.

But what I feel really unsure of is how to approach the topic.  How do I even begin this conversation in such a way that will draw my daughter out and leave her feeling open to discuss her feelings with me?  I believe she is wrestling with some raw, painful feelings about herself and I just don't know where to begin to try to encourage an open and honest conversation about it.

I know the answers.  Pray.  Seek God.  Trust Him.  And believe me.  I know and will do those things.  But I find myself trying to think ahead to practically navigate the conversation.  It is these moments in parenting that I think we often feel the most ill-equipped or ill-prepared.  No one does it right all the time.  There isn't a clear cut instruction manual on parenting.  Most of the time you do what you can and trust God.  And honestly, what better place is there for your children than in the hands of The Maker?

What I really want to teach my daughter(s) is something a dear friend shared with me when I was in middle/high school:

Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

I pray that they learn this valuable lesson and begin to practice it in their young adolescent lives in a more powerful way than I was ever able to.

1 comment:

  1. Being a parent is scary, even more so when you know the things that you have faced growing up and how hidden those thoughts and feeling were kept. I find that for my child it isn't the fact that I can change or fix something but that I can relate to it. I can be open and tell her all the things I thought and felt and hope she will come to me when she needs support. I still struggle with self esteem but I think everyone does. When I struggle I say it. I tell her I feel fat or ugly. I feel like my nose is too big... ect. Then I back it up by saying how I know my perceptions aren't right and how I am a child of the one true King. I am precious. If nothing else it might take away a little piece of that, "I am all alone in this" feeling for her and that she will learn to combat the lies with the truth.