Parenting – identity

“What is the best advice you can give to protect young people from the bad elements of social media?”

That was a question someone asked media mogul Gary Vaynerchuk on a clip I watched


It was, and is, a great question.

Ban phones? No.

Monitor your kid’s activity on the platforms? No.

Petition government for more stringent laws? No?


His reply was profound in its simplicity – “Make sure you raise your kids to have a high self-esteem”.

That hit me hard as a father of 2 young girls. Perhaps especially as a father of 2 young girls.

And it made complete sense. Psychologists tell us that low self-esteem in kids can present as

  • Difficulty in making and keeping friendships.
  • Aggressive or violent behaviour (boys)
  • Difficulty in asserting themselves (girls)
  • Substance abuse
  • Risky and early sexual behaviour
  • Poor academic performance
  • Negative body image
  • Seeking affirmation and validation in unhealthy places

But is self-esteem something God values and is it something parents should be aiming for?

Well, I can’t answer this for anyone else of course. What I do know and what I do see in scripture, is that our identity is absolutely important to God. He seems to go to great lengths to tell us who we are.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

And in Psalm 139, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

And do we need any more affirmation of our identity than to know that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”, as John 3:16 tell us?

As their earthly father, I want my girls to know that their identity ultimately comes from only one place – their Heavenly Father.

  • Not their report card…
  • Not them making the sports teams…
  • Not who their peers say they are…
  • Not who their teachers say they are…
  • Not who (or what) social media says they are…
  • Not the likes, comments or clicks…
  • Not even who us as parents, say they are…
  • And amazingly, they are not even who they themselves say they are.

They are, in reality, and despite what society may tell us, who God says they are. Helping them understand this will lead them to be the healthiest version of themselves.

How do I help my kids know who God says they are?

There is of course only one place. The place where God tells us all about life, how to live it, who He is and yes, who we are.

Introducing our kids to Jesus and helping them to know how to read and study scripture is among the most important things a Christian parent can be doing. And of course, the hard part about this is that we need to hold the mirror up to ourselves here first. Thankfully, for me at least, God is gracious and sovereign. My kids are, after all, really His children.

Of course, you could be a “model parent” and things still go off track with your children.

Take comfort in the words of Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.”

Is it important then to raise kids with a healthy self-esteem? I think so, but I think even more important is for them to understand that they were specifically and uniquely created by our Heavenly Father, with a plan and a purpose and that they are truly unconditionally loved. That their value comes from their identity in and with The One who created them.

If our children understand and internalize this truth, they will be well positioned from trying to find their value in people, places and platforms that are not good for them.

By Sheldon Delport