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In my work as a marriage and relationship coach I encounter many people who are dealing with parenting challenges. I also see the effects of the parenting they received on their current relationships. Therefore I wanted to share these thoughts on parenting.

A parent's primary job is to reveal self-worth to their children. Self-worth is not to be earned or granted. One cannot earn what is already yours. No one can give you what you already possess. Self-worth is a God-given birth rite. It simply needs to be affirmed.

Parents reveal this worth to their kids through love, nurturing, safety, discipline, and respect. Through these a child sees his or her worth and internalizes a base of security and confidence. The child feels validated and this becomes the psychological foundation on which he or she can build.

This foundation is critical for the present and future well-being of every child. It influences the way life is engaged, decisions yet to be made, and the quality of future relationships. This sounds daunting perhaps, but the good news is parents do not have to be perfect, just consistently loving and present to their children. Of course it is not easy but it is a job that deserves your very best.

Even when your children become adults they still look to you for affirmation. They want to know you are proud of them and that you are still there when they need you. However, if you have done your job well they will leave you to live their own lives. Now it is their turn. This is the bitter sweet reward for all you have invested. There is really nothing better in life!

Whether you are a parent or not you can see the simple truth of self-worth is important to grasp. So many conflicts in relationships escalate because one or the other person feels insecure about him or herself. If you know your worth is not determined by anyone, including your partner, then you will feel less threatened by your differences. When you feel yourself over-reacting, stop and remind yourself that something from your past, a time when you felt unworthy, is being triggered. Then you can affirm yourself and choose to respond to the situation at hand instead of to your past.

Meditation: Spend some time daily getting quiet and reflecting on your self-worth. Affirm that your worth is your foundation upon which you can build your life. Reflect on how you can also affirm and reveal this gift to your partner and your children.

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