GodsDesign Sampler FULLSAMPLER-compressed - Page 37



G ender I dentity and S exual O rientation : O ur  B est C ounsel
musicians. A mom might praise her daughter’s athletic skill and remark on
the fantastic athletic skill that God has given to many women.
Encourage your kids to accept gladly the gift God has given them in
their sex. Proverbs 22:6 says we are to “train up a child in the way he should
go.” Teaching a child to celebrate their sex and all of their gifts of personality, abilities, and so forth is a way of training up our child in the way God,
the ­Gift-­Giver, desires.
Encourage Identification with the ­Same-­Sex Parent
Second, encourage the child’s identification with the s­ame-­sex parent. It
appears that the single factor most likely to encourage a secure and stable gender identity for our children in those early years is in this ­identification—­that
the boy identifies with or sees himself as like his father and the girl likewise
with her mother. This identification of the child with the s­ame-­sex parent,
in turn, appears to be encouraged most by an ongoing, loving, and accepting
presence of that parent in the life of the child, including active praise for such
identification. For example, a dad could have his f­ our-­year-­old boy help with
a task and say, “We’re a great team; it’s great to have another man to help me.”
The affirmation of the other parent is critical too, such as a mom adding, “I
sure am glad that I have two strong men to help around the house.”
Fathers need to be available to their young sons and mothers to their
young daughters during those critical first five years of life. Since parenting young children usually coincides with the hardest period of establishing careers, the challenge of balancing work and family commitments will
require considerable reflection and prayer.
While there is some distinction between quality and quantity of time,
parents cannot always create quality time when they only have a small
quantity to give. Children have to be ready too for quality time, so providing a basic, dependable quantity of time is critical.
Express Affection
Above all, the honest and steady expression of affection by both parents is
critical to gender identification. Love your child with abandon.8 Remember
that parenting that provides both love and discipline produces the best outcomes in children’s lives. In addition to meeting the child’s relational need
for loving acceptance, you are guarding your child against seeking to meet
that need elsewhere, possibly in a very inappropriate way.
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