I really believe that one of our jobs as parents is to be, in our children's lives, a source of strength and confidence. How do we do that? Doesn't that just come from within? Well, yes, hopefully they have grown up understanding that they are gifted in ways that are unique to them... that they have value and worth, not because of what they do but who God made them to be! If we have encouraged them in their interests, been there to cheer them on when they've succeeded as well as failed, spoken love and support into their lives...then they will have a wonderful sense of self and their potential.
On the other hand, if we have parented with criticism and condemnation, not only will our children grow up to be unsure of themselves, but ironically, they can become bullies...trying to build themselves up at others' expense since they aren't receiving the affirmation they so desperately crave. I know I have recommended this before, but if you want to honestly speak love into the lives of your children, read the book The Five Love Languages (of children, of teenagers) by Dr. Gary Chapman. The basic premise is the same in all of the books about the love languages: everyone "hears" love spoken to them via different channels. We must, for our children's sake as well as the sake of our marriages, learn the love languages of everyone in our family so that there is no doubt in anyone's mind that we have their backs, support them in their endeavors and daily life, and offer unconditional love in our family relationships.
I've always appreciated the following poem, written by Dorothy Law Nolte:
...especially the last line. Let us take it to heart! Thank you Dorothy for putting it so succinctly.