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God desires to have an intimate relationship with you and your children. He wants to raise up a generation that seeks His kingdom. You have the opportunity to partner with God in raising the next generation by taking a heart approach to parenting.
What is a heart approach to parenting?
You may get your child to obey when you focus on behavior modification, but is he obeying because he has to or because he wants to?
A heart approach to parenting focuses on molding the heart of your child and helping him make lasting changes that will become the basis for conviction, values, and conscience.
Training the heart trains your child for life.
He learns to respect authority, show humility, manage his emotions, confess his sins, and seek repentance. You are training the next generation to seek the Lord.
Is your heart like a tomb?
I love the analogy of your heart compared to a tomb. Tombs in the Middle East are usually made of stone—either cut into a hillside or stone caskets like these on the Mount of Olives. The outside of the stone is clean and bright.
Contrast the outside of the tomb with the inside, which is filled with decay and the stench of death.
(photo credits: Mark and Chantelle Foster)
If your child obeys outwardly but inwardly is grumbling, he is like these tombs. He has a clean outside and a decaying heart. When you view your child’s heart in light of the tomb analogy, there is no question that you should make the effort required to parent with a heart approach.
Challenges to a heart approach to parenting
A heart approach to parenting is more time consuming. You cannot simply send your child to a timeout and go about your day when the time is up. Instead, you need to invest the time required to make emotional connections with your child. You also need to invest the time required to take the steps outlined in the book such as having your child take a break until he is ready to debrief the situation. Because you are not putting a time limit on the break, this could be awhile.
Possibly one of the most challenging aspects of a heart approach to parenting is that it starts with your own heart. I don’t know if you have noticed how much parenting develops your own character, but I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I am not even close to the same person I was when my first child was born. I look back and see so many ways that God has used my parenting journey to develop my own character. Even though some of the times have been painful, I am so thankful for the way God has shaped my character and changed my heart.
Benefits of a heart approach to parenting
So if parenting with a heart approach is time consuming and painful, why would you want to use this approach?
- Because you have the opportunity to connect more deeply with your child and show him love.
- Because it follows the example God set for us.
- Because you are God’s hands in molding your child’s heart. You can help him learn to respond to God.
Parenting is Heart Work
Disclaimer: As a member of the Parent Training Center Launch Team, I received a copy of Parenting is Heart Work in exchange for my honest review and promotion. All opinions are my own, and no other compensation was received. I am disclosing this according to FTC Guidelines.
This foundational parenting book starts with a study of the 750 times the word “heart” is used in the Bible. That changes everything. God’s Word reveals insight into strategies for change in a person’s life.
Concordia University’s Family Ministry Program requires that every student read Parenting is Heart Work. Dr. Ben Freudenburg says, “This is our go-to book for parenting. Its biblical practical approach is powerful.”
This book is revolutionizing how I approach parenting, discipling, and disciplining my children. It is allowing me to stay calm and set the tone of our home. Even though there are times I want to raise my voice and make them obey because “I said so,” I am able to stay calm and keep the end result in mind.
What I like about the book
- The chapters are short and easy to read.
- You can begin implementing the practical advice right away.
- It is biblically based.
Who would benefit from the book
Any parent who has a child with any of these characteristics would benefit from this book:
- outwardly obedient
All of these characteristics have heart issues that should be addressed. Basically, every parent would benefit from reading this book.