Today we are talking about how to impact the heart and change behavior in your kids. In the moment it can be really easy to get caught up about the behavior of your child but what is most important is the heart of your child.
Over the last nineteen years of parenting, we have discussed this topic so many times. We have had to remind ourselves not to take things personally and to have realistic expectations of our kids because when they are little they are not saved yet and they do not have the elements of knowing the Lord, knowing his word, being able to have self-control and preaching to themselves and all the things that we as mature Christians do have.
This is going to be a very practical podcast on how to deeply engage in your kid’s hearts.
It’s such a busy life these days and there are so many things that can occupy our time and if you really audit your parenting and the parenting of your spouse and then when you reflect on the rhythm of the week how much of the week was full of surface conversations versus real heart to heart conversations.
The enemy wants us to be so caught up in so much business that we don’t have the time but many people don’t recognize this as the challenge. A lot of people think that time isn’t an issue and that as long as they spend quality time with their kids everything will be fine but you CANNOT have quality time without quantity time. Without quantity time you cant go deep!
So the question is “how do you do that with a busy schedule?” well you need to analyze what you are busy doing and if it’s more important than quantity time with your kids so that you can have deep fruitful relationships.
Sometimes the answer to the question is including your kids in the business. Take your kids to work with you. Talk during car rides.
So we are going to give you some practical tips here because open communication is so important and this topic is more relevant than ever because of our culture today. We are the first generation who are raising kids that are more unsocial because of social media and access to the internet.
So we are going to jump into it!
We have three keys for you that we are going to discuss!
How to Impact the Heart & Change Behavior
Heart Not Behavior
Nothing is Taboo to Talk About
1. Heart Not Behavior
- Matthew 15:18-20 says “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
- So, the heart is super important and it is naturally wayward. And this brings us back to one of our earlier points which is to have the correct expectations of our children! The bible says in Proverbs 22:15 “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.” it literally says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child! Once we understand the state of our child’s heart we begin to have a different perspective and our expectations will naturally change.
- It is important to have biblical expectations of your kids so that you are not expecting them to have the reaction and symptoms of a spiritually mature person when in reality they don’t know the Lord and therefore can not have the fruits of the spirit.
- It is important to be patient. We have busy lives and to have patience with our kids can be hard sometimes but it is vital! Tending to the heart takes time. If you are just looking at the behavior and you discipline and move on you are using a short term approach and only temporarily fixing the problem at hand. Again, the problem is not behavior it’s the heart. In order to correct the heart, we need to be speaking to it during wartime (bad behavior) and peacetime (good behavior) we need to speak to our child’s heart when they do something wrong as well as when we are having good times together!
- When we speak to the hearts of our children we are not only correcting or encouraging their hearts but we are also teaching them how to correct their own hearts. We are not always going to be here for our children so it’s important that when they move out and start their own lives that they know how to lead and correct their hearts when it is needed.
- When your child is misbehaving your reaction and response to that misbehavior will either cause your child to escalate even more or to calm down.
- If you can’t come before the Lord and ask Him to reveal any sin in your heart or corrections that need to be made then you will not be able to teach your kids how to.
- So, what is the ultimate goal of parenting? It’s that your kids come to know God and that they are sent out of the home with the great commission mindset to share the good news and living their lives to be ambassadors of Christ.
- It’s important to remember that your kids do not need you. They need Jesus. And if we just had this mindset everything would change. We should be disciplining our children so that they can obey God not so that they can obey us.
- Raising children to know and love God is a long term commitment and sadly most parents miss this and end up taking the short term approach to parenting which is disciplining to correct behavior instead of disciplining to correct the heart. When you discipline to correct behavior you’re doing it out of your own will. How futile is that to believe that in your own strength you can actually change a human being.
- Bad behavior is a result of a heart condition. You may discipline a kid for saying a bad word but what’s more important is that you ask the question “why is that kid saying a bad word”.
- Don’t take this the wrong way! We believe in discipline but discipline is only a part of the process. If you don’t examine your child’s heart and find the root cause of the bad behavior that behavior will not stop.
- It’s important to understand that bad behavior is a result of disobedience to authority. If they can’t obey you how will they obey God?
- 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 7 says “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
- It is important to reflect on this scripture and ask ourselves “are we kind in how we interact with our children? Are we envious? And are we too prideful to admit when we are wrong?” we should be approaching relationships with our kids in love.
- Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,”
- But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” if we are not working with our kids so that they can yield to wisdom then when they are older the likelihood that they are going to yield to God’s wisdom is less likely.
2. Heart Conversations
- It is easier for people to make a change when it is their idea. Now, kids should obey their parents no matter what but it can be even more fruitful when they understand why they are obeying. We should be explaining things to our children and helping them to have their own heart convictions. Once your children have their own personal convictions that align with God’s word your parenting will be a lot easier!
- This starts with a desire to have deeper conversations and deeper relationships with your kids. If you don’t have that desire then the business of life and your fleshly agenda will get right in the way.
- The reality is that no one likes to be talked at. Do you honestly think that your kids were born with the desire to be talked at for the rest of their life? We need to treat our children the way we would want to be treated and this is not passive parenting you are the authority but what we are talking about is correct communication that is loving and effective.
- It is important to ask questions but it’s also important to understand that we are all wired differently and asking questions can be harder for certain people. Here’s the trick, ask three questions deep. Instead of just simply asking how someone’s day was, ask why their day was good or why it was bad and then ask them what their favorite part was. This is the key to having deep conversations. Never ask “yes or no” questions, they don’t lead anywhere.
- One of the biggest complaints with children is that they feel like their parents don’t know them. The main reason for this epidemic is that kids don’t have transparency modeled for them and because parents don’t care enough to invest in deeper relationships with their kids!
- Silence is good. Yes, it can be awkward sometimes but if you have never experienced silence in a conversation with your kids then it’s probably because you have never asked a question that requires deeper thought and processing. Are you only asking surfacy questions or thought-provoking deep questions?
- James 1:19 – 20 says “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
- A great question to ask your kids is “do you think I am a good listener?”
- In an argument or conversation sometimes it can be hard to allow the other person to speak when you think you are right but whether you are right or not if they are unable to speak they will break down because you are abusing your authority and being prideful.
3. Nothing is Taboo to Talk About
- If there is anything that your kids are not allowed to talk to you about you are going to run into problems.
- At some point, as your kids are getting older you are going to have to talk about masturbation, pornography, puberty, boundaries, gender identity, etc. if you are having a hard time talking to your kids about heart things then how can you expect them to come to you when they are seven and have been touched in the wrong way?
- If you overreact immediately when your kid comes to you with something important or personal then you have immediately shut the door for open communication and it will be even harder for your kids to talk to you about things.
- Ultimately God is the father of your kids and it is so important that your ultimate goal is to point them to God. and one of the best ways to do this is to pray with your kids and pray for your kids.
- We cannot change children’s hearts only God can do that, and that can be a scary thing to know which is why it is so incredibly important to pray for your children. Pray that they know God, that they love him, and that they live for him.
Scripture In This Episode:
Matthew 15:18-20 – “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
Proverbs 22:15 – “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of correction will drive it far from him.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the Lordis the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
James 1:19-20 – “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
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