Change of Heart

What does change of heart mean? How can we help our kids have a change of heart? Is this our goal when we discipline? These are some important questions we need to ponder upon as parents. God has given us the responsibility to help our children and discipline them so that they will know the way to go when they grow up.

I am sharing some parenting insights I have received from an email subscription which touches the subject “change of heart”. It is my prayer that we all learn to shepherd our kids so that they will have a change of heart whenever they are disciplined.
When a child has done the wrong thing, it’s often helpful to require some alone time with instructions like, “You need to take a break. Come back and we’ll talk about this after you change your heart.” Children may not understand how it happens but with practice they can learn to change their hearts. A change of heart in children involves four steps:

1. Stop fighting, calm down, and be willing to talk about the problem

2. Acknowledge having done something wrong

3. Be willing to change

4. Commit to doing right

These are all steps that a child can do. Ideally we would also like to see two other steps take place:

5. Feel sorrow for doing wrong

6. Have a desire to do what’s right

Now, that may sound like a lot, but children grow into this process slowly and we can help them through the steps. If your son has been disrespectful in the way he spoke to you, first he needs to stop and settle down and be willing to work on the problem. Then secondly, he needs to acknowledge that he was wrong. Thirdly, he needs to be willing to respond differently next time. And lastly, he needs to commit to trying to do better.

Sometimes children may only settle down (Step #1) in the “break.” Then they are ready to process the other steps with the parent. Other times, children may be able to work through all four steps and then just report back to the parent. The only prerequisite for coming back from a break is that a child be willing to work on changing the heart.

Your child may be ready to change without knowing what the right thing is to do next time. Remember, we’re looking for heart level changes. Once your child has had a change of heart, then you can help your child learn what was wrong and what he or she can do differently next time.

Remember, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) Teaching children to change their hearts is a valuable lesson that they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.

This tip comes from the book, Home Improvement, The Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

An Immediate Follow Through

Another invaluable parenting tip that I received and would like to share with you! I hope you take time to read this article after you check out lipo 6 hers because there is nothing more important than disciplining our kids while they are still small….

A valuable tool in the discipline process is an Immediate Follow Through. Immediate is an important word here. Immediate Follow Through teaches children to obey quickly. A delayed follow through gives children an ambiguous message.

We’re not suggesting that you become overly authoritarian in your approach with children. Many times what kids need is just love and encouragement, but when you see that children need correction, it’s important to do it clearly in order to maximize the learning experience.

What kinds of consequences do you use? We believe that the most effective parenting takes place when parents have a toolbox full of consequences and don’t only rely on just one. After all, different consequences work better with some children than they do with others. In fact, one consequence may work better with a child at one time than it will with the same child at another.

It’s best to have a variety of consequences to choose from rather than always relying on the same consequence for every situation. This requires planning and consideration, two commodities that aren’t always available at the heat of the moment. The fact is, however, that many of the offenses our children experience are repeat offenses. This means that you can plan now for the next time this problem reveals itself.

Taking away privileges, giving more work or assignments, taking a break, asking for an apology, or missing out on an activity or event are just a few things to help you get started. Remember that the goal is to help children change their hearts. Look for consequences that bring about that change, not just consequences that make children serve a sentence for a “crime” committed.

Heart-based parenting requires work, more work than we ever imagined. Regularly pray for your children and ask God to give you wisdom about correction. Pray that God will change your child’s heart. That is really the key. God uses us, as parents, as tools in our children’s lives but he is ultimately the one who changes the heart.

Help Children Change Their Hearts

Got this from an email subscription. If you are like me, discipline is a common issue at home and how we discipline our kids have a huge effect on them. I find this article very helpful, hope it helps you too!

Too often parents focus only on behavior, getting the right actions down, but they don’t address the heart. Jesus criticized the Pharisees, saying that they looked good on the outside but their hearts were still not changed. He said, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

Focusing on behavior change is not enough. Many parents work hard to help their children look good on the outside. Inadvertently, these parents teach their children “image management” the ability to appear good, clean, and nice. A change of heart is what children really need though.

Unfortunately, you can’t force children to change their hearts. But we can do a lot to motivate them to make the necessary changes. We’ve identified several tools that, when used properly, address the heart. First, use sorrow instead of anger in the discipline process. Parents who misuse this technique often lay a guilt trip on their children. The key is to be genuine. If you, as a parent, look past your anger for a moment you will see that you truly are sad about what your child has done because you know the long-term consequences of such behavior. Reflect it in a gentle way. It’s amazing to see how children will respond.

Another way to influence a child’s heart is to use the scriptures. The Bible has an amazing quality, the ability to pierce through to the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Don’t use the Bible in a harsh way. Instead reveal what the Bible has to say about being kind or respectful or obedient. There’s a lot of wisdom and conviction that comes through the scriptures.

Be sure to talk about the heart during times of correction. “I can see you’re angry because I said no, I’d like you to take a break for a bit and settle your heart down and when you’re ready, come back and we’ll talk about it.” It will take work and a child may need some long times to settle down at first, but a change of heart is worth it in the end. Resolve the tension by having a Positive Conclusion together. Talk about what went wrong and why it was wrong. Address heart issues, not just behavior and help children see things from a deeper perspective.

You may think of some other ideas but whatever you do, don’t rely on simple behavior modification techniques. They don’t go deep enough and often don’t address the real issues.

This parenting tip comes from the book, Home Improvement, The Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

Correction’s First Step

I received this from an email subscription. I am excited to share this tip with you. I learned something, I hope you do too!When you need to correct your child, start with calm words, avoiding threats or harshness. If children can respond to words then no further consequence is necessary. After all, that’s the mature way to handle conflict and mistakes. When a boss sees an employee doing something wrong, the best thing is to start with words of correction. If that doesn’t work, the boss may have to bring in some other kind of consequence. You’re teaching your child something very important when you start the correction process with words. You might even say to your child, “If words work, then that’s all we need. If you don’t respond to my words, then we’ll have to go to the next step.” Whether you’re working with a preschooler jumping on the couch or a sixteen-year-old coming in past curfew, the principle is the same—start with words of correction.We’re not suggesting that every time there’s an offense, you have a dialogue. If your son hits and you’ve already talked about hitting, then you can just proceed to the next step. What you’re trying to do, however, is train your children to eventually receive correction through words without needing a further consequence.Although your kids may need more than words at first, over time you’re moving them in the direction they should go in order to listen to God. It’s always best to respond to the whispers of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. But when we don’t listen, he’ll use other ways to get our attention. As parents, we don’t like to go further, but we will if we have to. Children need to see that their responsiveness or resistance determines the extent of the correction.For more on how to build a good Correction Routine with your children, consider the book, Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

When Your Toddler Hits

iWhen Toby was around a year old, he loved to throw his toys everywhere. Now, he still does it once in awhile but it has definitely lessened. Now, he has started hitting. He hits his sister, sometimes, when he is angry or when a toy was taken away from him. Sometimes, without no apparent reason. He just suddenly hits his sister. I am quite alarmed by this. I try to stop him and talk to him. I explain that it hurts others and its not good. I dont know though if I am getting through to him.

I did a bit of research and I learned that toddlers love to repeat things over and over. They also want to see reactions from others. Here are some tips taken from iVillage, (article made by Laura Davis and Janis Keyser) that I would like to share with those moms who are on the same boat as I am.

  • Model the behavior you want to teach. Often we are so surprised, scared, embarrassed or angry when our children hit that we intercede too roughly. This gives children a mixed message and also serves to make both children feel more tense and upset. Children will better learn from the interaction if you are calm, firm and gentle and use your words.
  • Give your child information and help interpret the response he is getting. Tell you son, “It hurts when you hit someone. Jessica is crying (pulling away) because she doesn’t like to be hit.”
  • Support the victim. Encourage the child who was hurt to speak up, to say, “No,” or “Don’t hurt me.” Also, help your son make things right with the child he hurt. Maybe he can bring the other child some ice or a blanket or something else that will comfort him.
  • Offer your son an alternative. When your son hits someone, he has a good idea that he is trying to communicate. He may be trying to say, “Let’s play,” or “Hi!” or “Move over,” or “Don’t take my toy.” If you can figure out what he is trying to say, you can redirect him to another way to say it. “If you want to ask Jessica to play, you can say, ‘Let’s play,’ or you can bring her a toy.” “If you want Jessica to move, you can say, ‘Move.’”
  • Supervise him closely when he is in situations where he is likely to hit and prevent any hits you can. If you stay close to your son, you may be able to offer him an alternative before he hits someone. If you see him approaching someone with his hand lifted, you can step in, gently hold his arm and remind him, “If you want to say ‘Hi,’ you can wave or blow a kiss.” If you can reach him before he hits someone he is mad at, you can stop his arm, and say, “I’m going to stop you from hitting Timmy. If you are mad, you can tell him, ‘I’m mad!’”
  • Learn to anticipate his behavior. If you stop a hit, he may be likely to try to hit again, soon. Stay close to ensure his success and to continue to offer him safer options. The more times he uses alternative methods of interacting, the better he learns them.
  • Choose situations where he is most likely to be successful. You may have observed that his hitting happens more in certain situations or with certain children. He may be sensitive to large groups and would be more able to control himself in a small consistent group of children. He may do better when he is outside than when he is inside. He may do better one-on-one with another child than in a group. He may be more likely to hit if he is tired or hungry. He may be successful with a group of kids for up to two hours, but after that, he begins to lose control. If you spend some time observing him and talking to other people who care for him, you may be able to get some clues about when and where he is most likely to be successful. Then you can try to arrange for him to be in those more successful circumstances.
  • Choose durable playmates and understanding parents. While your son is working on learning gentleness, it can reduce the stress on everyone if you spend most of your time with easy-going, active kids who don’t take being hit too seriously. Spending time with parents who understand young children’s clumsy attempts at being social, can help reduce your stress and sense of ostracism about your child’s behavior.
  • You can remove him from a situation if he seems unable to be successful. If he has had several attempts, or hits in a certain situation, it may be that that situation is too difficult for him. If possible, remove him from the situation and/or take him home and let him try again another day.
  • It can take time. Because there is so much to figure out about people, feelings and appropriate behavior, toddlers don’t learn these things fast. It may take a while for him to stop hitting. The exciting thing is that he is not just learning how to stop hitting, he is learning other, more successful ways to relate to and communicate with his peers. With your support, gentle, positive limits and encouragement, he will learn to be a social and compassionate person.