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.


  1. nice post and nice tips. thanks for commenting at my blog. 🙂

  2. Jadeingua - 01.20.11 says

    Very informative post Mommy Chris!
    So true,I'm trying very hard to apply that to my kids 😀

  3. hi, mommy chris! how can i join your mommy moments?

  4. hi Chris, i'm doing my usual clicking and visiting blogs on my roll. i saw Mommy Talks and was wondering what is it. It looks like a new meme, is it? Color me interested 🙂

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