What if I told you that you could develop a lasting relationship with your child, characterized by love and dare I even say friendship? Can you imagine, a time when you and your son or daughter delight in your relationship? Maybe the thoughts of that are far off, but there is actually a strategy that can allow for an amazing relationship to cultivate between you and your child. It’s called getting your child’s heart.
While that may sound confusing or even a bit intimidating, it’s really not that hard. There are some steps to take that will lead you to an incredible end result. A relationship with your child that you and he both enjoy!
I’m not going to lie to you, though. This isn’t a post that promises 5 easy steps and BAM!…you have your son or daughter’s heart!
You need a lifetime to hone and refine these actions. And that’s exactly what they are: ACTIONS! You’ll have to have an active part in this process!
Ask yourself, is it worth it? I’m here to tell you that your child needs you and it WILL be worth it! I need you to commit to being intentional about these things because the heart of your child is at stake!
He needs you! And you need to be faithful!
LOVE GOD AND OBEY HIS WORD
First and foremost you must have a love for God and obedience to His Word. This is an absolute must.
Have you ever heard someone say they wished kids came with instruction manuals? Well, they do! 2 Peter 1:3 says that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. That means that Scripture is very useful for raising kids!
It’s not enough just to know the Word, though. We need to obey it! Put into practice what Scripture says and do it!
Teach your kids the Scriptures and help them to love it! Pour God’s Word into their hearts so they will learn to hear God’s voice and obey it. But….first, you must do this yourself! More is caught than taught. Kids take their cues from adults. They need to see us, as parents love and obey God.
If we teach a strong love and obedience to Christ, then more than likely, our kids will want to join us. When we teach our kids to love and obey God, we begin to get their hearts.
Maybe you feel deficient in your Bible knowledge. There’s no better time to learn. You could even do this WITH your child! You don’t have to be an expert, you just need to start by reading the Bible!
HAVE A STRONG CHRIST CENTERED MARRIAGE
Keeping Christ in the center of your marriage is so important. Kids need to know their parents love each other, and the best way to love each other is by loving Christ. When He is the center of your marriage, your parenting will be different.
If for whatever reason you find yourself parenting alone, that’s ok! You can still make Christ the center of your parenting. Keep your focus on the Word of God and display God’s love through the way you parent.
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Just a little something to encourage you and help remind you how important it is to have our kids' hearts!
KEEP CLEAR COMMUNICATION
Talk to your kids. But don’t just talk…LISTEN. Kids want to be heard. They want to know that they have a voice and that their voice matters. Listen to your child’s heart. You may be surprised by what is inside.
Proverbs 20:5 says, ‘The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.’ (ESV Version).
Ask questions to understand your child. Draw out what they are thinking and don’t just assume you know what it is! I’ve made that mistake more times than I’d care to admit. Sometimes I ask myself, ‘Why didn’t I just listen before I jumped to conclusions?’
When you take the time to listen to your kids, they begin to want to listen to you as well. You will begin to see him give you his heart.
GIVE YOUR CHILD CLEAR BOUNDARIES
When you set clear boundaries, everyone is happier! It just makes sense. It is so much easier for a child to know what to expect if they know what YOU expect!
On the contrary, if your boundaries change with the wind, your child will too.
It’s not fair to NOT set a limit and expect that he will know what you are wanting. Set the boundaries and then take the time to teach your child what you mean by them. Spend time training them to stay within the parameters of whatever it is you have decided is a good boundary.
TEACH AND TRAIN YOUR CHILD
Imagine you have just started a new job working in a factory. It’s your first day and as you walk through the door, you find yourself at the head of an assembly line and things start flying at you. You scramble to figure out how to put together whatever the thingamabob is that keeps coming at you, but you’re totally unsure how. Why? Because no one ever taught you the way to do it.
Now think for a minute about your kids. Is this what they might be feeling?
Is there constant conflict and frustration in your house?
Let me ask you to do an honest assessment. Have you properly taught and trained your child how to do whatever it is you are wanting? Whatever the source of conflict, (leaving messes, shirking responsibilities, even attitudes) have you spent time training your child to act and respond correctly.
If you are frustrated, there’s a good chance they are too. Because let me tell you, if it was me standing at the head of the assembly line and I didn’t know what to do as things were flying at me, I would want to walk away and never even try. Train your child!
SPEND TIME TOGETHER
Rules without relationship equals rebellion. You have to put the time into your child in order to get your child’s heart. It’s sort of like the glue that holds everything together!
Your child doesn’t care how much you know until he knows how much you care. Period. If you try to do any of these other things without a relationship with your child, you will fail. Spending time with your child, especially in a non-conflict time shows him that you are interested in him for who he is.
There is nothing more beautiful than having your child’s heart and there is no better time to start working toward that then NOW!
It’s never too early to start implementing these things. Likewise, it’s never too late to start, either. Don’t believe the lie that your child is too far gone to start getting his heart.
You will find that there will be joy in the journey of parenting when you have his heart. You will develop a lifelong friendship with your child. What could be more awesome than that?