Have you thought about why you need to win your child’s heart?
There is a spiritual battle raging in our children’s hearts daily, and as parents we cannot be complacent, hoping everything will turn out okay. Winning the hearts of our children is the most important thing we can do as parents, because if WE don’t win their heart, someone else will.
It so important to have their hearts because when we do, they are open to our teaching and instruction which gives us the opportunity to pour into them the truths that God is giving us to share with them. When we don’t have their hearts, we can’t pour any of those truths in.
If we want to be able to have an influence in our children’s lives, we must have their hearts. It will give us the opportunity to influence not just what they do, but who they are.
From the book Parenting is Heart Work:
God is interested in hearts because that’s where real and lasting change takes place. In fact, when you direct your energies toward your child’s heart, amazing things will happen. Parents often become the hands and feet God uses to mold a child’s heart. Our job is to find out where God is working and then partner with Him to do the deeper work necessary in our kids’ lives.
I love that statement about parents being the hands and feet God uses to mold a child’s heart. What an awesome responsibility we have!
So how do we go about winning the heart of our children?
1. Let them know we love them for who they are, not because of what they do.
If we don’t accept them or who they are, and/or they feel they can never gain our approval, they will give up trying, and give their heart to someone who will listen and accept them. We need to be sure we affirm them often, and not just focus on the flaws we see.
Some simple ideas of how to affirm them:
- Write them notes
- Tell them what you like about them
- Occasionally get them something little that you know they like
- Have special one on one outings (just a trip for ice cream, or a donut) This is when my kids open up the most to me!
- Brag on them to others when they can hear you
- Praise them for character
When was the last time you told your child something you liked about them, or what they did that you thought was great?
2. Be fair.
I am going to share something our pastor said about this, that expresses the idea very well:
“If I am facing a situation that requires me to administer discipline, I must ask mysel if the cause of the problem is innocence, ignorance, or rebellion? Have I taught and trained them or did I just expect them to know what I wanted? By using common sense rather than being unreasonable, I win their hearts.”
Unfortunately, I think that sometimes as parents we aren’t fair, and as a result we exasperate our children. That’s not fair to them, and when they get old enough that they can sense unfairness, they will resent it.
3. Show honor to them.
For parents who know the importance of teaching children to obey right away, it’s very easy to get in drill sergeant mode with the kids. Rather than ordering them to do things, we should ask them.
Treat them with the same honor and respect you would want to be treated with.
I have caught myself at times treating a child who was visiting our home, better than I did my own children. I would be more polite and kind with them, and then hear myself using a different tone with my own kids.
God convicted me and reminded me that children are people too, and we should treat them with honor. Say please and thank you to them, or “excuse me”, rather than “get out of my way.”
4. Show them affection, AND tell them you love them.
Don’t assume they know you love them. They need you to tell them that OFTEN.
Maybe your parents never said “I love you” to you, so this is uncomfortable. Your kids still need to hear it.
Also, show affection physically: lots of hugs, pats, tickles, etc.
These things may SEEM small, but they are very important in capturing your child’s heart. Choose on or to of them to to today!