5 Parenting Mistakes That Turn Your Child’s Heart From You

Learn the parenting mistakes to avoid and what to do instead to prevent rebellion or pushing your kids away.


What are the worst mistakes a parent can make? Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids! But parenting is challenging. It’s also a journey of discovery and growth. Sometimes it feels like every day there are new challenges that arise with children.

Raising children can be tough, but it’s worth it! I know sometimes you feel like you’re doing everything wrong, but just remember that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Many parents think that the most common mistake parents make is yelling at their children. This is definitely a big one, however, there are some additional parenting mistakes that can push your kids away.

It is important to know how these mistakes affect our children, so we can avoid them and instead provide a nurturing environment for our family and win our children’s hearts. Today I’m going to share 3 parenting mistakes you should avoid that can turn your child’s heart from you! 

5 Parenting Mistakes That Turn Your Child’s Heart From You

mistakes that turn your child from you

1. We strive to LOOK right but fail to emphasize the heart issues that are important.

If you look at the way you discipline, often you may discover that you spend much of your time on changing their behavior, rather than changing their hearts. This isn’t how to reach your child’s heart. Their heart isn’t touched, and God is concerned with the heart.

From the book Parenting is Heart Work:

The greatest parenting tip we can share wtih you is this: maintain a strong connection to your heavenly father. He offers spiritual guidance and direction to help you work through your own heart issues so you can become effective with your children. Ask God to show you the real issues your son or daughter is facing, then PRAY.”

2. We strive to keep our kids from the wrong while failing to befriend them ourselves.

In order to develop a relationship with our children and be connected families, we must spend time with them! It’s not enough to protect them from the wrong influences, people, or activities. We have to fill that void, by spending time with them. We need to make that a priority!

Unfortunately, it’s not something we can always do on our own timetable either. I think it’s important to allow time in your schedule daily just to spend time with your kids, but I have found that often they need my attention or a listening ear at times when I’m busy with something else. Nothing is more important though than being there when they want to talk.

Related Posts: Why You Need To Win Your Child’s Heart,  Four Simple Ways To Win Your Child’s Heart

They open up on their schedule, not just when you are ready to listen and say “Hey, what’s on your heart that you want to talk about? I’ve got 15 minutes.”

If you are available to listen, or just be there for them when they’re going through a difficult time, as they share their emotions with you it will create a bond. They then are more willing to hear you out, because they know you care.

The key is availability! ( It is also very helpful to just include them in your cooking, cleaning, errands, etc.)

3. We strive for compliance and forget the relationship that will bring compliance. 

In our efforts to raise “good children” and require obedience, it’s easy to become harsh as we strive to be firm.  That harshness and/or anger is something that will quickly destroy the relationship you have with your children.

Harshness and anger damage relationships! 

overcoming anger God's way

It’s much, much better to appeal to our children on the basis of love, rather than using fear of our anger to get them to do what they should.

In the booklet Solving the Crisis in Christian Parenting, it talks about this very thing and says it SO well:

What we didn’t realize was that there is a great difference between intimidating children into subjection and winning their hearts into submission. Intimidating children into subjection merely gains outward compliance. Having their hearts means gaining greater opportunity to influence their values.”

It’s so important to also remember that anger doesn’t address the issue of the heart, and confuses the learning process. The child is focusing more on avoiding your anger, than changing their heart. 

Dr. S.M. Davis counsels many Christian parents who are struggling with their children and has made the observation that when there is rebellion in a young person, there is almost always anger in one or both of the parents. The anger causes the parent to lose the child’s heart, and over time they rebel.

Are you raising a rebel? If you are ready to actively examine your parenting for these mistakes that can lead to rebellion, then this study is for you.

study guide Are you raising a rebel?

4. We strive for compassion without noticing their feelings.

We all want to see our children through the life circumstances that bring them pain. We want to guide them through these situations and hopefully build strength and character as they learn to navigate tough seasons in life.

But oftentimes, we relate our own feelings to the situations, based on our own experiences, and we miss how THEY are feeling in the process. 

Listen first. Pause before you speak and try to see the situation through their eyes. This will help you see your childs heart in the tough times. 

5. We strive for long-term results while missing the season they are currently in.

Even when our children are small, we dream about their futures. We picture them 10..15.. maybe even 20 years down the road as we try to imagine who God is growing these children to be. 

But we need to not get ahead of ourselves. We need to meet our kids where they are at today as God is molding and shaping them into the role He has for them. They will try many things, fail at some and excel in others. So we as parents need to be careful that we nurture them where they are at, instead of pushing too much where WE want them to be. 

How do I get rid of parenting mistakes?

We know there will be parenting mistakes. But with God’s help, we can ask Him to make us aware of any mistakes we may be making with your kids. He will give us the strength to repair damaged relationships when we ask how can I make up this parenting mistake He will show us! He will purposefully work to win the hearts of your children!

How do you recover from parenting mistakes?

Join me for a free 5-day series:  5 Parenting Mistakes that Lead To Rebellion

We will look at five ways you can inadvertently instill a rebellious spirit in your child’s heart, and Biblical answers will be given as to how to deal with early rebellion. A daily email will be sent for 5 consecutive days. 

Join our Free 5 day challenge: 5 Parenting Mistakes that Lead To Rebellion


mistakes that turn your child's heart from you

5 parenting mistakes that can turn your childs heart from you


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18 Responses

  1. Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It’s the little changes which will make the
    most significant changes. Many thanks for sharing!

  2. We are a bunch of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your website offered us with helpful information to work on. You’ve performed a formidable activity and our whole group shall be grateful to you.

  3. Hi Hayley! I’m so glad the post was helpful to you. Thanks for sharing on your site!

  4. Hi Jodie! I would suggest having a sit down family meeting. Tell them you aren’t going to raise your voice – that they need to learn to listen and obey without that. Ask them to help you choose appropriate consequences for when they don’t. You may be surprised at what they come up with. But then stay calm and simply ask “What is the consequence for not listening? And administer it. I’d also suggest doing character lessons on obedience to show why they need to listen & obey, and also lessons on attentiveness.

  5. Hi
    May I ask what discipline we should use please , I try not to raise my voice but when they don’t listen to you , how do you deal with that with out being intimidating x

  6. Oh, this is good stuff! There has to be a strong, close relationship with a whole lot of trust to be able to discipline effectively. As you said, you might see a temporary compliance, but just changing the behavior without shaping and molding the heart and character, there won’t be any lasting benefits. Thanks so much for sharing! (I’m going to link this to one of my parenting articles.)

  7. Hi Lorelei! That’s a tough situation. I would first wonder where she has heard or is hearing about transgender/fluid gender? Then I would gently lead her to God’s Word. Remind her that He made us male & female, and she is fearfully & wonderfully made. God made her JUST the way she is for a reason, and she is precious in His sight. Wanting to do tomboy things doesn’t change the fact that she is a girl. Keep referring her back to the truth of the Bible, and above all PRAY for her!

  8. Hi Kathie, I need some help here. My 13 years old daughter says she is a transgender/fluid gender. What should I do? I was a tomboy myself. Certainly wished I was a boy back then. Is tomboy considered as transgender? Although we love her unconditionally, is it selfish to hope she comes to her senses? I mean it would definitely easier to accept if she’s 21 but I just thought considering her age, she may still need to be guided? Thanks heaps

  9. It’s easy to get busy with “getting it all done” and fail to spend the time we should with our children, building a good relationship.

  10. Relationship is so crucial in parenting, and I almost missed that with all my task orientation. I’m so thankful for the ties that bind our family together!

  11. Thanks Terria! Glad you liked the post. Yes – we may intimidate them into obedience, but it doesn’t reach their heart so the change is only temporary. Very good strategy to stop what you’re doing and do something with them!

  12. This is great advice! I agree so much that having a relationship with our children leads to better behavior and attitudes. Angry moms rarely get more than temporary obedience. So I sit down, play video games with them or paint nails- whatever it takes.

  13. Mindy, I believe that making these mistakes could and often can cause us to lose the heart of our child. With an adult child there are a lot more variables than with younger kids or teens. I do believe though that you still need to invest in the relationship, and let them know you still love them even if they are making wrong choices.

  14. Thank you Patty! The old saying is true: Rules without relationship breed rebellion.

  15. Are these mistakes in the article about winning your child’s heart?
    Is it possible to do with an adult child that is just not happy because if many of her own choices

  16. Mam I want to have met with u once.

  17. Yes! Having worked with children for many years, I can affirm that these are all very valid points. There is something to be said of developing a deep, positive relationship before attempting to enforce tons of behavior standards. Thanks for sharing!

    God bless,

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