The number one reason parents have a prodigal child is that, at some point, they lost their child’s heart. In my message, “The Wise Use of Parental Authority” I said this:
Use Your Position as a Parent to Actively Seek Your Children’s Hearts; Don’t Abuse Your Position by Apathetically Saying or Doing Nothing
I have done many, many hours of teaching and preaching in relation to parenting. But probably the most vital statement I have ever made or will ever make about parenting is this:
The most important ingredient in raising good children is to win their hearts early, be extremely vigilant to not lose your child’s heart. If and when you ever do lose your child’s heart, do anything you have to do to win their heart back.
The Importance of Winning The Heart of Your Prodigal
Proverbs 23:26 – My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
And the verses after that verse tell why you need to get your children’s hearts: so you can protect them from the wrong people and the wrong things.
You don’t protect your child by saying to your child, “Don’t hang around those people. They will mess you up.”
You protect your child by having their heart so they want to please you and please God by staying away from the wrong people and the wrong places and the wrong activities.
Dad, are you actively seeking to win your child’s heart?
Mom, are you actively seeking to win your child’s heart?
How do you win the heart of your child?
In 2 Samuel 15, Absalom got the hearts of the men of Israel by listening to them, talking to them and touching them.
You deliberately seek times to listen to your child and talk to your child while also occasionally, properly touching them.
Every Moment you are around your child from the day they are born, and especially when they are in their teen years, you are thinking to yourself “What can I do to win my child’s heart?”
Then you don’t help with school work just so they can get their school work done. You help with school work so you can win their heart.
You don’t work in the yard just so the yard looks nice. You work together in the yard mainly so you can have a great time together as you win your child’s heart.
You don’t make a meal and clean the kitchen together so you can eat a meal and have a clean kitchen. You do it so you can spend the time together winning and keeping her heart.
Prodigal Parenting: Winning The Heart of Your Child
Why do you make sure there is no anger in your life? Because anger will keep you from being able to win or keep your child’s heart.
Proverbs 3:12 says, “For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”
Notice that delight is the foundation for the correction.
If you don’t have delight, then your correction is probably going to crumble because it doesn’t have a solid foundation. If you haven’t been delighting in your child and you try to correct them they are probably not going to respond the right way.
And that is true when they are 5. And it’s even more true when they’re 15. And it’s especially true when they’re 20!
Do you delight in spending time with your children? Because if you do, they will delight in spending time with you!
If you lose your child’s heart, then your child will probably also lose the heart to please you.
A man wrote about working with some children. He said they were
“picking fruit and vegetables, hoeing the garden, pulling weeds, cutting grass, cleaning up five years’ worth of neglect lying around the farm . . . and everything we did was laced together with smiles!
“I am convinced you cannot be a better parent than you are a smiler. The military and the jail will impart discipline, but only a smile will give you power with kids. Like a sunflower turns its face to the sun, a child will turn his face to anyone that will smile at him. What’s more, he will turn his heart.”
Dad and Mom, it’s more important to seek your child’s heart than it is to seek a job or money or worldly success!
People debate about whether children need quantity time or quality time.
I’ll tell you what they need. Children need as large a quantity of quality time as you’re able to give them.
And if you truly do your best and they know it they are likely to respond positively.
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Dr. S. M. Davis has been married to Rae Jean since 1969. God has blessed them with 4 daughters and 14 grandchildren. He is the founder and director of Solve Family Problems, a DVD ministry that gives Biblical solutions to critical family problems, as well as help to foresee and avoid problems. After serving for 36 years as the Pastor of Park Meadows Baptist Church in Lincoln, Illinois, Dr. Davis became a full-time conference speaker in 2012.