Tending Your Child’s Heart

Tending Your Child's Heart - Parenting Like Hannah

One of the things I love about the ministry of Jesus is that he saw past the actions of people and understood what was in their hearts. Their actions might have been sinful, but if they had a tender heart towards God, He forgave them. If their actions appeared godly, but their hearts were full of ugliness, Jesus would rebuke them.

We will never totally know the hearts of anyone other than our own. In Fighting for Your Child’s Heart, I gave you several ways to attempt to assess the heart of your child. Whether or not you feel you know your child’s heart, there are specific characteristics you want to do everything possible to firmly plant in the heart of your child. I am sure if you asked twenty Christians, you would get twenty slightly different lists, but here are the ones we worked very hard to grow in the heart of our daughter:

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Fighting For Your Child’s Heart

Fighting For Your Child's Life - Parenting Like Hannah

Much has been written and discussed about when to intervene on behalf of your children and how much a parent should be involved. The truth is, every situation is a little different and it is difficult to make blanket statements about those sorts of things. There is one time though, every parent should intervene quickly and that is in the battle for your child’s heart.

As parents, we often become so focused on our child’s behavior we don’t even really consider how their hearts are developing. We just assume if they are obedient, they have obedient and humble hearts. We just know if they say “Yes, Sir” their hearts are respectful and considerate. Yet, as I have worked with hundreds of children and teens over the years, I have seen many obedient, polite children who had some of the most disrespectful, prideful hearts I have ever seen.

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Teaching Kids About Consequences

Teaching Kids About Consequences - Parenting Like Hannah
Some consequences are minor

 

This is not your normal discipline post. If you are struggling with discipline, you can check past entries under discipline for lots of ideas and tips. This post is about giving your children some of the “why’s” of God’s commands and principles. Sometimes God tells us to do things we may never really understand until we are in Heaven. Often though, God’s rules are not to keep us from “having fun” but to help us avoid all sorts of negative consequences.

Don’t get me wrong. No child wants to hear a constant litany of all of the bad things that can happen if they make a bad choice. Often in our efforts to be the “awesome” parent though, we forget to help our kids understand why God is so incredibly smart about the best ways for us to live our lives.

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Asking Kids Better Bible Questions

Asking Kids Better Bible Questions - Parenting Like HannahHow many people were on the Ark? What was the name of the Apostle who denied Jesus? Who was in jail with Silas? Often the questions we ask kids and teens about the Bible have them recall facts. If we are trying to dig a little deeper, the questions often result in getting the opinion of the person answering the question. Both of those types of questions can be useful in a Bible classroom or around your house. They can confirm what knowledge has been retained or what a child’s opinion may be on a variety of subjects.

There are other types of questions I want to encourage you to start asking children and teens as you talk about the Bible and its principles. These questions will encourage them to think a little deeper. What you want to do is to try to get them to begin seeing connections between Bible stories, godly principles and real life actions. Hopefully these questions will encourage them to think a little more carefully before making decisions.

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Toddlers and Chores

Toddlers and Chores - Parenting Like Hannah

I have a confession to make. We put our daughter to work when she was about eighteen months old. Worse yet, I think you should put your child to work, too. Now before you start researching child labor laws, hang with me for a moment.

We don’t talk about it in churches much these days, but God actually has quite a bit to say about work. From the Garden of Eden, when God immediately put Adam to work (Genesis 2:15) to the letters written by Paul, it is obvious God expects us to work. In fact, the most impactful verse may just be in Colossians 3:23, where Paul tells us to work as if we are working for the Lord and not for men.

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