Putting a Bandaid on a Heart Wound

Many of the most popular parenting blogs these days give this kind of advice:  Have your kids give up certain things and they will become better kids and then, naturally, better adults.  Make your kids work hard.  Stop indulging them.  Don’t make them the center of your world.  On the surface, it sounds like good advice.  But does it really address how to love our children?  So, here’s my question of the day to those of you who have kids at home:  Is your parenting style behavior based or heart based?

The problem with behavior-based parenting (i.e. focusing on what a child does, with discipline, consequences, or reward) doesn’t address the heart, theirs or ours.  And it often leaves them thinking as they mature into the teen and young adult years that if they mess up, they have lost their faith.  Because their faith has become a system of dos and don’ts, rather than a relationship based on grace.  (See Fuller Youth Institute’s recent study on Sticky Faith.)

Proverbs 4:23 says this: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life.”

Jesus said this in Matthew 15:18: ”But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile them.”

Behavior modification puts a bandaid on an open heart wound.  Grace-based parenting, heart-based parenting teaches heart and character development through relationship.  Relationship with Christ.  Relationship with parents.  Relationship with others.

I’ll be looking at two different ways of thinking more in depth by reviewing popular parenting “styles.”  Next up: Love and Logic by Foster W. Cline and Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel.download (1) 2.

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