When my boys were 6 and 8, Jean and I took them to Disneyland. That day, they were tired, wanted their own way, and had meltdowns. My solution was to say, “Control yourself, or you will never come here again.”
It was a silly parenting strategy on my part because Jean and I enjoyed going to Disneyland as much as the boys did. Which means I would have never followed through on the consequences I threatened.
Sometimes we lose sight of the big picture. Strategies like bribing, threatening, or counting to three are only slightly effective in controlling a child’s behavior. We focus on the short-term goal of winning a conflict with our child or altering their behavior all while missing the long-term goal of developing their character.
On our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Reaching Your Child’s Heart When They Disobey,” author Ginger Hubbard suggests a better approach.
She recommends asking heart-probing questions that help your children evaluate themselves, rather than relying on you to detail the problem and explain exactly how to solve it. Heart-probing questions help children recognize their mistakes and take ownership over them.
This program will give you practical insights on how to train up your child at age-appropriate stages, ask the right questions, and encourage your child in the right direction. Specifically, we’re discussing in-depth how to handle problems like lying, defiance, and tattling.
Our conversations were based on Ginger’s wonderful book, I Can’t Believe You Just Said That: Biblical Wisdom for Taming Your Child’s Tongue. As the title implies, it’s packed with biblical wisdom to help you connect with your child’s heart instead of only shaping their outer behavior.
When you become a special partner with us through our monthly “Friends of Focus on the Family” program, I’ll send you a copy of Ginger’s book as a way of saying thank you for touching others with the love of Christ. You’ll also receive member-exclusive benefits. To make your pledge, or for more information, click here or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).