Monday, April 26, 2010
Parenting the Heart
Our church held a parenting seminar last night called "Parenting the Heart." We talked about two different models of parenting: Behavior Modification and Grace-based. We also had a panel with two couples that raised large (6 and 5 kids) families where the kids grew (and are still growing) up to thrive and actually still like the parents. :)
Some of the things we learned:
Self-discipline (read: self-control or willpower) is a learned behavior. If there is ineffective discipline as a child there will most likely be poor self-discipline skills as an adult.
Behavior Modification, when used as the sole source of discipline, can produce undesirable effects.
~the kid will do "behavior" if they know there is a reward for it - so they are doing it because they get something and NOT because it is the "right" thing to do
~the kid rebels because they feel they are being manipulated
~the kid becomes arrogant because they are able to "learn" the behaviors and then become critical of others and inflexible and often times too independent
~when they fail to live up to the standards set for them there is a massive amount of shame - "There is something wrong with me."
Grace-Based Parenting is about molding and motivating a kid by appealing to his/her heart, NOT appealing to the behavior.
~It is relational.
~It aims at the heart-not primarily the actions. The GOAL of grace-based parenting is to change the conviction/desires/wants of the child, NOT the behaviors. This way they learn to want to do the right thing for the right reasons, not just because they are afraid of a consequence or because they know they will get a reward.
~It relies on the energy and work of the Holy Spirit
~It is other-centered (meaning it is NOT ABOUT YOU-the parent)
~It leaves room for God's design - how the child was created
~It sets high standards, but also provides the means/power/energy to meet them
~It offers valuable help. Behavior Modification feels like manipulation while grace-parenting feels like, "You're helping me."
~It motivates by love and respect
From the panel:
*Provide a "freedom to fail" and let them know that they will always be loved
*Approach difficult situations with the attitude that you are fellow sinners (not that the parents can do no wrong).
*Prayer communicates love. It's virtually impossible for it to communicate anything else.
***Distinguish between disobedience and childish irresponsibility, and discipline accordingly.
Ex: A 12 year old boy loses a school book. This is childish irresponsibility and while it still needs to be dealt with, you should realize that it wasn't disobedience. He did not intentionally lose the book.
*Don't say "no" for the sake of saying "no." Think through your answers and be sure your motives for responding the way you do are appropriate.
*Kids don't need you to be their friends. They need you to be their PARENTS.
*If you want to know where your kids are and what they are doing, BE with them. Have the parties at YOUR house. Let the friends sleepover at YOUR house. Drive the carpool.
*You can't say "I love you" too much or in too many ways.
Here are some resources:
Shepherding a Child's Heart - Tedd Tripp
Families Where Grace is in Place - Jaff VanVonderen
How People Change - CCEF