The Real Issues are Harder to See

Parents who only focus on behavior change are devastated when their children reveal unresolved issues of the heart as they grow older. The child who steals the family car, the unmarried girl who gets pregnant, or the teenage boy who starts using drugs have one thing in common: a heart problem that's developed over a long period of time.

The heart consists of thoughts, intentions, motivations, desires, and fantasies. Children play out foolishness in their heart long before it comes out in their actions. Many parents discipline with a two-step process. First, they see wrong behavior and second, they use a number of techniques to get their child to do what's right. Behavior is changed, but the heart isn't addressed. A better discipline process requires two more steps, making four altogether.

First, identify the wrong behavior. For example, your daughter begins to complain when you ask her to help with the dishes. Second, identify the dishonoring heart issue. Maybe she has a problem with anger or doesn't handle instructions well. Third, identify the honoring heart issue needed. She could develop flexibility, giving a few minutes to be helpful. Then, fourth, the right behavior grows out of the honoring heart issue. She could help with the dishes without complaining, or respectfully discuss an alternative. With these four steps, instead of two, you can address what's going on below the surface—a more complete discipline that teaches children about their hearts.

Giving a consequence isn't the end of the parent's responsibility. Sometimes a consequence just gets the child's attention, allowing the parent then to address deeper heart-related issues. Talk about the underlying motivations and the deeper issues. Helping children change their hearts is harder, but that's where the lasting change takes place.

What are some ways you've been able to address heart issues with your kids?

Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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  1. For children in single parent homes, heart issues are critical. If you are a single parent because of the death of your spouse then heart issues may be harder for you in the sense of wishing your loved one was there with you to help you craft and tenderize your children's hearts. Heart issues will be tender and gentle reminders of the loss of a spouse.

    If you are a single parent due to divorce then heart issues may be confusing for your children. If they visit the other parent often, there will be another influence in developing their hearts. Don't despair. Just keep at it slowly and methodically using the approaches Dr. Turansky and Joanne Miller have shared with you. It may take longer but eventually your children will grasp the concepts you are modeling.

    For some children of divorce anger issues may be so overwhelming that the anger over shadows what you are trying to accomplish with the heart. It's as if the heart is piled under layers of anger. The anger has to be peeled away if you want to get to the heart. Not an impossible task, just makes it a little harder. If anger issues are overwhelming your child, the some outside assistance may be needed.

    Help might be found in individual counseling or coaching sessions or through a children of divorce support group. Many times the anger comes from feeling like they are the only ones living with divorced parents. Learning there are other children in the same situation goes a long way in helping children deal with their anger. DivorceCare for Kids or DC4K is an excellent group support resource. (