Moments of Connection
Once again, your child talks back, hits their sibling, doesn’t do her homework, sneaks his smart phone after hours, and the list goes on of repeated misbehavior.
When you reflect on situations when your child is rebellious, how do you parent them?
Do you enforce limits on them or give them another quick consequence to momentarily solve the misbehavior?
If we want to reach our children for true change, we must win their heart by making time for moments of connection rather than temporary control of their behavior.
One way to gently win our child’s heart is to reflect the compassion of Christ as we parent. In John 8, we read about a woman who was caught in sin and the group of men that were harshly condemning her. I would imagine she felt guilt and fear as they had her stand in ugly embarrassment in front of a crowd. Jesus’ response gives us insight into how to compassionately respond to the wrongdoing in our children. Jesus first paused in silence when hearing about the misbehavior of the woman, as we should also pause when choosing a response to our child’s disobedience. He then spoke with wisdom for the situation at hand, helping everyone realize their own brokenness. And finally, in Jesus’s loving compassion, He did not leave her to continue on in her rebellion, but told her to change. Modeling compassion like Jesus means guiding our children towards change.
Unlike Jesus, we are not perfect. So as we look to Him as an example, we can reach our child’s heart by regularly sharing our need for a Savior. For me, sharing the need for a Savior has woven its way into our lives through apologizing to my three-year-old and asking God together for help in doing what is right. My daughter and I also regularly read and discuss the story of Jesus’s life and saving sacrifice. By teaching our children about the need for Jesus, you give them a life-changing Truth that can truly change them beyond their years in your care.
Finally, a practical way to connect to the heart of a child is to give them our time. We show our children they are valuable when we turn off our devices, look them in the eyes and interact with them.
A study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development shows that children 14-36 months had improved behavior after parents set aside intentional time to play and read with their children.
Another study proves that more time a mother or both parents spend with their adolescent children, reduces delinquent behavior. You may be delightfully surprised when spending even just 15 minutes of connection a day with your child builds trust to more effectively respond to future misbehavior.
Striving to model the character of Jesus, consistently sharing the hope of the Gospel and taking time out of our busy schedules to laugh or read with our children are a few ways to reach their heart and remind them of their value. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that our child’s wrong choices are just an interruption to the peace in our home. We forget that each time we interact with our child, it impacts the refining process of obedience and character development. Bonding with our kids at their level enables parents to turn moments of misbehavior into a connection opportunity that can create consistent, positive and lasting change in a child’s life.
Administrative Assistant of Project BestLife