Ask any mom and we can quickly identify a behavior that we would like to see improved in our children. For some moms, it’s just simply that we find a particular behavior annoying or challenging to deal with. Most of the time; however, we identify bad behavior and try to change it because we desperately want our kids to be “good kids” and we want our kids to grow up to be “good people.”
That is normal! I mean, we know that many undesirable behaviors that are left undisciplined can lead to bigger problems later on, right? We know that our child’s selfishness, rudeness, or lack of self-control could leave them vulnerable to making poor choices that will bring them pain later in life. That is a completely legitimate and honorable motive for changing your child’s behavior.
Sometimes; though, if we really want to dig deep, we may find that we feel our child’s behavior reflects on us as a mom. It’s hard to admit, but we want to appear to have it all together so we focus on our child’s behavior because we don’t want them to embarrass us or make us look bad, and that can be a strong motivation to work on our child’s behavior.
Whatever our true motivation is, it is very common for us as mothers to get so caught up in our child’s outward actions that we find ourselves treating the symptom instead of the problem. If we want to train our children correctly, we must get to the heart of the matter, that is, our child’s heart. We need to find the source of the behavior and train that instead of treating the outward actions. In addition, we as moms need to learn to parent our children from our hearts, instead of just reacting to their outward behavior out of fear, fatigue, or frustration. It’s really about being a proactive mom instead of a reactive one.
One of the biggest problems we face as Christian moms is that we work really hard at training and instructing our children about Godly character, but we don’t have a clearly defined goal for that training. We know we want our kids to know God and have good character, but we aren’t really sure what that is going to look like tangibly.
For example, when my daughter and her friends were about 11 years old they decided they wanted to make a dessert. They wanted it to be really good and taste like chocolate cake, but they didn’t have a recipe so they just threw in a lot of stuff that looked like it should be in chocolate cake: sugar, eggs, flour, and cocoa. Well, as you can imagine, just looking like they were doing all the right things did not result in a chocolate cake. It was funny looking and it tasted terrible, and they were disappointed that all their work resulted in a poor outcome.
It is much better to define your goal and then create a clear plan to achieve it. As parents, we must be intentional! Identify the character traits that your children need most and then work on those. Most of the time, you will find that many behavior problems you identify as consistent problems lead back to one or two main character issues that need to be addressed. Get to the heart of the matter and the outward behavior will change.
“A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”
Put all your heart into reaching their hearts. Your kids are worth it!