“Did you really just say that?” I can’t even count how many times I have thought or said this in a moment of frustration and anger with one of my children. Yes, parenting is hard work — but Ginger Hubbard offers life-giving, practical solutions that even busy parents can implement today by pointing our children (and ourselves) back to the ultimate parenting manual: The Bible. Ginger is one of my favorite authors ever! You will be encouraged. ~ Heidi xo
Mooooomy, I want some juuuiiice!” Whining
“You’re stupid!” Disrespecting
“Tommy’s not doing what you told him to do!” Tattling
“No, I’m not going to clean my room!” Disobeying
“I didn’t take a cookie from the jar!” Lying
What causes a child to speak such tender words as “I love you” and “You’re the best mommy in the world” in one breath and in the next say something terrible? Before I had children, whenever I thought about my future family, I envisioned happy, well-mannered little darlings who always obeyed. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening. What happened to all my plans for great parenting and well-behaved children? The stick turned blue. Twice.
In short order I became the mom who was consistently taken aback when her kids spoke foolishly, whether it was in the form of whining, lying, or talking back. With an expression of shock, I would ask, “Why do you act like that?” After a closer look at the Word of God, I realized I was asking the wrong question.
Jesus explained, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34). In other words, there is merit to the old saying, “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket.” Our sin does not begin with our mouths; it begins with our hearts. I slowly learned to quit asking, “Why does my child sin?” and began to ask myself, “When my child sins, how might I point him to the fact that he is a sinner in need of a savior? How might I help him understand and live in the power of the Gospel?”
Through much prayer and searching the Bible, I found that having a three-step plan of action for getting to the heart of behavior, reproving children biblically, and training children in righteousness can make a positive difference in how we respond to a child’s need for correction.
Step 1: Getting to the Heart of Behavior
A wise parent will learn to move beyond the words of her child by addressing the issues of the heart. After all, if the heart is reached, the behavior will take care of itself. Jesus set the ultimate example for how to probe the heart of another in order to draw out what lies within. When dealing with sinners, Jesus did not shake his finger at their faces and tell them what they were doing wrong. Instead, He would ask thought-provoking questions in such a way that the person to whom he was talking had to take his focus off of the circumstances around him and onto the sin in his own heart. Heart-probing questions cause children to evaluate themselves, which helps them recognize their need for Christ.
Step 2: Reproving Your Child Biblically
In Matthew 18:15 God commands that we reprove those who are caught in sin. A biblical reproof exposes wrong by shedding light where there is darkness. Fortunately, God has faithfully provided us with all that we need to speak wisdom and truth into the hearts of our children. We need not look any further than the infallible Word of God. Once we have determined the issue of the heart that drives the outward behavior, we can then address the offense in accordance with Scripture.
Step 3: Training Your Child in Righteousness
It is never enough to tell kids what not to do; we must teach them what to do. In the book of Ephesians we are told to put off the old self and to put on the new self (4:22). Teaching children to “put off” wrong behavior comes naturally for parents, mainly because we find wrong behavior unpleasant, but the key to successful parenting is found in training them in righteousness. It is equally important, if not more important, that we teach our kids to replace what is wrong with what is right.
GINGER HUBBARD is a sought-after speaker, author, and an award-winning writer. She has spoken at hundreds of parenting conferences, mom’s events, and homeschool conventions across the country. She is a veteran homeschooling mother of two adult children and stepmom to two much-adored stepsons. She and her husband reside in Opelika, Alabama.
I Can’t Believe You Just Said That!: Biblical Wisdom for Taming Your Child’s Tongue: Are you ever embarrassed or shocked by what comes out of your child’s mouth? Do you raise your voice, threaten, and coerce, but find yourself frustrated because nothing seems to work?
In I Can’t Believe You Just Said That!, Ginger Hubbard provides a practical, three-step plan to reach beyond the behaviors of tongue-related struggles—such as lying, tattling, and whining—to address your child’s heart. After all, as Matthew 12:34 tells us, “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
By moving past the idea that parenting is about rigid rule-setting or behavior management, we can set aside ineffective practices such as scolding, ignoring the offense, or merely administering punishment. Instead, we start to see that our children’s outbursts are prime opportunities for the ultimate goal of all parenting: to guide them to the redemptive work of Jesus and his transformational power.
Would you like a practical three-step plan for reaching beyond the behaviors of tongue related struggles—such as lying, tattling, whining, and complaining—to address your child’s heart? Be sure to sign up for a chance to win a free copy of my new book, I Can’t Believe You Just Said That!: Biblical Wisdom for Taming Your Child’s Tongue.
THREE WINNERS will be contacted via email on July 31st, and everyone who signs up for a chance to win will automatically receive two FREE mini-ebooks on How to Pray for Your Child and How to Lead Your Child to Christ!