When we see our children’s behaviour there are two things that we need to take notice of: their heart and their actions.  We need to address both, though if we address the heart (the attitude, the thinking) then often the actions quickly realign themselves because the heart drives the actions.

There can be a situation though when the heart and the actions are not the same.  A situation where you can tell the child’s heart (their deepest desire) is not being reflected in their actions.  Their heart says one thing – their actions say another.  Now this isn’t the norm, but I believe it happens and I think we need to be on the look out for it.

Attitude and Action Mis-match

This is the type of situation where the kids are saying, “I don’t want to act like this” or “I don’t know why this is happening” and they are sincere; they are not just coping out, or putting on a front.  What is happening is that somewhere along the way they have had a heart change and yet their actions are habitual and they are taking time to catch up.

Think about yourself.  You have a change of thinking, you decide that God would have you respond differently and yet you find yourself in a spiral of repeating your old way of doing things.  Frustrating!  It doesn’t mean that your heart was not hearing God, or that you made a ½ hearted commitment, no, it means that you have some habitual ways of responding in a given situation and you have to work on aligning your heart with your responses or actions.

This is what is happening with our children.  As they grow and mature, they have a heart change, they start to understand God’s Word and respond to it, they begin to believe and think differently.  But they still have some wrong actions happening.

Download this Parenting Cheat Sheet to help you discern the difference between a heart attitude and a bad habit that needs to change.
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The reason this is important not to miss is that for so long our parenting focus is to teach, train and direct their heart (and in doing so we will teach, train and direct their actions).  So when we have this situation we immediately presume it is a heart issue.  It may not be. Our child’s heart may be in the right place, they just need help in changing their habitual actions.

In our family this conflict (between heart and actions) has happened mostly after 10 years old.  It is by this stage that they understand moral thinking, they are understanding how God’s Word applies to their life, and they are able to make these decisions for themselves.  (I must say though, that situations that arise with our children, even at this age, don’t always fall into this category – we are still working on their hearts in many situations.)

One of the things that strikes me in this particular type of situation is the relief when you tell the child, I can see your heart is in the right place, you’ve just made an unwise choice or I can see your heart is in the right place, you just have to realign your actions to match.

So the caution is to us parents, yes, teach, train and direct the heart but remember sometimes actions are driven by habit more than bad attitudes in the heart.  We need to discern and make sure our parenting addresses the right aspect of our children’s lives.   Is it a heart attitude?  Or is it a matter of aligning heart and actions together?

Parents need to discern between a heart attitude and a bad habit that need to be overcome. Download cheat sheet with 5 questions to help you discern.

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Discern between a Heart attitude and a bad habit with these 5 questions

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5 Comments

  1. Kim

    Excellent. Thanks for sharing!
    Praising Him,
    Kim

    Reply
  2. Jo

    Thank you so much for being a vessel of His wisdom, I’m grateful for your willingness to share. Godbless

    Reply
    • Belinda

      Thanks Jo for taking the time to encourage me today.

      Reply
  3. Meg Gemelli

    At 6 and 8, my boys’ most bizarre behavior comes when they’re simply worn out. They can’t tell you why they’re behaving a certain way, either. My husband and I shake our heads and chalk it up to a complete loss of control after a long day at school. Sometimes a little grace goes a long way and a hug makes everything better 🙂

    Reply
    • Belinda

      So true. Sometimes we forget that we too do crazy things when we are tired!!

      Reply

Any thoughts?

Further Reading:

Heart Focus Parenting teaches our children to be personally responsible for their beliefs, character, choices, emotions and passions.
When we hear ourselves giving excuses about our kids behaviour it is a signal we are missing some of our responsibilities.
I’ve already told you once! is a parenting phrase that doesn’t help in the training of our children. Training is a long term project – it will not be over and done with just because we told them something once, or even twice.
Parenting the strong willed child is about capturing their heart – just like any other child.

Throughout the week I share with other blogs – check out my Link ups and Party page

Parents need to discern between a heart attitude and a bad habit that needs to be overcome. Download cheat sheet with 5 questions to ask yourself in these situations.Parents need to discern between a heart attitude and a bad habit that needs to be overcome. Download cheat sheet with 5 questions to ask yourself in these situations.

Parents need to discern between a heart attitude and a bad habit that needs to be overcome. Download cheat sheet with 5 questions to ask yourself in these situations.

Parents need to discern between a heart attitude and a bad habit that needs to be overcome. Download cheat sheet with 5 questions to ask yourself in these situations.

Parents need to discern between a heart attitude and a bad habit that needs to be overcome. Download cheat sheet with 5 questions to ask yourself in these situations.

Parents need to discern between a heart attitude and a bad habit that needs to be overcome. Download cheat sheet with 5 questions to ask yourself in these situations.

Parents need to discern between a heart attitude and a bad habit that needs to be overcome. Download cheat sheet with 5 questions to ask yourself in these situations.

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