I had it in my mind that there was a scripture about having a teachable heart – I went looking for it and couldn’t find it. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a phrase that is well used though not a quote from the Bible.

dictionary.com defines teachable as:

  • capable of being instructed, as a person; docile
  • able and willing to learn: teachable youngsters

Docile – there’s a word we don’t use often, we may even see it as wishy-washy, namby-pamby! But how does the dictionary define it:

  • easily managed or handled; tractable: a docile horse
  • readily trained or taught; teachable

It seems to me that these are the very attitudes we want of our children.

(Side note:  Teachable doesn’t mean gullible – we need to make sure our children have backbone and discernment as well.  No one character trait over-rides the need for another – they work together and we have to find the balance when teaching our kids.)

 

Teachable Heart or Unteachable Heart?

It makes sense – if they are to receive our instruction, they need to be capable of being instructed, able and willing to learn, readily trained or taught. This then leads to the idea that they will be able to receive instruction etc from God’s Word too (as we need to be).

Though the Bible doesn’t use the phrase “unteachable heart” the instruction is there none the less. The Bible paints these pictures:

  • The way of a fool is right in his own eyes – Proverbs 12:15
  • All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weighs the spirits – Proverbs 16:2
  • Every way of a man is right in his own eyes; but the Lord ponders the hearts – Proverbs21:2
  • The wise in heart will receive commandments; But a prating fool shall fall – Proverbs 10:8
  • When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise– Proverbs 10:19
  • The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice – Proverbs 12:15
  • A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke – Proverbs 13:1

These verses describe a person (child or adult) who thinks what they are doing is right, who thinks they are without sin, who won’t listen to instruction, who keeps talking (probably defending themselves and arguing), who makes fun of instruction; a person who simply won’t listen.

Do you recognise these things in your children? It maybe a long term attitude or it may be only occasional. I’ve had these attitudes in our home when we are trying to learn math, or talk about life skills. It pops up every so often. What to do?

Proverbs 21:2 says “Every way of a man (child) is right in his own eyes; but the Lord ponders the heart.” God looks past the action and considers the heart (He doesn’t ignore the action, He just looks deeper). We tend to get annoyed at the action and react from that position. We need to consider the heart.

An unteachable heart is the attitude when our children don’t want to listen to our instruction. It can be frustrating but there are helpful parenting strategies that helps everyone move on.

[Tweet “When our kids have junk in their heart they need time to process it.”]

What do Parents do when their child has an unteachable heart?

When our children are refusing to listen, what is going on in their heart and what can we do about it?

I often see these three traits at the heart of their attitude:

  • Pride
  • Self Righteousness
  • Arrogance

Whenever we see negative responses in the heart, we know there is something missing.  I always have found it helpful to identify what’s missing as it is more helpful as a parent to put into our children’s hearts than just demand that they stop doing something.  When our children have an ‘unteachable’ attitude I often find one of these three traits missing:

  • Humility – recognizing that I need other people in my life
  • Honesty – being truthful about my need or attitude (heart)
  • Meekness – yielding to others, submitting myself to another

I have found the best thing to do when my children get “wise in their own eyes’, when they refuse to listen to instruction, is to give them space to think about their heart. They are sent to their rooms with the clear words – when your heart is ready to receive my words come and talk to me.

[Tweet “While our kids have attitude – they won’t learn.”]

Pearls before swine is the image that comes to mind when I stand there and keep talking to them – nothing is going in, nothing is being received and I am just getting cross and frustrated, which builds into anger real quick (and now I have an issue to deal with in my own heart!) For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:20) Getting angry with our children will not produce a change of heart.

When our children put up an unteachable attitude they need to have a change of heart. You can’t make that happen – but you can create the space or opportunity to do so.

 

Parenting Strategy:

A quick overview of what happens in our house when the unteachable attitude shows up:

  • It starts with a stubborn refusal to listen or apply what has been said
  • I send my child to their room to consider their heart. Of course this in itself is an instruction – but if it is a normal practice to go and think about what is going on inside of them, children will usually go to their bedroom, though it may take a while before they choose to consider their heart – and that is okay – let them sit there till they are ready.
  • Occasionally, and if they are still learning this process, I would go to them and see if they need help to focus on the issue. But I don’t push it – their heart issues can only be dealt with on their time.
  • When they are ready to talk about it we have a discussion about their wrong attitude (unteachable or pride or whatever they have identified) why it was wrong, and then we talk about what would the right attitude be.
  • I then ask them if they are ready to go back and make good choices. Often they would apologise to me for their attitude, and we would go back to the situation we were originally in and try again.

 

This process can take hours!

Over to you:

What do you find works when your kids don’t want to hear your instruction?

(Let me know in the comments)

0 Comments

Let me know your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Further Reading:

My go-to consequence is a timeout where children can consider their heart and prepare to go back and do the right thing. #parenting #parentingtips #discipline #homeschooling

My go-to consequence is a timeout where children can consider their heart and prepare to go back and do the right thing.

7 tips to help us when our kids struggle with the things that we find easy. We must find a way to be accepting and encouraging. #homeschool #homeschooltips #homeschoolstruggles #homeschoolchallenges #homeschoolhighschool

When your Kids Struggle with Things You Find Easy:  7 tips to help us when our kids struggle with the things that we find easy. We must find a way to be accepting and encouraging.

It takes time to have meaningful heart conversations with our children - so we must make room in our day so we aren't always feeling rushed when our kids need our attention.

Heart Conversations Take Time out of your Day:   It takes time to have meaningful heart conversations with our children – so we must make room in our day so we aren’t always feeling rushed when our kids need our attention.

Our children will need to be told more than once - it's a fact! Parents need to adjust their attitude and focus on the training that needs to happen. #parenting #parentingtips #toddlers #homeschooling

Our Children will need to be Told More Than Once:  Our children will need to be told more than once – it’s a fact! Parents need to adjust their attitude and focus on the training that needs to happen.

If this article has been helpful, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. I really appreciate your support and encouragement.

An unteachable heart is the attitude when our children don’t want to listen to our instruction. Instead of getting frustrated we can give them time to work out the junk in their heart. And then teach positive attitudes. #parentingtips #christianparenting #heartfocusparenting #homeschooling #homeschoolmath

An unteachable heart is the attitude when our children don’t want to listen to our instruction. Instead of getting frustrated we can give them time to work out the junk in their heart. And then teach positive attitudes. #parentingtips #christianparenting #heartfocusparenting #homeschooling #homeschoolmath

Individual Education Planning Worksheets - brainstorming every area of your child's life.

Get your Planning Worksheets

I will email you the download link so you can start looking at all the different spheres of your child's life before you make any curriculum choices. 

The download link is on it's way.

An Alternative to Chocolate

An Alternative to Chocolate

Not that I have anything against chocolate - but these jelly beans can help your kids share the message of Jesus, his love, death and resurrection at Easter time.  

The download link is on it's way.

Parent Guide: How to make your Family Bible Study Really Work

Family Bible Study is Tricky with all the Different Ages

 

But there is a way to make this a rich learning and bonding family time.  This Guide includes tips, planning worksheet, and discussion prompts.  

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download yourCharacter Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download your Character Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

The download link is on it's way.

Download your Cheat Sheet

 

A quick reference to help you discern between a heart attitude and a lack of skill for when your child loses it!

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on its way.

Three things for parents to pray for in the Moment.

Make God your First Response

Print out this parenting reminder to call out to God in the middle of the moment.

I'm excited to share this download with you. Watch your inbox.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

You will receive an email shortly with the details. Watch your inbox.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

 

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Our children hear different words when we react to when we respond. Do your children hear blah blah blah when you correct them? Includes a parenting poster.

Download Parenting Poster

 

When we Respond instead of React we find a way to deal with the heart not just behaviour.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Download Character Lesson Guide

You will receive an email shortly with the details. Watch your inbox.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

When family relationships get tense - look for the niggles.

Heart Focused Parenting Resource for the Intentional Parent

 

Your download will arrive in your inbox shortly. 

Print it out and use to teach the hearts of your kids.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Hearts: Heart focus homeschool

Email Course

Daily emails  (6 days) to help you walk towards being a heart focused homeschool family!

You have joined the email course. Watch your email inbox!

Find ways to Re-engage your Student

Download this checklist and stir your child's curiosity

Watch your Inbox - the Checklist is on it's way!

Stay Heart Focused

 

When you parent the heart, the tone of your family will change. 


Weekly Heart Boost emails with practical and encouraging ideas to be heart focused in all areas of family life.

Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your family journey. I'll be in touch.

FREE Parenting Worksheet

This worksheet will help you move from addressing behaviour to really parenting the heart, one issue at a time.

 

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Parenting Support Library

Join now for extra and regular heart focus family living support.
Weekly emails and bonus content straight to your email inbox.

 

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Become a Better Parent

Personal growth starts with an honest assessment

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Give Effective Consequences

Think before you React

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

 

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

One Another Verses

Be Intentional in the Teen Years

Use this Cheat Sheet to remind you of how you can love your teen.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Devotion Response Kit cover

Download your Devotion Response Kit

5 prompts to encourage the heart of your child as they learn to respond to God's Word

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Prepare a Heart focused Christmas

 

Free email course

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download your copy

Download your copy

Blending Life and Lessons - and start your journey of changing your thinking about education.

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Download: One Another Verses pdf

Download: One Another Verses pdf

Download this list of One Another verses and teach your children how to love others.

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Raising Kids with Character

ATTEND LIVE : FREE PARENTING WORKSHOP

A bonus for Heart Booster readers:  Learn how to teach character to your kids so that they can live their lives making values-based choices.

 

Live Session:  5th May 2021, 6.30pm AWST

Replay available until 16th May 2021

 

I'm so excited about this workshop - thanks for joining me!

Raising Kids with Character

REPLAY OPTION : FREE PARENTING WORKSHOP

A bonus for Heart Booster readers:  Learn how to teach character to your kids so that they can live their lives making values-based choices.

 

Replay available from 6th May until 16th May 2021

 

I'm so excited about this workshop - thanks for joining me!

Raising Kids with Character

WAITLIST

 

The Raising Kids with Character parenting workshop will be offered again this year - details yet to be confirmed.  Join the waitlist so you don't miss out. 

I will keep in you in the loop as soon as decisions have been made!

Join Heart Boost and gain access to de•vot•ed free for 1 month

 

Connecting everyday living with the Word of God

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Bonus Reading list

 

Sharing my Homeschool Belief File

Knowing what you believe and why about education and homeschooling helps you make good decisions.

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

%d bloggers like this: