Many of us enter parenthood with a perfect vision of what our family will be. But along the way we discover that the children we've been blessed with are real human beings, with their own minds, ideals, and views of the world. Our influence only goes so far, and when those children reach the pre-teen and teenage years, it may seem to have disappeared completely. Yet at no time in a kid's life is their parents' positive, godly influence more critical.
For parents who are concerned that their child is pulling away, following poor role models, or making choices that will lead to pain and difficulty, Mike Berry has good news: it's not too late. He offers parents nine keys to maximizing and leveraging their influence to help their children through these difficult years and develop a relationship with them that can weather any storm.
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Winning the Heart of Your Child focuses on nine keys that will help parents to bridge the gap between them and their children and build a better relationship. Berry talks about how to use your time wisely as parents. He encourages us to think about the legacy we want to leave behind and focus on that instead of winning arguments which won’t matter in the long run.
As the father of eight adoptive children, Berry reminds us that one of the major roles a parent has is to nurture their children. It’s not just the role of the mother – both parents ought to be nurturers.
Know God – Berry reminded us that Satan is an opponent of family. He seeks to destroy our connection to our children through fear. Satan tells us that we are inadequate and that we have already failed to parent our children effectively. He uses these lies to hinder us as parents. But thank God for Jesus.
Through Christ, we have the power to diminish the negative voices which speak lies into our parenting journey and instead focus on the One who is Truth and Light.
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Winning the Heart of Your Child teaches biblical principles. This book will remind you that your children are a gift from God and should be celebrated for who they are and supported along their journey.
Know yourself – throughout Winning the Heart of Your Child, Berry shared stories from his own parenting journey. These stories encourage us to afford ourselves grace as we parent our children. We need to also learn to identify the things which hamper us as parents. Doing this will help us to actively work on those things so we can be better parents, parents who pursue the hearts of our children.
Run your race – the key to being a good parent is to remember that each of us has a unique journey. Our children are different and so are we. While we are able to follow the same principles and have similar results, we have to get away from our practice of comparing ourselves to other parents.
We have to stop comparing our children to other people's children. Allow our children to be themselves as we focus on winning their hearts.
Parenting success is not a problem-free journey with our children. It’s expecting problems and dealing with them in responsible, sometimes painful ways.
So many times we expect parenting to be without problems and pain. We expect things to be Gilmore Girls perfect, but this is often not the case. Berry reminds us that we will experience problems as we parent our children but we should focus on dealing with them in responsible ways.
Why not cherish what you have, not what you thought you would receive? Your family is worth it.
Did you dream about who your children would be? I did. Did they turn out the way you expected? I bet there are some things about your children which surprised you. There may even be things you wish you could change. But instead of lamenting on what we don’t have (or what we do), let’s learn to appreciate and celebrate our children for who they are.
Intentional parenting is about purpose, direction, and following through. It’s about determining the path we want our family to take and taking it. It’s about consistently leading our children with character, values, and integrity. It’s about not giving in to BFF or Dreamer parenting or defaulting to a Commander or Instructor mode.
Purpose, direction and following through – these three things are important if we want to be successful as parents. “Direction – not intention – determines destination.” This powerful statement will remind us to be more intentional in our parenting. We must consistently act in ways that will win the hearts of our children.
Our consistent investments of love, time, nurture, boundaries, and so on are especially important during the difficult seasons because those are the times when our children may be making hard choices. We may feel like a failure, but so do they. If we remain consistent through the difficult days and seasons, we will see results.
The results of parenting our children today will not necessarily be evident until many years down the line. Intellectually we know this but somehow we keep expecting overnight results (maybe that’s just me). As with the tortoise, we have to remember slow and steady wins the race. Consistency is key.
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Actions speak louder than words. The way we care for our children, the amount of time we spend with them, the interest we show in their lives, whether our computer or cell phone is more important to us (and trust me, they know) — these all reinforce their awareness of whether we love them.
As we parent our children is this technological age, we have to choose them over our devices. Our children are watching and this is a great way to win their heart.
If we must always be right, always prove our point, always have our way and allow no room to hear our children’s voices, we create a new danger. We leave no margin for their hearts to grow and flourish. What’s more, we teach them they have no voice, no say in life.
Some of us as parents grew up with the adage that “children are to be seen and not heard”. While we may have disliked that belief as a child we may have unfortunately defaulted to that mindset. This leaves little room for us to hear our children or to win their hearts.
… we approach parenting with the methods that are familiar to us. We lecture, we instruct, we teach, and we allow no negotiation. Our parents used this approach on us, and it worked (mostly). But there is a better way.
A lot of us were raised by commanding parents. They told us what to do and we did it. There was no room for us to express ourselves and our feelings or desires were rarely considered. This may have caused some of us to wonder if our parents loved us or if we were being heard. Isn’t it a relief to know that we don’t have to parent according to the manner that our parents used?
Have you read Winning the Heart of Your Child: 9 Keys to Building a Positive Lifelong Relationship with Your Kids? What did you think? Get your copy of Winning the Heart of Your Child on Amazon.
I received an advance reader copy through the Baker Book Bloggers program. All opinions are my own.
Mike Berry is the author of 3 books, a public speaker, blogger, father of 8 children, and husband to Kristin. He is the co-creator of the award-winning blog Confessionsofanadoptiveparent.com as well as the support and resource site, Oasis Community. He lives outside of Indianapolis, IN with his family.