Dealling with a Child's Heart, Not Just Behavior.

Updated on March 02, 2008
L.M. asks from Alsip, IL
15 answers

I started reading a few books to help me with my 6 year old daughter who is just like me; determined and strong-willed. I want her to be obedient because she wants to not because I am more determined than she is. I am looking for people to chat with about the subject or the books. The books are:
Shepparding a Child's Heart- by Tedd Tripp
Don't Make Me Count to Three- by Ginger Plowman

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So What Happened?

After beginning to read and apply the concepts and beliefs from the books, Shepparding a Child's Heart and Don't Make Me Count to Three, I notice a stronger sense of peace in the home. It wasn't necessarily form my kids. I think it was more about my change of attitude. We have a long way to go, but having a plan and biblical guide has been helpful. Talking with many of you has also been a source of strength. Knowing that my family is not alone in it's struggle to produce and train, responsible caring people is encouraging. Thank you all.

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J.J.

answers from Chicago on

I don't know those books, but I do know and appreciate

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, and Listen so Kids Will Talk....

http://www.amazon.com/How-Talk-Kids-Will-Listen/dp/038081...

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R.K.

answers from Chicago on

Not familiar with the cited titles
however, "Talking So Your Kids Will Listen, and Listening So Your Kids Will Talk" by Faber and Mazlish will facilitate whatever conversations you choose to have.

R.

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L.M.

answers from Chicago on

Hi L....

I applaud you for your desire to raise your children to follow the truth and not there own whims. The Tedd Tripp book is excellent, and I have a relative who really liked the "Making your child mind without loosing yours" by Leman. My personal favorite is "Creative Correction" by Lisa Whelchel. She writes in a humorous way and gives TONS of practical ideas and tips for following through on discipline and consequence. Just a word of caution...be careful if you look into the website someone mentioned "gentle Christian mother". In my opinion, some of it is not biblically sound. Always go back and make sure that ANY advice you receive, from a book, website or friend, is in line with what the bible teaches. I'd also suggest caution if using a 1-2-3 approach, for this teaches the child that they don't need to obey until "3". The goal is to have them obey the first time. Obedience is actually a 4 part thing:
1) immediate
2) complete
3) without complaining
4) without questioning

Without all 4 of these, obedience is not complete, it's only partial...and partial obedience is non-obedience. Sorry for the long reply...blessings to you!

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P.L.

answers from Chicago on

My daughters are 16 & 19 - so we've experienced our share of discipline techniques. I think at 6 years old - you may not be able get her to be obedient because she wants to be. If you are still "winning" because you are more determined - I think you are doing a great job. You just may not realize it until she is much older. I'm not familiar with these books - I followed my heart and my gut during my parenting decisions. My husband followed much of the structure I set up - even though we didn't always agree on every point. Over all - *I held strong on the big things; *sometimes we needed a distraction; not over-reacting when we're acting up because we're tired or hungry; and *try to have fun together as much as possible.
I am actually able to see my girls use some of our techniques when babysitting for their cousins.

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K.M.

answers from Chicago on

Hi L.,

I've also been on a path toward more gentle and respectful parenting and I'm not exaggerating when I say our home and relationships have been transformed over the last year or so. Parenting is so much about working on ourselves!

My journey really began in earnest when I started reading some of the more mainstream Christian/evangelical books on parenting and finding their emphasis on strict discipline and unquestioned obedience to not only be ineffective but just didn't feel good at a heart level. That's when I found the website Gentle Christian Mothers(http://gentlechristianmothers.com/)
and discovered Grace-based parenting. The other website that really helped shift our perspective is naturalchild.org. The rest as they say is history :) My son is 4 1/2 and we're still rebuilding trust and healing from the more coercive parenting methods we've tried but he is a much happier child now and our relationship is much stronger and no longer adversarial. Thankfully, my 2 1/2 yo daughter has really only seen our gentle, peaceful parenting selves since we made the shift when she was quite young.

Anyhow, this subject is near and dear to me and I'm actually leading a discussion about respectful parenting this Wednesday at the CHOICES birth and parenting group that meets in Hebron. Let me know if you'd like more information.

Warmly,
Kristi M.

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J.M.

answers from Chicago on

A good reference is Conscience Discipline by Dr. Becky Baily. I am a pre-k teacher for Head Start and that is what we use. If you type in her name in your search engine her website should come up.

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J.H.

answers from Chicago on

L.,
I'm right there with you. I have a 6 yr old who is so strong willed and it is causing such trying times in the house. I have been married almost 16 years, 39 years old and have very strong Christian beliefs. I even hired the Christian super nanny recently for 75 minutes and she did give me some good pointers. I have 6 children and the main challenge with my daughter is that she has 2 younger siblings learning all her moves. I would love to hear what you have learned from those books, as I don't usually have a lot of time to pick up anything besides my Bible and even that is lacking, but I keep working to find more time.
I hope we can exchange ideas...J. H. Beach Park

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S.W.

answers from Chicago on

I have a 7 yr old son who is a lot like that. I worry about his lack of empathy. I would love to chat with you about this and will look into the books you recommended.

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E.W.

answers from Chicago on

I've heard wonderful things about the book by Tedd Tripp from many of the moms in my bible study. In December I read 1-2-3 Magic (forgot the author). It too is by a Christian and I've found it's "plan of attack" to be very helpful when dealing with my strong willed 3.5 year old son. I'll have to pick up a copy of Shepparding a Child's Heart.

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L.H.

answers from Chicago on

Hi L., My daughter will be 18 in May Hello, I know exactly what your going thru and the more you try the harder it will be, Im telling you from experience, I been thru alot with my daughter and theres nothing you can do to make them obiedient,, you can lays down the rules tell them what you expect and good luck, I say this in no offensive way, My daughter was very rebellious with me for a long time and I dont agree with people saying oh shes a teenager, not, i absoulty disagree with the excuse there just teenagers. Im a Christian lady myself and similar different backgrounds with me and my husb. And really its hard to know why they act that way. My daughter acts totaly different then when I was a growing up, a friend of mine said you were an obiedient child, not every child is obiedient, and we cant make them, then they get worse, they really want alot of attention, I know this, they need alot of your energy and strength, Keep praying but dont strive, I know they can be very intimadating, and God knows you dont know how to deal with it cause I dont, I just use the Love of God and DONT FIGHT WITH HER, it will get better in time

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H.L.

answers from Chicago on

Seems as though we are all in the same boat? I have a strong-willed 4.5 yr old boy. I just try to keep remembering that I have to break his will without breaking his spirit!!! Only lots of prayer and God's guidance can bring up these children in the way that they should go!! But books are a good resource and a community of other parents to share and console!! :) I am finding that as hard as it is, I have to be oh so consistent in word and deed. IF I say, "This is my last warning!", that better be my last warning or he knows he can take it even farther. My husband and I came from different family dynamics as well and he is much more 'stern' than I am.

I gotta run to church, but will check back later!!

Prayers,
H.

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G.H.

answers from Chicago on

I've said it before on this space..please mommy, you and your husband and watch 1 hour of SUPERNANNY on Thursday evening on A B C. It's amazing what even seasoned parents can learn. You're a teacher so you know that life is a learning experience. Learn something new Thursday night. I really can't beieve the actions of these children and the techniques that Nanny uses.

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J.N.

answers from Chicago on

Another very good book is Aaron's Way: Journey of a Strong-Willed Child by Kendra Smiley (and Aaron Smiley.) Her now-adult son helped her right the book, and gives invaluable insight into the mind of a strong willed child. I got through the book pretty quickly, it was engaging and so insightful, I was so excited to learn and soak it all in. It wasn't a chore to read, didn't feel like homework, it felt like a lifesaver! And it helped me to learn how to work with my kids effectively, so the whole day wasn't a never ending battle one after the next.
Another book that I found helpful wasn't a child-rearing book at all. It is called Wild At Heart by John Eldredge. Talks about how boys and men are 'built' and what is important to their hearts, as well as how to meet those needs. The one for women/girls is called Captivating, by John and his wife Stasi. Reading those two books has helped me understand the soul-based needs of myself, my husband, and my kids.
I hope you find something that works for you, keep looking as each child is different (as we all know).

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N.A.

answers from Chicago on

Dear L.- I've read all the responses so far, and I'm responding as one of the few who have read "Shepherding a Child's heart". I've not only read it, I've raised my three kids aged 16, 14 and 11 on it's principles. I've also bought several copies to give as baby gifts. You're definitely on the right track. Any method of behaviour modification, no matter how good the results, is ultimately harmful to your child's spiritual well being if it doesn't primarily address issues of the heart. I have one who is quite strong willed (like his mama!) and this book was a literal God-send to me. I should mention that I've read many dozens of books on child care and discipline, and while many were good, this one was far superior to all others I read. I know teen agers are supposed to be a terror and all, but if a good foundation has been laid, that needn't be so. My kids are truly my treasures, and well on the way to becoming my friends. (for now I'm still mom/authority, but I'm slowly handing the reigns over to them.) I enjoy them so much every day. But that is because they love me and trust me, and obey me quickly and cheerfully (usually!!!) I'm often told how "lucky" I am to have such good kids. Luck nothing!!!! It's lots of prayer, hard work, consistancy and patience! I would love to talk to you more if you like- feel free to contact me if you like, and Blessings on you and your family. Blessings- N.

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S.S.

answers from Rockford on

Also try
Making children mind without loosing yours
by Dr. Kevin Leman(and also by him "Birth order" or anything he has written for that matter)

He has a really cool perspective on child rearing that has made a big difference in me and my child. I think it is a must read for any parent. He is a father of 5 and is a internationally known psychologist, radio and TV personality , and speaker. He takes a "make your child responsible for his own decisions approach". Leman is for those of us that don't have family to learn from or that don't possess the know how naturally in raising kids he is the best. I have read many other books and came away with needing more. He also has a new book that is coming out this month that I plane of reading as well . It is on child rearing as well.

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