Parenting Value: Fight for the Heart

This is the third part of a five part blog discussing the book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity.

Last week’s blog post we talked about value #2, Imagine the End, from Parenting Beyond Your Capacity.

Two weeks ago we talked about value #1, Widen the Circle.

If you haven’t had a chance to go back and read the prior posts, I encourage you to go back and read them.

This week I am going to spend some time talking about value #3. Value #3 is Fight for the Heart. Fighting isn’t fun, especially when it comes to family. However, this value is more so about communication. The subheading for the value is “Communicate in a style that gives the relationship value” (p.99).


Parents want to bring value to their family. Communication is key to effective relationships, so it only makes sense that fighting for the heart of someone should revolve around communication. How we communicate with others shows how much value we place on them. Communication can add to a relationship when done correctly. It can also detract from a relationship with done ineffectively, or not at all.

Just like there’s a big difference in hearing and listening, there is also a huge difference between talking and communicating. Someone in an abusive relationship that is told “I love you” by the abuser, isn’t really loved, right? The talking, saying “I love you”, and the communicating part (nonverbal with force, or even verbal abusing) do not line up.

Regarding communication, do your conversations with your children, or spouse, reveal you’re fighting for them, or fighting with them?

The authors spend time discussing on page 101 the differences between fighting for someone and fighting with someone. Here’s a summary:

Fighting with someone:

Fighting for someone:

 

 

You want to win

You want the other person to win

Walls are built up

Walls come down

Relationships are jeopardized

Relationships are prioritized

 

What does fighting for the heart look like? Does it depend on the age of the child?

Some may think it is putting rules in place to set boundaries for their children. Rules are needed, after all adults have laws that must be followed. By all means use rules as healthy boundaries, but in order to show love to our children, we must enhance our relationship with them. What does it mean to enhance our relationship with our children?

On page 109 the authors tell us that the way we, as parents, can fight for the heart is to build a trustworthy relationship with our children. Many parents want their children to respect them, but fail to try to build trust with their children. Think about it, as an adult how likely are you to truly respect someone that hasn’t earned even the smallest amount of your trust?

Here’s one way that I have tried to build trust with my son: I explain to him why a certain behavior isn’t desired. Whenever he has to be punished for something he’s done, I tell him I love him, and give him a hug. This is the best way I know to fight for the heart of my son. I don’t tell him, “This is going to hurt me more than it will you.” It isn’t true; it hurts him more, regardless of how he is being punished.

I know how important it is for me to feel valued as an adult. Therefore, I want him to feel valued as a child so that later he seeks relationships that will add value to him, not try to take it away. I hope he sees my style of parenting and disciplining as love and adding value.

If parents simply fly off the handle because of their child’s behavior, which I have unfortunately done in the past, it creates a sense of anger in the child. This has been my experience with my son. When I react outside of a godly mindset the enemy has a chance to convey a message to my child that he isn’t loved. I do not want this message given to him.

The key to effectively parenting with the value of fighting for the heart of your children is to parent with consistency (p. 110). Consistency is vital to other areas of life, not just relationships. However when we parent with consistency we show we can be trusted. I have seen this with my son. No matter how many times he has to be disciplined he still tells me he loves me. I am consistent (most of the time), my wife is consistent (more so than me). When we tell him something is being taken away because of an issue with his attitude, we stick with our decision even when it’s inconvenient for us.

So be consistent in your actions with your children. Communicate well with them regarding what you, as the parent, are doing what you’re doing, especially when it comes to discipline. Consistency and communication are vital to fighting for the heart of your children.

What do you think? How are you fighting for the heart of your child? Leave me a comment.


comments powered by Disqus