My husband and I have noticed that something happens to many kids between sixth and seventh grade.
We have seen some really “good” kids suddenly seem to develop a bad attitude, and start to show some disrespect. Other kids that age seem to just keep going in the right direction, growing in their love for the Lord, and then go on to become young adults who are faithful to the Lord.
When we saw that happening, we decided that those tween years were very important and that we needed to be vigilant about winning our kid’s hearts and keeping it during those turbulent times when they are dealing with changing hormones, and self-confidence.
As parents, it is VITAL that we stay purposeful and intentional about winning and keeping the hearts of our kids, and ESPECIALLY during the tween years when they may begin to be more concerned with what their peers may think, or what their peers are doing.
We wanted to be sure our kids knew not only that we liked them, but we loved them for who they were. We wanted them to know that home was a safe place to share their thoughts, struggles, and even their dreams, without fear of being criticized or corrected.
The three main reasons we want and need to win the hearts of our tweens are;
- So they will be open to our teaching. We want to be able to pour into them wisdom from God’s Word.
- So we can have a significant influence on them. We want to be the ones who are influencing their values and teaching them how to live Biblically.
- To keep them from rebellion. Sometimes when kids rebel it is because we have made one of the 5 parenting mistakes that lead our kids to rebellion. It often goes back to a time when we did something that caused us to lose their heart.
How do we go about winning and keeping the hearts of our tweens?
- Remember that a strong relationship leads to compliance. There is a big difference between intimidating our children into obedience by threats or fear of consequence, and WINNING their hearts into subjection. Intimidating will bring outward compliance, but no heart change. Nurture the relationship so they desire to please you and comply.
- Let them know you love them for who they are, not because of what they do. If we as parents don’t accept them for who they are, they will feel they can never win our approval. As a result, they will quit trying, and give their heart to someone who likes them and accepts them.
- Affirm them regularly. Write them notes, tell them what you like about them, occasionally get them their favorite treat, have special one on one outings, and brag on them to others when they can hear you.
- Be fair. When you need to give correction or discipline, be sure and discern if the cause of the problem is innocence, ignorance, or rebellion. Have you taught and trained them, or did you just expect them to know what you wanted? When you use common sense and are slow to react, you will be fair and win their heart.
- Show honor to them. Don’t get in drill sergeant mode and yell out orders. Treat them with the respect you would like. Say “please” and “thank you” to them, etc.
- Show affection. Give lots of hugs, pats, tickles, etc. They still need that even though they aren’t as young.
- Tell them you love them, and tell them often. More than likely your kids know you love them, but just like we enjoy hearing out spouse tell us they love us, our kids enjoy hearing us tell them that we love them.
- Listen to them when they want to talk. Stop what you are doing, put your phone away, and look them in the eye. That speaks volumes to your kids about how much you care about what they have to say. Get excited with them about their interests, and find out what is important to them. Listen to their heart and emotions, as well as their words.
- Apologize when you need to. Just admit it — sometimes as parents, we are wrong! We can over-react, jump to conclusions, or get easily frustrated. Don’t be too proud to say, “I blew it. I’m sorry.” Kids are forgiving and willing to accept our apologies.
- Pray for them and with them. Praying together creates a bond, and praying for your children is one of the best gifts you can give them. It’s also vital that you help them develop a daily habit of reading God’s Word, as His Word will guide them. If you aren’t sure how to get your tweens started in Bible reading, check out these Bible Reading Plans Your Children Will Enjoy.
In conclusion, realize that daily a spiritual battle is raging for your kids’ hearts, and determine to do all you can to purposefully pursue and win their hearts.
What is your next step in winning your child’s heart today? Share with us in the comments below!
This was Day 12 of the 30 Days of Tween Parenting Encouragement Blog Party!
What a blessing to have Kathie from The Character Corner sharing her wisdom with us! Personally, have been blessed by Kathie’s blog posts, webinars and resources for some time now. I admire her focus on character, purity and homeschooling and very much appreciate her passion for winning our children’s hearts which is evident in all that she creates!
I’m Kathie, wife to Alan, mother of eight children, and homeschooling mom of 31 years. My husband and I have been married for 37 years, and our kids are grown up, with the youngest being 18. We also have 10 precious grandkids.
Though my homeschooling days are behind me now that all eight of the kids have graduated, I still stay busy as I run The Character Corner, travel to conferences, speak, and share encouragement on my blog.
Visit The Character Corner Shop here
Kathie’s book on this topic The Importance of Winning Your Childs Heart can be found on her site as well.
Did you Miss the other days?