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Heart-Based Approach

A heart-based approach to parenting is different than simple behavior modification. It takes into account the biblical understanding of the heart as a place where emotions reside, commitments are formed, wrestling takes place, convictions develop, temptations exist, and where God wants to live.

Behavior modification basically says, “If you do what I say, I’ll give you what you want.” The problem with that approach is that it appeals to the selfishness in children. Instead of doing something because it’s the right thing to do, children learn to ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” In the end, simple behavior modification develops people who are externally motivated.

A heart-based approach takes advantage of the internal motivation inside a child. It helps children learn how to develop convictions, process offenses, and value others. It’s powerful and when parents focus on the heart, good things happen.