Every day parents have opportunities to touch the hearts of their children. Sometimes it's through a story or a hug, or an apology, but often it's through the daily correction that children need.
Addressing the heart is important. Unfortunately some parents respond to their children in ways that miss the heart. One of the mistakes parents make is that they make excuses for their children. We've all heard them.
He'll grow out of it. She's so cute. At least she's doing what I asked. He's tired. He's just going through a stage. At least she's better than other kids her age. That's the way kids are. She's a teenager. He's a two-year-old. He's a boy. She could be a lot worse.
Each of these is an excuse for not disciplining and often represents a missed opportunity to teach or direct a child on a deeper level. Remember, we aren't just trying to help children change on the outside to develop appropriate behavior. We're trying to help them change their hearts.
Since these statements might have truths behind them, we may choose to discipline a little differently, postpone a consequence, or redirect children. There's nothing wrong with that, but we must be careful not to ignore heart issues in the process.
Look for ways to challenge your children on a heart level this week. You'll be surprised at how many opportunities are out there.
One of the greatest verses to memorize concerning sibling rivalry is the good old Golden Rule: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and 'Love your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27).
These are some positive rules you may use at your home, and remind your children when they have playmates over:
1. Love God-Don't hurt God.
2. Love others-Don't hurt others. (And don't hurt things that belong to others.)