The workshop inside the heart is a complex space where our children process all of life’s challenges. It’s where they develop their beliefs, desires, and feelings, that ultimately shape their attitudes and convictions, driving their actions. This workshop is where they learn to adjust expectations when faced with disappointment or adversity, and develop positive emotional management skills.
However, when children experience trauma or disappointment, they may develop negative patterns of emotional reactions that can be difficult to break. They may become more prone to anxiety, anger, or sadness, which can impact their lives for years to come. Thus, their workshop deep inside produces coping mechanisms, much of which are counterproductive. Many of these children need to expand their emotional comfort zone.
Even children who haven’t gone through trauma are learning to manage their emotions as they grow through developmental stages. Life can feel overwhelming at times and many children just don’t have the equipment in their hearts to manage their feelings. Understanding emotions from a heart-based approach is strategic.
As parents, it’s important to teach our children to use their emotions as warning signs, rather than letting them control their actions. We must help our children understand that negative coping patterns, such as arguing, badgering, whining, or complaining, will only lead to more negative emotions.
Instead, we can help children find or develop new tools for accepting disappointment or adversity. This new growth rarely comes by just talking, however. It requires practice, and that’s not always easy for the child or the parent. But practicing under pressure is what often builds the new ways of thinking and acting that will help our children develop positive beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.
In order to be effective in this process, we must also guard our own hearts. Working with an emotional child can generate unwanted emotions in us as well. We must trust in God’s work in our own lives and have compassion for ourselves and our children as we navigate this complex journey.
Proverbs 4:23 reminds us to “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” This is true not only for us as parents but also for our children as they learn to navigate the workshop inside their own hearts.
By helping our children develop healthy emotional management skills, we can guide them towards positive beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that will serve them well throughout their lives. We can help our kids learn to trust, respond better to correction, and develop greater confidence.
In conclusion, the workshop inside the heart is a dynamic space where our children process all of life’s challenges. It’s where they develop their beliefs, desires, and feelings, which ultimately shape their attitudes and convictions, driving their actions. By helping our children develop healthy emotional management skills, we can guide them towards positive beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that will serve them well throughout their lives. This requires patience, practice, and compassion on the one hand, and firmness, determination, and hard work on the other. The rewards are well worth the effort. Let us guard our hearts and trust in God’s work in our own lives and the lives of our children as we navigate this complex journey together.
Parenting is Heart Work Changes the Way People Think about Parenting
A heart-based approach changes everything. The reward/punishment model of parenting doesn’t work and often makes things worse.
Stephen Arterburn from New Life says, “I have never seen a better book on reaching a child’s heart. As parents we are too quick to correct and miss a chance to connect to the heart of a child.”
In this book you will learn:
* How to connect to your child’s heart to bring about change.
* Ways to correct that are more powerful and last longer.
* To help your child reign in emotions.
* How to use common, everyday activity to build life-skills.
* Biblical, practical tools that work.
Concordia University’s Family Ministry Program requires that every student read Parenting is Heart Work. Dr. Ben Freudenburg says, “This is our go-to book for parenting. It’s biblical, practical approach is powerful.”