Heart-based Parenting

Christian Parenting Handbook

From The Christian Parenting Handbook, by Dr. Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller, RN, BSN

I’m going to go out on a limb here and recommend this book, a book I have not read, based on the fact that I really trust the authors’ parenting advice. I’ve been receiving their free Parenting Tips emails for years and there are nuggets in each one with practical suggestions to help you better relate to your children and change their hearts, not just their behavior.

Notice it’s not called a ‘Childhood’ handbook; it’s called a ‘Parenting’ handbook and for good reason. Behavior starts with the parent and stems from their heart. If we are well trained, especially in the ways of the Bible, it surely has a positive effect on our children’s behavior, and more importantly, on their hearts.

If you sign-up Dr. Turansky and Ms. Miller’s emails, take a few minutes to poke around their website too. The National Center for Biblical Parenting has many resources for families and church or small group settings.

Here’s a little preview of what to expect in the Parenting Tips emails:

Helping Children Take Responsibility – Part 1

Some children have a hard time taking responsibility for their faults and weaknesses. A debriefing after a discipline time is always helpful. When your child is ready to go on with life take a few moments and talk about what happened.

We encourage parents to ask, “What did you do wrong?”This question helps get the conversation going. Ask in a gentle way, not accusing. This allows your child to admit what he or she did wrong. It’s important for children to take responsibility for their actions. If others were involved, as they often are, a child should not excuse misbehavior by blaming someone else. The foolishness of others doesn’t justify a wrong response.

A common mistake parents make is to engage in dialogue about the whole situation, trying to figure out who else was wrong, what was fair, who started the problem, and why such things happen. Those questions may be helpful at times, but you’ll get much further in helping your children change their hearts if you start by asking “What did you do wrong?” Most children don’t like to admit their faults. They either blame others or just try to overlook the problem.

Your simple question can help children see their own mistakes and learn to take responsibility for them. When two children are fighting, for example, be careful not to focus on just one child’s offense. Usually when two children are fighting you have two selfish children. Ask each of them this simple question. Teach the offended child how to respond properly.

Confession is a spiritual skill that children need to learn. It helps them take responsibility for their part of the problem and that’s always the first step toward change. All of this can be started with a great introductory question, “What did you do wrong?”

Learn more about having a Positive Conclusion after discipline in the Heart Work Training Manual and CD #5 by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

Click here to read summaries of all eight lessons.


Sanctuary Sunday is a Sunday blog series focusing on matters of faith, spirituality, wisdom, and the Journey.

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