213 Things I Learned from Shepherding A Child’s Heart
I hope that you’ve found our synopsis of Tedd Tripp’s book “Shepherding A Child’s Heart” both thought provoking and useful. There is certainly a lot of useful information to be gleaned from the book. The following is my “cheat sheet” of things covered in the book:
4 Reasons our culture has lost its way in terms of parenting
- Many people in our day and age have children but don’t really want them. Children are viewed as a liability in a culture that has increasingly convinced people that the paramount goal in life should be their own personal fulfillment.
- The idea of quality time has replaced the idea of quantity time.
- It is no longer socially acceptable for Dad to be the authority in the home.
- Children see their parents refusing to submit to authority which results in their unwillingness to accept a submissive role in life.
7 Observations on Parental Authority
- You must not be embarrassed to be your child’s authority.
- Our authority as parents comes from being an agent of God.
- We should never direct our children for our own convenience, but rather on behalf of God for their good.
- The purpose of our authority is not to hold our kids under our power.
- Our goal is to empower our children to be self-controlled individuals living under God’s authority.
- As parents, we must require obedience from our children because God’s word calls for obedience and the honoring of parents.
- Based on Mr. Tripp’s experience, children don’t generally resist authority when that authority is kind and selfless as described above.
5 Observations on Shepherding Our Children
- As a shepherd, our goal is to help our children understand themselves as a creation of God and their role as being made “for God.”
- The job of a parent is to lead children on the path of discovery.
- Our job is to shepherd our children’s thoughts to help them learn discernment and wisdom.
- We do this with open and honest communication.
- The Heart is the Focus of Shepherding (“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” [Proverbs 4:23])
5 Reasons Why the Gospel Must be Central Focus in Raising Kids
- The goal is not to simply direct the behavior of our children, but the attitudes of their hearts.
- As parents, we should show our children the “why” of their sin and not just the “what.”
- As parents, a goal of simply having well behaved children totally misses the mark.
- The gospel promises internal transformation.
- When we fail to hold our kids to God’s standard, we rob them of the “mercy of the gospel.”
2 Factors That Determine How A Child “Turns Out”
- His Life Experiences (shaping influences); and
- How the child interacts with those experiences (Godward Orientation)
6 Shaping Influences in Child’s Life
- Structure of Family Life
- Family Values
- Family Roles
- Family Conflict Resolution
- Family Response to Failure
- Family History
2 Common Mistakes related to Shaping Influences
- Seeing shaping influences as deterministic; and
- Denying the impact of shaping influences.
2 Possibilities for A Child’s Godward Orientation
- They worship the true and living God of the Bible; or
- They worship idols.
3 Responses to Shaping Influences and Godward Orientation
- As parents, we must work to control those shaping influences in our children’s lives which we can control.
- We must also actively shepherd our children’s hearts towards worshiping God.
- In all of this, we must pray for God’s working in our children’s lives.
7 Unbiblical goals for our kids
- Developing Special Skills
- Psychological Adjustment
- Saved Children
- Family Worship
- Well Behaved Children
- Good Educations
6 Unbiblical Methods For Raising Kids
- I Didn’t Turn Out So Bad
- Pop Psychology
- Behavior Modification
- Punitive Correction / Grounding
- Erratic Eclecticism
2 Pieces of Advice on communication
- Remember that communication is a dialogue, not monologue
- Focus on Understanding
3 Objectives of Communication With Kids
- The behavior you see is a reflection of the abundance of your child’s heart.
- You want to understand the specific content of the abundance of his heart.
- The internal issues of the heart are of greater importance than the specifics of behavior, since they drive behavior.”
6 Alternative questions for talking to kids
- What were you feeling when……?
- What did ____ do to make you feel ______?
- Help me to understand how ______ seemed to ______.
- What was the problem with what ______ was doing to you?
- In what other ways could you have responded?
- How do you think your response/actions/inaction reflected trust/lack of trust in God’s ability to _______?
4 areas that must be addressed in conversation with our children
- Nature of the temptation
- Possible responses to the temptation
- Motives for those responses
- The sinful response he chose
8 Types of Communication
3 Costs of communication
- If parenting is our primary calling, it means we won’t be able to do everything we want to do.
- It means we can’t develop every interest that comes along.
- It means we may need to give up interests we already have.
3 Benefits of Communication
- It prepares our kids for future relationships where communication skills where be essential.
- It enables them to understand the complexities of life. The more we help our kids understand themselves and their hearts, the better equipped they will be to deal with and understand life.
- We must teach our kids to understand life through the redemptive grid of God. What better way is their to communicate such a grid to our children than in our normal conversation?
5 Things that the Rod Is
- It is a parental exercise (to be administered only by a parent).
- It is an act of faith. As parents, it shows our confidence in God’s word.
- It is an act of faithfulness showing love and commitment to the child.
- It is a responsibility. Tripp puts it in a new light – “It is not the parent determining to punish. It is the parent determining to obey.”
- It is a physical punishment.
5 Things that the Rod Is NOT
- The Rod is not the right to unbridled temper.
- It is not the right to hit our kids whenever we want.
- It is not for the venting of frustration.
- It is not retributive.
- It should not be associated with vindictive anger.
6 Common Objections to the Rod Answered in the Book
- 1. I love my children too much to spank them
- 2. I’m afraid I will hurt my child
- 3. I’m afraid it will make him rebellious and angry
- 4. I’m afraid of teaching them to hit
- 5. It doesn’t work
- 6. I’m afraid of being arrested for child abuse
4 Things That Will Cause the Rod Not to Work
- When it is done in anger
- When it is inconsistent
- When there is failure to persist on the part of the parents
- When there is failure to make certain that the spanking has been effective
8 Fruits of the Rod
- Teaching kids outcomes to behavior.
- Consistent use helps kids to develop a harvest mentality (you reap what you sow).
- It shows God’s authority over the parents as an example of submission to authority.
- It demonstrates parental love and commitment to the child.
- It results in peace and righteousness.
- It gives children the security of discipline.
- It return the child to the place of blessing.
- It promotes openness and closeness between children and parents.
2 Components of the Circle of protection
- Honor Parents
- Obey Parents
2 Prerequisites to Children Honoring Their Parents
- The parent trains the child to honor them; and
- The parent is honorable in both conduct of demeanor.
3 Things A Child Must Never Be Allowed to Do
- Never speak to their parents in imperatives (i.e., orders)
- Never speak to their parents as they would a peer
- They must be taught to express their thoughts and feelings in a manner which shows respect
3 Components of Obedience in Children (Doing what they are told…)
- Without Challenge
- Without Excuse
- Without Delay
2 Benefits of Having An Appeals Process
- It guard against caprice on the part of the parent
- It gives kids a safety valve
- Kids learn to submit to authority in a way that is not arbitrary.
- Kids learn to be respectful to superiors.
3 Things an Appeals Process Is NOT
- Children who refuse to obey
- Children who obey only when they are certain that you are right or fair
- Children who require you to “sell them” on why you are right
4 Prerequisites to The Appeals process
- Obedience must happen immediately, not after the appeal.
- The child must be ready to obey regardless of the outcome of the appeal.
- The appeal must be done respectfully.
- The results of the appeal must be accepted in a respectful manner.
5 Tips for Parents Whose Kids Are Older But Who Have Not Been Taught to Submit to Authority
- Start with gracious and kind instruction.
- Teach them biblical passages like Ephesians 6.
- Help them see the benefits of being under authority.
- Convince them that submission is the path to blessing.
- Never try to sugarcoat submission. It means doing what you don’t want to.
8 Steps in The “How” of Spanking
- It should be in a private place.
- Tell your child specifically what they have done or failed to do. (Tripp suggests that later in life we can correct for attitudinal issues, but for younger children the correction must be for specific actions.)
- Make sure the child understands and acknowledges what they have done.
- Remind the child that you are not spanking them because you are frustrated or angry but to restore them to the place of God’s protection and promised blessing (i.e., the Circle of Protection). The spanking reflects your obedience to God as the parent and concern for your chid.
- Let the child know beforehand how many swats he will receive.
- Remove his drawers so the spanking is felt. Tripp warns not to shame the child in this process.
- After the spanking, hug your child and tell them how much you love them, how much it hurts you to spank them, and how you hope you won’t have to do it again.
- Pray with him.
2 Things to Check if Your Child Won’t Be Restored to You After a Spanking
- Check your own spirit.
- Check his spirit. If discipline has not resulted in peace and righteousness, it is not over. Sometimes this results in having to repeat the spanking process. If it continues not to work and the child is unwilling to be restored to you, Tripp suggests something along the lines of the following: “I love you, son, I have disciplined as much as is appropriate at this time. My desire is to see you submit to Daddy. My goal is total restoration of our relationship and closeness. I am going to pray for us. I am going to pray that I will be a dad who is wise and kind. I will pray that you will submit to God’s order for family life and will honor and obey Mom and Dad.”
11 Frequently Asked Questions About Spanking Answered in The Book
- What is a spanking issue?
- When is my child old enough?
- When is a child too old?
- Can I use time-out instead of spanking?
- What if my child says, “But, I didn’t hear you?”
- If I follow your counsel, all I’ll do is spank.
- What if I’m too mad?
- What if we’re not at home?
- What is I know my child is lying to me?
- What if I’m not sure what happened?
- What if nothing works?
7 Steps to Teach Older Children About Submission to Authority and Discpline
- Talk to your child about your new insights and admit what you think you’ve done wrong in raising them. Assist them in seeing how things would have been different if you practiced then what you know now.
- Ask for their forgiveness for your failures.
- Provide them with clear, biblical guidance on being under authority.
- Talk to them about specific changes that are needed in their behavior, attitudes, etc.
- Talk to them about how you will respond to disobedience in the future. Make sure they understand it and are comfortable with it.
- Kids will resist anything that smells of manipulation. Any new approach must be part of your attempt to be biblical in all aspects of your life. It can’t be solely for the purpose of getting your kids to change.
- Be patient. You’ll need it. Pray. Wait on God, and study the Bible with your kids. The focus must be on what is needed to honor God, not on getting your kids to behave.
10 Character Traits We Would Like to See Our Kids Develop
- Moral Purity
10 Questions to Discern Your Child’s Relationship to God
- Does your child recognize his need for God?
- Does he want to know and love God?
- Does he go to God to provide him strength, comfort and help?
- Is there any indication that your child is carrying on an independent relationship with God?
- Are there things other than God which seem to motivate him?
- Does he talk about God?
- What does he think about God?
- Is God big or small?
- Is God a friend, helper, or the great taskmaster in the sky?
- Does he see himself in Christ?
12 Questions to Determine What Your Child Thinks of Himself
- How does you child think about himself?
- How well does he understand himself?
- How well does he understand his personality?
- Is he self conscience of how his personality would lead him?
- Does he understand his strengths and weaknesses?
- Is he content with himself?
- What do his actions say about his attitude about himself?
- Is he shy or confident?
- Is he fearful?
- Does he help others?
- Can he stick to a task?
- Can he work by himself?
8 Questions About Your Child’s Relationships with Other People
- How does your child interact with others?
- What traits does he bring out in other people?
- In his relationships, is he always the one in control or always the one being controlled?
- Does he fawn for the attention of others?
- Is he good with kids his own age?
- How does he deal with it when people disappoint him?
- How does he respond when people sin against him?
- What are his relational strengths and weaknesses?
6 Observations on Character Development
- Parents should not instill the idea in their kids that if they try hard enough, or are good enough, or really strive for it, that they can be what God has called him to be. None of us can – absent the grace and mercy of God.
- It is impossible to try to build good character qualities in our kids without reference to God.
- Teaching character is a process, not an event. It requires plenty of patient teaching and instruction.
- When you give your kids a keepable standard it trains them to rely on themselves and turns them away from the need for the Cross of Christ.
- Proverbs is a great book for teaching kids about character.
- Many parents are not able to correctly assess the character issue behind behaviors. Many times that is because we view our children’s behavior problems very naively. We do not want to admit the character flaw to ourselves and downplay the behavior.
3 Ways to Begin to Develop Adult Relationships With Your Children
- Wait for the right time to talk to them.
- Deal with Broad Themes.
- Allow Room for Disagreement.
6 Steps For Your Child To Take Their Place As Individuals Under The Lord
- Developing a Christian mind
- Developing friendship with adults
- Discovering and developing their particular ministry
- Determining a career
- Establishing their own home and family
- Developing a mature relationship with their parents