Sometimes it is the little things that go under the radar that we should be really concerned about as we parent our children. We tend to deal with the in-your-face arguments, temper tantrums, out and out lying, but attitude, now that is another thing. Attitudes are hard to define; they are hard to put a finger on. But if we don’t deal with the attitudes (what is in the heart) then we will only deal with external behaviours – and our child will never learn and grow. So that is what we are talking about today, what is attitude and how do we deal with it as a heart-focused parent.

What is Attitude in our children?

We use the word attitude often in parenting – but what is it, do we know what we mean and do we have any idea how we expect our kids to change it? 

Attitude is actually the expression of what we believe, value, or feel.  Our attitude can be expressed by turmoil in our heart, by facial expressions, by words or tone, or by actual actions.  (We have attitude at times, and so do our children.)

Attitudes can look like the grumps
Rolling the eyes and huffing and puffing
It can look like yelling and defying authority
Or it can look like rudeness.

They are the attitudes we are familiar with but I have a few more examples of maybe more ‘sneaky’ attitudes.  And by ‘sneaky’ I mean, we don’t often see them for what they really are.  As I go through these attitudes we often see in our kids, I wonder if you can see the heart issues going on?

Do you have a child who

  • Makes decisions for themselves; “I’m just gonna do this”, or they delay obedience till they’ve finished what they are doing and they feel justified in ignoring your instructions till they are ready. There is a place for working with your children and respecting what they are doing, but there also is a place for respectful obedience from our children.
  • {do you have a child who} Asks questions about your life; what you are doing when you get there, what you are talking about, who you are talking to? { my personal favourite – who is that on the phone?} They don’t really need to know these details, they just like to know everything about everyone – it gives them a sense of control.
  • {do you have a child who} Bossy to their siblings; they take over your responsibility, on the surface it looks like they’re being helpful but they are taking an authority that isn’t theirs.
  • {do you have a child who} Hangs around in the background just so they can listen to adult conversation; they just listen to collect information or they add little uninvited comments in on the side.  Though I don’t believe in children being seen and not heard, there is a place for adults to have adult conversations.
  • {do you have a child who} Corrects you in your conversation; often in this situation it is none of the child’s business, or they don’t have the full picture, but they are convinced they know best so are rude in making it known they are right and you are wrong.

It is hard to see these actions as ‘attitudes’ because in the right context these behaviours would be appropriate.  We want our children to make choices for themselves, we want them to join in adult conversation, we want them to take responsibility – so it is really up to your discernment to see if these are good or bad attitudes.  If your child has difficulty in following your instructions, or being respectful to you or other adults, or staying in their own lane, minding their own business – then this ‘wise in your own eyes’ attitude is one to consider.

The Bible says:

Be not wise in your own eyes;
reverently fear and worship the Lord
and turn [entirely] from evil
Proverbs 3:7

 

My Grandad would have said these kids were too big for their britches!  Meaning they are acting older and wiser than they really are.

Dealing with Sneaky Attitudes

I call these Sneaky Attitudes because we don’t always see them for what they are, which means we don’t act on them, which means they develop into stronger habits in our kids. But if we were to look at what is going on in the heart when these things take place we will have a clearer idea of seeing attitude for what it is and know what to work with.

Remember, the heart is the place that processes what a person knows, believes, values, feels, and chooses.  So what is in your child’s heart – what are they believing, valuing, feeling and choosing as they react to you or make these attitude driven choices:

Do they see themselves as: 

  • Independent:  where they believe they are able to make their own decisions, and live without other people, maybe even live without rules
  • {do they see themselves as} Mature: where they see themselves the same as adults, and can live like an adult,  have the same freedoms as an adult does but they don’t see the responsibility side of those freedoms
  • {do they see themselves as} Superior: where they see themselves as more important than others which means their thoughts, feelings, and ideas take precedence and must be heard and acted on (this is their expectation.)
  • {do they see themselves as} Indispensable: where they see themselves as so important and valuable, they have to be involved in everything

 

What does the Bible say?

The Bible says:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Prov 9:10)

What does it mean to fear the Lord?  That’s a big question, and one that lots of sermons have addressed, but simply put I believe the fear of the Lord, is seeing God for who He is, and seeing ourself as He sees us – and responding accordingly.

Proverbs 3:7, where it talks about ‘wise in your own eyes’ means that we see ourselves, or live our life, as we want to see ourselves, or live our life.  We see ourselves as wise, capable and deserving – in all things.  And because we are wise and capable and deserving we can do it on our own, the way we want to – we have what it takes within us (this is the thinking of a wise-in-your-own-eyes attitude). This is the promise the evil one made in the Garden, and it is the false idea that the people of Babel enacted on – it is the essence of sin.  But the proverb urges us instead to worship the Lord and turn from evil (evil being anything that is set against God and His ways of truth).

Proverbs 8:13 says

The reverent fear and worshipful awe of the Lord [includes] the hatred of evil; pride, arrogance, the evil way, and perverted and twisted speach I hate.

It is pride, arrogance and self-centeredness that makes a child (or an adult for that matter) have these attitudes, or think these things about themselves and think that it is okay and acceptable.   

 

Help our Children Change their Attitude

Once we actually see the heart attitudes behind what our children are doing the next step becomes clearer.

Luke 6:45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.   What you say flows from what is in your heart. 

The Bible teaches us that what is in the heart comes out in our actions.  So when our children are believing (in that moment) that they are the center of everything we need to help them see truth, they need a change of heart and from a change of beliefs, values, feelings they will eventually be able to change their choices. 

 Let me just say, I didn’t quote these Scriptures about evil and sinful hearts etc for you to come down heavy preaching your kids all the way to the altar!  But rather to help you see attitude for what it is.  Your job is then to discern where your child is at, and what is the best step for them to move on from what is going on in their heart.  Don’t preach fire and brimstone to your kids to fear them into doing the right thing but do use God’s word as the baseline for what is good.

When my children started to be arrogant or show pride (or any form of this wise-in-your-own-eyes attitude) I would send them to their rooms to reflect on what was going on in their heart.  

I call this process: Heart Thinking Time.  When we started this process they were quite young and I would go with them and talk them through thinking and reflecting on what they did, what was going on in the inside, and teaching them another way – God’s way.  As they grew older they were able to go through this self-reflection on their own, and understand their heart and remember a better way (the things we’d taught them), and decide to change their attitude and actions.  Often this would mean they would apologise for their previous choices – and then they would go on and do better.  I always knew if they had truly dealt with their attitude by their actions after this time of reflection because if they hadn’t their behaviour wouldn’t have changed..

A changed heart will produce changed actions.

Remember, training our children to see issues in their heart is a process;  it is a process of teaching them what is good, true, honourable, and then teaching how to then to act accordingly – or in keeping with those things that are good, true, honourable and so forth.  

We need to teach them how to be honest about what they’ve done, and see what is in their heart and understand how to change it.  If we just rant at them (because that is what they hear – a rant) if we just rant at them to change their attitude – they may well do something different but it won’t be lasting change.

We need to teach our children about respect, responsibility, and self-control.  We need to teach them how to deal with frustration and temptation.  And how to stop and redirect their choices.

But if we let attitude go – because we don’t see it for what it is – then their self-centered choices become deeply entrenched in the way they respond to life – and it is harder to change the older they get.  Wilfulness in a 4year old might seem cute and fiesty – but  what does that look like in a teen?  It is the same attitude, it is the same belief in their heart.

So call your kids on it – if they roll their eyes – call them on it. If they interject themselves in other people’s business – call them on it.  Don’t just call them on their behaviour – call them on their attitude (the thing they are believing in that moment).  

Send them to Heart Thinking Time.  Ask them what they are believing about themselves, about the task you’ve asked them to do, about you as their parent.  They’ll have some thought about those things though it might take a while for them to be honest about it.  Then ask them (or teach them if you don’t think they already have been taught) if those things line up with what is right.   

Attitude is simply the beliefs we hold in our heart that come out in our actions – we can choose to be respectful, loving, kind or we can choose to be self-focused, arrogant, demanding, bossy and nosey!

As parents it is too easy to tell them to ‘change your attitude, boy!’ and yet if we haven’t told them 

  1. a) What an attitude is and 
  2. b) How to change it 

we really aren’t helping them – we are just bossing them into pretending they know better and want to do better.

 

Heart-focused Action Step

The action step to take this week is to start being aware of attitude – what are the beliefs that are being expressed in turmoil in the heart, by facial expressions, by words or tone, or by actual actions.  And then stop letting the subtle expressions slide.  

Because what is in the heart – comes out in our actions – big or small – they all need addressing.

Of course we can’t jump on everything our kids do wrong.  We need to pick our battles so that we have the capacity to be consistent, and be appropriate as a parent.

 

So how to know what battles to pick?  Here are some questions to ask yourself…

  • What behaviours are causing major disruption to relationships and peace in our home?  
  • What behaviours aren’t changing even though our child keeps saying sorry?
  • What behaviours are consistent, and have been going on for a long while, regardless of our prompts and reminders and instructions to do differently? 

The answers to these questions is your battle to pick – that’s the thing you need to work on.

The other thing to think about before you ‘pick your battle’ is to make sure you have the resources to win (I can hear my son Joshua talking wartime strategies in my head here!)  But we have to have the capacity to be consistent if we want to address an issue in one of our kids’ lives.  

  • What other parenting issues am I dealing with? Because we can’t deal with it all at the same time.
  • If we’ve been dealing with this for a while, is there a better way for me to handle this situation? We have to put ourselves in the equation because maybe we haven’t been helping our child as much as we could. 
  • Have I thought enough about this issue to know why it is wrong, do I know what is right and why it is right, do I know how I am going to communicate that to my child? We need to be prepared before we address issues with our child.

 

The sneakiest thing about attitude is that we often focus on the outward behaviour and don’t deal with what is going on in the heart.  We often deal with big behaviour and let the little things slide.  

What I found was that so often there was a little response – a little action that if I was aware and on to it, I would see it for what it was – an expression of turmoil in the heart – and at that moment I had a choice, address it or let it go.  If I addressed it, and it doesn’t always need 30 minutes Heart Thinking Time, it can just be a verbal reminder to consider what is going on in their heart – but if I addressed it when I first saw it – chances were it didn’t develop into anything major and disruptive or distructive.  

So the key is –
Be aware
Be ready to act

But as always parent with love, mercy and grace when you see attitude in your kids.

 

parenting takes heart-work

Follow on Social Media:

 

0 Comments

Let me know your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The download link is on it's way.

Individual Education Planning Worksheets - brainstorming every area of your child's life.

Get your Planning Worksheets

I will email you the download link so you can start looking at all the different spheres of your child's life before you make any curriculum choices. 

The download link is on it's way.

An Alternative to Chocolate

An Alternative to Chocolate

Not that I have anything against chocolate - but these jelly beans can help your kids share the message of Jesus, his love, death and resurrection at Easter time.  

The download link is on it's way.

Parent Guide: How to make your Family Bible Study Really Work

Family Bible Study is Tricky with all the Different Ages

 

But there is a way to make this a rich learning and bonding family time.  This Guide includes tips, planning worksheet, and discussion prompts.  

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download yourCharacter Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download your Character Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

The download link is on it's way.

Download your Cheat Sheet

 

A quick reference to help you discern between a heart attitude and a lack of skill for when your child loses it!

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on its way.

Make God your First Response

Print out this parenting reminder to call out to God in the middle of the moment.

I'm excited to share this download with you. Watch your inbox.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

You will receive an email shortly with the details. Watch your inbox.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

 

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Our children hear different words when we react to when we respond. Do your children hear blah blah blah when you correct them? Includes a parenting poster.

Download Parenting Poster

 

When we Respond instead of React we find a way to deal with the heart not just behaviour.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Download Character Lesson Guide

You will receive an email shortly with the details. Watch your inbox.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

When family relationships get tense - look for the niggles.

Heart Focused Parenting Resource for the Intentional Parent

 

Your download will arrive in your inbox shortly. 

Print it out and use to teach the hearts of your kids.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Free Email Course

Daily emails  (6 days) to help you walk towards being a heart focused homeschool family!

You have joined the email course. Watch your email inbox!

Find ways to Re-engage your Student

Download this checklist and stir your child's curiosity

Watch your Inbox - the Checklist is on it's way!

FREE Parenting Worksheet

This worksheet will help you move from addressing behaviour to really parenting the heart, one issue at a time.

 

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Personal growth starts with an honest assessment

The download link is on it's way. Please check your email.

Give Effective Consequences

Think before you React

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

 

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

One Another Verses

Be Intentional in the Teen Years

Use this Cheat Sheet to remind you of how you can love your teen.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

#14 Heart Booster from Resource Library

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Download your copy

Download your copy

Blending Life and Lessons - and start your journey of changing your thinking about education.

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Download: One Another Verses pdf

Download this list of One Another verses and teach your children how to love others.

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Raising Kids with Character

ATTEND LIVE : FREE PARENTING WORKSHOP

A bonus for Heart Booster readers:  Learn how to teach character to your kids so that they can live their lives making values-based choices.

 

Live Session:  5th May 2021, 6.30pm AWST

Replay available until 16th May 2021

 

I'm so excited about this workshop - thanks for joining me!

Raising Kids with Character

REPLAY OPTION : FREE PARENTING WORKSHOP

A bonus for Heart Booster readers:  Learn how to teach character to your kids so that they can live their lives making values-based choices.

 

Replay available from 6th May until 16th May 2021

 

I'm so excited about this workshop - thanks for joining me!

Raising Kids with Character

WAITLIST

 

The Raising Kids with Character parenting workshop will be offered again this year - details yet to be confirmed.  Join the waitlist so you don't miss out. 

I will keep in you in the loop as soon as decisions have been made!

Bonus Reading list

 

Sharing my Homeschool Belief File

Knowing what you believe and why about education and homeschooling helps you make good decisions.

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Build your Family Routine
Starter Kit:

Assess and Plan how to use your time wisely with this worksheet bundle.

Instant download, and then join the Heart Boost Weekly, by confirming in your email.

Success! An email link is being sent to you!

Success! An email is on it's way!

Free email course

... delivered to your email inbox

Success! An email is on it's way!

Download: Family Devotional Activities (PDF)

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Download:Workshop Resource

This is a digital product. Download and print - but please don't share. 

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

#21 Heart Booster from Resource Library

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Free email course

... delivered to your email inbox

Success! An email is on it's way!

FreePrintable Posters

... delivered to your email inbox

Success! An email is on it's way!

Success! An email is on it's way!