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5 Days of Insight From Motivate Your Child: Internal Motivation When Kids Are Away From Home

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This is the fourth post in the 5 Days of Insight From Motivate Your Child series. You can find the landing page with all of the links and the link to the book and the review here. In today's post I'm going to share some great information in the book about how to help ensure that your kids are going to do the right thing when they are away from you. This, to me, is a critical part of parenting. If I'm a harsh disciplinarian and have strict rules, I might be able to make my kids conform when I'm around. But I don't want just an outward conformation. I want my kids to have the right heart attitudes so that they make good decisions when I'm not around. The authors have some really good things to say about this topic.


* Choices about behavior aren't always straightforward. In real life, we often come to situations that "pit various parts of the conscience against one another" as the book says. We need to teach our kids how to make those decisions. For instance, if the child is at a friend's house, and the mom serves green beans (something the child really dislikes), how should he respond. He knows that lying is wrong. But he also knows that he should be honoring to others and be grateful. So when asked if he wants green beans, what does he do?


The book suggests something that we've often done in our family- practicing these types of situations often. When the kids were younger, we would play a game anytime we were taking them to someone's house- the "what if game." "What would you do if Charlie's mom offered you green beans?" "What would you do if Charlie opened his birthday present and said he hated it?" "What would you do if someone makes a mean comment to you?" We would use some silly questions and some more realistic questions. But talking about these situations would help the kids think through the proper responses ahead of time. The authors of the book put it this way: "It's often the experiences of life that move external rules into the heart to become convictions." In other words, when kids have the opportunity to practice what they are learning away from you, they'll begin to internalize those values and behaviors.


* It is very important to teach kids the "why" behind the rules you're giving them. When we teach kids why certain behaviors are right and wrong, they can internalize those values and make those decisions for themselves. The authors of the book emphasize the need to teach our kids biblical values and a biblical worldview. "A biblical worldview helps children integrate their faith into life and face the challenges they experience every day."

We can share a biblical worldview with our kids by reading Scripture, talking about values, and teaching them about characters from Scripture who display those values. We also teach this biblical worldview by how we act. The things we do can demonstrate to our kids the right (or wrong) behaviors and guide how they will react.


When we have truly passed on our values to kids, they'll choose to make good decisions even when they are away from us. And this is what I want for my kids- not just outward behavior that makes them (and me) look good, but real heart convictions that guide them to make the right choices when they're on their own.

In the final 5 days post, I'm going to be sharing some of the many, many quotes that I've underlined as I've read through Motivate Your Child. I don't often write in books. But every once in a while I get a book that I know I'm going to want to refer to again and again, and I like to underline the things that really stick out. In tomorrow's post, I'll share some of the great thoughts that I haven't been able to cover in the other posts.

Have you been reading Motivate Your Child? I'd love to know your thoughts about the book also.



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