An Excellent Resource for Building Your Child's Internal Motivation: Motivate Your Child

Do your kids argue with each other? Do you have to nag them fifty times to do what they need to do when you are trying to get out the door? Do they leave their dishes on the table and their toys on the floor? Maybe it’s just my kids. But, if you do struggle with these things, I’m here to say- There’s hope! I’ve been reading and absorbing a new book that I’ve been hinting at in social media- Motivate Your Child by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. And, I don’t often gush about a parenting resource. But I’m gushing.

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Motivate Your Child, unlike many parenting resources I’ve come across, is coming from the perspective of heart parenting. In our family, this means that we as parents teach the heart of the child. We don’t just seek to modify behavior. We seek to develop children who will look to Christ as the One Who guides their behavior and who will seek to please him- not us. I was so excited to find a tool that offers practical guidance as well as biblical principles in this area of heart parenting.

The book focuses on developing in your child a conscience. There is a great explanation in the book, but, in short, this is not the Holy Spirit’s guidance but is an internal motivation to do the right thing independently. That means, instead of responding to nagging and threats and punishment, my children can learn to respond to their internal promptings to do right.

That’s a nice goal, of course, but how can this really happen in my family? Those were my thoughts as I read through the introduction. But as I read on, I was motivated and encouraged to think that this really could happen in my family.

Dr. Turansky and Joanne Miller don’t just give lofty principles. They give practical examples. So when they discuss the value of correction in chapter 5, they don’t just tell readers that correcting kids and how we correct them can be important, they give practical examples of how real people have used correction techniques in their families to help guide kids’ behavior.

The first part of the book talks about the moral development of children. The authors discuss topics such as internal and external motivation- which they will come back to again and again-the conscience, correction, integrity, compassion, consequences. The second part of the book talks about the spiritual development of children. The authors discuss topics such as family time, relationships, practicing your faith, and leading a child to Christ.

There are so many excellent things in Motivate Your Child. I skimmed it first and am now reading slowly with a pen in hand for marking. I’ve already processed several things with my husband and am mulling over others that I want to bring up to him. I could probably spend a really long time talking specifics about the book and, in fact, I’m hoping to do a five day series on some of the content that’s been beneficial to us; but I’ll wrap up this review by telling you what stood out to me, what resonated with me, what made me feel like this book was worth while and I should listen to what the authors were saying. It is the fact that the authors are teaching parents to view their children as spiritual beings.

Our children aren’t little machines that we can train with behavior modification. That may work for a while in limited ways. Our children are spiritual beings. They are designed by God and made for a relationship with Him. When we teach them that the things they do have a result, that their behaviors can strengthen their relationship with God or hinder it, then they’ll make lasting changes in the things that they do.

Motivate Your Child is a parenting resource that “gets” that. The principles that the authors give come from Scripture. They use Scripture in teaching children. They focus on discussion and teaching, not behavior modification. And they guide parents to teach the hearts of their children to bring their children into a close relationship with God. That’s why it’s a resource I can gush about.

You can learn more about the book here from the National Center of Biblical Parenting. While you’re there, look at some of their other great resources like the Family Toolbox that I reviewed last year. Through January 28, you can also enter the Launch giveaway for some great prizes. Find out the details here.

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