Motivate Your Child Action Plan: A Practical, Heart-Based Approach to Changing Your Child's Behavior

Early in the year, I had the opportunity to be on the launch team for Motivate Your Child, an excellent parenting book that gives Bible based, practical advice for dealing with areas in your child’s life that need change, using a heart based approach. I was quite taken by this book. (You can read my review here.) It resonated with me because (1) we’ve always tried to use parenting techniques that will get at heart issues in our kids and (2) it actually had practical examples and suggestions- not just theoretical advice. I was so encouraged by the book that I wrote a blog post series- 5 Days of Insight From Motivate Your Child. Because the book had such an impact in my parenting thinking- and Jason’s as I shared with him- I was very excited to be on the launch team for an accompanying book- Motivate Your Child Action Plan.

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Motivate Your Child Action Plan (and the previous Motivate Your Child book) was written by Dr. Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN,BSN. Dr. Turansky is a pastor with two masters degrees and a doctorate degree. He has parented his own four children and now has grandchildren. Joanne Miller has been a pediatric nurse for 25 years and has parented her two sons who are now grown. These two bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Motivate Your Child books.

Although Motivate Your Child already had some practical advice and suggestions, Motivate Your Child Action Plan is a workbook or sorts with a detailed method to work on a specific behavior or behaviors of your child to see changes within forty days. The book is written workbook style, and you can write in it as you go or use an additional notebook to work through the process. I like the idea of using a notebook to work through because this is definitely a process that can be used again and again with different children and different behavior.

The chapters of the book take parents and children through a process, using multiple strategies and frequent meetings as they tackle specific behavior together. There are twelve chapters that build on each other as you follow the process.

  • Change in Forty Days
  • Where Do You Want to Go?
  • The Map to Get There
  • Working Together
  • A Place For Firmness
  • Visioning Moves You Forward
  • Teaching Shows the Way
  • Spiritual Energy Provides Strength
  • Coaching Sets the Attitude
  • Building Motivation From Within
  • Growing Together
  • Good Theology Makes it Work
You do not have to have the original Motivate Your Child book, but it is a very good resource, and throughout this workbook, certain chapters will be referenced in different steps of the process.
There are many things that I think makes this book a powerful parenting tool.
Parents are encouraged to begin with prayer.
Again and again, the authors focus on our own personal relationship with God and the heart changes we may need to make as parents. There is also the constant reminder that any changes we will see in our children will come from God’s work in their lives.
Parents are encouraged to work on a few things at a time by grouping problem behaviors.
As parents begin the process of identifying the character traits that they want to address, they are encouraged to list areas of weakness. But then these areas are examined to find common patterns. I think it’s easy as a parent to just get frustrated over things my children are doing that I don’t like, but there seem to be so many things I feel overwhelmed. Examining behaviors and noticing patterns that can allow us to group these behaviors and find specific character traits helps us to focus on just a few things so that it isn’t overwhelming to us or to our children.
Parents are encouraged to meet with children many times through the process.
Conversation with kids is so, so important. We’ve learned the power of good discussions with our kids. And the authors of Motivate Your Child Action Plan use this. The process that you will use as you focus on behaviors and character traits constantly involves meetings with your child. There are suggestions about these meetings- the best times to do them, how to initiate them and what to talk about. This isn’t a plan that you just map out and begin doing “to” your child. It’s a process that you will do “with” your child, involving them, asking their opinion, and discussing progress with them.
Parents are shown how to encourage children’s spiritual growth.
Changes that we help our children make shouldn’t only be outward behavioral changes. If a child only changes a behavior to please us or to avoid punishment, the root of the problem doesn’t change. The authors of the book constantly bring out the need to teach our children how to grow spiritually. There are ideas and advice for helping our children to have a personal relationship with God and to grow spiritually. I think this is so important because it teaches kids how to make real changes- by relying on God’s power- and not just superficial changes.
Motivate Your Child Action Plan is an awesome resource. I can’t recommend it (and the partner book) strongly enough. You can find the books on the National Center of Biblical Parenting:
Right now, the Kindle version of Motivate Your Child is only $2.99. You can find it here.
Don’t forget the awesome launch giveaway– open through May 19. And the Facebook party you can attend on Wednesday, May 20. There will be some great information and prizes!

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