Heart Parenting: The Bad Attitude

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Today is my first post in the series Heart Parenting, where I’m joining with the National Center for Biblical Parenting (NCBP) and Marcy of Ben and Me to talk about biblical parenting from the heart. 

Each Tuesday and Thursday for the next two weeks, I’ll write about how we’ve used tips from the book The Christian Parenting Handbook by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, R.N. 

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Something I enjoy about the book is that it provides a fresh perspective on behavior and parenting issues that is from a biblical, heart perspective. The purpose is to use the chapters as tools for use with your own parenting philosophy.

One thing that we have been struggling with in our home is bad attitude. One of our children in particular has shown a bad attitude at every instruction and correction.

Chapter 48 of The Christian Parenting Handbook is called “Discipline for Bad Attitudes.” Eager to see what tips and suggestions we could glean, my husband and I talked over the points it offered and found some good ideas in helping parent our children in this area. 

A good, biblical parenting philosophy recognizes that attitude is a window into the child’s heart. – The Christian Parenting Handbook, pg 191

The chapter helped us to look closer at the heart issue behind specific examples of bad attitude we’d been observing. Often, when one of the kids is corrected, there is sulking, slinking down in chairs, whining, and avoiding eye contact, among other lovely behaviors. Basically, it’s grumbling and complaining.  

Our normal modes of addressing it didn’t seem to be helping the problem significantly. We often instruct our kids to “practice” the right response when they’ve acted incorrectly the first time. We still believe in this approach and will continue to use it.

However, the book helped us to see we were missing two other facets: emotions and wrong thinking. We don’t want our kids to simply jump through hoops. Instead we want to win their hearts with each encounter. We want to capture every opportunity to instruct them in a biblical attitude of thanksgiving, respect, and obedience. 

So that is what we are doing. When our little one rebels to instruction with a bad attitude…

We kneel down and ask questions
We seek to understand
We empathize
We give them correct thinking
         …what can you be thankful for? 
         …how can we turn toward joy?
         …let’s pray to Jesus for help!

We talk about (and pray for) a heart softened toward us in obedience and respect as well as full of joy. If our child does not recieve the instruction and correction, we continue with discipline and circle back to our talk later.  

The goal is to help our children constructively work through their emotions, address the heart issue of their behavior, and walk through biblical thinking that helps them make better choices. It is not a short cut by any means. But the longer, more intentional approach is proving effective in our family.

We also think that there are two other very important aspects of addressing the bad attitude:

Our kids can’t change their hearts any more than we can. That work belongs only to the Holy Spirit. Our job is to guide them into godly living, teach them about Jesus and the gospel message, train them with scripture that addresses the issues of the heart, and pray pray pray for them on this journey. 

We must check our own hearts for a bad attitude. To be honest, I know I am guilty of grumbling and complaining lately. I am guilty of having a bad attitude when things don’t go my way or I’ve been inconvenienced. I am convicted seek God on these matters, be instructed by His Word myself, and pray for Him to change my heart so that I may better exemplify His way to my children. 

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I hope you continue to join us! Don’t forget to check out what these other fantastic bloggers are writing about on Heart Parenting.  


Ed @ Biblical Parenting
Marcy @ Ben and Me
Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio
Nicole @ Proven Path Ministries
Crystal @ The Crystal Starr Blog


National Center for Biblical Parenting and Ben and Me are giving away 10 copies of The Christian Parenting Handbook during this series! Click the banner below to enter!


From September 24 through October 7, you can also get the eBook version of The Christian Parenting Handbook for $3.99!



Linking up with these great blogs.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. This is a great post Tauna. Thanks for taking the time to join with Marcy and others in this 10 Days of Heart Parenting. Chapter 48 about Bad Attitudes is a wonderful chapter. We so often just focus on the behavior and forget about the heart. Attitudes expressed by our children (and by us!) are windows into the heart. Taking the time to address the attitudes is taking time to address the heart. You also made the excellent point that the Holy Spirit is ultimately the one who changes anyone’s heart. I spoke with a 12 Year Old boy this weekend who wanted to “do the right thing” and I encouraged him to ask the Lord to change his heart. We’re starting a heart parenting revolution here!

    1. That sounds like a wonderful conversation! Thank you for stopping by and commenting. The book is a blessing in our home!

  2. Thanks Tauna!! I appreciate your encouragement!

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