Your daily dose of true beauty advice…
Parents often get sidetracked with behavior. If your goal in discipline is changed behavior, it is easy to understand why this happens. The thing that alerts you to your child’s need for correction is his behavior. Behavior irritates and thus calls attention to itself. Behavior becomes your focus. You think you have corrected when you have changed unacceptable behavior to behavior you sanction and appreciate.
“What is the problem?” you ask. The problem is this: Your child’s needs are far more profound than his aberrant behavior. Remember, his behavior does not just spring forth uncaused. His behavior—the things he says and does—reflects his heart. If you are to really help him, you must be concerned with the attitudes of heart that drive his behavior.
A change in behavior that does not stem from a change in heart is not commendable; it is condemnable. Is it not the hypocrisy that Jesus condemned in the Pharisees? In Matthew 15 Jesus denounces the Pharisees who have honored Him with their lips while their hearts were far from Him. Jesus censures them as people who wash the outside of the cup while the inside is still unclean. Yet this is what we often do in child-rearing. We demand changed behavior and never address the heart that drives the behavior.
What must you do in correction and discipline? You must require proper behavior. God’s law demands that. You cannot, however, be satisfied to leave the matter there. You must understand, and help your child to understand, how his straying heart has resulted in wrong behavior…
The heart is the wellspring of life. Therefore, parenting is concerned with shepherding the heart. You must learn to work from the behavior you see back to the heart, exposing heart issues for your children. In short, you must learn to engage them, not just reprove them. Help them to see the ways that they are trying to slake their souls’ thirst with that which cannot satisfy. You must help your kids gain a clear focus on the cross of Christ.
~Tedd Tripp in Getting to the Heart of Behavior