Parents all wonder the same thing. We shake our head in exasperation and ask, “Why? Why do my kids act and say the things they do?” 

I’ve wondered, you have wondered. The question is born from  exasperation. We really don’t expect an answer. Yet the answer is less baffling and mystifying than we think.  It’s actually pretty basic and even logical!

It’s in their DNA.

Think about it, it totally makes sense. We are all created in God’s image. We are rational, emotional, relational, volitional, and spiritual.

This creates a genuine need for respect (rational);  joy, fun (emotional); love and belonging (relational); freedom (volitional); and spiritual fulfillment (spiritual).

When we take time be a student of our child, we are able to  discover which image element needs tending.

To “speak kid” we need to take time to observe and listen to what the child or young person is really saying. Here are 5 typical statements and their translation:

  • “I’m not a baby…” translation: I’m growing up, I need more responsibility.
  • “Let’s go to the park…”translation: Let’s have some fun.
  • “Will you play with me?” translation: I miss you. I need time with you.
  • “You never let me….” translation: I need some freedom.
  • “Do we eat in heaven?” translation: I need to know more about God.

What our kids say gives us great insight into their character development and true needs. When we really listen to and actively seek to understand their heart, we discover what they really need. Then we are able to effectively pray for, parent, train, and interact with our kids.

Parenting approaches shift  because our children’s needs change as they age. The fluidity of parenting always keeps us on our toes. If we are ever unsure of what is going on we can rest assured much of what they need is centered on love and belonging.

We don’t just want to get our kids to behave. We want to go beyond that and develop their heart and character while fostering a relationship with them that lasts a lifetime.

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27 

© 2018 Lori Wildenberg. All rights reserved.
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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