You should read this book if you…

Want to learn about a Biblical approach to parenting that focuses on the root of the issue – the heart attitude.

“In a nut shell”…

The condition of the heart is at the core of why kids do what they do.  Without a change of heart, no true change in behavior can take place.  To change behavior you need to understand your child’s “heart condition” and why he or she is exhibiting the behavior you see.

Key Ideas…

  • Consistency is the key to security forming the child’s worldview.
  • Asking questions helps you understand what is going on in a child’s heart. The “why” behind the behavior can only be addressed by understanding the “condition of a child’s heart.”
  • The behavior is not the main issue; changed behavior does not necessarily mean a changed heart. This is foundational to all relationships, not only with children but adults also.
  • Parents need to realize that things going on at home or school may drive the behavior that impacts the child’s heart. Examples: divorce, stress, parents working long hours, controlling attitudes, drugs, problems with school friends, low grades, feelings of insecurity.

Action Steps…

  • Make sure you are consistent with your spouse in how you research the “condition of the heart” and how you will disciple and communicate the changes in behavior you desire.
  • Understand your child’s needs in order to change behavior. Helping your child understand his or her behavior and heart condition will provide lasting change.
  • Prayer in the home and focus on the Bible for peace, joy and strength can have a huge impact on the child and parents alike.
  • The ability to say “I’m sorry” or “I made a mistake” as a parent opens up communication and models unconditional love.
  • We need to shepherd our children so that they develop Biblical attitudes. We are reinforcing them with scripture so they learn the “why.”
  • Do not force your children to share their possessions. You may encourage it, but forcing it will increase resentment between your children.


  • “The gospel enables you and your children to face the worst in yourselves—your sin, your badness, and your weakness—and still find hope, because grace is powerful.” xxii
  • “The Scripture teaches that…a person’s life is a reflection of his heart. Proverbs 4:23 states it like this: ‘Above all else, guard your heart because it is the wellspring of life.’” Pg 3
  • “All behavior is linked to attitudes of the heart. Therefore, discipline must address attitudes of the heart.” 6
  • “Many parents lack a biblical view of discipline. They tend to think of discipline as revenge…Hebrews 12 makes it clear that discipline is not punitive, but corrective. Hebrews 12 calls discipline a word of encouragement that addresses sons. It says discipline is a sign of God’s identification with us as our Father… It says that while discipline is not pleasant, but painful, it yields a harvest of righteousness and peace. Rather than being something to balance love, it is the deepest expression of love.” 38
  • “The finest art of communication is not learning how to express your thoughts. It is learning how to draw out the thoughts of another.” 76
  • “Parents tend to see their children’s behavior in very naive terms. We see the fight over a toy as simply a fight over a toy, when actually it is a failure to prefer others. It is selfishness…It is a determination to live in the world in a way that exploits every opportunity to serve oneself.” 179

How this has changed my parenting…

Before reading this book, I was drawn to the things I learned in college about child development and psychology as a solution. The secular training was helpful in understanding the physiological and emotional stages a child goes through, but heart issues with a more spiritual aspect were not addressed.

I found with my own daughter that many times the secular methods only resulted in temporary changes and not the lasting results I longed for in my child. I wanted her to learn to be self-disciplined with a good attitude. In her heart, she needs to want to do the right thing, not because I was always the enforcer.

As I have worked with children with deep hurts of rejection in Africa, I have found that you can only help a child heal by understanding their hearts. Many of the techniques of consistency in the secular world are great tools but the bottom line is that behavior will not change unless the heart changes. This was the most important thing I learned even with older children. If you make a mistake, it is important to model humility and say you are sorry. It is never too late to adjust how you relate to older children. This was a huge encouragement to me as I apologized to my adult daughter for things I didn’t handle well when she was a child. God is an amazing restoration expert and the book is an encouragement to any parent.

Book Information:
Book Title | Shepherding A Child’s Heart
Author | Tedd Tripp
Year of Publication | 1995
Publisher | Shepherd Press
Pages | 237
Author’s Website |

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