You may feel that progress is slow and end up asking yourself, “Am I getting anywhere?” If you feel discouraged, consider three things.
1. Keep in mind that you’re building a tape in your child’s head.
To understand the idea of building a tape, think about some things your parents taught you: “Turn off the lights before you leave the room”; “Eat your vegetables”; “Be nice to your sister”; “Say excuse me.” Did you heed their instructions? Maybe not as much as your parents would have liked, yet their words still play back in your head. Parents don’t always see the impact of their words. But your kids are listening, and you’re building a tape in their heads as you lovingly and consistently prod them to action.
2. Pray for your children often.
Pray that God will use your words and actions to make lasting, positive changes in their lives. God is at work for the long term. He is in the process of changing people and molding hearts that follow after him.
3. If you find that you’re encountering a lot resistance from your child, consider his or her relationships and activities.
Sometimes a child’s environment works against the very character you’re trying to develop. Bad influences can be a challenging enemy. Bad influences in your child’s life, such as negative friendships, are at the top of the list. Limit them (or eliminate them altogether if possible), but don’t just target people as the only bad influences in your child’s life. Reading material and entertainment choices also affect children and youth.
One mom said, “I realized that my daughter was getting her ideas for books to read from a popular teen magazine. I helped her see that there were other books that had better values, and I showed her how to locate them. I helped her find more appropriate reading material that fit better for developing her character.”
It’s Worth It!
In the end, a character-development approach to child raising pays huge dividends. Children may forget the individual issues, but they will remember the character qualities. You can successfully address deep-rooted problems in children’s lives over time through a character-based approach.