Does your child seem unteachable?
You are not alone. Many kids are becoming less and less teachable in this generation. However, many times it is not an issue of the mind, but of the heart.
If your child struggles with learning new skills, concepts or just simple instructions, you need to look deeper.
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Many kids that perform poorly in school or at home refuse to receive instruction — in almost every area of life. Their heart is stubborn and they refuse to listen to improve their skills — even if it is concerning an activity or hobby they enjoy.
I struggled with this somewhat as a child. I was not eager to learn new concepts because I did not want to listen. When I was not grasping a concept, I will just put my mind in neutral. My teacher, grandparent or mentor would be talking, but my mind was a million miles away. But, instead of admitting that I needed help or more instruction, I would just give up and move onto something I knew I could do.
Then, I began to have an attitude of “Don’t tell me what I am doing wrong. I like doing it this way.” At that moment in my life, I became unteachable. Why? Because I had refused any further instruction or constructive criticism in my life. If you wanted to give me honest criticism, I would just turn you off. Your opinion didn’t matter anymore.
That place is a dangerous place to be. When your child begins to refuse instruction, he or she will stop growing mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Your child could then make some serious, life-damaging decisions. Having a teachable spirit is more important than eating a healthy, organic diet or making straight A’s in school. It’s a serious heart and soul issue that could affect the rest of your child’s life.
Don’t listen to the growing trend of not correcting your children; they need correction. They also need you to instruct them — lovingly, consistently and kindly.
Why does your child need a teachable spirit?
A teachable spirit will enable a child to receive instruction that can help him or her become more proficient and accomplish more in life. A teachable spirit will enable someone to see their faults, and turn away from them.
Kids should not brush off helpful instruction from people who care about their well-being and future. If children and teens continue to snub their noses at all types of constructive or helpful criticism, what will become of them?
“Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured” (Proverbs 13:18).
No one wants his child to be impoverished or endure a life of shame, but that is precisely what the Bible promises if a son or daughter refuses instruction.
Kids are less likely to scoff at constructive criticism if it is given at an early age. Parents should begin now —– before it’s too late!
How can I help my child to have a teachable spirit?
- Teach them to properly perform daily tasks. Start with the simple things like teaching them how to correctly make their beds. Teach them the most efficient way to brush their teeth, how to dust the furniture or fold clothes. Kind, gentle training at a young age will prepare little ones to receive instruction in more pertinent areas of life.
- Don’t let your child give up. If your child performs a task incorrectly, don’t let him quit. Instead, show him the correct way and tell him to start over. Stay right beside him and walk him through it. Let him take as much time as he needs to learn this new concept and to learn it well. Once he has shown improvement, he can then move on to something else. But don’t encourage quitting by letting him walk awya and quit. Many time the biggest quitters are also the most unteachable kids on the planet!
- Keep tabs on schoolwork and homework. Education and instruction is given at school, whether it is Christian, public, private or home-school. How is your child reacting to the criticisms of his teachers? Does he balk at a teacher that constantly corrects his posture during handwriting? Does he roll his eyes when he mentions an upcoming science project? If his grades are not up to par, is it because he is simply failing to follow instructions? Point out the consequences of not following directions with real-life examples; such as not obeying traffic signs, not following doctors’ orders, not paying taxes, etc. If these rules and instructions are not followed carefully, undesirable effects will result.
- Supervise kids’ recreational time with friends. Observe how your kids react when problems arise between friends. Take this opportunity to point out good attitudes that were visible, as well as areas that need improvement. Good sportsmanship, preferring others, common courtesies and helping others in need are just a few ideas to work on social interaction with friends and relatives. It’s also a good way to point out the proper ways to recieve instruction from peers. If your son’s friend gives him a little push and says, “Chill out!” your son should consider what his friend is saying. Maybe he is taking the game too seriously. It helps kids and adults to stay open to the suggestions of friends. Many times they see our faults long before we do.
- Praise, praise, praise. Look for opportunities to praise your child. Maybe the table was not set perfectly, but his obedience was prompt. Maybe he still has a hard time accepting that his team lost a basketball game, but he excels in not boasting when his team has a victory. As you point out the areas that need improvement, point out your child’s strengths as well. Kids, as well as adults, receive reproof more easily when it is preceded by praise and encouragement. Do you want your child’s heart to stay open to constructive criticism? Then balance it with loads of praise and affection.
- Be patient. It takes time to improve in many areas of life. Whether it is an emotional, physical or mental improvement — it all takes time. Don’t show your frustration and try to hurry things along. Instead, get involved with your child’s progression to become a teachable child and encourage them to take each day one at a time.
- Stay on your knees. you want your child to be teachable. A child that is teachable has a heart that is tender towards God, towards his or her parents and other authority figures in life. You need God’s help to mold your child’s heart. There are so many times I wished I could reach inside my child’s heart and flip a switch that said, “Obey” “Listen” or “Do your best.” But, alas — I can’t. But the Bible says that the heart of kings is in his hand and that He can turn their hearts whichever way he wants. If that’s true, and it is, then certainly God can get a hold of a stubborn child’s heart and make it tender and teachable once again. Do your part as the parent, and pray and ask God to work on the things that are beyond your control. He is able!
Instruction and life’s lessons comes in all shapes and forms. At times, kids need to ignore cruel comments about their imperfections and find their joy in pleasing the Lord. But pleasing the Lord also includes heeding instructions, criticisms and having a teachable spirit.
Having an unteachable spirit is a serious issue. Take action now and encourage your kids to be teachable!
“The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding” (Proverbs 15:31-32).