Why It’s Absolutely Essential to Win Your Child’s Heart

Winning Your Child’s Heart is the Most Important Parenting Tip Ever

I was missing something on my parenting journey.

A piece of essential parenting advice that every mom needed to hear.

But I couldn’t find it anywhere.

I was missing something on my parenting journey A piece of essential parenting advice that every mom needed to hear. Finally, I asked one pastor's wife the secret to her parenting success...and she taught be that it was absolutely essential to win your child's heart! #parentingtips #Parentingtruth #parenting #momlife #motherhood #momhelp #raisingkids #kbnmoms #motherhood

I saw parents who had dark circles of worry under their eyes and seemed to carry a heavy burden everywhere they went.

It was no secret that their kids had strayed from the principles and convictions their parents believed in.

Some kids had grown up to bury themselves in immorality.

They had grown up to be adults who were on their third and fourth marriage, and some of them even needed to take DNA tests to find out if they were the father of a newborn baby.

I didn’t want to walk that road.

I needed to Know the Best Parenting Tip Ever

Parents winning their child's heart is the best parenting tip

My heart, my gut, my innermost desires were all screaming “My kids CAN’T end up like that!”

I’d look at my two-year-old, who always puckered up for a kiss anytime I walked by, and the worry of her future would almost drain the joy of those moments from my soul.

I couldn’t go on like this…

I had to find hope.

I needed answers.

My kids needed me to find those answers before it was too late.

Asking myself one question was absolutely imperative.

“What kind of future did I want for my kids?”

Did I want them to be intellectually gifted?
Did I want them to soar in the arts?
Did I want them to be financially comfortable and even wealthy?
Did I want them to be in control of their health?

No, those weren’t my main desires for their future, though those may bring sprinkles of happiness to their lives.

The answer was simple.

Most of all, I wanted my kids to grow up to be amazing Christians that stood firm on their faith and didn’t budge.

This Parenting Tip Was One I Needed to Know NOW

Christians that didn’t just show up to church intermittently, but Christians who loved God so much that they couldn’t help but tell others about Him!

To some, these types of people would be considered “radical Christians.”

But, if there’s one thing worth being radical about, it’s certainly being radical about the One True God — the Creator of the Universe.

But there was no “heart switch” that I could flip to turn them towards God.

Surely someone had an answer to the seemingly epidemic of wayward children!

Little did I know that I would soon find the answer and wisdom I was searching for.

Why Parents need to win their child's heart

Why Winning Your Child’s Heart is Crucial

Our family was attending a church in New York state and I happened to notice the pastor’s family.

The pastor’s kids were now adults — all five of them — and they were faithfully serving God.

Their expressions were full of joy and they were enjoying the blessings of the committed Christian life.

Honestly, I hadn’t seen a family that cohesive or that ignited to serve God in quite some time.

Seeing their kids all grown up caused me to finally ask the pastor’s wife my burning question.

Instead of just bull-dozing the very busy wife and mom with a hundred questions, I simply asked for a minute or two of her time.

With a toddler on my hip and a baby in the infant carrier, I relayed to her my concerns as a young mom.

The Best Parenting Tip Anyone Ever Gave Me Was This…

“I’m a young mom, and I need your wisdom. I want my kids to grow up to serve the Lord and have great marriages and family relationships. What do you think you did as a parent that helped make this happen in your kids’ lives?”

She was so kind.

My questions seemed to touch a precious part in her soul.

Perhaps it was a part that wished other families could enjoy the gift of kids who grow up and serve God.

She smiled and paused.

After several quiet moments of deep thought, she replied, “Alison, don’t worry. You are doing a great job with your kids. Keep it up, and don’t give up.”

After a few more moments, she continued to offer some mom-to-mom wisdom.

“We made God and church a priority,” she remarked.

“We never went on vacations on Sundays and our kids knew we would never skip church. We also prayed a lot for our kids.”

I was thankful she took those few minutes and answered my question, but I still felt like there was a huge piece missing.

It seemed all too practical to truly be the missing bit of information I was searching for.

But the story doesn’t end there…

I was looking for answers for my Christian parenting journey. Finally,through a pastor's wife and a Bible verse, God showed me the secret sauce of parenting. I had to share it with my mom friends. It's made a HUGE difference in my kids! #christianparenting #motherhood #Parentingtips #parentinghelp #parentingadvice #motherhood #momtomom #momlife #raisingkids

The next evening she brought her adult daughter to me and relayed the she went home and pondered on my question even more.

“Alison,” she began, “After thinking some more about your question, I thought it would be best to ask one my kids. So here she is!”

Her daughter, who was already married with kids, told me this:

“My parents won my heart.”

Wow, those words struck a chord with me.

Could the answer be that simple?

She went on to say that her parents always spent time with them.

They took camping trips together and made loads of memories.

The kids always felt like they were a priority in their parent’s lives.

The timing of this advice was perfect.

Just about two weeks before I met this family, my husband had pointed out a verse of scripture to me.

Solomon, a man of great wisdom, wrote these words to his son:

“My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” Proverbs 23:26

Proverbs 23:36 is such a small verse of scripture and could be easily overlooked.

But remembering that verse and adding it to what the pastor’s daughter told me about her parents winning her heart, it seemed God had finally given me the parenting truth I desperately desired.

I needed to win my kid’s hearts!

Realizing that mysids needed to focus on this aspect of parenting was just the beginning.

Now, I had to figure out just HOW to win it.

Over the past 16 years I have earnestly sought to win the hearts of my children.

But it took prayer and seeking God for wisdom to finally see how I could do that on a daily basis.

To get started on the mission of winning my children’s hearts, I began giving each of them one-on-one time on a daily basis.

It wasn’t easy.

I was a busy parent!

But God had made it beautifully clear that my focus should be wrapping my parenting in love and concern for my kids.

And I’d constantly remind myself that, on average, I only had 18 years with each kid.

18 summers.
18 birthdays.
18 Christmases.

That’s really not that much time in the big scheme of things.

Next, I tried to remember not to only interact with each child, but to connect with each child by learning to love what they loved.

Not to mention, I’d need to communicate the way they enjoyed communicating.

And right now? That’s texting.

Even though we’re in the same house, we often text each other.

How I’m Trying to Win My Child’s Heart

I use to think that was crazy-dumb to text other people when you’re in the same house.

However, it’s been a huge tool for easy, late-night conversations when everyone is tucked in their beds.

During these quiet moments, several of my kids send me personal thoughts and even words of affection.

Just recently one of my teens apologized via text and then wrote: “Mom, I love you.”

So, no matter how dumb it feels, I’m keeping that line of communication priority!

We even make our own hashtags and share emojis. :)

Parents Must Win Their Children’s Hearts

My 16-year-old son loves sports and reading mysteries, so I let him fill my ears with all the latest sports stats.

I even make sure I read the same books he’s reading so we can connect in that area too!

I’ve also been known to let him cheat and stay up later or start school late if there was a big game on.

Don’t worry — he still gets his school days done!

Then there’s my 14-year-old daughter.

She’s a smart, witty girl who can pick up almost any musical instrument and start playing.

We practice music together and listen to some pretty amazing orchestra pieces on Youtube.

We also paint our nails, shop and read blogs together!

And I can’t forget my 12 year old.

She’s the writer and baker.

I read all her stories and listen to her tell me even more stories. I also make sure she has ingredients and supplies for those times when she gets the baking itch!

And there are three more kids I could tell you about, but I’m sure you get the idea.

How to Win Your Child’s Heart

I had to observe what my kids love and be involved.

Letting them indulge in those activities they loved and even joining in became a powerful parenting tool!

When considering how I could win my child’s heart, I also became dedicated to creating our own family traditions.

Our family traditions help give us close-knit relationships…kind of like a “family only” club..;0)

But we keep them simple.

We decorate for the fall season together on Labor Day.
We have a “Lazy Day” holiday on Black Friday every year.
We have a dedicated Family Night every single Friday.

Plus, all the other traditional American holidays.

But there was still more to winning their hearts…

After making winning my child’s heart a huge parenting focus, I soon realized that loads of sacrifice would be involved.

Being a huge part of my child’s life meant spending less money and time on myself.

When I started doing that, there was more wiggle room in my budget to buy my son the basketball shoes he really wanted or take our family to a kid-friendly vacation.

It also meant driving an older car, not having expensive jewelry and limited restaurant take-out nights..:)

But the sacrifice wasn’t just financial, it was also time and work sacrifice.

I had to say no to long chats with friends on the phone and additional work projects if my daughter wanted to go swimming.

Shopping trips for some new clothes for me would be rescheduled so my kids could attend a birthday party.

It has become a daily, weekly, and monthly sacrifice to raise kids the “winning their heart” way…

I have to refuse to be a selfish parent…even when others encourage me to “focus on self.”

And one more thing that absolutely had to happen to win their hearts was giving frequent praise.

It’s all too easy to empty criticisms of our kids into listening ears, right?

“Grief! My son doesn’t ever clean his room!”
“Grrr…I’m so frustrated with my daughter. She’s so shallow!”

When other moms are spilling the beans about their kids’ misbehavior, I really try to avoid chiming in.

If I do chime in, it’s normally sharing a funny story from child’s toddler years.

And boy, do I have some funny ones…ha!

Why is this an important part of winning your child’s heart?

Because your child needs to know they please you.

Your child needs to know they make you proud.

As parents, we may never hear those needs and desires voiced, but they’re there.

We can teach, lecture and proclaim to our kids what we believe, but those lessons are absolutely futile if we don’t pack them with love, concern, dedication and sacrifice.

There are oodles of little details to winning a child’s heart.

There’s no “one size fits all” formula.

But if you begin and end your parenting journey with a desire to win your child’s heart, I think you’ll find the best formula for your family.

I also wrote an article on having a close relationship with your child.

That article continues to elaborate on “winning your child’s heart,” so take a few minutes and read it too!

I’d love to know how you’re trying to win your child’s heart!

Come and join my All Things Mommy group on Facebook and we can chat about it!

See you on the inside!

winning a child's heart

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39 thoughts on “Why It’s Absolutely Essential to Win Your Child’s Heart”

  1. Thank you for this great article. I pinned one on your post on Pinterest and then started following you on Twitter. Thank you for sharing your faith and guidance.

  2. Alison, I love this post and agree 100%! I love spending time playing with my girls and showing interest in them and the things they enjoy. I also think it’s important to create memories and make big deals out of things like birthdays and holidays, etc. Speaking of Lalaloopsy, I am planning a Lalaloopsy themed birthday as we speak ;) Thanks for the great post!

    1. Awww….another Lalaloopsy fan! Hope your birthday party is funtastic! Your girls are blessed to have a mom that plays with them! You’re making memories already.

  3. Pingback: Kids Are Influenced By Their Friends

  4. Thank you so much for the great article Alison! My children are all grown and gone now, and I am so thankful they all love and serve the Lord. We definitely didn’t go everything right, but by God’s grace, none of them have ever strayed from Him! You have added some wisdom that I have never thought of, and it is so true and right! I am going to save this article to send to some of my younger women friends!

    1. Thank you for sharing this thought with your younger friends, Sharon. I am so glad someone shared this information with me. It has stuck with me ever since. Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  5. Allison, I have been searching and praying and watching and waiting and…What you have posted about winning the heart of our children is so key and true. God needs their hearts and so do we. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve often said that I do not want even one of my four children to turn from their godly teachings. My heart’s desire is that all of them be the amazing Christians you wrote of. Thank you for sharing what my heart wanted to express but didn’t even know how to.

    1. Oh, Deanna! So glad this post was able to give you some direction! I am so thankful for that wise advice, and had to share it with my readers! Keep praying and trusting the Lord in the realm of parenting. None of us are perfect, but we serve a perfect God!

  6. So well put, thank you for sharing with us! I was needing some encouragement in raising my little ones and you defiantly gave me some great things to think on. May God Bless you!

  7. Oh how I love this. So very true.

    The pastor and his family sound amazing. I am much like you. I remind my kids constantly that it is so important our family (this nucleus here in our home) is always there for each other. Even 30+ years down the road.

    Winning their heart….. that brings tears to my eyes.

  8. Beautiful post. It may sounds weird, but one of the things we do with our kids, (well, our oldest has long since outgrown this) is ‘snuggle’ time at bed time. It’s really just sitting with them for a little bit as they slowly start to drift off, but I discovered that this is the time when they really open up about their days and how they are feeling. I’m not sure why, but I hear and learn more in those 15 minutes at the end of the day then I do throughout all the other hours in a day.

  9. I’m glad to know that even after you had three kids you were still seeking advice because it made me feel more connected to you. I have three kids, and I still don’t feel like I have this whole parenting thing down pat at all. This is very sound advice, and I highlighted that verse because you’re for it being so small it does pack a good punch. Great post!

  10. Love this! Thank you! I feel like we constantly have to be after our child’s heart. We cannot become complaisant about it as they are always changing. I agree with the traditions 100%. Such treasured memories of my childhood, especially surrounding holidays & special events.

  11. I love what you have to say here; this is my goal with my kids, too. Just one word of caution: I believe there is a danger in thinking that if we do all this “right” our children will never stray. Our children have free will, and they are sinners just like we are, and will encounter so many more influences besides ours. They may stray (or not) no matter how good a job we do, and neither is necessarily a reflection on our parenting. So yes, parent well, but pray harder that they respond to Grace.

  12. I so enjoyed reading this! As a young mom myself, I am constantly looking for great examples of Christian parents that I can call on for advice. I loved what her daughter had to say! My prayer for our children is that they will know the love of the father through the example their parents displayed, and that my husband and I too can “win their hearts”!

  13. Great read for a new mom like me!!! I am glad to know this critical piece at an early stage. God help me practice this with my kid! Thanks Alison

  14. Hi Alison!

    My name is Emily Eyring, and I am a senior Web producer for a Utah-based news site , DeseretNews.com. I love this post and would love to share it with our readers on DeseretNews.com. If this is something you’d be interested in, feel free to contact me at eeyring (at) deseretdigital (dot) com. Thanks!

  15. Hi Alison, I enjoyed this post. It’s wonderful that God communicates to each of us to know the specific needs of our children. We read scriptures and pray together daily. I’ve been inspired to bear testimony often to my children. Bearing pure testimony of Jesus Christ carries the Spirit to their hearts in a way that few other things can. I like to think its even more powerful coming from their mother who they know loves them :). Best of luck to you and your children!

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  17. I grew up with my mom working all the time so my dad became our cook, friend and chauffeur. My sisters and I are very close with him, but for me personally I am not very close to her.
    I wish my mom received this kind of advise. I am trying to be the opposite. When my older two were little they wanted to know why I cleaned all the time. From that moment I changed. Dishes, laundry and just about anything can wait if my kids need my attention or one on one time. For me it’s pure love!

  18. Thank you so much for this article. I started homeschooling this year, and your post is at the heart of it all. I love it so much because I am really spending time with my kids and learning who they are. I love it.

  19. Fabulous & spot on! My wife and I have a 20 month old & a 2 week old, both girls. Winning their hearts are among my most important goals in their lives so that they will not go searching for love from some boy in school 15 years down the road. Should the Lord tarry, we want 2 more (and hopefully God will include a boy or two in that count!). With all the evil in the world, 4 more Godly kids can make a big kingdom impact. God Bless You!

  20. Dear Alison,
    My biggest fear is that I am too late. It took me a long time to fully submit to Christ and His plan to proper me. There is allot of resentment and bitterness in our family because often times the flesh of the world and it’s negativity stands in the way of the Spirit that is guiding us to our eternal life with the Father. God Bless and many thanks to you for this wonderful advice.

    1. Hi Niki!

      You can’t undo the past. Work on winning your child’s heart NOW. Only positive effects will come when you are showing your child affection and love! God does some amazing miracles! I have seen Him change the life of teens — including mine, from rebellious to tender-hearted. God CAN! :)

  21. Allison, I needed to read this TODAY. I have a 4 years old little girl… never is too late. Thank you so much for sharing. God Bless you!

  22. I believe this is awesome advice for any parent no matter how old the child. I have 2 children of my own and I pray that I have won their heart. I am 31 years old and I have been through a lot in the past few of my life, a lot of it due to my own actions. Thank God He doesnt give up on His children. But none the less, no matter my age, this is exactly what a child wants from their parents. I thank God for my dad. He may not be perfect but he does the best he can to be perfect for me. God Bles

  23. I often read that time is what children respond to. You making time for them. My daughter loves to draw and colour so we often do this but for some reason your story has really made this message hit home. Thank you for sharing, you have inspired me to invest more and win her heart.

  24. What a great post! I especially need to remember the Praise. I have a tendency to share criticism of my boys with others, more as a gentle teasing and because I love to talk about my kids. It also helps other moms to know they’re not alone when dealing with troubles with their kids. It started when they were too little to understand what I was saying, but has continued now that they’re older. I will make a conscious effort to focus on your points made here. Thanks so much!

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