Discerning Your Child's Heart

Nathan Ros
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.


Do you know how your children are doing? Can you read their countenance? Can you discern a wounded spirit? Can you see early warning signs that might lead to future problems? Can you connect their outward problem with what is really happening in their heart?


God has prompted us as parents to be prudent!  The Bible states in Proverbs 27:12, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil…” As parents, we need to discern what is going on in the lives of our children. We need to be watchful! We are stewards of our children. God has entrusted us to care for them and raise them as God would want us to.


The word discern means “the ability to judge well, or perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtain spiritual guidance and understanding.” Discernment is something we should desire in our life, but especially in the area of mentoring our children. Too many parents only care if their children stay out of trouble. Discerning parents will “dig” behind the superficial problems and seek to see what is going on in their hearts.  Why are they acting like this? Why are they responding to correction this way?  


The heart is where biblical values are formed and forged—this is the only way to know if you are connecting with your children. This is how you will know if they are merely conforming to your wishes or if they are really being transformed by the Holy Spirit. Is it a temporary show or is the Lord working on them inside out?


Parents who win their children’s heart can help guide and direct their children in life. They can unearth questions, concerns, hurts, and problems that, as a parent, we can answer with a biblical principle.  The Bible says in John 8:23, “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
The heart is where spiritual battles are fought! The Devil wants to destroy our children. He wants their emotions, their time, their beliefs, and their future. He wants them to live for themselves and not find the will of God. If we are going to win the spiritual battle for our children, WE MUST WIN THEIR HEART!


A discerning parent will do all they can to win their child’s heart!  No money, no time, no sacrifice will be too great to see this happen. Let’s see what we can do as parents to develop discernment for our children:


1. Make sure we understand the Word of God.


The principles of the Word of God will help us to discern what our children are going through as well as how to help them. We cannot give our children biblical answers if we don’t know what they are. As parents, we must study God’s Word and read good, biblical parenting books.


2. Ask God for wisdom and grace to help us as parents.


We can do all the work and learn all the lingo, but if we don’t spend time begging for wisdom and knowledge to know and discern our children’s hearts, we will just be helping our children’s surface problems.


3. Accept and obey the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives.


You are not perfect! God knows it, and let me say this, your children know it. When the Spirit of God speaks to you, obey it. Maybe it is a, “Son, I am sorry.” Or “Princess, Dad lost his cool.” Your children will respect you and love you more when you listen to the prompting of the Holy Ghost.


4. Be a team player with our spouse.


Have conferences together with your spouse on how the children are doing. Pray together for them! Maybe your spouse sees things that you are not noticing in your children’s lives.  Be on the same page with your spouse. There is nothing worse than mom and dad fighting and disagreeing about their children.


5. Spend time with our children.


Don’t only spend quality time but quantity time. You will get to know them—their likes and dislikes. The more you spend time with them, the more they will open up to you.  Take them out for a meal, a short walk together or even just a drive, and talk and enjoy each other’s company.


6. Choose to look beyond the surface.


Don’t focus on the surface problem. Get to the root cause of why the problem is happening. For instance, when your child is misbehaving, obviously it’s a sin problem, but ask the Lord, “What’s the trigger?”


7. Always respond with biblical reasoning.


Target the heart and pursue the transformation of the heart. Teach and transfer biblical principles, and constantly be sensitive to whether the heart is open to those principles or whether there is merely outward conformity. Always point them to the highest authority—God. If you’re not sure what to say or how to say it, then get help and seek advice.


8. Always respond with compassion and love.


No matter how firmly you deal with a situation, be loving and compassionate. Begin and end with compassionate nurture, even if firmness is needed in between. If your child will hug you, pray with you, or respond to you, then the heart is open. If not, then the heart is closed. Whatever you do, don’t rest until your child’s heart is open to you.


I love parenting. I love my children! I want the best for them! I want them to do the perfect will of God! I know you desire the same. Winning their hearts is vital! We must do all we can as parents to discern the surface problems and get all the way to the root of the matter. We can only do that by having their hearts.

Nathan Ros

Bro Ros does a great job in every aspect of ministry that he serves in! He leads our Khmer ministry, youth ministry, and is the teacher of the Grace Adult Bible Class. He and his wife have four wonderful children.

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