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Have you ever worried that your child would walk out on you someday? Wondered if you could actually have a solid relationship with them after all the logged hours building character through discipline?
There are some fundamental truths to winning your child’s heart for life. My friend Melanie lays them out in her new book, How to win your child’s heart for life, and today, she’s answering some questions about this very important concept!
I’m delighted to have you with us, Melanie! Let’s dive right in!
1.) How did you come up with the idea for this book?
When our kids were little, I got to hang around with several amazing older women.
One of these women would regularly say, “I want to win the hearts of my children now so that they will still want to come home and see me when they are grown.” That’s where I got the idea for this book title.
2.) What are the ages of your children?
We have two college students both still living with us. Riley, our son, is a 6’4” senior in college. He’s 23. Emily, our daughter, is a petite little junior in college. She is 21.
3.) What kind of relationship do you have with each of your children? Are you close with each of them in different ways?
My son likes to talk about significant topics, laugh, read great books, work on computers, and see movies. We have a lot of fun together, and we enjoy talking about all sorts of things. Often, I’ll read a book he suggests or go with him to a movie so that we can discuss these things. I would describe our relationship as easy and very low maintenance.
My daughter is the social butterfly in the family. She loves to dress up, hang out with her friends, travel, and shop. She also loves to help other people – like some of the kids at St. Jude Hospital for Children. We love to hang out, eat out, shop, and serve together at St. Jude. I would describe our relationship as fun, companionable, and little higher maintenance.
4.) The foundation of your book is built on one key principal: “Win their hearts as little children and keep their hearts through their growing up years, and you’ll have their hearts for life.” How did you form this concept, and why do you so firmly believe it?
That’s a great question, Ruthie!
So much of the material in this book came from spending quality time with older, wiser moms. I got to watch what they did, see how they reacted, and observe these principles in action in their lives. From their examples, I gained so much wisdom.
Then, we sought to practice these same principles. Our goal, as parents, began to be: to win their hearts as little children and keep them for life. This started when they were preschoolers and it continues into their college years.
I guess I believe this so firmly because I’m watching so many young adult kids walk away from their homes and families. Parents are losing their kids, and they don’t even know it. It’s heartbreaking. And, it spurs us on, as parents, to redouble our efforts with our own children.
Is it possible to win your child's heart for life? Interview with Mel Redd! Click To Tweet
5.) In Chapter 3, you suggest seeking out older, wiser friends as mentors. How big of a role did mentors play in your life during your child rearing years? Do you still have a mentor you can discuss parenting with?
We’ve lived in several cities and been involved in a number of churches while raising our children. In every place, I’ve asked God for a mentor to “do life with.” God has answered those prayers and consistently sent women that I could talk with, pray with, and with whom I could discuss parenting issues.
There are still a few older women in my life that I will talk to and pray with. They have walked a little further down the path than I have. I’m so grateful for their counsel and their guidance.
6.) You also touch on yelling at your kids. What was the single most effective way you found to keep your cool when they weren’t listening or obeying?
This may sound crazy, but it seems that the most effective thing an angry parent can do is to get SOFT. Proverbs 15:1 tells us, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”
When we take some deep breaths and calm our hearts, we will respond better and smarter. In fact, sometimes, our best course of action is to walk away and come back in a bit (if possible).
For example, when our son called about the car wreck he had just caused, it was not a good time to get angry. He was already embarrassed and upset. To respond in anger would have made it twice as bad. Our calm reactions calmed him down and allowed us to discuss the next steps without so much emotion.
When your child drops something, tears up something, breaks something, or does something childish; try to stay calm. Take deep breaths. Count quietly to 100. And, deal with that child SOFTLY, CALMLY, AND WITH GRACE.
7.) As you enter this next phase of transition in life – the “releasing” years, what do you anticipate in your role as mom? Do you consider your job of winning their hearts done now that they are grown?
As they meet their future spouses and get married, we will have the chance to show love to them and these new mates.
As they have children and make life choices, we will have the chance to continue to win their hearts and the hearts of their children.
Yes, things will change. But, our children will always be our children! We are praying that we will transition well into this next phase!
You are so right, Melanie – I’ve recently learned as a newbie empty-nester that my job isn’t done after all! My grown kids still need me very much, and that’s a comfort as well as a responsibility to remain faithful in my walk with the Lord.
How to Win Your Child’s Heart for Life is on sale today, just in time for Mother’s Day! If you have any questions for Melanie, please leave them in the comments, and if you’d like to check the book out further or would like to order, here is the link for that!
Please prayerfully consider purchasing this book for your wife, daughter, mother, or a mama friend who’s wondering how to do this mothering job well!