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Will You Win Your Child’s Heart or Lose It?

I don’t believe any parent sets out to lose the heart of their child.

Yet it’s not so very hard to do.

So many things vie for the hearts of our kids and attempt to capture their affections daily.

How can we help them choose us?

What will encourage our children to desire our input into their lives?

If you want to win your child’s heart but fear they may be slipping away from you, take a close look at the following list. Consider your own affections, attitudes and actions. Are you unwittingly driving them away rather than drawing them close?


Are you unwittingly sabotaging opportunities to win your child's heart? Check this list of 30 ways you may be pushing your kids away.


How NOT To Win Your Child’s Heart

  1. Treat every child identically
  2. Consider them an interruption
  3. Hyper-focus on a parenting method or formula
  4. Create unreasonable expectations
  5. Discipline because you’re angry or embarrassed
  6. Belittle their ideas
  7. Withhold reasonable freedoms
  8. Fail to respect them
  9. Demand perfection
  10. Minimize their interests
  11. Respond in anger
  12. Use praise and encouragement sparingly
  13. Be unavailable or unapproachable
  14. Discount their feelings
  15. Ignore their efforts
  16. Consider them an enemy or problem
  17. Fail to express gratitude for and to them
  18. Refuse to make offenses right
  19. Maintain an irritable or annoyed attitude
  20. Treat a maturing young person as a child
  21. Embarrass, shame or put them down
  22. Focus only on external behavior
  23. Neglect to express love verbally
  24. Be inconsistent with requirements
  25. Squash their excitement and enthusiasm
  26. Avoid emotional connections
  27. Harp on mistakes or failures
  28. Protect possessions above their hearts
  29. Ignore their strengths
  30. Always assume the worst
  31. Withhold affection when displeased
  32. Refuse to initiate or participate in fun
  33. Mock their dreams
  34. Neglect to invest in relationship

Yes, that list actually contains more than 30 different ways you might be sabotaging opportunities to win your child’s heart. And I’m sure it’s not exhaustive.

I know you don’t WANT to do any of these things. I don’t either.

But sometimes we do. I do. We’re imperfect parents, and we will do things that turn our kids away from us.

But we don’t have to make a habit of turning our kids off.

Let’s cultivate the habit of drawing them close. Nurturing their spirits. Pursuing their hearts.

Are you unsure of how to encourage your children’s affections toward you? Then you may be interested in this ebook from Kathie Morrissey of The Character Corner.


How To Win Your Child's Heart


Kathie is passionate about helping parents like you and me understand the importance of winning our kids’ hearts. As a mom to eight grown kids, she is well-acquainted with the struggle that this can be.

Too often we parents make parenting about the kids. What they are or aren’t doing. And we fail to consider our part of the equation.

The Importance of Winning Your Child’s Heart contains biblical exhortation for us to examine our side of the relationship. To consider the impact our own expectations, attitudes and interactions are having on our kids’ responses.

In addition to revealing the importance of capturing our kids’ affections, Kathie talks about:

  • understanding and addressing rebellion
  • purposefully pursuing the hearts of our children
  • avoiding barriers to strong relationships
  • restoring damaged relationships
  • parenting teens
  • parenting wayward children
  • having hope in the midst of it all

As she says,

“The goal of gaining their hearts is not so we can control them, but rather gain the opportunity to pour into their lives, shape their values, and teach them to love God and His Word.”


Do you want to be a valuable influence in the life of your child?

Replace losing strategies, the ones that push them away, with winning ones that draw them close and make them want to be on your side.

You can purchase The Importance of Winning Your Child’s Heart from Kathie HERE.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Links contained in the review are not affiliate links.

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Sometimes, it's the little things that show our kids we truly are on their side. How will you choose to make your middle schooler's day today?



Shared at: Women With IntentionNourishing JoyGrace & Truth, Art of Homemaking Monday, Modest Monday, Tuesday Talk, Coffee & Conversation, SHINE, Savoring Saturday,



  1. Andrea K. Harman says:

    I have a 8 yr old and she has a bad attitude all the time except when she wants her phone or to play on mine. I really needed this . I try not to get mad at her but sometimes she just pushes my buttons.
    Have any ideas on how I can win this battle.

    • Oh, Andrea, I know that’s tough. One of my girls is “attitude challenged” and prone to fits when she doesn’t get her way in even the smallest, seemingly insignificant things. The top 3 things that come to mind that help us (when I remember them!) are: 1) guard my own attitude; avoid giving her the bad attitude example, 2) make sure I give her plenty of positive attention – reading stories, playing games, hugs, etc., 3) take a deep breath and SMILE before responding; I know, last thing we feel like, right? But it makes a difference in my attitude. Sometimes I even start my response with, “I love you.”, then – okay 4) require her to practice the right tone or words for her request or response. Hope that helps. It’s hard, but you can do it with God’s strength. Pray that He would come alongside and help you help your daughter become the right kind of woman. Victories come through battle.

  2. Well I know the give away is over. I wish I had the chance. I have 2 boys 15 and 14yr old. They fight and argue constantly. The oldest thinks he is boss and when he is home listens to nothing. The youngest knows how to push his brothers buttons. The lack of respect and discipline is hurting our family. Our home at times becomes a full blown war zone. Forgot to mention our oldest had ADHD and is controlled for about have the day while in school. But once home around bedtime it is nothing but a fight. Any advice would be amazing. Thanks you!

    • Hi, Jennifer. Growing boys who are testing their independence are truly a challenge to us mamas! I feel your pain; siblings are the worst at pushing each others buttons (not to mention ours, right?) aren’t they! I’m afraid I probably won’t have all the answers for you, but will try to send an email of encouragement later this week.

  3. RecipestoNourish says:

    So many good points. Thank you for these reminders. Thanks for sharing it with us at Savoring Saturdays last week.

  4. Thank you for the reminder, Abi! With five little ones, I’m constantly having to remind myself that I’m never too busy to listen to their stories and hear their hearts. Sometimes its pretty hard, though. 😉 I’m so glad you shared this with us at Savoring Saturdays.

    • Oh, it is hard, Raia. So many things pull at our time and attention, but very few are eternal like the hearts of our children. May God give you much grace as you push aside the unnecessary to listen well and draw those kiddos close.

  5. Ouch, this was a hard list to read but I do appreciate it.. Sometimes we parents need an attitude adjustment also! Thank you for sharing about the book too! Thank you also for sharing with us this week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth!

    • That look in the mirror isn’t always pretty is it, JES? But it does show us what needs attention! Thanks for visiting and blessings on your weekend.

  6. Thanks for this post, Abi! As I read through your list of what NOT to do, I am agreeing as you go, but also mourning a little as I wish this list was available when I was little – not that it would have made a difference…but…
    Anyway, I want to feature your post on this week’s Grace and Truth link-up. Be sure to stop by my site tomorrow and get the “I was featured” button.

    • Oh, Aimee . . . so glad that God the Father has drawn you close inspite of (or perhaps because of) your past experiences. What a privilege and blessing you have to change those patterns as you parent your kids. The few photos and comments I catch of your family show that you ARE treasuring and nurturing your children well.

      Thanks so much for featuring this list; I’m honored. May God be pleased to exhort many parents toward loving and winning the hearts of their children well through it.

  7. Cassie D says:

    This is a great article, thank you for ir and for the chance to win the book.

  8. What an incredibly helpful piece, Abi. These will definitely be eye-opening to any parents who want to be closer to their children and continue to “win” their child’s heart. Thank you for sharing your words on #shinebloghop this week 🙂

    • Thanks, Maria. We all need a parenting heart check every so often. Appreciate you hosting the link-up. Have a great weekend.

  9. Struggling with our 10 year old daughter right now, I would love to read this book.

    • Hey, Kelly. Parenting sure can be full of struggles. May God give you the grace to keep loving and pulling her close even when you have to strongly hold to your position as mom.

  10. This book looks like an encouragement! I too often get focused on the moment of frustration instead of seeing their hearts, valuing them above my inconvenience. Thank you!

    • Glad you visited, Audrey. I know how easy it is to get caught up in frustrating moments. Lean on God’s grace to love them well and pull them close.

  11. This is exactly what my husband and I need
    I would love to win this book! What a timely post! Blessings and thank you for the opportunity.

  12. I’d love to have this book. I’ll be putting it on my ‘wishlist’! Thanks Abi and Kathie for this opportunity.

    • That’s great, Rebakah. I’m sure you’ll be blessed by it when you’re able to get a copy; Kathie’s a great encourager.

  13. Jazmine M. says:

    I would love a copy of this book as well. I struggle with mommy guilt and need to start taking steps toward change… thank you for sharing.

    • Oh, Jazmine, it is so easy to see all the ways we fail and get discouraged. With the help of Christ, we can change and learn new habits. A successful “mommy makeover” happens one little habit at a time. Blessings as you strive to relearn some better ways.

  14. bekalynn02 says:

    I am always afraid of disheartening my child when I do any of the things on your list. It’s so good to have them listed out like that so I can see some things that I am doing that I didn’t even realize. So thankful for God’s grace and my children’s forgiveness! Looks like a great book. Sharing!

    • Yes, but for God’s grace and forgiveness we’d all be sunk. Thankful for new mercy every morning, mercy that forgives but also helps us recognize wrong patterns and change them out for new ones. Thanks for sharing.

  15. 13 year old. I need this!

  16. Definitely needing a refresher…2 virtual twins at 17, and I feel like I live in war zone

  17. Sounds good. I would love to read this book.

  18. Jessica Hoch says:

    I’d love to win a copy!

  19. Visiting from Grace & Truth. I have 5 boys, so this is highly relevant. Thanks for the post!

    • Absolutely! (Our twin boys were 12 this year . . . phew, do I feel like we have work to do.) Have a great weekend.

  20. 7 & 12….. Praying for guidance. Thanks for sharing!

    • Yes, sometimes it feels so much easier to err on the side of not giving too much freedom and forget to allow some when appropriate. I know that struggle. We sure do need God’s guidance through this parenting journey – so much to learn. Have a blessed weekend, Kara.

  21. Great article! Thanks for sharing!


  1. […] fight for their children, no matter the cost.  That’s why I have chosen Abi’s post, Will You Win Your Child’s Heart or Lose It?for this week’s feature.  I admire her mother’s heart in caring, nurturing and loving […]

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