Thursday, October 2, 2014

6 Ways to Parenting with Confidence: Lessons from the book "How to Win Your Child's Heart"

When I became a parent a few year back, a friend gave me the book, How to Win Your Child's Heart by Dr. Ruth Chang.  The book gave valuable insights and practical wisdom especially for a new parent like me. I recently read the book again and thought about sharing some of the things I've learned and how I was able to apply them so far.  

In the book, Dr. Chang begins by saying that many of us enter parenthood without knowing what real parenting is all about, much more set goals in raising our children in the right way. More often, we just copy what "more experienced" parents have been doing and have that mentality of going with the flow. 

In order for us to fulfill our role as parents effectively, we should turn to God because He is the one who has given us the privilege of becoming parents.

The Word of God clearly defines what that role is and that is far from raising rich, successful professionals. Our real success as parents is  determined by their becoming people of great character - for them to become people who love and honor God and who love and genuinely care for other people.

As it says in Deuteronomy  6: 4-9:  Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. 


Dr. Chang shared 6 essential parenting principles to raising our children the right way.  For her readers to easily remember the principles, she used the acronym:  P-A-R-E-N-T.  Let me share my take away on each principle and how we have been trying to apply them as parents:

1.  P- Praise

Positive feedback is the most important source in building our children's confidence and self-esteem. When our kids are young, it seems so natural to praise them. However, as they get older, parents often fall short on this area mainly because we don't know what to praise them for or how to praise them. 

One way that we can do this is to LISTEN to them and to acknowledge their feelings instead of being critical or negative. 

When we do praise them, we should also be sincere and not exaggerate. One way that we are trying to apply this is by being specific whenever we praise our son. 

Before applying this principle, Randy and I would normally praise our son by just saying, "Good Job!" Now, we're learning to be more specific in praising/giving our son a compliment. An example would be saying, "It really makes me happy every time you pack away your toys right away after mommy asks you to do it."

2.  A-Accept

Acceptance is showing our children that we love them unconditionally. We should be able to recognize the unique qualities of our children and not "push" them into certain social standards or stereotypes.

Spending quality time with each of children is one way that we can show acceptance. We should also give our full attention when our child is speaking to us and minimize having to say, "I am busy right now." 

Many of us are guilty of this, including me. I'm trying to change this by pausing for a while when our son needs a drink or just wants to show me what he made with his blocks.  When I'm in the middle of something very important and could not immediately attend to him, I try to explain that I will get back to him in a while and do as I say.

3.  R-Respect

Respect is essentially treating our children with kindness and dignity. Showing respect to our children is necessary so that they will trust adults later on and not be rebellious.

To show them respect, we should practice using courteous words at home like "Please," "Thank You," "Excuse Me," and "I appreciate it"  even while they are still young. My husband and I are very particular in teaching Caleb how to be respectful and courteous so we make sure that we model it correctly to him.

Another way to show respect is to solicit our children's ideas and involve them when making some decisions at home like in setting up family rules and consequences for misbehavior. 

4. E- Empathize

Empathy is the means to developing a strong bond with our children.  It is being sensitive, understanding and responsive to their needs.    

To truly empathize to our children, we must be attentive to both verbal and non verbal cues. Oftentimes, this will also require us to suspend our policewoman role and not be quick to judge or correct them. 

I used to commit the mistake of telling our son to stop crying when something is wrong. Now, I'm learning to be more sensitive to him by asking, "What's wrong, sweetheart? What are you upset about?" At 3 years old, he may not be able to fully verbalize his feelings but usually, just hearing me ask him why he's upset is already enough to calm him down.

5.  N- Nurture

As parents, we need to nurture our children in all areas of their lives - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

This is one role that I have been practicing as a parent from day one. 

To nurture him physically, we teach our son to eat right - eat vegetables and fruits. Because we don't want him to indulge on what's "bawal," when we are not around, we don't deprive him with "enjoyable" food like sweets and chips. Instead, we teach him to eat these kinds of food in moderation and learn how to eat healthy and balanced meals.

To nurture him mentally, I enrolled him to several classes in music and gymnastics at an early age. I also feel privileged to be able to homeschool him since he was 2 years old. Everyday, I make sure that Caleb engages himself in some form of learning activity, may it be arts, music or numbers. Reading to him is one habit that he always looks forward to and because of this, he is learning to be a good story-teller. I am also always on the lookout for new programs and classes that will stimulate his mind and challenge him to learn new skills.

To nurture him emotionally, we always have "gigil time" with him where we just cuddle, tickle, kiss, hug and tell stories in bed. Our son always love gigil time and he drops anything that he's doing every time I say, "C'mon, Caleb it's gigil time!"

To nurture him spiritually, we make it a point to pray always - upon waking up, before meals and before bedtime. We would read bible stories together during school time and I also teach him to memorize bible verses. We also love to sing bible story songs together. Every time we would request him to sing, it's not a surprise that his default song is "Jesus Loves Me" because I've been singing that song to him since he was still in my belly.

6.  T-Train

Training our children entails instruction, correction and modelling by our example. To train them effectively and not be succumb to frustration, we need wisdom from God.

To instruct our children, we should set well-defined boundaries that still make them feel loved. It is an ongoing process of teaching our children to do what is right. Correction on the other hand is our means of changing a wrong/ inappropriate behavior.

Recently, we have been finding it hard to correct our son's complaining attitude. We were surprised to see him exhibit tenacity and deliberately choose to disobey even when he knows the right thing to do. We never tolerated his tantrums that is why we were taken aback to see this attitude surface.  

Randy and I are have tried various approaches - giving punishment and consequences which sometimes work and sometimes do not.  I am glad I revisited the book because I picked up a new concept which is, ignoring wrong behavior and rewarding appropriate behavior. 

Randy and I have discussed a reward system for our son which I would definitely share in my future blog post after we have implemented it.

Last but not the least, modelling by our own example is the most powerful tool. No matter what we tell our children, they will still pick up what they see us do. Personally, I think this is the most humbling aspect of parenting since we are not perfect and we are also prone to committing mistakes. However, what is important is admitting your mistakes and being transparent to your children.   


Parenting is never easy. In fact, it is the most challenging responsibility one could ever have. Our words, actions, choices, basically everything we do will make an impact in the lives of children. And yes, that's scary!

That is why we need wisdom and guidance from our God the Father Himself. Overwhelming as it may seem, children are a blessing from the Lord!  He has given us the privilege of raising children so we should always be conscious of our actions and continuously strive to learn and improve our parenting skills. 



  1. I love every tip listed here! Totally bookmark-worthy. To tell you the truth, I only really take pieces of advice to heart if they are Biblically grounded. How else should we raise our kids if not God's way?

  2. Bookmarked! I'm looking forward to applying these. Thanks for sharing!:)

  3. thanks for the tip, mommy... love it :D

  4. I love the acronym and agree with each point: Praise, Accept, Respect, Empathize, Nurture, Train! Love it :) So nice of your friend to give you this book :)

  5. now I know what a P-A-R-E-N-T means...indeed! such a tough yet blissful role :D

  6. All great tips that just need determination and patience to follow through.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. It reminded me of the things I should be doing in order to raise my child well.

  8. these are great reminders/tips about parenting. i always believe in praising & reward.. it really does wonders on kids.. everything here is awesome! thank for this post! :)

  9. Yes I agree Parenting is hard, that is why we need to learn to ask for help when we need it. Thank you for sharing these things. I will put them in mind.