“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” —1 Samuel 16:7

“When I learned how to connect with my daughter emotionally, I was surprised at the huge difference it made in our relationship.”
—Don, father of a twelve-year-old with ODD

Introduction

Sometimes a child’s challenges can be quite frustrating. It might be better to look at those challenges as a puzzle. What pieces are missing? What changes need to take place?

This step can help parents focus on where the child needs to grow—not just what’s wrong. This first step can turn the thinking into a much more positive focus resulting in a more nurturing approach.

Children develop patterns of behavior and those patterns can change. Knowing how to bring about that change is what this brochure is all about. It’s all about strategy. Parents who don’t have a strategy tend to react to problems, and that usually means angry episodes on the part of parents AND kids.

We want to share with you a different way to think, give you tools to increase your toolbox, and show you what it looks like to reach deep into a child’s heart to bring about lasting change. Each page in this brochure is a teaching tool, with information you’ll want to capture for your home.

We all want to reach the heart of our child, but what is the heart anyway?

We all want to reach the heart of our child

God’s Word uses the word “heart” over 750 times. Here are three important observations that help us in bringing about change in children:

  1. Desires. When children have strong desires they turn into expectations and then into demands about how life should go. And, if it doesn’t go that way, then they may look for tools to control the situation such as arguing, badgering, and complaining.
  2. Emotions. Sometimes children invest their emotions into their desires resulting in high levels of anger, sadness, disappointment, or anxiety.
  3. Beliefs. Children often believe strange things such as, “If my brother is annoying, I have the right to punch him.” Or, “You owe me.” Or, “You shouldn’t interrupt me until I get to the next level.” Beliefs feed the justification of desires and emotions and contribute to much of the conflict experienced in the home.

“Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” —Psalm 37:4

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Do not be afraid. ” —John 14:1

Love the LORD your God with all your heart…” —Mark 12:30

“…and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you will be saved..”
—Romans 10:9

“Our 11 year old son has struggled with outbursts of anger, high emotions, and unreasonable responses to certain situations. We set up an appointment with a child psychologist to try to figure out how we could help him manage the things we were seeing. After our intake appointment, we had several followup appointments scheduled to do testing and investigate what approaches we would need to try. We heard about the Biblical Parenting coaching program shortly after our initial visit with the psychologist and jumped at the chance to try it.

About 2-3 weeks into the coaching program, we started to see some promising improvements in our son. We felt hope for our son and our family. We prayerfully decided to cancel the followup appointments with the psychologist and really put the new strategies to work to see how it would go. We have watched his heart soften and our confidence in parenting grow. We have been given tools to tackle the issues we have struggled with in our home. Our hearts have softened along the way as well.

We can’t say just how thankful we are for what God has done and all that we have learned through the program. What a gift!”

——Shanna, coached by Donny Rockwell, 2022

What We Mean by A Heart-Based Approach

God works with His children to move them toward growth. If we study how God changes us, we can discover keys to bring about change in our children.

“…For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” —Luke 6:45

A Heart-Based Approach

Think tendencies. What tendencies does your child demonstrate that concern you, or create tension, or are self-defeating? Use your parental radar but think bigger than behavior. Think about patterns of behavior. How does your child respond when given an unwelcome instruction? How does your child respond to correction? What about when you say “no?” Do you see a pattern of arguing, badgering, whining, complaining, or defensiveness? If so, you’re looking at the heart. That’s where we need to work.

Think training. Many parents try to bring about change using correction as their primary tool. We take a different approach. We identify the target quality needed to overcome the challenge and then we develop exercises, conversations, and activities to move children in that direction.

Training is powerful because it’s more positive. The parent is firm, but comes alongside the child, and it’s focused on a life-skill children need to move forward in life. Relationship is a key component for building relationship, softening the heart, and reducing resistance…most of the time.

Think strategy. Even if kids resist, parents can implement a plan. Most children require a multi-faceted approach. Sometimes more dialogue is helpful, but most kids learn from experience. Training exercises provide that experience.

My Child Has Biological Challenges

Every child is unique. Some children have complicated challenges that come from multiple causes.

Although we see three causes of behavior they are often intertwined. For example, the child who has ADHD may develop patterns
of arguing, and then, because they are corrected a lot, believe that they are troublemakers and stop trying to grow.

A heart-based approach is holistic because it looks for ways to address life from a deeper perspective. Children may need biological solutions but they usually need additional work to learn to cope with their challenges and overcome their weakness.

Every child has a heart. That heart learn to process life differently. With a lot of God’s grace, along with parental guidance, children with all kinds of special needs learn to overcome their challenges instead of using them as an excuse.

When parents come alongside children and use several different tools at the same time, kids change. It’s fascinating to watch the heart become more open, new patterns develop, and kids actually appreciate the growth they see in themselves as a result of strategic parental initiative.

From a Biblical Perspective There are Three Causes for Behavioral Challenges

Biological Causes

Children may have ADHD, Autism, Sensory Issues or Processing Challenges. Or, they might be hungry or tired. These biological challenges are often reflected in challenging behavior. But we can’t use biological challenges to rescue the child’s own responsibility.

Reactive Causes

Children may have PTSD, RAD, ODD, or other reactive patterns stemming from one or more incidents. Or, they may simply grow bad habits such as arguing, badgering, or whining. Remember, it takes two to argue but only one to stop.

Spiritual Causes

A person’s spirit contains their personality and identity. When a person becomes a Christian, for example, their identity changes. Sometimes children believe things about themselves such as I’m a failure, I’m just an angry person, or I need to be in control. Those beliefs affect behavior.

Behavior Modification

Most Parents Use Reward / Punishment. Here’s Why It Doesn’t Work

Behavior Modification is the primary tool used today to bring about change in children. It starts when kids are young. “Clean up your toys and you can have a snack.” “Finish your homework and you can go out and play.” “Clean your room and you can watch TV.”

Basically this approach says to children, “I’ll give you what you want if you do what I say.” The problem is that a steady diet of rewards and punishment encourages children to ask the wrong questions in life. “What’s in it for me? Are you going to pay me for that? What’s the bare minimum I need to do to get my reward?

Overuse of reward/punishment can develop significant negative patterns in kids like the one you see on the right.

Have You Seen These Responses From Children?

1. Poor Response to Correction

Often demonstrated as defensive-ness, justification, or rationalization.

2. Victim Mentality

Blaming. I’d be find if everyone else would change. I’m mistreated.

3. Entitlement Attitude

You owe me. Others have more privileges than me. I deserve more.

4. That’s Not Fair

Comparing myself to others and expecting equal treatment.

5. You Don’t Listen to Me

Believing that listening is the same as agreeing.

6. You Don’t Understand Me

If you really understood me you’d do what I want.

7. Negativity

Critical, complaining, oppositional, negative, and producing tension.

8. Bitterness

Anger intensity and frequency that’s greater than the situations warrant.

Are These Ideas Based on Psychology or the Bible?

Are These Ideas Based on Psychology or the Bible?

Our philosophy is driven by God’s Word. That’s where we start and end. The Bible is primarily a book about God and getting to know Him personally. It also teaches us about ourselves and about what God wants for us and from us.

By studying how God works with His children and how he worked with the Israelites and Old Testament saints, we learn some valuable lessons about how people change. Jesus also modeled it with the disciples and others he met.

God is in the business of changing us. He uses parents to bring about change in their children. Valuable lessons are learned when parents use a gospel-centered approach to parenting.

We like to use the term Great-Commission Parenting to describe what we do. It’s our goal to make disciples of parents and their children.

Notice in the Great Commission that we are to teach them. But the sentence doesn’t stop there in Matthew 28:19. It says “We are to teach them to do…”

It’s for this reason that we emphasize the HOWs of parenting. We develop practical techniques that teach parents and children what obedience, repentance, confession, and other theological concepts look like in practical terms. Parents need the HOW, not just the WHAT, and that’s one of the reasons parents enjoy our work.

Psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and social workers come to be trained in the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program. One Psychologist said it this way:

“I learned and practiced a number of therapies with clients, but I always felt like a fraud, since I often saw those strategies not working effectively. I love the things I’ve learned in the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program and they will be my go to for parent training from now on” —Esmerelda Ng.

Our work is Biblical, practical, focused on the heart, and seeks to build life skills in children. Parents find it refreshing. It just makes sense and rings true for those who are Christians.

scott turansky

“I get so excited as I work with parents to see their children change. Miracles take place on a regular basis. I often feel like I’m one of the disciples at the Feeding of the 5000.

It’s not my miracle. It comes from Jesus. I just get to hand out the bread. In the same way, supernatural things happen inside the hearts of kids when parents use tools that come from God’s Word. It’s His miracle. I just get to pass on the grace.”

—Dr. Scott Turansky

Who is Scott Turansky?

As a pastor for over 40 years, Dr Turansky has studied and taught God’s Word. He’s also been counseling and working with families for over 35 years.

In the 1990’s he teamed up with Joanne Miller, RN, BSN to start the National Center for Biblical Parenting. Together they have written 15 books on parenting and teach parenting seminars around the country and speaking conferences.

Dr. Turansky is a professor at Concordia University where he teaches the Masters level class in parenting for those who are getting a Family Life Education Degree. It’s through the University that he developed the coaching program.

He has trained over 400 coaches to use the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program with individual families and continues to support and mentor them with their cases. He also works with families himself each week.

Scott’s wife, Carrie, is a women’s fiction author of over 20 books. They have five children and eleven grandchildren and enjoy spending time with them.

They live in Lawrenceville, NJ where Scott is the teaching pastor at GraceWay Bible Church and continues his work with families.

You can find articles on their blog and follow them on twitter, instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Learn more at biblicalparenting.org

What You Can Expect as a Client

What You Can Expect as a Client

Each week you’ll watch four 10-minute teaching videos from Dr. Scott Turansky. You’ll then meet with your coach to receive individualized, personal guidance for your child. And, you’ll practice. Remember, changing patterns of behavior requires new patterns. Working on the heart addresses tendencies. Even if a child resists, your changes will bring about change in your child. You can expect:

1 Significant progress in areas of concern. Most parents say something like this. “Our challenges have moved down from a 10 to a 4 and that is HUGE!.”

2 You’ll learn new tools for family life that will equip you to reduce tension in the area of cooperation, getting things done, and building responsibility. You’ll know how to teach your child how to see things that need to be done and do them without being asked. You’ll also learn how to help your child contribute more to family life.

3 You’ll gain some techniques and strategies that will facilitate correction more effectively in your home. These approaches help kids take responsibility for their mistakes and offenses, and reduce blaming, rationalizing, and justifying.

4 You’ll target emotional challenges in your child and in yourself, gaining practical ways to reduce the intensity in family life.

5 You’ll learn a lot of new ideas and approaches to parenting that will equip you to address all kinds of problems that will come up over the years.

“Our son was totally out of control. I couldn’t believe the changes we saw in just one week. I’m a glass half empty kind of guy and I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, but if we can continue like this I’ll be shocked!”
—Father of an eight-year-old with anger explosive issues.

“We had thought we’d lost our daughter’s heart. She was spending more and more time on social media and with friends we questioned. Our work brought us closer together in ways we didn’t think were possible. We highly recommend this program.”
—Mom of a sixteen-year-old

“Our son has ADHD and ODD. We can’t seem to get anything done in our home. We are trying to homeschool but the tension made me cry each night. We so needed this program. Our son has special needs and we learned new tools to help him. I actually enjoy our days together now.”
—Homeschooling Mom of an active twelve-year-old

What You Can Expect When You Go Through the Coach Training

Parent Coaching

As soon as you register you are sent the four text books so that you can get a head-start on your reading.

The program always opens one week early so that you can download the materials, introduce yourself in the class, and receive instructions for recruiting your parent.

There are two platforms. The first is the Biblical Parenting University content platform where you’ll find all of the forms, worksheets, infographics, handouts, and instructional videos.

The second platform is where we interact. You’ll have your own room where you will report and receive advice concerning the parent you’re working with. You’ll also go into other rooms to see how other coaches are working with their clients. This gives you greater experience and confidence to watch the principles work in a variety of situations.

Each week you’ll have a hypothetical problem to respond to based on your reading assignments for that week. You’ll also meet with your client and share specific techniques and ideas for their child.

After successfully completing the training you’ll receive a certificate and opportunity for continuing education and support by joining our closed think tank group.

Dr. Turansky personally mentors you through this program and, should it be helpful, will meet with your client while you listen.

“Who needs reality TV? If I want to change the channel, I just take on another client. I get to watch God’s grace work in real time in every family’s life. Each one is different and the process of change is fascinating to watch.”
—Dr. Scott Turansky

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The Child Behavior Inventory

One of the tools you’ll have access to is the Child Behavior Inventory. This is an assessment tool that our team has developed and continues to improve.

You’ll be able to do this assessment on each of your children to help determine the specific areas of challenge in this child’s life.

The two graphs on the right indicate the change in one child. Notice the dramatic change in parenting stress. And also note that every area shows improvement, even though we didn’t work specifically on those areas. That’s the nature of heart work.

cbi-before
cbi-after

You can take the Child Behavior Inventory for FREE now.

Are You Ready for a Change?

NEXT STEPS

The Biblical Parenting Coaching Program works best with children ages three through sixteen. It’s great for kids with special needs and difficult challenges. You might want to have a free consultation before you decide. Or, you might just want to purchase the books and do it on your own.

The cost of the program depends on which coach you choose. You can see a list of the coaches, their bios, and costs there.

The choice is yours. If you do decide to sign up for coaching, choose an eight-week period of time when you can focus in on the work required. Change isn’t easy sometimes for children or their parents.

CHILD

Sign Up Now

Pick your coach and get started right away. Or, register for the next training to become a coach.

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