The fundamental proposition of this book is that the heart is the source of all behavior issues (Prov. 4:23; Luke 6:45). Behavior should not be the main focus, though that occupies most of our attention. Tripp cautions, “Parents often get sidetracked with behavior. . . . Behavior irritates and thus calls attention to itself. . . If you are to really help him, you must be concerned with the attitudes of the heart that drive his behavior.” As my child’s authority (see the Introduction of the book), I must require proper behavior, but I cannot leave the matter there. I must also help him understand how his rebellious heart resulted in his wrong behavior.
The goal of this book is not to give a “simple, clever methodology” or “a new three-step plan for trouble-free children.” Tripp’s aim is to help us as parents see why and how we must work from behavior back to the hearts of our children. Instead of merely correcting behavior, we must engage our children and expose their heart issues. Then, we can use these heart issues to help our children see their need for a Savior, who died for their sins and who can change their hearts.
Do you agree or disagree with Tripp’s basic tenet about the key focus needing to be the heart? Why or why not? In what specific instances have you been able to expose your child’s heart? In what ways have you focused merely on behavior?