The other day I went to a friend’s house. While our young children organized a My Little Pony rodeo and practiced cow roping on their youngest siblings, my friend and I sat down to chat. We could hear muffled laughter from another part of her house. Her teen was on the phone … with a boy. This is a new area of parenting for my friend and one I haven’t even stuck a toe into, so when her face looked thoughtful, I sat up straighter. I’m always up for learning something new about parenting, especially from this friend.

“She talks to him a lot. One of my friends told me I needed to set time limits for her,” my friend said. Then she shook her head. “I think I’m going to talk through the heart of the issue with her first.”

I’ve watched this family for years and one of the things I’ve noticed is that they parent to the heart. Ginger Plowman writes about this as well. I’ve learned that only God can change a heart, so it is to Him and His word we must point our children. I just read in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” So true.

In my friend’s case, I’ve seen this style of parenting reap huge rewards. There is very little strain in the parent-teen relationship. Some of this is due to their daughter’s disposition (she is one of my favorite people), but I believe more of it is due to an early bending of her heart toward the Lord and His Word.