Bayo Ajibola

How to Help Your Child Have a Teachable Spirit

Are you worried that your child seem un-teachable?

You are not alone in this. Many kids are becoming less and less teachable in this day and age. However, in many cases it is not anissue of the mind, but of the heart.

If your child is having problems in learning new skills, concepts or just simpleinstructions, you need to look deeper.

Many kids that perform poorly in school or at home refuse to receiveinstruction — in almost every area of life. Their heart is stubborn and they refuse to listen to improve their skills — even if it is concerning an activity or hobby they enjoy.

I had this problem as a child. I was not eager to learn new concepts because I did not want to listen. When I was not grasping a concept or an idea, I will just put my mind in neutral. Whoever was teaching me then – usually  my teacher, parent or mentor –  would be talking, but my mind was a million miles away. But, instead of admitting that I needed help or moreinstruction, I would just give up and move onto something I knew I could do.

Then, I began to have an attitude of “Don’t tell me what I am doing wrong. I like doing it this way.” At that moment in my life, I became unreachable. Why? Because I had refused any further instruction or constructive criticism in my life. If you wanted to give me honest criticism, I would just turn off my ears. Your opinion didn’t matter anymore.

That is a very dangerous place to be. When your child begins to refuse instruction, or listen to you, he or she will stop growing mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Your child could then make some serious, life-damaging decisions. Having a teachable spirit is more important than eating a healthy, organic diet or making straight A’s in school. It’s a serious heart and soul issue that could affect the rest of your child’s life.

Please don’t listen to the new trend of not correcting your children; they need correction and discipline. They also need you to instruct them — lovingly, consistently and kindly.


Why does your child need a teachable spirit?

A teachable spirit in a child will enable him or her to receive instruction that can help him or her become more proficient and accomplish more in life. A teachable spirit will enable someone to see their faults or mistake, and turn away from them.

Kids should not brush off helpful instruction from people who care about them and their future. If children continue to ignore all types of constructive or helpful criticism, what will become of them?

“Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuses instruction: but he that regarded reproof shall be honoured” (Proverbs 13:18).

No one wants his child to be impoverished or endure a life of shame, but that is precisely what the Bible promises if a son or daughter refuses instruction.

Kids are less likely to scoff at constructive criticism if it is given at an early age. The time for Parents to start acting is now, do not leave it to when it’s too late!


How can I help my child to have a teachable spirit?


Start by giving them daily task. And teach them to  do the tasks properly. You can start with simple things like teaching them how to correctly make their beds. Teach them the most efficient way to brush their teeth, how to dust the furniture or fold clothes. How to wash their plates e.t.c  Kind, gentle training at a very young age will prepare little ones to receiveinstruction in more pertinent areas of life.


Don’t let your child give up. Because kids this days give up on things easily. If your child performs a task incorrectly, don’t let him quit. Instead, show him the correct way and tell him to start over. Stay right beside him or her and walk him through it. Let him take as much time as he needs to learn this new concept and to learn it well. Once he has shown improvement, he can then move on to something else. But don’t encourage quitting by letting him walk away from it or quit. Many time the biggest quitters are also the most un teachable kids you have around!


Keep tabs on schoolwork and homework. Education and instruction is given at school, whether it is Christian, public, private or home-school. How is your child reacting to the criticisms of his teachers? Does he balk at a teacher that constantly corrects his posture during handwriting? Does he roll his eyes when he mentions an upcoming academic  project? If hisgrades are not up to par, is it because he is simply failing to follow instructions? Point out the consequences of not following directions with real-life examples; such as not obeying traffic signs, not following doctors’ orders, not paying taxes, etc. If these rules and instructions are not followed carefully, undesirable effects will result.


Supervise kids’ recreational time with friends. Observe how your kids react when problems arise between their friends. Take this opportunity to point out good attitudes that were visible, as well as areas that need improvement. Good sportsmanship, preferring others, common courtesies and helping others in need are just a few ideas to work on social interaction with friends and relatives. It’s also a good way to point out the proper ways to receive instruction or advice from peers. If your son’s friend gives him a little push and says, “Chill out!” your son should consider what his friend is saying. Maybe he is taking the game too seriously. It helps kids and adults to stay open to the suggestions of friends. Many times they see our faults long before we do.


Praise, praise, praise. Look for every opportunities to praise your child. And don’t overdo it. Maybe the table was not set perfectly, but his obedience was prompt. Maybe he still has a hard time accepting that his team lost a basketball game, but he excels in not boasting when his team has a victory. As you point out the areas that need improvement, point out your child’s strengths as well. Kids, as well as adults, receive reproof more easily when it is preceded by praise and encouragement. Do you want your child’s heart to stay open to constructive criticism? Then balance it with loads of praise and affection.


Be patient. And as a parent you need loads of it. It takes time to improve in many areas of life. Whether it is an emotional, physical or mental improvement — it all takes time. Don’t show your frustration and try to hurry things along. Instead, get involved with your child’s progression to become a teachable child and encourage them to take each day one at a time.


Stay on your knees. you want your child to be teachable. A child that is teachable has a heart that is tender towards God, towards his or her parents and other authority figures in life. You need God’s help to mold your child’s heart. There are so many times I wished I could reach inside my child’s heart and flip a switch that said, “Obey” “Listen” or “Do your best.” But, alas — I can’t. But the Bible says that the heart of kings is in his hand and that He can turn their hearts whichever way he wants. If that’s true, and we know it is, then certainly God can get a hold of a stubborn child’s heart and make it tender and teachable once again. Do your part as the parent, and pray and ask God to work on the things that are beyond your control. He is able!

Instruction and life’s lessons comes in all shapes and forms. At times, kids need to ignore cruel comments about their imperfections and find their joy in pleasing the Lord. But pleasing the Lord also includes heeding instructions, criticisms and having a teachable spirit.

Having an unteachable spirit is a serious issue. Take action now and encourage your kids to be teachable!

“The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding” (Proverbs 15:31-32).

Bayo Ajibola

Welcome to Whatever your  problem, marital, relationship, spiritual or parenting. We are here for you. No matter how difficult they are, together we can release power sufficient to solve these problems either spiritual or otherwise. Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answers and solutions.  Digging at the roots instead of just hacking at the leaves is our way of solving your problems. On naijaprents we break the problem down into components and solve one problem at a time. Let's hear from you.Join the conversation on our Forum and , like us on our Facebook page .Google+

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.