I did not grow up in an angry home. In fact I remember very little to no yelling at all in our home. I can remember jokingly (and sometimes not so jokingly) making fun of my dad for glaring – if looks could kill I might have died on more then one occasion. If he was Superman I would have surely been laser-beamed to death.
My mom was always strong and tough but one of the most loving, gracious and nurturing people I’ve ever known. She has always been a great parental example and model for me of what it means to be slow to anger. So, you would think that I would not struggle with being an angry parent. Unfortunately, not so.
My hope is that as I share my failures you might be encouraged and strengthened in your resolve to grow and become complete.
Recently I was having a rough week with my kids. And by rough I mean that I was regularly losing my patience and cool with them. At the time of this post my kids are 7, 5 and 3 and I regularly find myself giving into angry parenting. Ryan Martin, Ph.D. explains well part of why we use anger in parenting, “When people are tired, anxious, or already angry, they are more likely to respond with anger.” All this has made me think… Does my parenting resemble God’s parenting of my life?
Psalm 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
In light of this verse I really have to ask and answer the question, “Does this describe my parenting?” How about you?
Compassionate and Gracious – spotty at best although becoming better.
Slow to anger – quite the opposite. I am usually quick tempered with my kids. I hate to say that but that is what I have allowed to become my mode of operation. I sometimes use anger, or big emotions to gain control over my kids and situations, not realizing that this quick, short term solution causes much more harm then good.
Abounding in Love – now this one I am better at then the above mentioned. What I find is that all the love and affection in the world doesn’t replace or remove the wounds of being angry or not showing grace to my kids when they need it.
What is Slow to Anger Parenting?
James 1:19-20 Know this, my beloved: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
All we need to do is replace the “person” in this passage with “parent” and we have a great glimpse into what God desire for us and our parenting. What we have to understand is that God is always after our hearts and the hearts of our kids. He desires holiness for us in the same way we desire our kids to be “good.”
However, the BIG and I mean really BIG difference is that God does not respond to our failures and sin with anger. Sure, God is not happy over our sin and there are always consequences for our bad choices but he responds to us very differently. He never attempts to manipulate our behavior with intimidation and fear (which He very easily could). Instead he uses grace and compassion – kindness to lead us to a long lasting life of transformation.
So how are you doing? What might God be calling you to change or adjust in your parenting? What’s at stake is not only our relationship and righteousness before God but even more scary is our kid’s relationship and righteousness before God.
2 very helpful resources for learning to become Slow to Anger Parents:
Spiritual Parenting, by Michelle Anthony
Effective Parenting in a Defective World, by Chip Ingram
Let me know what you think and how you have seen your anger negatively impact your family. What ways have you over come being an angry parent?