Do you have an angry child? It can become extremely frustrating to know how to deal with them since it usually stirs up so many emotions in the parent, when a child’s anger surfaces. Know this; they can change. Also, if you feel as though you may have been provoking them to this behavior, you can change as well. It might take some time, but there is still hope. Your child doesn’t want to be angry, they just want a hand to lead them and show them the way. Try taking the following steps if you want to see a calmer child.
Check the Tone of your Voice
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
– Proverbs 15:1
Do you use your child’s full name when correcting them? Not just their given name as opposed to their nickname but you actually throw in their middle name and, if the occasion calls for it, their last name too? I always cringe when I’m out in public and hear parents doing this because I know their child is in for it. I kind of feel bad for the kid, even if they do deserve the punishment coming!
What about tone? I am guilty of this more than I would like to admit. When I act rashly, in response to my child’s disobedience or foolishness, I don’t stop to think before I speak and often say my child’s name in an angry tone, completely shutting them out from actually listening to what I am about to say next. If you are anything like me, and feel like you need to work on having self-control in this area then you understand that speaking to your child in a “soft tone” is not something that “just happens.” It takes work. It is a habit that needs to be changed and fortunately can become a permanent change with practice. The more we catch ourselves having a negative tone towards our children the more we can work on answering them in a soft and more receptive tone.
Try Not To Speak Down To Them
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
– Proverbs 18:21
Kids know when they are being disrespected. There comes a point, as a parent, when we recognise that even though we have authority over our children, they are ultimately God’s. When we realize this, it is easier to respect them, even when punishing them. What does this mean exactly? Well, when dishing out punishment, don’t take it personally. Be firm yet loving and try not to say things like, “how many times have I told you?” or, “you’re embarrassing me!” Our children need to know, ultimately, that they have sinned against God and that through Jesus, things can be made right. If we personalize their disobedience and make it an attack on us, then they will always be trying to avoid our punishment or try to please us, rather than God. Instead, simply state what their wrongdoing was and the punishment and leave it at that. For example, “you disobeyed me by not cleaning up your room, you lose your video game time for today.” Say it, then follow through. This works much better than, “you are such a slob! Why can’t you keep your room clean like your brother? Don’t even think about playing video games today!” You may have said your peace but it destroys a child’s self-image more than we realize when we go off on such rants.
Keep Your Word
But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
– 1 John 2:5
Keeping our word, especially with our children, is a sign of maturity. It takes self-control and self-sacrifice. If I tell my son that I will play chess with him later in the day, I better follow through! Dishes may be piling up and laundry might need to be folded but if I gave him my word, I gave him my word. Understanding this principle takes time.
Honestly, it wasn’t until I had kids that I realized how double-minded I could be at times. I really had to check myself and make sure not to make empty promises to my kids, or husband that I wouldn’t be able to follow through with. Not keeping our word can stir anger up in our children because if they can’t trust what we say as truth then who can they trust? Obviously we aren’t perfect and might need to humble ourselves and apologize a time or two but it is important to be known for consistency in such an inconsistent world.
Give Them A Chance To Shine
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works
– Hebrews 10:24
Your kids can be sweet, when they want to! Give them a chance. We see all sides of our kids, the good, the bad and the ugly. Try to pull out the good as much as you can rather than dwelling on the ugly. You certainly don’t want to become the parent who constantly reminds their adult child of their wrongdoings that they committed as a child. Let it go while they are still young. Forgive them and move on. You’ve changed dramatically throughout your life, now give them a chance to do the same. Praise them when you see them preferring a sibling over themselves. Encourage them when they treat a stranger kindly or when they give a toy away to a friend who came to visit. We all want to see our children be a blessing to others and provoking them to anger will only hinder this. As parents we can actively provoke them to good works instead!
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord
– Ephesians 6:4