Being a parent is a delight and a blessing, but we parents cannot deny that there are moments when children do or say things that provoke frustration and even anger. May it be coming home exhausted to find a toddler drawing on the walls or getting into a vicious argument with a teenager about staying out late, dealing with kids and maintaining composure can be tough.
But the Bible is very clear about where anger stands and the dangers that it can present. Ephesians 6:4 (NIV) says, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
To exasperate means to provoke to anger by expressing anger.
Controlling anger can be a major challenge not just for parents but for anyone. But Galatians 5:23 reminds us that God's Spirit brings the fruits of gentleness and self-control. Here are three principles on anger that will teach parents how to more effectively discipline their children.
Anger is not an effective discipline tool
We may think that anger works wonders in training up our children in the way that they should go, but it doesn't. Ephesians 6:4 makes it clear that "the training and instruction of the Lord" is what moulds our children, not our manipulation, drama, emotions or intimidating voice. Sure there can be times that kids wait until the tone of our voice increases, but the goal is never to communicate anger, but to communicate God's way.
Anger instills fear not love
1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." It is the perfect love of God that brings about the transformational work of God and we parents can be a channel of love. That's why it's important that as we discipline our children, we do not do so in a way that expressive of anger or frustration because doing it that way will not build love but fear instead.
Explosive anger is rarely constructive and always destructive
Ecclesiastes 7:9 says, "Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools." I don't think I ever remember a time in my life that anger was completely constructive. Sure it gets things done faster and keeps kids quiet when we want them to but the change that happens in such cases is always external and is almost never lasting. In fact, in cases where anger gets out of hand it can actually destroy instead of build up character in our children. Anger works, but it doesn't work flawlessly and doesn't work nearly as well as well-managed and anger-free discipline does.