The house is still. I’ve already kissed my sweetie, and waved I Love You in sign language as he pulled out of the driveway. I sent up a prayer for his work day. As I type these words, my youngest has stirred. Rubbing sleep from her eyes, she comes into my arms for a hug, then wanders off to the kitchen for a Cutie – sweet citrus goodness.
As I sit here in the peace and quiet of the early morning, I reflect on the revelation I had recently. Not a pleasant one, but one I’m thankful to ponder. My revelation? I parent angry. I don’t mean to say I’m angry all the time. Quite the contrary. Our family laughs often. We love, we comfort, we encourage…so what do I mean by parenting angry? Too often my voice, facial expression, and body language convey anger when I correct my children or I’m interrupted.
We all have a sin nature, and children are prone to make messes, disobey, bicker – they indulge their flesh. They want things their way, when they want it. If we’re honest, we crave the same thing. Don’t believe me? What’s your first response when you’re interrupted? Irritation, right? We want to continue with what we’re doing, and we want to do it right now. Oh how ugly is our flesh.
Ask yourself these questions:
Am I easily irritated by my children?
Do I use a stern expression when addressing issues?
Is my voice hard?
Do I raise my voice?
Do I assume the position: arms on hips or folded across my chest, rigid stance, scowl on face?
Do I shake my finger at them when correcting?
Are my words harsh?
We seem to think we need these ‘tools’ to correct our children. We need to make them obey, follow the family rules, behave, get along with each other…so we resort to making them feel our displeasure. We want them to know how upset we are over their behavior. Look at those two sentences again. Wow – it’s all about me, what I need. The angry way of parenting stems from our own desires for peace, compliance, and obedience. Our need to be loved. Let me repeat that: The angry way of parenting stems from our own desires for peace, compliance, and obedience. Our need to be loved.
Angry parenting is rooted in our own selfish desires. This method attempts to meet our needs and desires, but nets chaos, anger in our children, rebellion, wounded spirits. There is a better way. One that considers the heart of the child. It takes retraining ourselves, training our children, and the end result will be what we long for: peace, obedience, and love in our home and relationships.
I hope you join me Monday for Do You Parent Angry? Part 2. Tuesday, I’d like to kick off a small challenge. Stay tuned for more on that.
Call to Action:
Over the next couple of days, watch for signs of anger as you interact with your children. How do they respond? Look at their facial expressions, body language, and listen to their reaction. I imagine you’ll either see your own anger mirrored, or a wounded expression.
What are you thoughts on parenting angry?