Family Talk Night Light for Parents - Monday, September 9, 2013
Action Over Anger
Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.James 1:20
As a former schoolteacher, I know how important it is to practice effective discipline in the classroom and at home. One of Jim’s former teaching colleagues had no clue about effective classroom management. When her fifth-grade students got out of hand, she jumped on top of her desk and blew a whistle. The only problem was, her students loved it! They spent their days plotting how to get her back on that desk.
Angry threats, screams, and whistles are highly inefficient forms of discipline. They actually create disrespect in the minds of kids. Would you respect a superior court judge who presided over his courtroom by waving his arms wildly, shouting out empty threats and warnings? I doubt it. And so it is in our homes. When we try to rule our families by our emotions, we find our kids manipulating us just like the class with the whistling teacher.
Anger is ineffective in another way; it leads us to say and do things we’ll regret. Scripture repeatedly instructs us to avoid inappropriate anger: “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath” (Psalm 37:8); “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger (Ephesians 4:31); “Everyone should be…slow to become angry” (James 1:19). I’m not suggesting that you hide your feelings from your children. Sometimes your kids should know that you are upset by their actions. But when we try to control the behavior of our children through our anger, it usually ends up controlling us instead.
How, then, should a parent respond to a son or daughter’s deliberate disobedience? With consistent disciplinary action, administered with a cool head and restrained hand. As we are reminded in Proverbs 29:11, it is the wise man—and the wise parent—who keeps himself or herself under control.