Once again, I felt it happening. The uncontrollable hot feeling of frustration welling up inside me when my 4 year old spilled his milk all over what seemed like the entire dining room for the second time in one meal. Not pausing for one moment to consider what I was doing, I hollered, “Seriously, what is wrong with you? Again?” He looked crestfallen.
That short little story is just one example of the many times that I have lost patience with my children and yelled at them for no reason. Perhaps you can resonate with the story I just shared.
Maybe you ask yourself the question like I do, “why do I yell at my kids so much?”
Do you promise yourself you won’t yell at your kids anymore but then just do it again the next day? I’ve been there!
While this is most certainly something that I am still learning to work through and him still being sanctified and in my Christian life, I’ve learned to identify three triggers that tend to provoke us to anger and the biblical reminders that can be effective in keeping us grounded and helping us overcome.
1. One of the reasons I yell is because I’m too stressed out.
I have high expectations of my children. Likely this stems from the fact that I have high expectations of myself. My stress level increases little by little when things are not going as smoothly as I’d like them to until it gets to a point where it’s hard for me to handle. Because I don’t always have an effective way of dealing with the stress, it manifests itself in yelling, as if somehow that that is the way I am going to get control of the situation and reduce my stress level.
Of course the sensible part of me knows that yelling is not going to bring down my stress level permanently. It is simply a coping mechanism that I use as a mom that results in discouraged kids and is actually counterproductive in teaching my children how to handle their own stresses.
There is no doubt about it, we will feel stressed out sometimes. We can’t escape our human emotions, but it is how we choose to react to these emotions and in these stressed out situations that can either slowly transform us into a more patient person or keep us spiraling out of control..
This is only possible with God (and thank goodness it’s not dependent on me!).
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Perhaps you could replace the word fear with stress, frustration, or exhaustion. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the word sound as entire, not shaky, healthy, founded in truth, and undisturbed. What an assurance it is that God can replace our fear and frustration with something so beautiful. That is the power of being transformed through Christ.
2. The second reason I yell is because I can’t find a better way to deal with the situation.
Scripture tells us that a man (or woman!) of quick temper acts foolishly (Proverbs 14:17). we are called to refrain from anger and put away slander. When I yell, such as in the example above, in reality I am slandering my child, or “tarnishing” them. Why do I do this to the people I love most?
Thankfully, God provides a way out. Through His Spirit’s work in our lives, he can give us the ability to retrain our minds so that we can choose a better solution, rather than yelling. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that “no temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
On a practical note, one of the best ways to retrain ourselves not to yell if it is a problem that began in motherhood (because I honestly didn’t yell before I had kids!) is to recognize and deal with our triggers. Maybe it is a messy house. Perhaps it is a busy toddler or an eight year old with a bad attitude (I might know a little something about those things!).
What are some steps we can take to change situations that are triggers for us? Would pursuing some Biblical resources on character training be in order? Implementing a few cleaning or organizing tips that help get our houses more under control? Don’t worry about perfection or fixing everything at once. But when we start to intentionally think and pray about ways to manage our triggers, it can truly be helpful.
Maybe we cannot change the situation? I mean, a two-year-old is a two-year-old! :) In that case, we can find better responses and ways to handle situations that are out of our control.
3. The third reason I yell is because I have trained my children to listen only when I yell.
If the only time my kids listen and do what I say is when I raise my voice enough to break the sound barrier, the problem lies with me and not with them. While it is true that children will disobey and that we will have to teach and reteach certain things over and over again, we as moms can choose to give our children grace.
One of the best ways to remember to give our children grace is to remember how gracefully God has dealt with us. We are imperfect and make mistakes (dare I say sin!), and yet God is always loving and forgiving. We can’t “be Jesus” to our kids, because we aren’t Jesus! But we can point our children to Him, just like we are pointed to the cross each time we recognize our wrongdoings.
When we begin to live by grace, our approach to parenting changes. We must realize that we are not given our children to parent simply so that we can raise perfect beings who step in time to her every order but so that we can embrace the privilege of leading the next generation of Christ followers who will learn to seek Him in their everyday lives and lean on His mercy.
Let’s strive to learn the principle of “a soft answer” in the way we instruct our children so that they will listen to us not out of fear, but because they know we want to lovingly instruct them, whether it be in a practical or spiritual area of their lives.
We must realize that we are not given our children to parent simply so that we can raise perfect beings who step in time to her every order but so that we can embrace the privilege of leading the next generation of Christ followers who will learn to seek Him in their everyday lives and lean on His mercy.
Maybe you want to dig deeper into this issue of anger, yelling, and how we as parents can cultivate a better response. Perhaps you’d like to learn how to parent effectively and patiently. Without resorting to yelling or angry outbursts.
This is an area of my motherhood which I am continually growing. As I come to a new stage of parenting, a new challenge also presents itself. I need tools and helps to encourage me along the way.
I’ve been listening and watching my way through the Temper Toolkit: How to Take Control of Your Temper Before You Lose It eCourse by Lisa-Jo Baker. It has resonated with me in an amazing way, and it will with you too.
She talks about how to trace your “spiritual” family tree to help identify the reasons and history behind your lashing out. The way we grew up has so much to do with how we parent, more than we even realize.
And I love, love, love how she talks about specific ways to keep ourselves calm in potentially stressful situations so that we don’t dissolve into yelling and tears (running late for church, anyone?).
The part of the course on not letting your kids being the boss of your feelings? That really drove home some deep truths.
So much good in this video/audio course, especially for us moms who are continuing to struggle with this very issue of letting out our anger in a wrong way.
It includes 7 teaching videos, downloadable audio, and key takeaways from each lesson designed as computer backgrounds and phone lock screens (because it’s nice to remember what we’ve just learned!). There are also lots of bonus materials to help us deal with specific situations.
If you’d like the Temper Toolkit, it’s available for $39, but the course registration is closed right now. However, this course is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, which includes 106 other homemaking related resources plus bonuses, for a low price of $29.97!
So here you go. Buy the entire Ultimate Homemaking Bundle for $29.97, which is less than the price of the Temper Toolkit eCourse if you were to buy it by itself any other time. You’ll get the Temper Toolkit PLUS loads of other great homemaking resources with that purchase, so you can’t go wrong with that. :)
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