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Angry Parent

QUESTION: Should an angry parent discipline his or her children?


An angry parent should never discipline a child before regaining control of their emotions. All too often, anger causes us to cede control of reason. When anger is in charge, we are not thinking with our hearts or even our intellects; we are simply reacting to raw emotion. An angry parent needs to take time to cool down.

Anger in itself is not the problem. Anger is simply one of the wide range of emotions with which we humans have been endowed. It is when our emotions are controlling our thought processes and our actions that acting in anger becomes not only wrong, but also dangerous.

Allowing our behavior to be controlled by any emotion is a sign of immaturity. An angry parent must be mature enough to effectively discipline their children.

Here are a few practical methods to gain control over our emotions before we do something we regret and risk damaging the fragile emotions of a child

  • Practice consistent discipline. Children must be taught right from wrong. In order to do that, parents must practice a consistent, dispassionate pattern of discipline. I say dispassionate because when we allow the passion of anger to rule us, we do not discipline with the good of the child in mind out of love; rather, we discipline only from a selfish point of view. For example, Brenda's child has disobeyed her. As a result, Brenda is offended, embarrassed, and perceives a threat to her "rule." In her anger, Brenda sees her child's infraction as an affront to her. That reaction is based on self-centered feelings which breed anger. Acting out while still under the control of that emotion is not in the best interest of her child.

  • Allow time to pass. If Brian's child has acted in a way that has made Brian angry and he sets about to discipline her, he should first put his daughter in a "safe place" such as her room or a neutral location. He can explain to her that he will return to discuss the disobedience. This not only serves to allow the child time to think about her infraction, but also allows Brian the space he needs to collect himself and his thoughts. When Brian has a chance to cool down and look at the infraction in a rational way, then he can come back to his daughter with reason and not raw emotion. Whatever the punishment is from that moment on, whether it is corporal or depravation, it will be administered for the right reason - to correct behavior.

  • Focus on love. What can all of us draw upon to help us overrule our angry emotions? What universal, God-given emotional tool helps us discipline our children for their good? Of course, it is love! The Bible continually advocates discipline in relation to love. ". . .The Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:6-7, 11).
Discipline and correction are how we learn. Discipline is never pleasant, but it is often the only way we learn the lessons that help us mature and make right choices. God loves us and He disciplines and corrects us so that we learn His way. Conversely, a father who allows his child to go its own way without correction and discipline does not love that child.

God never disciplines us out of anger or selfishness or offense to Himself, but from love and truth. Recognizing our children are a gift from God, we should seek to imitate His parenting style. Love should always be the basis of discipline with the view of correcting a child for its own well being now and in the future.

In addition, we do not discipline a child that is not our own. In the above passage of Scripture the writer of Hebrews tells us that God punishes everyone He accepts as a son. In other words, God only disciplines His own children. How do we become His children? We do that by accepting the sacrifice of the Son of God, the LORD Jesus Christ.

Learn More About Managing Anger!

What do you think?
We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

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