God's Parenting Style

I receive parenting tip e-mails that are designed for parents’ use in helping their kids deal with issues. But instead, I often see them as timely messages from God to help me deal with my own childish ways of mishandling the same issues.

In today’s case, anger. Understanding the provocation of my ire doesn’t guarantee that I’ll eliminate my anger or even get over it faster, but it does often help put it into perspective and help me know what to do next. It is one way that God parents me.

So when I got angry this morning, I looked over this list of causes below and identified my problem—“blocked goals” and “unmet expectations.” So I’m back to the drawing board to reframe my goals and realign my expectations.

Life doesn’t always works out like I want it to. And I don’t always respond like I wish I would. But I know that my Father never gives up on me and He disciplines me with gentleness and love. Because I love being parented by Him, I want to parent more like Him.

Why We Get Angry
One of the helpful steps in helping children control their anger is to recognize four causes of anger. After children have settled down and you debrief with them about their anger, talk about what's causing it. You and your child may see patterns and then be able to head off the problem earlier next time.

1) Blocked Goals. This is the kind of thing that happens to you, as a parent, when you want to do a project in the playroom and find that Billy has left his Legos all over the floor and you keep stepping on them. Or, Billy may want to play with his train set only to find that his sister is using it first. These are blocked goals.

2) Violated Rights. That's when you, as a parent, are in the bathroom and your daughter keeps knocking on the door. You believe you have the right to go to the bathroom in peace. Your daughter may get angry because her brother came into her room and took her favorite CD. Those are violated rights.

3) Unmet Expectations. You had expected that when you got home you would be able to rest but instead you find a big mess. Or Jackie thought she would be going to McDonalds but instead you chose to go to Pizza Hut. Those are unmet expectations.

4) Experiencing Unfairness. When someone takes a toy from a younger child, you may feel angry as a parent because you see unfairness. Or, Tom may feel angry with his teacher because she picked someone else for a privilege he thought he deserved. Those unfair situations can provoke anger.

Whatever the situation, after a child has settled down, talk about the cause. Discuss the value of sacrificing rights, readjusting goals or expectations, and handling unfairness in a godly way. By examining the causes of anger, you can help children gain greater perspective and develop longer lasting strategies for managing their emotions.

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