#024: Are You an Angry Mom? Two Reasons Why We Discipline Out of Anger
Here is my confession: I'm an angry mom.
Well. I want to say I'm a recovering angry mom.
I know I get angry a lot around my children and I'm trying to surrender my anger.
Now that I have that off my chest, what about you?!
Are you an angry mom?
Do you yell at them more than you talk to them gently?
Do you display annoyance or irritation more than you display affection?
If someone were to broadcast your interactions with your kids, would they cringe or would they see a display of God's grace and truth?
I believe we all love our children; we would do anything to give them the best. So why do we struggle with being kind to our children, whom we love so dearly?
I believe it's because we are self-focused.
My Kids Are In The Way of What I Want
Okay, probably no one actually says that out loud. But if you think about it, that's really the mindset you have: you want something but your kids are keeping you from getting it.
You want sleep. When your little one gets up in the middle of the night refusing to go back to sleep, this fire of anger consumes you like a wildfire... or,
You want to host a beautiful gathering at your home. But your little one spills Kool-aid all over the floor MINUTES before your guests arrive, and so you bark at your kids and grumpily wipe up the mess... or,
You want to be on time for church but your little one JUST. WON'T. GET. INTO. their car seat, and so you yell and you threat.
These things that you want are probably good things. I'm not saying it's bad to want sleep (I love sleep, in case anyone is wondering. Plus, we all need sleep.), but the question is more on the heart level: "is your desire for ______ causing you to sin against your children?"
I encourage you to take a minute and recall the last time you yelled at your kids, what did you want at the moment? What were the underlying motives for your annoyance/irritation? Did you want to control the outcome of doing certain things? Did you want to appear put together?
Ask God to search your heart, mama. Confess and repent; and ask your children for forgiveness.
PS if you need help examining your heart, these 20 questions by Tim Keller might help you.
Your Kids' Disobedience is Not a Personal Offense to You
This is something I learned this year. Often times, when I lash out in anger or when I discipline out of anger, it's because I look at my kids' disobedience like a personal attack.
I look at it like it's them vs. me. I look at it like they are against me.
This can be confusing because they are disobeying me. However, their disobedience ultimately is not against me. Their disobedience is ultimately against God. You as a mom is the tool that God uses to minister to your kids' hearts. When your kids disobey or disrespect, it's because they have an authority issue with God. It's not you.
So now, when my kids disobey or disrespect, I need to keep that in mind otherwise I will be consumed by my anger and I will discipline out of anger. They are not intentionally plotting out schemes to make me angry. They are sinners at heart and they are opposed to God's authority.
PS - If you want to learn more about this subject, I recommend Paul Tripp's book Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family. I've learned a lot from Paul Tripp and I know this book will bless your family, too.
God's Grace and Truth on Display
When we shift our focus from self to God, we will see that parenting is not about us.
It is not about us looking good with well-behaved, well-rounded children.
It is about being an instrument in God's hand to shepherd our children's hearts.
There are plenty of moments when you don't feel like reinforcing discipline yet again.
There are plenty of moments when you look at your kids and you just want to scream.
Don't let your feelings trick you.
Those moments are moments of God's grace showing you your children's hearts need to be tuned up so that they will be guided by The Lamp.
In Paul Tripp's words, "It's never a hassle, it's never an interruption, it's always grace."
God loves your children so much, He wants to use you to lead them back on the right track.
I believe that when we look at parenting with a God-focused lens, when our children are disobedient, we will less likely lash out in anger but use this moment of grace to guide our children back on the way they should go.
I want to encourage you to make a choice today:
Will you shift your focus from self to God and become an instrument to tune your children's hearts to God?