When Parents Are Angry With Their Child

Anger. A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or irritation; frustration or exasperation toward someone or something you communication2have no control over. Gee, that definition describes what we often feel as parents of rebellious children, doesn’t it? We have no control over our adult children (teens can be very difficult, too – any age can).

You know what it feels like. It wells up within you. Some of us are more comfortable expressing our anger than others. I’m one of the ‘others’ who aren’t comfortable showing this emotion. I’m easy-going to a fault.

I had to learn not to be afraid of anger, that it was okay to be angry, and I needed to express it. I also learned if I held my angry feelings in and stuffed them or denied them, it would bite me in the . . . form of depression.

That’s where it got me.

Those who are comfortable with this emotion, who have no problem expressing their anger, can find it a problem now. You find yourself too quick to let it rip, especially if your child has no problem venting their anger at the world, at you, or at anything else for that matter. You shout and yell and scream. You slam doors, kick things (the dog?), break things. It’s an adult tempter tantrum.

Have you had moments when you were too loud, too harsh, or too angry? Has it become a repeated pattern? It won’t help. Your wrath accomplishes nothing. It only adds to the tension and stress in your heart and in your home, widening the gap between you and your son or daughter – and maybe from others, too.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s okay to be angry, but be careful how you release it.

Admit that you’re mad and after you think about it for a while you may realize you’re also mad at God – not just your child. That’s okay, too. However, I encourage you to find healthy, appropriate ways of expressing your anger before it turns into resentment and bitterness. That’s not good for your well-being, your relationship with your off-spring – or with God. It will only add to the hurt.

Recognize this: Anger is a warning sign that alerts you to the fact that a healthy boundary you have has been violated; that something’s wrong. Maybe you need stronger boundaries or better ways of enforcing them? Maybe you need to work on communicating them more clearly to the important people in your life. Ask God. He’ll show you.

The Bible talks about anger: “A fool gives full vent to his anger”,  and Proverbs 15:18 says , “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.”

I’m sure you don’t want to be foolish and stir up trouble. Instead, turn to God for wisdom and self-control. He’ll help you.

Dear God, fulfill this Bible verse in our lives: “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry.”  (James 1:19b) Show us how to control our anger. Teach us how to release it in healthy ways. Make us wise in this difficult area. We had no idea how angry we could be until this happened with our child. Please show us the way to manage this strong emotion. We can’t do it without You.”

A book that might help you is: Good and Mad by Ray Burwick.

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