Dad, don’t make your child angry

angry child

Reading in Ephesians the other day I had a run-in with these verses:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother”– which is the first commandment with a promise–  “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4)

A few observations here:

  • Interesting that the Bible only says this to dads “Don’t exasperate your children.” In my experience, dads are more likely to do this than moms. Interesting.
  • I know in my home, I’m more likely than Sherri is to aggravate “The Ladies.” I don’t mean to. Sometimes I don’t even realize it until they’re really upset.
  • Don’t irritate them. Train them! You can’t train an angry child.
  • It’s easier to have a relationship built on “goofing off” than it is one based on “building up.” The only way a “building up” relationship will exist is if I take the initiative. It’s easier to chase around the house, give zerbers, pinch buns, and make silly faces than it is to “train them up in the instruction of the Lord.”

I don’t want the essence of the daddy/daughter relationship to be goofiness. Oh I don’t mind silliness at all! In fact, I love it! I just don’t want that to be the defining characteristic of our relationship. I want our relationship to have substance based on respect and trust.

I’m thinking about some ways to take our relationship to the next level. A few of these include:

  • Dating my daughters.
  • Praying for my daughters.
  • Making sure I have something of worth to give my daughters which means I need to be paying attention to my relationship with God and my bride.
  • Having realistic expectations.
  • Being consistent in discipline and reward.
  • Apologizing when I unnecessarily make them angry and taking corrective steps to change my behavior.

What do you think?

Mom, who is most likely to “hack off” the kids in your house? You or dad?

Dad, have you realized this about yourself, or am I off base here? What have you done to adjust this behavior?

3 thoughts on “Dad, don’t make your child angry

  1. About a year ago, I was reading these same verses to my kids. I read the “kid” part, and explained that to them. When I started to read “Parents,…” my son finished the sentence – “Be nice to your kids.” I think that sums it up quite nicely.

  2. I think there’s a reason for this to be addressed to Dads. Moms can exasperate their kids, too, believe me (I have). But dads are different. Kids long to please their father, to have his approval. When dad messes up it makes the child feel like something is wrong with him/her. The anger against a father can also translate easily into anger against God.
    It’s a really heavy responsibility that dads have to raise a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But I think those are two key words. Dads must nurture their kids – love them, play with them, take care of their basic needs. But what dads might leave out (especially with daughters) is the admonition part. This must include saying “no”, but it also needs to include lots of training. What should your child be saying “yes” to?
    What do you want your child do or be? You must train them in that direction. If the admonition is always negative, you could embitter your child.
    In our family, we make sure to have family worship most nights. Doug uses this opportunity to train our children. We catechize our children. We teach them Scriptures to memorize. We take time on a regular basis to make sure that they understand the gospel to the best of their ability. And we make sure that they understand that the gospel applies to our lives every day – it’s not just fire insurance.
    When our kids mess up – and that happens a lot – we make sure that we teach them forgiveness by example. We discipline them for whatever crime it was. But then we hug and love on them and assure them of our love.
    Finally, and this is something that I adore my husband for, Doug routinely asks our children for forgiveness. He lets them see that he messes up, too and that he needs forgiveness (theirs and God’s).
    It’s impossible to be a perfect parent, but asking these kinds of questions is a good sign that you’re a good one.
    Good luck.

  3. Good thoughts, Paul…I especially like your emphasis on fathering being more than just “goofing off” with the kids. Like you, I love to do this, but my kids need more than just that…

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