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What does the Bible say about losing our cool with our kids? Well, in Colossians 3:8, it puts anger in the same group as “rage, malice, slander, and filthy language.” In Proverbs 22:24, the Bible tells us, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered.” The Psalmist said in Psalms 37:8, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it only leads to evil.” Jesus said in Matthew 5:22, “But I tell you anyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgement. Again, anyone who says to his brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
Wow! Sounds like God has something to say about anger.
So how do we keep for losing our cool with our kids? Here are some practical tips:
- See the damage caused by anger.
This was a big one for me. I started my parenting with four daughters. I felt like I was always hurting their feelings by just looking at them wrong, much less losing my cool (which was also happening). It seemed like there was no way I could live my life to the standard needed to not hurt their feelings. At first this caused frustration, but over time the Lord showed me how much He desired me to overcome losing my cool and become a more encouraging and inspiring parent.
- You can be firm without being angry.
So often we see parents feel like they only get results if they get loud with their kids, but you can actually train your kids to respond to your normal voice. It takes time and effort – it’s so much easier just to yell – but over time you can make it happen. The key is to keep your voice calm even when they are not responding. You can do things like get on their level, make sure you are super clear with your instructions, and even gently pick them up and carry them to where they need to be. If done with calmness and firmness, over time they will start to respond more quickly to your normal voice.
If you consistently lose your cool, the Proverb will come to life in your home where your kids will not want to associate with you. They will fear you and they will avoid you. If that’s what you want, use anger as your parenting go-to. But if you want a relationship with your child, look for ways to avoid losing your cool.