Ouch. Have you ever looked into little, wide eyes and realized that your important parental correction–that teachable moment–is ruined because of the tone of your voice, the volume of your speech, or the words you’ve spoken? Can you relate to pitchin’ a fit?
I know I have seen that look of pain on my child’s face, and I’ve been horrified at my own behavior.
To be honest, my anger and the pain in my relationships drove me to the cross of Christ in repentance and grief. I’m so glad it did! The salvation that comes through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ through the grace of God didn’t instantly remove my anger. Sanctification has been a long process for me, and I’m always surprised now at the patience and peace I find in my heart–I know it surely has not come from me, but from the Prince of Peace Himself.
You can calm the angry parent inside!
Most people would categorize me as a “Type-A” personality. My husband tells the kids there’s actually no category for me–I’m just always going. If I’m not really careful, I tend to live life without margin. In fact, I’ll schedule into my sleeping time if need be, just to be able to say “yes” to the things I really want to be able to commit to. Sometimes that works out. But often, it shortchanges my kids, my patience, and my ability to perform when life’s unexpected events occur.
I’ve learned that if my life is too busy to absorb a sick child, or an unexpected day trip with my family, I’m too busy. When there’s no margin in my life at all, I can easily become stressed and irritated. It’s not a long trip from irritated to angry.
Have you experienced that?
I also have found that it’s worthwhile to manage my expectations of others. It’s when I expect too much of my kids that I tend to become angry.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t train our children into adulthood. I’m just saying that my desire to give instructions once and then have my children perform perfectly is not realistic. Training takes time, patience, and love. If I expect to work through an issue with my child more than once, it somehow causes my parental frustration to evaporate. The day I decided that my job is to say the same thing over and over, to lead my kids to the same verses over and over, I became a lot calmer, and a whole lot happier.
Is It Wrong to Get Angry?
Brook and Israel Wayne have written a wonderful book, Pitchin’ A Fit (New Leaf Publishing, 2016), to help parents deal with the problem of angry parenting.
I’m so glad the Waynes addressed this issue of overcoming anger in parenting.
It’s common in our culture to hear a defense of anger as “just an emotion”, as an important way of validating our feelings, and as an effective means of parenting.
Here’s the thing: Scripture doesn’t leave us in the dark about this. God’s righteous anger and wrath are holy, and without sin. The Lord is a holy and righteous Judge. We, however, are sinners from the womb (Psalm 51:5).
While, we can feel righteous anger also (over abortion, child abuse, the martyrdom and oppression of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and so on), our righteous anger is tainted by our sin nature.
When I’m grieved by a sinful decision my child makes that harms another person, that grief can initially be just. However, as I process that emotion, it usually morphs into an anger that is no longer righteous. I believe that’s why we find just a few verses in the Bible like Ephesians 4:26-27 (ESV):
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
We’re going to get angry. In parenting, we’ll likely have ample opportunity for anger. Those moments of anger–righteous or unrighteous–are our opportunity to turn to Christ for Holy-Spirit-gifted grace, mercy, forgiveness, and self-control. Before we get angry, we can seek the Lord and petition him for love, peace, patience, and kindness with our families.
I’m going to be transparent with you. I pray for love, peace, patience, and kindness throughout the day. When I meet with my church’s small group for Bible study and we have our weekly time for prayer requests, that’s what I ask people to pray for me. I’ve been asking that, and praying that prayer, for years now. The Lord has been faithful to honor my request.
Israel Wayne assures us that if we are habitually angry:
- You are not alone. Everyone struggles with this issue to some extent.
- It is not okay. Left unchecked it will damage important relationships.
- There is hope. There is freedom found in God’s Word to help you overcome this habitual sin.
Pitchin’ A Fit!, page 12
That is both encouraging and sobering. I agree we’re not alone, we can’t stay angry, and there is a way out through sanctification in Christ. God’s Word is always the answer.
Calm the Angry Parent
Israel and Brook Wayne’s new book, Pitchin’ a Fit!: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting is a valuable book for parents struggling with anger and overwhelm. In twelve manageable chapters, the co-founders of Family Renewal and parents of nine children address whether angry parenting is truly biblical, whether it’s effective, and how to identify tempting situations. They also discuss the value and source of patience, a different way to parent, and how to get help with parenting in anger.
As a parent who had anger modeled in my childhood, who struggled deeply with angry parenting as an adult, and who has overcome anger (though I must watch for it every day, as I find that the sin that crouches at my door tends to be the same sin time after time), I was really happy to see that Mr. and Mrs. Wayne wrote of issues, verses, and solutions that mirrored the journey the Lord has led me on. Their advice isn’t a quick fix, but it is very sound. And it’s rooted in Scripture.
If you’re struggling with angry, stressed-out parenting, I highly recommend Israel and Brook Wayne’s book, Pitchin’ A Fit!.
Pitchin’ A Fit! Chapters:
- Stressed Out and Overwhelmed
- Is It Wrong to Get Angry?
- What Causes Anger?
- Provoking Our Children to Wrath?
- Trigger Happy — What Sets You Off?
- Yelling Moms, Hollering Dads
- “But I’m Not Patient!”
- What Patience Is and Isn’t
- Nurture in the Heart of Correcting
- The Power of Affirmation
- Creating Peace in the Home
Christian Book: Pitchin’ A Fit!: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting
More Books by Israel Wayne
Overcoming Anger Scripture Memory Cards
I took many of the Scripture verses mentioned in Pitchin’ A Fit, added a few of my own, and made a pack of Overcoming Anger Scripture Memory Cards for me–and for you. They’re available in ESV or KJV, and there are 45 verses in the pack. Just sign up for out newsletter below and I’ll send them to you!
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