Parenting can be a very frustrating experience for both parent and child. Scripture acknowledges this fact when Paul taught Col. 3:21. The word provoke in this passage means to irritate or exasperate or make resentful. So, how can you not exasperate and frustrate yourself or your child?
A.) How can you keep from frustrating yourself as a parent?
1. Purpose to seek what is well pleasing to the Lord (Col. 3:20-21).
- If you are parenting your way = you create your own problems.
- Determining what is well pleasing (Gr. Acceptable) In other words, what is right and good before God. He wants your children to learn obedience. Please the Lord first. Focus on what He wants, not what is easiest for you or what your child wants.
2. Periodically reevaluate your policies and plan so you are doing what God wants.
- Saul got angry with Jonathan because he was fighting God’s purposes, because of his jealous, controlling, and insecure behavior (1 Sam 20:30).
- David was angry with his children because of his laziness in parenting, because he would not discipline his children (2 Sam. 13:21).
3. Learn as much as you can about parenting. Read as much as you can.
4. Don’t provoke your children because of your own failure in the flesh.
B.) How can you keep from frustrating your children? = Don’t provoke them.
* Let me explain some ways that you can irritate, exasperate, and make kids resentful.
1. Don’t go to extremes. When you go to extremes you push kids over the edge.
- Over protecting vs. no boundaries.
- Example of the family who told me about the two sets of children one family had with a long space in between. With one group (the father has harsh an abusive) (the latter group of kids had no discipline) = Both sets of kids were messed up.
- The more outgoing a child is the sooner you see their frustration. The more reserved your child is the longer you can get away with your extremes. But, sooner or later they will get unset with you. They will wonder if you even care.
- Over protecting is a fear based extreme. This will result in your child growing up with fears they should not have. They will then pass these fears on to their children.
- A no boundaries parenting style is a laziness issue.
- No protection that you provide will result in your children being protected from all hurt by others or hurting themselves. There is no foolproof plan that will ever completely protect your child from all harm. You are not God. You must realize only He is God, and your children’s ultimate protector (Ps. 46:10).
- Over-discipline vs. under-discipline or no rules.
- Parents who have rules for everything = is a fear or guilt based behavior.
- Not wanting to be the bad guy telling them no vs. saying no to everything. This results from selfishness and laziness. You will exasperate your children with these extremes.
- My way is the only way.
- Women want to remake their husband’s become more feminine. (He is so hard)
- Men want to make their wives more masculine (She is too easy on them). But, God made parenting a combination of male and female input. This is why it takes a man and woman to create a child, and both temperaments are essential for a balanced approach to parenting. See how Paul acknowledged this fact when he explains his own treatment of the church (1 Thess. 2:7-11).
- The extreme of always having to be with the kids and not taking time with your mate.
- Not giving your children some independence from you and your control is not good.
- Get a babysitter and go on a date night. Take a couple of day vacation with your spouse alone. Remember, your children are temporary in your home; your spouse will be there for the rest of your life. The best way to remain good parents is to continue to cultivate a deeper love relationship with your spouse. Then you will be a much happier parent.
2. Another way to frustrate & provoke your children is = inconsistent discipline.
When your rules change with each new day or simply because of the mood you are in at the moment, children become resentful because they never know what you will do. One day a certain action is wrong and the next day you could care less. Children need the stability of your consistent and faithful word. God wants you to be faithful and consistent just as He is (Mal. 3:6; Matt. 5:37; Matt. 23:3). Give clear limits and boundaries. Then be consistent to discipline their rebellion (Prov. 22:15).
3. Another frustration = Constant fault-finding & punishment without praise & reward.
When discipline is needed in your child’s life, you must deliver it in a fair and controlled manner. However, praise and reward are equally important if you are to be fair and balanced with your child. When you give your child a “well done,” sometimes this is all the reward they need. God uses reward as a motivation for His children to obey. Therefore, you need to follow His example (Prov. 12:25; Ps. 72:15; 1 Cor. 3:8).
4. Speaking to your children in a harsh, degrading or disrespectful way = provoking.
You are called to speak to your children in a manner that will build them up, not tear them down. You should never hear these words come out of your mouth: you are stupid, dumb, a slob, or a klutz. These are statements that cut at the core of a child’s perception of themselves, and will always have a detrimental effect in their lives. This action will cause them to harbor resentment in their hearts toward you. Your children will listen to how you speak to others, and will know that you speak differently to your friends (Prov. 15:1; Eph. 4:29; 31; Prov. 12:18). In addition, it may not be what you say, but the way you speak that hurts them (your disgust, anger, or sarcastic attitude). If you want your children to speak respectfully to you, then you must speak respectfully to them.
5. Physical abuse will frustrate and exasperate your children.
If you punch, kick, shove, slap, or beat your children, you are actually breaking their spirit and provoking them to resentment and wrath toward you. These actions are not what the Bible calls discipline. In fact, this is physical abuse due to your lack of self-control. You cannot justify your actions with the proverb that commands you to “Beat with the rod” Proverbs 23:13 The Hebrew word for beat means, “to lightly strike.” Discipline should always be motivated by love, done in a respectful and controlled manner. This is how God corrects you (Prov. 3:11-12; Rev. 3:19).
6. Refusing to humble yourself and ask your child’s forgiveness.
If you fail to do any of the items listed above, you are not exempt from the responsibility of asking forgiveness from your child, just because you are the parent. Your child must be viewed as any other Christian. Therefore, if you sin against them, you must repent and ask their forgiveness. Refusing to ask their forgiveness when you have failed, only causes them to lose respect for you and to frustrate them. When you do ask their forgiveness you are teaching them by example. You are showing them the importance of reconciliation and how they should act in their future family (Matt. 18:15; Luke 17:3-4; Matt. 5:23-24).
The bottom line in parenting: In all that you do, you must be guided by biblical commands and principles. Your life must be ruled by God’s love, His truth, fairness, balance, humility, and consistency. If you are committed to these principles and are surrendered to the power of the Holy Spirit, you will be kept from provoking your children to wrath.
Revised on 11/29/11