Christian Living


Mommy and the Joyful Three 03/01/11

Showing Children How to React with Love

Do you get angry in front of your children?

Children are little observers. They pick up on discord, discomfort, and all things unstable. Every time I think I am hiding my anger or emotions from my children, they have a way of seeing and calling me out on it.

Last week, my six year old picked up on some tension between me and my husband. It wasn’t a big problem, normal marital issues, but we allowed our argument to be exposed in front of our kids.

After the “fight” was over, she asked me a question that broke my heart. She asked me if I loved her father. I quickly apologized and explained that parents sometimes are grumpy and say and do things we should not. I told her it was wrong of me to react that way.

She seemed to understand and promptly started playing again. Looking back, the conversation appeared to leave more of an impact on me than her, and I am grateful for that, I needed to hear what she said. Also, I needed to be reminded that she not only listens to what we say, but she watches what we do.

Relationships face difficulties. Whether it is our relationships with in laws, parents, siblings, friends, or even just the person at the check out counter at the store, we often struggle with how to react to each other. Sometimes our reactions are quick and unfiltered. And our children's little ears and eyes notice when we let our anger get the better of us.

Letting our irritation become raw and exposed in front of our children is only teaching them to act in the same manner. Kids are going to fight with each other, but if we do not show them how to behave themselves with good conduct they will never outgrow these bad, reactionary habits.

Sadly, people do – knowingly and unknowingly – create obstacles for others. It is times like these that God teaches us to show His grace and compassion. With patience and love, we can teach our kids to best react.

If we looked at all problems through God’s eyes, we would learn to control ourselves well.

The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 145:8

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

Some people are naturally slow to anger. Others need extra prayer and help when it comes to controlling their reactions. Here are a few good ways to teach your children how to not let anger get the better of them.

Teach them to count.

You have probably heard people say to count to 10 before you react. It does work. If you notice your child getting upset with something or someone, tell them to count to 10. My older daughter has even counted ten happy thoughts. By the time she is done, she cannot remember why she was angry.

Teach them to pray for grace and peace.

Have them ask the Lord for patience. If your child is being bullied at school or is having a hard time with someone, pray for that person with them. Praying will bring them some peace about the situation. It will also teach them that they have control over their feelings.

Show them how to be slow to anger by being slow to anger yourself.

Do not allow your temper or emotions to get the better of you in front of them. This is one of the most important ways they can learn how to deal with their emotions.

How do you avoid angry reactions in front of your kids?

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