In Lou Priolo’s book “The Heart of Anger” (Calvary Press) he identifies twenty-five conditions or behaviors that represent common ways that parents tend to provoke their children to anger. It is important to realize that a child or anyone who is angry cannot blame their anger on someone else. Anger is a chosen response and anyone who is angry is totally responsible for that anger. The command from Ephesians 6:4 is that fathers are not to contribute to the situation and to whatever degree I as a father may be contributing, I must stop it!
Today I will post the first 13 and tomorrow the last 12. For a thorough teaching on the topic, please read Lou Priolo’s excellent book. You might want to put a towel in your mouth to bite on because this is going to hurt!
1. Lack of Marital Harmony – Gen 2:24; Heb. 12:15
Perhaps the greatest provocation of anger in children is parents who do not live with each other in harmony that the Scriptures prescribe. When there is bitterness, it has effects on others and children can acquire this as well.
2. Establishing and Maintaining a Child-Centered Home – Prov. 29:15 (The book gives outstanding instruction in this area that too many homes are guilty of these days!)
Children start to see themselves as equal to their parents in status. It will bring expectations that their wants and desires will be placed on an equal status as the parents. Results will be frustrations and anger.
3. Modeling Sinful Anger – Prov. 22:24, 25
If you are displaying anger, your children can be learning your ways. It is manifested in the tone of voice or in the lack of self-control/ignoring actions – fight or flight. Teaches a child that there is no such thing as problem solving but the only solution is to win – get your way.
4. Habitually Disciplining While Angry – Ps 38:1; Eph. 4:26, 27; James 1:19, 20
When we are angry, it is easy to over discipline. The emphasis of our thinking and of subsequent discipline is to be on what the child has done by sinning against the Lord, not on how their actions have caused us some personal discomfort, trouble or embarrassment. Over discipline can be perceived by a child as a personal attack.
5. Scolding – Eph. 4:29; Mark 14:3-5
It is the expression of a bad spirit. As much as possible, all discipline should be done with as normal tone of voice as possible with carefully measured words.
6. Being Inconsistent with Discipline – 2 Cor. 1:17,18; Eccl 8:11
Common in 2 ways: First having different standards by each parent. Second is vacillating from day to day on what behavior is disciplined and how severe correction will be. The inconsistencies can come from different philosophies or methods of child rearing. One parent may struggle with emotions, spiritually, or physically. There also may the lack of wanting to put the time in.
7. Having Double Standards – Phil 4:9
Being a hypocrite. Calling for biblical standards in your children and then not willing to live by biblical standards yourself.
8. Legalism – Matt 15:8-9
Defined as elevating man-made rules to the same level of culpability as the commands given by God in Scripture. Need to divide out in a home biblically directed rules and biblically derived rules or God’s rules and house rules. Directed rules or God’s rules are those which all obligated to obey because God commands them. Derived rules or house rules are based on biblical principles and the obligation to obey is based upon God-ordained authority. House rules may be appealed but God’s rules cannot be.
9. Not Admitting You Are Wrong and Not Asking for Forgiveness – Matt 5:23, 24; James 5:16
A parent’s failure to acknowledge offenses to their children discourages the child from practicing open biblical communication.
10. Constantly Finding Fault – Job 32:2-3; Prov. 19:11
A parent is to point out sinful behavior and character problems but is not to be critical, condemning, accusing, or have a judgmental attitude. It is a spirit where the child begins to question whether they can do anything right. The safeguard is to purpose to praise, commend and acknowledge biblical achievement with greater frequency than reproving. Don’t turn every situation to reprove into a sermon.
11. Parents Reversing God-Given Roles – Eph. 5:22-24
A home where God’s order is violated will be a home that is frustrated. It presents confusion to the child on God’s plan for authority, leadership and submission.
12. Not Listening to Your Child’s Opinion or Taking His or Her “Side of the Story” Seriously – Prov. 18:3; 18:17
You may not agree always with your child’s reasoning, conclusions and opinions, but if you are going to lead them into truth, you need to understand their perspective. By not doing do, you may be communicating sinful attitudes such as arrogance, impatience, or a lack of love. To listen is to help your child learn how to receive a reproof biblically.
13. Comparing Them to Others – 2 Cor. 10:12
Every child has unique gifts and abilities given by God. Proper comparing should be made two ways: forward looking – by comparing where the child is today to the biblical standards of maturity or backward looking – comparing the child’s maturity today to other various points in the past.
“The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, ‘Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!’ And to him who lacks sense she says, ‘Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” Proverbs 9:13-18
It has been over 50 years ago for me but I vividly remember my first exposure to a picture of a naked woman. It was in our fourth grade classroom in New York and one of the boys discovering bare-chested tribal women in National Geographic. We always noted where that particular issue was stored in the classroom and referred to it often. I can still recall the image when I put my mind to it. Particularly as a child, pornographic images have an impact upon your mind which can lead to the heart.
We often think of pornography in regards to men, but recent statistics indicate that access through technology has opened the door wide to children. Here are some statistics* regarding children and the internet:
- The average age of first internet exposure to pornography is 11 years old.
- 80% of 15-17 year olds (men and women) have had multiple hard-core exposures.
- 90% of 8-16 year olds have viewed pornography online.
- Concerning those between 7-17; 29% indicated they have freely given out their home address online and 14% their email address.
- According to the statistic resources, there are 26 children’s character names that are linked to thousands of pornographic sites. (i.e.; Pokeman, Action Man)
Now to you parents. Regarding the statistic that 90% of all 8-16 year olds have viewed pornography online; guess where and when most of these kid indicated they did it? It was at home while doing homework! You see this is not an “out of our home” scenario but most is done right under your nose. So what can be done by you as a parent?
First of all you need to protect your children. Here are some suggestions:
- Keep all internet devices in a central, open place in the home. Set up a homework station for when they need to use the computer. If you have several children and computers, then set up a multiple station.
- Keep iPads, iPhones or any other internet access devices in a central place. If you have multiple phones – place all the phones in a central location and give them distinctive tones so you know who is receiving a call. Do not permit the children to have the phone in their room except for phone calls.
- If you think your child needs a phone, do not give them one with internet capability.
- Place accountability programs on devices with internet capabilities. See my previous article about one such program.
Secondly, the problem with pornography on the internet is not technology. It is the human heart and that is what must be addressed with your child. With technology now such a part of our lives, you as a parent must teach your child how to use the internet for good purposes and to be suspicious of our sinful hearts and temptations to desires. See again the notes from my previous article from Bob Bevington’s talk and I will continue posting some articles on helping you and your child be victorious in this area.
(*You can check out my statistics resource and many more here.)