When Our Children’s Anger Feels Personal

When_Our_Children's_Anger_Feels_PersonalShe just snapped at me. Why did she snap at me? As I walked by her room, all I did was poke my head in the doorway and ask if she needed anything. Instead of the cheerful response I was hoping for, I received a scowl and a short reply. Now, I’m nursing hurt feelings and wondering why my child’s anger feels personal.

Am I the only one who takes their children’s outbursts to heart? Please tell me I’m not alone. It’s difficult enough managing feelings of guilt when I know I’ve stepped out-of-bounds, but even more of a challenge when I’m left scratching my head wondering what has gone wrong. What’s a parent to do?

We Need to Pray – First, foremost, and always. I pray for myself and how I should handle this. My child, so they are willing to hear. I pray for wisdom, to know when to speak and when to remain quiet. That the Lord’s will be done and relationships restored. Reading Scripture is also key. The Word allows God to speak to my heart and direct my steps.

Emotions Have Nothing to do With This – How I feel about this situation is not important. Yes, I am hurt, but I need to step back from the pain and evaluate the situation for what it truly is. A lesson, a spiritual battle, an opportunity to disciple my child, or a character training moment. I want the emotion to run clean through me, so there is nothing left but Christ and what He wants for our family.

This Isn’t About Us – Often, I hoist my children’s choices upon my own shoulders and this is wrong. They are their own people with freewill. While I am responsible for discipling and training my children, I cannot dictate their every move or be held accountable for their actions; they have to choose to do right. Their guilt is not my own. Instead of making this about me, I need to redirect my thinking towards drawing my children closer to the Lord and what He wants to do in their lives.

What’s Really Going On? – Poor behavior is without excuse and should be dealt with. There will be consequences for stepping out of line. But before we can determine appropriate ramifications or restore relationships, I want to understand what is happening with my child. Sometimes the action is unintentional; they were interrupted while finishing a project and acted without thinking. They are hungry or tired. Other times there are deeper issues at work. When the Lord opens the door, we communicate and start moving towards resolution.

Our Responsibility – While I am not directly accountable for my children’s poor choices, I do have a responsibility to fulfilling my role as a parent. I need to ask myself if I am discipling and training the way God has commanded, and whether or not I am being as involved as I should be. Then am I able to move forward with confidence.

I love my children. I enjoy seeing their happy faces light up as we’re having fun and learning new things. So when they are having a hard day or a tough moment it breaks my heart. Especially when they choose to take it out on me. Through the guiding of the Holy Spirit and a large dose of prayer, I’m learning to step back and remove myself from the equation. This isn’t about how I feel. What’s important is understanding my child and guiding them toward a righteous relationship with their Father.

May He be magnified and glorified in us and through us, as long as we have breath.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,
keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
~ Proverbs 15:1-4

Your Turn!: What is your favorite way of “Tying Strings” with your children?

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6 thoughts on “When Our Children’s Anger Feels Personal

  1. While it is exciting to see your child growing up, part of the reality of the experience is that you can no longer share their emotions. Yes, you need to respond differently than feeling hurt when they are angry. I can’t really say what your response to childish anger should be, but be prepared to make it clear that childish anger is childish and not appropriate under those circumstances. Make some suggestions of what an appropriate response to your question should be. But it is time for them to handle their own emotions and live with the consequences. I had many lessons to learn of this kind. They didn’t want my constant assurance and reactivity as they tried on their adult emotions. But they needed my steadiness and trust that they would get it right in the end.

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  2. I so relate to this! I had a very difficult relationship with my mother growing up, due to her mental illness. So when I found out I was having a daughter my greatest fear was her feeling the same way about me as I use to feel about my mom. Then when she was four I got saved, and God began to heal that broken heart I had from my childhood. It’s amazing what a difference it is when we go from parenting by happenstance to parenting purposefully with discipleship in mind. Homeschooling has opened our parenting up to an entirely different level, now every moment is a teachable moment, especially ones like you mentioned here. I’m currently reading Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Todd Tripp, it’s a phenomenal book for this subject. Thank you so much for this post! God bless you!

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    • “It’s amazing what a difference it is when we go from parenting by happenstance to parenting purposefully with discipleship in mind. ” Amen!!

      Homeschooling has certainly opened doors, on multiple levels. May He continue to do great things in it and through it.
      And thank you for the lovely book suggestion. We know it has touched many. Be blessed!

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  3. I was actually hiding out for a few minutes, having just been verbally ‘bitten’ by my teen, when I read your post. I have no good advice to share – but I do appreciate your constant reminders in your posts to pray. We parents need all the help we can get! 🙂 It helps to share the challenges and know we all face similar reactions – our own and our children’s. It seems there’s always that fine line between discipline and just making a problem out of something that is only a momentary mood swing, and the fine line between letting something go and allowing an unpleasant habit to form. As I said, I have no answers! But I was glad to read your post. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. You are NOT alone! I had a similar episode last night with our teenager. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit whispered to her and me; she quickly apologized, and I did not take offense with her comment.

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