Life can be challenging, especially for a child. There are so many things to learn, rules to follow, and people to obey. They have seemingly little control over their own lives and can often get frustrated when things do not go their way. One of the most frustrating trials a child can face is when their own parent provokes them. Whether we mean to or not, as parents we can push our children beyond what they are able to endure.
I find it beneficial to periodically reflect on my parenting; making sure I am not the source of my child’s frustration. At least not purposefully. Here is a list of ways I’ve found might provoke my children:
- Constant criticism and a failure to encourage
- Double standards and/or being a hypocrite
- Being angry and harsh
- Lack of affection
- Telling them what to do or not do without giving Biblical reasons
- Comparing them to others
- Embarrassing them (correcting, mocking or expressing disappointment in them in front of others)
- Lecturing them and not listening
- Failing to be humble and asking for forgiveness
- Giving them a greater burden than they can bear (whether it is homeschooling work, chores, or responsibilities)
The Bible teaches that we are not to provoke our children to anger. (“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4) While this verse speaks directly to fathers, I am sure it must also apply to us moms.
Reflecting on my parenting and my relationship with my children, I am able to clearly see ways in which I am failing as a parent and ways in which I can improve. While I will constantly fail, I pray that I am getting better.
We’re curious… Which verses speak to you when dealing with this area of parenting?
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so they won’t become discouraged.”
~ Colossians 3:21