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Everyday I yell at my two children and every night I feel guilty, convinced that I am the worst parent on the planet. Then I make a pact with myself that tomorrow it will be different. I will be patient, tolerant, understanding, calm, collected, even-tempered, but the minute I’m ignored or disrespected I yell again. I truly feel that if I don’t yell I will not be heard! James 1:19 says: ” Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” This verse doesn’t apply specifically to parents, but I love it and I always have the best intention on using it as my main behavioral code when I’m disciplining my children. Theoretically it sounds perfect, just like any of God’s commands, but when my kids try to have the last word as they are walking away from me, or fighting and screaming, or faulting each other by pointing fingers, and bickering and badgering back and forth, my nerves become agitated like a washing machine on spin cycle, and my yelling erupts automatically. And what exactly am I supposed to do when I’m driving and my two kids are in the back seat blaming each other with the proverbial ” He touched me!” and ” No , I didn’t! She’s lying!”, then kicking, and all the while I am buckled in tightly in my driving seat not being able to stop the madness? Of course, I yell again, because they have just pushed my buttons like those in an elevator being pressed all at once, and then my brain locks up and verse James 1:19 goes out the window and I become fast to speak and very quick to get angry.
In any case should all these scenarios excuse me from being more patient, and yelling less? I have heard it said that parenting usually magnifies who you are before you had children. In other words if you are a patient person, parenting will amplify your patience, or if you are an affectionate person, then parenting will produce excess flow of affection. The latter is true in my case, but patience, on the other hand, does not come naturally to me. I am effervescent, and full of passion, which makes me a loving but reactive person and parent. It’s hard to remember, for me, to be patient and calm in a given situation, because I tend to rev up like a Ferrari engine with instantaneous ignition of anger. I wish I was more mild tempered, collected in my manner, and full of understanding and wisdom. James 3: 17, 18 says that ” The wisdom that comes from heaven is all pure. It’s also peaceful, loving, gentle at all times and willing to yield to others.” So what I decided to do is to pray to God before I even get out of bed, to give me the wisdom and patience, to be slow to loose my temper with my children, and to prepare my mind as a parent. After all God commands us to discipline our kids in various parts of the bible For instance Proverbs 13:24 clearly states that “ If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves that you don’t love them. But if you love your children, you will be quick to discipline them.” But that doesn’t mean that I have to yell at them all the time to get corrected results. After all Psalm 127:3 tells me that my son and my daughter are a blessed gift from God, that they are a reward from Him, so I feel He is trusting me to bring them up in His will. I do my best to feed them the best food, the best information, to carve their souls, and nourish their minds. It is a great responsibility, but it’s also an honor and a privilege.
Now, I make the effort not to yell (as much), at my children because it further fuels our arguing, and disciplining through screaming only leads to my kids becoming yellers themselves. So, when I feel a yell welling up in my throat I leave the room, say a quick prayer and let God lead the way, trusting He will equip me with the patience I need to discipline my children who really are after all the most wonderful human beings I have ever met.
By Roxana Phillip-Hackett
Roxana is a wife of one, mother of two, who loves to share her faith with sincerity and honesty from her home in Hendersonville Tennessee.