Q: How do you deal with anger or irritation when your child is disobedient?

Irina’s AnswerWell, I think it’s a very common question for a lot of parents.

Denise’s AnswerI can’t tell you what to do. But I can tell you what Rick and I did in this situation when we were parents raising our three children. Paul was our firstborn — I think we made some mistakes at first with him because he was our firstborn, and you don’t really know what you’re doing with your first child. 

At first, when Paul was being disobedient, Rick and I thought it was so cute, but, of course, it wasn’t cute — it was disobedient and disrespectful. It wasn’t until I read a book that encouraged me in the fact that it was loving to discipline my children that I realized this. Take the Ten Commandments, for example.  One of them says, “Honor your father and mother…” (see Exodus 20:12). This is also the only commandment that includes a promise! Exodus 20:12 reads, “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” In other words, it says if you’re obedient and respectful of your parents, you will live long and well on Earth. 

When I realized these things, I thought, “Lord, I have to train our boys to honor me and Rick!” So, we began to discipline our children. When we spanked them for being disobedient, we always asked them afterward, “Why did we just do that?” And they would always reply, “Because you love me, and you want us to live a long time.” We would then tell them they were right and prayed together. That’s what we did, and I truly believe this helped them understand and honor their parents!

But to answer your question about getting irritated, Proverbs 16:32 says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” You never want to discipline your children in anger! When you discipline your children, you’re disciplining their flesh. The Bible says faithfulness is within them, so we’re just getting them back on the right track when we discipline them. The Bible also says that when you discipline them, it brings peace. The key is to discipline without anger or irritation. This is what God called you to do as a parent, so it’s important to do it without emotion but with unconditional love for them and their futures. 

Another important thing to remember is that there’s no need to get angry at your children because they’re simply acting like children. You must learn to control yourself and your anger. Proverbs 15:28 says, “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.” 

Here’s another example: when Rick and I’s boys were little, Rick was gone a lot. One day, the children got into a big fight — everybody was yelling at each other! So I put one child in the left corner, one in the right corner, and our last child in another corner of the room. I stood in the middle, saying, “Stay there and be quiet! I’m going to pray about what to do.” And when I received instructions from the Lord, I was at peace and had confidence. I didn’t discipline them out of anger or irritation but out of love for my precious children. 

You have to train your children to be respectful and honorable! The Bible says in Proverbs 13:24, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” When I came upon that verse, I said to myself, “I love my sons, and I want them to live long lives.” It’s very important to have confidence in this area. Your children are not your enemy — they’re not trying to ruin your day! They’re just children, and you’re their parent! It’s important to follow what the Bible says in this area of disciplining your children.