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Mommy-Anger Management

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Upset mom in a business suit talking on the phone, distracted by tween daughter tugging on her sleeve
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Consider using three biblical, anger management techniques to connect with your kids and nurture young hearts.

All I wanted was five uninterrupted minutes on the phone with my friend Nancy. Instead, I could hardly get a word out without one of my children demanding something of me. My boys were old enough to know better, but their focus on their own needs was overpowering. This resulted in the tugging on my shirt, the pleading eyes and the elongated Mommy whines. I finally lost it, snapped at my children — and then immediately regretted my lack of patience.

Being badgered on the phone is one of my triggers that lead to frustration and anger. And just when I seem to get one trigger under control, another takes its place. I’ve discovered that instead of imagining I live in a world where triggers don’t exist, the game changer is learning to manage my frustrations and anger in a biblical way.

Here are three ways that I’ve discovered to manage Mommy anger. Perhaps they can help you honor God in your responses to kids and help you enjoy your kids more, too.

Choose a better time

Not long ago, my son began to tell me I was “mean” whenever I corrected his behavior or said no to his requests. My first reaction was to feel indignant over his disrespect. Then I remembered this gem of a verse: “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult” (Proverbs 12:16, NIV).

The next time my son accused me of being mean for saying no, I ignored the insult in that moment, realizing that becoming embroiled in an argument then wouldn’t help either of us. Later that day, when we were both calm and open to a heart-to-heart conversation, I lovingly shared how God placed me in charge over him to protect him and love him.

We discussed how “no” is often a blessing in disguise. I didn’t throw a pity party about my feelings; I simply spoke to my son in a way he could understand and helped him brainstorm other, more appropriate, words to use when he was frustrated. Overlooking the insult in the moment it’s given allowed our relationship to grow and made him more receptive to changing his behavior.

Control myself first

When my kids were younger, my feelings were out of control as I attempted to discipline my children. I could feel the heat climbing up my neck and my eyes narrowing whenever an altercation occurred. I now realize that in that moment I should have stepped away to get control of myself before I tried to get control of my son.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that the fruit of the spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” I realized that in my parenting, I was struggling to exhibit these qualities. In order to do that, I was going to have to be intentional.

So I took an entire month to focus on this passage and others about self-control. When conflict occurred, I practiced taking deep breaths and stepping away for a few minutes (or more) until I could respond to my children with gentleness instead of anger. I knew I needed time to practice a new God-honoring habit of controlling myself before I could teach my children how to control themselves. I trusted God, prayerfully, to grow this fruit of the Spirit in me, and He did!

Exchange shaming accusations with empathetic questions

I used to feel like a horse that kept trying to swish away incessant flies with its tail — and I had just about as much success keeping my kids from constantly interrupting. Too often I said things like, “How could you be so … ” or “When will you ever learn … ” in an attempt to get through to a child. Unfortunately, shaming him or angrily shooing him away didn’t reflect the love of Christ, and it didn’t reach my child’s heart in a way that motivates him to do better.

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” When we watch our tone and rephrase our words, we can bring healing to our children with our mouths. Asking questions can address the heart of the matter and open up conversation. Consider the power of phrases like these:

It looks like you made a bad choice, but I’d like to hear what’s going on in your heart right now. Can we talk about it?

It’s not like you to be rude to me, so there must be something bothering you. Would you like to tell me about what’s going on?

Try switching out your statements for a full day. Even if your responses aren’t necessarily shaming, resolve to use empathetic questions instead. Compassionate language will transform the way you view your kids and allow you to model the love of Christ to them, even in their worst moments — just like Jesus does for us.

On my journey toward gentleness, I’m not where I want to be just yet, but I have come a long way from the frustrated and angry mom I used to be. Learning to control my anger — exchanging angry reactions for more biblical, Spirit-filled responses — allows me to enjoy my children and see them as the gifts that God meant for them to be.

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There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

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