by Michael Pearl from No Greater Joy – Angry Children
Editor’s note: Michael seems to be saying here that if you control your child and everything about their environment then the incidents of anger will be lessened. While I agree that teaching children to deal with their emotions and the things that frustrate them is a very important goal it still seems likely that the switch is not too far off in the world of Micheal Pearl child training.
Some are more angry than others. Children range from very angry to hardly angry at all. Some children spend their early years in calm congeniality, and then all of a sudden turn angry. Others express lots of anger in their early years from birth to three or four years old, and then calm down and become peaceful and passive. What is going on that creates these variables? Can we as parents control the process, thwart the growth of anger, and instill a godly self-control and forgiveness in our children? The answer is a resounding “Yes.”
As a parent you must anticipate the needs of your children and be proactive in equipping them to face life’s challenges with the kind of character it takes to endure with grace the potential frustrations of everyday life. How? First, by example. If you bypass this one, nothing else will work. If you have occasional angry outbursts, your children will catch it like the flu. It does no good to say you are sorry, other than they may learn to apologize after each of their own outbursts. You have not dealt with the anger; you have just made the point that it needs to be followed with an apology. More is caught than taught.
Assuming you are setting a proper example, the next step is to not leave your child in a social vacuum where she must face her frustrations unguided. For example, I saw a small child cry out in anger because she couldn’t put her coat on properly. She was frustrated. If you simply spank her for her anger or rebuke her, you will only increase the frustration and it will soon develop into a habit of angry impatience. You can prevent this inclination by patiently training her in the art of putting on a coat. When you see the anger, slow down in your hurry to get out the door and show her that you are going to patiently be there while she finds the other sleeve. If she is capable of this contortionist’s feat but overly anxious and impatient with herself, show her step by step how it is to be done, and smile all the while. You are teaching her that the things that frustrate us can be conquered with patience and persistence. In the child’s mind, this translates into a principle that will apply in the face of any frustration.
If a ten-year-old is angry at his bicycle because it won’t work right, take time to show him how to make it work properly. Get out the tools and make adjustments, or teach him how to adjust his riding technique, as the need may be.
Some anger is justified, but it is a slippery slope. I recently observed one of my grandkids sitting in front of an easel, studiously painting a picture. At three years old she is very serious about her artwork and quite patient with the process. But she burst out in anger when a visiting kid deliberately and physically halted her painting. I could see that she just wanted to be left alone so she could paint. Her anger was understandable but unacceptable. Now her mother could have rebuked her for being angry, but that would have introduced another element that would have broadened her anger to include her mother and the cruel, insensitive world in general. The budding artist was not trying to enforce her will upon others or manipulate others to her pleasure. She had created an environment that she wanted to maintain, and others had trespassed. What she needed was what we all need when someone comes onto our property and abuses our possessions—the law, an enforcer. A society becomes angry, giving way to revolution when the law no longer protects it and it feels there is no other recourse to achieve justice. It is driven mad with the frustration of injustice.
So, seeing the event unfold, I said to my busy daughter who didn’t see what took place, “They are disturbing her painting; they should play someplace else and leave her alone.” The three-year-old had already returned to her canvas and was deep in concentration, working tediously.Anger is a natural human emotion and not necessarily evil in itself. The apostle Paul said, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26). Justified anger should fade quickly with the removal of the provocation. Do not entertain the grievance overnight. If the anger lingers until nightfall it is no longer a natural reaction to injustice; it is simmering wrath.
Did you know that Jesus was angry? Read Mark 3:1–6. When Jesus was confronted with the blind man on the Sabbath, he saw the religious leaders watching him “whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him” Jesus “looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.” His frustration at their resistance and unbelief turned to an act of healing rather than aggressive words or actions. Anger is a motivator, but in the heart of a self-indulgent sinner it can lead to sinful pride and retaliation. When anger becomes a habit, taking on the characteristics of a temperament, it has become a black art of the Devil. That is what we want to prevent in our children.
The three-year-old’s anger at being thwarted in her private efforts to paint was natural, but if the injustice were allowed to continue her festering anger would become an ugly character trait. At this point a wise parent will step in and control the circumstances, as did my daughter. She told the five other children that they should play somewhere else and leave Laila to her painting. This three-year-old will appreciate living in a society controlled by the rule of law where individual rights are respected. Her spirit will be quieted by the justice that is enforced, and she will “not let the sun go down” on her wrath.
However, if Mother had left the children to themselves, anarchy would have ensued. Laila would have lost it and fought to gain control of her environment. If she prevailed, it would have confirmed to her the power of anger and aggression. If she had failed and the other children prevailed to stymie her art work, she would have grown even more angry and hostile, acting in retaliation, maybe even striking the other kids or screaming insults. All that is unholy would break loose, and Laila would have looked like the “bad girl” while the others just stood around innocently grinning, leaving Laila to be rebuked and spanked for her out-of-control anger. If this situation had been allowed to reach this point, there would have been no way to untangle the knots of anger that would have formed in her little soul. No amount of spanking would have rooted out her feelings of injustice. A parent cannot wait until a volcano blows the side of the mountain out and then try to put the lava back in the hole.
QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders, cultural enforcers and those that seek to keep women submitted to men and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull and Spiritual Abuse honestly and thoughtfully.