“Fathers, do not exasperate your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4)
“Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” (Colossians 3:21)
In Ephesians, Paul advises fathers against causing anger or bitterness in their children, urging instead to raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Reflecting on these verses, let us consider some important aspects of parenting.
Let us be kind and respectful to our children. Avoid ridiculing them, using harsh words or excessive scolding, as this can emotionally harm them. Discipline is essential, but using inappropriate forms of discipline could have lasting negative effects on their well-being. Such practices can lead to anxiety, and low confidence in their interactions with others.
It is vital not to discipline your children in anger. Often, parents will say things that are negative and hurtful in their angry outbursts, and a child’s ego can be crushed by these hurtful words. In some situations, if the child does not have an emotional outlet, this can lead to deep-seated anger towards their parents and it will manifest in their later stage in life. Take a moment to calm down before addressing the issues is essential.
Dear parents, be careful when you expressed conditional love towards your children, hoping for specific outcomes. This can drive a wedge between parents and children. Over time, children might feel guilty and ashamed and constantly pressurised to meet their parental demands. This can lead the child drifting away from their parents due to resentment.
Children are a gift from God to your family (Psalm 127:3). Hence, raise them in the ways that honour God and help them to know Him as their Creator and the Giver of life. Avoid imposing your unfulfilled dreams on them, instead, offer unconditional love and support. Help them to embrace their inherent gifts from God and develop their character in ways that are pleasing to our Lord.
Most importantly, commit your children to the Lord and seek His guidance. If you have hurt your children in anger or discovered your parenting mistakes, seek your child’s forgiveness, and reconcile with them early, so that they do not become discouraged, and disconnected with you.
May our Lord grant you strength, wisdom and grace as you navigate the journey of parenting.