Focus: Anger that affects relationships with children
Matthew 18:6-7 (NKJV) But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
It’s always been hard for me to observe parents who are overly hard on their children. Often people who are depressed or dependent don’t have the patience they should have…and in some cases, they take their anger out on their children and even blame the children for their own problems.
We’ve all been in a grocery store and heard a child cry in a way that’s not normal. Of course there are children who cry because they’re tired, and children who scream when they can’t have something they want—but I’m talking about the child who is crying because of fear of physical pain or fear of an adult. It’s a different kind of cry. When I hear it, it makes my heart pound and I lose my train of thought. I have a hard time thinking of anything until it stops. My normal response is, “Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God…please help that child…please God, please, please, please…” In those kind of situations, I can’t help but wonder what goes on at home—if that kind of thing happens in public.
Shame, shame, shame on people who use their physical and verbal strength to terrorize and break the hearts of little children. There are few things I know of that are worse than an adult taking their own anger out on a child.
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Anger that affects relationships with children is an awkward topic, but one that desperately needs our attention.
When a person is absorbed in their own problems, the needs of their children can often go unattended. When children have lacked the attention they need, they will in turn—and out of desperation—display undesirable behavior. The behavior of the child becomes annoying to a parent who is already not in a good mood, and the next thing you know—a parent is screaming at or physically abusing a child for behavior that was caused by them not being a good parent to begin with.
I don’t have facts to back up my theory, but I’m convinced that a large amount of child abuse results from a child’s reaction to the neglect they feel when they are not properly parented. The child acts out his or her frustration which, in turn gives the parent an excuse to act out their anger against the child. How very sad.
Broken and dysfunctional homes can make child rearing extra challenging. I didn’t have to experience the struggle of trying to raise my children alone, as many women do today—and I’m not saying that single moms or dads abuse their children any more than married moms or dads. Whether you’re married or not, there are many pressures that can affect a mother or father’s patience during the years their children are young.
Things can become even more complicated when a parent is trying to raise another person’s children as their own. When parents disagree about discipline, emotions can become extremely strained. Let’s face it—there aren’t easy answers to many of the circumstances children find themselves in today.
In the heat of trying times, some things to remember are: The children didn’t ask to be born; All children would prefer a happy home with both of their parents together—demonstrating love to each other and them; No matter how difficult a relationship is—there can be hope with God.
It’s always worth working on a marriage—if only for the sake of the children. An adult might think their own needs are more important than their children’s and that the children will adapt in time—or that their children would have a more stable life if the parents were to separate, but any child would prefer for his parents to work out their problems and be happy together, rather than apart. Children raised by one parent are more vulnerable to promiscuity, crime, and teenage pregnancy.
Prayer changes things. The impossible becomes possible with prayer. Seek Christian counseling. Children deserve to live with two parents who love them and each other. Children should never be made to feel they have been the cause of their parents problems, but most children are left believing they were the reason their parents broke up, when divorce happens.
Declaration: I will pray for children everywhere who are living in abusive conditions at this moment. I will ask God to give new strength to those who may have a situation on their hands that they believe is beyond hope. Nothing is impossible for those who believe.