The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:20).
By not asking these questions, there is a good chance you will not be able to meet your long-term parenting goal of cooperating with God in helping your child become more like Jesus. It would be like trying to make a car go forward without an engine under the hood. The parents are the engine that drives the family forward in their pursuit of practical God-centered living. If the parents are not right with God (or each other), they will make it exponentially more difficult for their child to become Christlike.
While many children can become practical Christ-lovers despite their parents, it would be presumptuous to expect this result without them participating in the process (Psalm 19:13-14). If you sin in response to your child’s sin, you are, at that moment, disqualified from helping your child change. Let me give you a parabolic illustration: A boy falls to the ground. A man jumps on top of the kid while he is on the ground.
The boy who fell is more concerned about the man who jumped on top of him than the reason he fell. To sin is to fall, which is what the boy did in my parable. The parent then sinned in response to the child’s sin. The one at the bottom of the pile will be more concerned about the one who jumped on him than his reason for falling. The fallen child cannot effectively do anything about his fall until his parents stop complicating the matter by “jumping on him” after he falls.
In football, they call it “piling on.” That is when someone from the opposing team jumps on a previously tackled player. Piling on your fallen child will keep you from appropriately dealing with the areas in his life that need transformation. And you will make your child afraid of you. Each time a parent sins by anger in response to their child’s sin, they will put the child “on his heels.” Anger from a parent complicates a child’s heart.
Children crave love and protective care, but parents can disrupt these possibilities if they do not bring their anger into submission to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). Fear-motivated children go into a defensive, tightening up, and shutdown mode as a matter of self-preservation. The parents may tempt the child to lie about what he did because he’s scared of how his parents will react. He will sense in those moments of tension that the wrong response could set a parent off. He will put up a wall as a means to protect himself, which will circumvent any possibility of a grace-filled conversation with him.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).