As a parent, the most important thing I’ve learned is to ensure that my child’s negative behavior isn’t due to my behavior. It’s more productive to have self-control with my behavior and actions in parenting rather than selfishly wanting to control my child.
So, how can this concept be applied to parenting when triggering your child’s anger?
When raising kids who make better choices and not explode in anger whenever they don’t get what they want, we must first recognize that they are human, just like us. Sometimes, we easily forget that our kids are imperfect and should never be expected to be perfect. Such expectations in parenting can lead to raising these little humans into anxious people pleasers, unable to healthily process their anger and work through it in a godly way.
Guiding your child through their anger is an incredible opportunity to teach them self-control regarding their impulses. But where does our responsibility lie in the matter?
The Bible is pretty clear about our responsibility to not provoke our kids to anger. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
The goal regarding our children’s anger is for them to be able to process their anger and know what to do with it. To do that, we must ensure we set them up for success, and that takes reflection on our part.
Setting your child up for success can be applied throughout anything in parenting. Take lying, for example. When you know your child hasn’t yet brushed their teeth, but you ask them if they have, this can set them up for lying to you. Instead, you can simply ask them to brush their teeth. This sets them up for success and eliminates their temptation to lie. If afterward they still choose to lie, then you can address the lying.
The same goes for anger. Be conscious of your words, timing, and tone when communicating with your child. This can be an incredible tool for eliminating or heavily decreasing your child’s anger outbursts.
Know your child’s love language.
To know how NOT to trigger our kids, first, we need to KNOW our kids. Not just know that they don’t like peas, but really KNOW them. How do they feel most loved? What makes them smile? If our children don’t feel valuable to us, this sets the stage for all kinds of issues. So before you address the symptoms of their anger and how you might be triggering them, ask yourself if you know your child’s love language and if you’re filling their little love tanks daily.
I know that if I am present with my kids and nurture their little hearts, they are more likely to respond with kindness and respect.
Now that we have laid the foundation to set our children up for success let’s unravel some practical ways we can avoid triggering our child to anger.
5 Ways We Trigger Our Child’s Anger Without Knowing
1. Inconsistent Boundaries – let your yes be yes and no be no.
When we set a rule or a boundary and only sometimes follow through on holding it, we set the stage for a confused little child who doesn’t know if their parent is trustworthy.
I am definitely guilty of this sometimes. I will allow my current state of mind, or perhaps a matter of convenience, to dictate certain boundaries.
Inconsistent boundaries upset children because it sets them up to fail.
As we can’t be perfect in this, just know that when you do this in parenting, it frustrates your children and makes your word less valuable.
To avoid this, simply be careful when setting boundaries and hold to them as best as possible. And when you do change things up, make sure you point out to your children why you’re allowing something you usually don’t so you don’t leave them confused and set up for anger.
2. A Harsh Tone
I know it’s not always easy to be patient with your kids. But parents indeed set the tone for a peaceful home. When I’m having a rough day, my kids usually have a rough day.
Some days, we’re all off. That’s okay. We call it out for what it is and do our best.
But know that an aggressive tone will likely affect your child’s behavior and trigger their anger.
Oftentimes, our children are triggered not by what we say but by how we say it. As parents, we must be conscious of our tone and how it affects our kids.
3. Asking them questions when they just need direction
Sometimes, we ask questions where commands are really needed.
“Can you go take out the trash?” Leaves room for your child to talk back. But if you give a kind command, it lessens the chance for your child to respond with disrespect.
“Please take the trash out.”
4. Choosing sides during sibling disagreements
Sibling rivalry is one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. There is no better way to help your kids build resentment toward one another than to favor a side when resolving their differences.
Your role as a parent is to guide them through their disagreement, allow each to express their side of the story, and have them own their own part.
It’s likely true that each party has a part to play in every disagreement in every kind of relationship. Whether you’re 99% of the problem or 1%, you still have something to own. Be your children’s coach in areas of contention, not a referee to their problems.
5. Ignoring their heart and hyper-focusing on their behavior
Behind every misbehavior is often a need. When we focus only on our child’s behavior and correcting the symptoms, we will miss their heart.
Do they feel disconnected from you? Are they tired? Did something happen at school that is bothering them?
Understanding our children’s hearts should be first on our list of ways to not trigger their anger. Does that mean we need to be perfect parents? NO. It simply means that we must be approachable and inquisitive, always discerning their behavior and ensuring there isn’t an underlying issue.
It’s exhausting to meet our kids’ needs 100% of the time. We will not be perfect, and that’s okay.
These are simple reminders of WHY your children might be more provoked to anger and how you can help set them up for success!