I am a parent of two teen-aged boys I have recently come to Christ and am reading my Bible to see how Christian Parents raise their kids. I came across this verse Ephesians 6: 4,
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Does this mean as a Christian, I can’t make my kids mad? How can I discipline them without making them mad/ angry?
Dear parent, you are correct it would be most difficult to raise or discipline two teenaged boys without making them angry. I have two sons myself not quite teens yet, they are 9 and 11. Thankfully, for all parents’ sake this is not what the scripture teaches.
By your introduction, I can only make the assumption that you are a new reader of the Bible. A common mistake a new reader will make is to take scripture out of context, meaning basically you have isolated a single verse from its surrounding verses. When we do this, it’s like trying to understand a paragraph by reading only one sentence.
To get a contextual understanding of what the Apostle Paul (the writer of this verse) is stating we may read starting at Ephesians 5: 1. The Apostle is instructing us on relational matters of family, firstly our relationship with our heavenly Father through our savior Jesus Christ, secondly our relationship with our spouse, may it be husband or wife, thirdly (in which you have written to us) is our relationship with our children, and ending with a relationship of a Boss and his/ her employee and words of encouragement.
Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Or, Parents do not do not exasperate your children. Exasperate is from erethizo and means to stir-up, provoke, or irritate. ” Failure to obey this can cause children to lose heart. The idea of that term is “to be without courage, or spirit.” It has the sense of being listless, sullen, discouraged, or despairing.
Here are some ways parents can cause their children to lose heart:
Parents can exasperate their children by over-protection. Over-protective parents never allow their children any liberty. They have strict rules about everything. Because nothing they do earns their parents’ trust, children begin to despair and may believe that how they behave is irrelevant. That can lead to rebellion. Parents should provide rules and guidelines for their children, but those rules should not become a noose that strangles them. Above all, parents must communicate to their children that they can trust them.
Parents can exasperate their children by a lack of standards. This is the flip side of over-protection. When parents fail to discipline, or discipline inconsistently, children are left on their own. They cannot handle that kind of freedom and begin to feel insecure and unloved.
Parents can exasperate their children by showing favoritism. That is often done unwittingly by comparing a child unfavorably to siblings or classmates. By making a child feel like the black sheep of the family, parents can create a terrible sense of frustration.
Parents can exasperate their children by setting unrealistic goals. Parents can do that by never rewarding them, or never letting them feel they have succeeded. Nothing is enough, so the children never get full approval. Some parents are often trying to make their children into something they themselves were not. The results can be tragic. Some children have become so frustrated that they have commit suicide.
Parents can exasperate their children by failing to show affection. Parents need to communicate love to their children both verbally and physically. Failing to do so will discourage and alienate a child.
Some parents have exasperate their children by not providing for their needs. Children need things like privacy, a place to play, clean clothes, a place to study, their own possessions, and good meals. By providing those necessities, parents show their respect and concern for their children.
Parents can exasperate their children by neglect. The classic biblical example is Absalom. David was indifferent to him, and the result was rebellion, civil war, and Absalom’s death. Parents need to be involved in their children’s lives.
Finally, parents exasperate their children by excessive discipline. This is the parent who abuses his children, either verbally, emotionally, or physically. Parents often say things to their children that they would never say to anyone else. They should never discipline their children in anger. Rather, parents can lovingly correct their children, just as their heavenly Father does them.
These are some ways a parent can exasperate their children. Parents can take the heart out of their children by failing to discipline them lovingly and instruct them in the ways of the Lord with balance. Not exasperating children is essential if parents are to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians. 6:4).
"Truth of the word".