A Christian Mom's Guide to Yelling

Wondering what it takes to speak to your children in a harsh tone with the intent to control, hurt, or manipulate (maybe even in a loud volume)?  Here are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success:
  • Don't pray for your kids.  When they behave in ways that frustrate you, bottle it up, talk to your mom friends about it, complain to your husband, but definitely don't tell God about it.
  • Don't tell your kids what you expect.  Have silently high standards, but never say them simply and clearly.  And if you do let an expectation slip out, don't repeat it!
  • Don't worry about schedules and routines.  Let everything happen on a whim, and change things up a lot - that way the kids don't know what's coming.  When in doubt, skip regular naps and meals.
  • Don't care for yourself.  Always put the kids first.  Stay up late AND wake up early.  Accept no help.  Eat tons of sugar and processed foods.  Never take a break or do something restful.  If there is limit, push yourself to it.
  • Don't discipline or correct wrong behavior.  Just let it slide and catch it next time.  Give warning after warning...also, counting is a great strategy.
  • Don't say 'no' to anything.  Attend as many playdates as possible, help with every church need, make it your job to care for every hurting person you know outside of your home, work as many hours as you can, and try to obtain whatever your 'ideal' is for motherhood.
  • Don't keep your house in order.  Let things go, refuse to organize, allow the kids to pull out all the toys at one time, and tell yourself, "I'll do it tomorrow."
  • Don't tell anyone you're yelling.  Especially not your Christian friends, accountability partners or others who might care about the state of your heart.
  • Don't put your frustrations into perspective.  Today is going to go on forever, and all that matters is getting to bed time.  Tell yourself, "My kids won't remember this anyway." and "If they weren't so bad, I wouldn't act this way."
  • Don't read the bible.  Especially avoid interpreting it in context and seeking to purposefully apply it to your life in difficult situations.  When the Holy Spirit brings a verse to mind in a tense moment, block it out and go forward on your own.
  • Don't take practical preventative measures.  Even if there is something that would help your children, don't worry about seeking that wisdom out and changing things about your parenting style.
  • Don't give your undivided attention.  Always try to multitask, and don't stop to pay attention to your kids.  Be on your phone and computer while you're talking to them, and attempt to offer correction without slowing down your other tasks.  Tell yourself that they are the interruption.
  • And most importantly - Don't remember the gospel.  Don't remember how much you disobeyed God and how little you deserved his grace.  Don't think about how mercifully he dealt with you at the cross.  Don't remember who you belong to.  Don't allow yourself to ponder eternity and the riches of your inheritance.  Don't permit joy in God.
I'm here as a witness, to assure you that if you do these things, you have set the stage for harsh words toward your children!

Okay, so that was a sarcastic way of illustrating truth - and hopefully you caught that!  Of course our desire as moms isn't to yell or be dealing with our children in a spirit of anger, control or manipulation.  I used to think I wasn't prone to this sin because I reasoned, "I'm not an angry person.  I never yell."  And that was true...but put under enough pressure, the sin that was already lurking down there reveals itself.  We can't blame our sin on the storm, because what comes out of us was waiting to be exposed.  But, I've learned that I can fight sin by the Spirit and with the truth of God's word.  For me, that starts with preventative measures, because when I'm tired, malnourished (physically or spiritually), overcommitted, mismanaging my home, and trying to be supermom, the stage is set for me to give into temptation.  And secondarily, I have to guard my heart by learning to love the gospel message, believing it's truth daily, and praying for God to change my affections.  I want to love mercy and self-control.  Only the Holy Spirit acting powerfully in me through repentance can I overcome the temptation to deal harshly with my children.

So regardless if you are a mom who yells daily or thinks pridefully as you rock your first baby, "I'll never be that way" - heed the warning and hold fast to the truth.  Condition your heart to treasure Christ and hold fast to the gospel.  It's our only hope for the kind of gracious parenting that brings glory to God, showing our children his amazing love.
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