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Dads: Don’t Make Your Kids Angry

Dads, There are two emotions you want to avoid developing in your children:
Anger & Discouragement

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (NIV)

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (NIV)

It’s important that we understand the context for these two instructions to Fathers. It’s all about the family, and Paul has just addressed the biblical roles of the husband and the wife: husbands are to be servant leaders and wives are to be submissive supporters.

Paul continues his discussion on the family and it is important to see that the role of husband and wife are essential in parenting roles. A covenant keeping marriage with a husband and wife who fulfill the roles that God has designed is the place where parenting occurs best.

This is why Paul has some special directions for Fathers as leader of his children. A husband’s humble leadership extends to parenting. Dad takes the primary lead, mom supports that lead with her gifts and abilities. The goal is a united front: working together, no weak spots for your children to divide and conquer.

Think of it this way: If Jesus were to come to discuss your parenting shortcomings, I think He would want to talk to the father first. Mothers whose husbands have abandoned their responsibility either by divorce, lack of effort, or any other reason are forced to take the lead, and by God’s grace can do well. A partnership with the body of believers is the context where single moms can find success.

Ephesians – Do not make them angry

Father’s (authority figures) who make their children needlessly angry cause their children much grief It is important to note that sometimes our children get angry and it is a natural byproduct of us leading and teaching them. We are talking about needless anger rooted in a frustrated child because of a dad’s sin or poor choices.

We have loads of social problems in our world today because many children are raised in homes where fathers provoke children to anger. Prisons are filled with angry young men and women and if a hound dog were put on that sent, it would follow their anger right back to dad.

There are a few things that make children angry which are rooted in authority:

  • Ridicule – making our children feel stupid or humiliating them. Especially in public.
  • Inconsistency – saying one thing one time, saying another thing a different time – a moving target causes anger. Say what you mean, mean what you say.
  • Many rules with out love – Need I say more than the name – Captain Von Trapp? Seriously – a dad who is only about rules, and ignores the relationship is creating an atmosphere for angry children.
  • Lot’s of love with out rules – This anger will probably be delayed. If a child lives in a warm fuzzy rule-less life, and then enters a real world with rules, and consequences, the adjustment will most likely make them angry.
  • Hypocrisy – Our children have built in radar for this. Authority figures need to practice what they preach.
  • Extreme Expectations – Expectations are good, but do not set your children up to fail.
  • Never admitting your wrongs, Never seek forgiveness – AKA pride. A father who never admits he is wrong sends a message to children that communicate unapproachable-ness, and pious self righteousness.

Do these things and you will make your children angry.

Colossians – Do not discourage your children

The Ephesians passage and the Colossians passage are linked in that they both address anger in our children that is caused by poor fathering. The Colossians passage takes it a step further by helping us understand the flip side of anger, the quiet side of anger – discouragement.

I think that some children might grow up angry at their dads and be angry, and some might grown up angry at their dads, and become discouraged. Discouragement here means: loosing heart, broken in spirit. The very things I mentioned above that make children angry can lead some of our children to have a crushed heart or a beaten down spirit.

These two related instructions for Fathers are so important for a couple of reasons.

A lesser reason: anger and discouragement mess up kids in ways I will not attempt to explain. We should remember that unresolved anger is the place where bitterness takes root, and the fertile soil for the devil to get a foot hold. Unnecessary anger in our children will eat away at every other relationship our kids will have through their entire life.

Discouragement wounds our children quietly – they become sad, hopeless, gloomy children who grow up to be depressed adults who do not see the goodness of God. Oh what a dim world these grown adults live in if the discouragement takes hold of their life.

A greater reason: We are our children’s first view of God. Our fathering should be patterned after God as the ultimate Father. Even though we are imperfect Fathers, our children first see God in us and if we distort their image of God the Father by our sin, it may have eternal significance.

Moms – this is one (among many) of the places we need your support and gifting in our leadership. We don’t often see these weak spots in our lives, and you have a deep sense for our children. You understand what makes them tick, what their hearts are feeling. Help us not discourage or anger our children.

God’s Grace

I am so thankful for God’s grace. It works even when fathers by sin bend the trajectory of our little ones as they grow older. God works despite us, we should be thankful. But God’s grace is no reason to go on sinning. A father can repent, and confess, and move forward in grace and hope. And God will be merciful. Not easy, but taking the first step will bring glory to God in the long run.

God help us dads as we lead and love our children.


  1. September 24, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    A good word. I just preached on this myself. So, I had to evaluate when I do it. Many times when I fall short here, sarcasm is involved. . .

  2. KDEngland
    September 25, 2007 at 10:55 am

    I do have a problem at times with inconstancy’s and I believe after military as a leader their were problems with me being to harsh on the orders thing. Thank you for pointing this out to me.

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