Why: Part 3
Your child is angry and you don’t know why. For the past 2 weeks we’ve been discussing trigger points- those hot buttons which, when pushed in just the right combination, lead almost inevitably to anger. Today I want to bring up that all-too-frequent problem of “temper tantrums” which the Bible terms as thumos, or explosive outbursts of anger.
What we call a temper tantrum is really an all out demand:
“I want what I want and I want it now!”
When our youngest son, Matt was about 18 months old he started having temper tantrums. I’d already raised three kids through those supposedly terrible two’s so I felt like I had a handle on how to respond to these out-of-control outbursts of anger.
- be consistent
- no excuses- but avoid those circumstances that almost insure a scene
- spank each and every time. (yes, I do believe that spanking is the most effective biblical means of disciplining a temper tantrum)
That’s how we’d handled these incidences in the past and it had worked remarkably well. I knew what to do and how to do it… or so I thought!
But Matt-man, as we called him back then, wrote the book on temper tantrums! He had them every single day- sometimes every hour. I mean, the knock-down-on-the-floor-out-of-control variety. Awful.
It was tempting to give up, to settle for less, to say, “Well, that’s just the way Matthew is… I’ll just do the best I can.”
But my husband wouldn’t let me. He insisted that we prayand planand work to eradicate every last vestige of temper that had lodged itself in Matthew’s character.
And do you know, looking back now at how hard that 18 month period of my life was, I am so thankful that we stuck with it. I am so glad that I limited my life for those months- and so glad that we spanked him so much!
Today, Matthew, the man, is one of the most peaceable people I know. He is not, as the Bible says, “easily angered”. When he is really pushed to the very limit of his patience, Matt deals with it with gentleness and acceptance. He has a strong spirit that he is able to keep under control with dignity and grace.
Here is the Word from God to burn into your mind and heart:
“Discipline your child
While there is hope
And do not desire his death.
A man of great anger will bear the penalty,
For if you rescue him,
You will only have to do it again.”
And someday you will be so glad you did!
From my heart,
- June 29, 2012