Posted by: mamaamy | July 26, 2009

Question 8: Demanding children

  • C is yelling a lot and making demands- I tell him no to whatever he was asking for but it still continues.  I have been talking to him about “angry words” and “kind words” and speaking with a “happy heart” but it doesn’t seem to be sinking in.  How do I fix this?  On the same topic, I was thinking through tonight about telling him about how our mouth speaks what is in our heart.  I wasn’t sure whether it was good or bad to illustrate that if angry words are coming from your mouth, it tells me there is anger in your heart b/c I kind of wonder if it matters- Jesus was angry, he just didn’t sin.  So what is the root issue I’m dealing with here, do you think?  Just call it sin or define it or…?

The age of your children requires that you continue to develop their language.  All along, I have been talking about respect.  This is a new concept that you are beginning to understand and incorporate in your family.  Your children are probably beginning to understand this term and how it is applicable to many situations in their lives.  Self control is another term that your children will learn if this becomes a standard in your home.  In this particular instance, yelling, self control would apply.  A child may feel angry.  This isn’t bad in itself—as you mentioned Christ was angry—but even though the child feels the emotion anger, self control is needed. This is the opportunity to train him in self control.  Help him understand that he can yell or choose not to yell.  “Yelling is disrespectful to those around you, so it is inappropriate to yell in the house.  Please do not yell in the house.  Do you understand?  You may not yell.  Please use self control to not yell.  You can control your self—discipline yourself–or I will have to.”  You can’t change what is in his heart and manipulation of his emotions (angry heart, happy heart) will not accomplish a change.  The issues are self control and appropriate behavior, (maybe even authority if it comes to disobeying your word to not yell.) (The concept of illustrating that out of our mouth speaks what is in our heart might be much for his age, but you can decide if that would be good.  And once you establish that what he has is anger in his heart, the utilization of self control and appropriateness are still necessary.)

Here is an excerpt from one of the blogs, “Peaceful Naptime and Quiet Crying”:

When a child experiences emotion like frustration, disappointment, discouragement, anger, jealousy, etc., three things are needed.

  1. Vocabulary development in the presence of “comprehensible input”
  2. Background building
  3. Instruction in the proper response

First, an interpretation of their feelings is needed for comprehensible input. For example, if a child does not get something that he wants, the parent should interpret the emotion he experiences from being denied what he wants by saying, “Right now, son, the emotion that you are feeling is called disappointment….” Second, after providing the interpretation and developing vocabulary the child needs for us to build background –to provide some stories about other times when he was disappointed, or to testify about when we were disappointed. Finally, he needs to be instructed as to how we properly conduct ourselves when we feel like this, “…and the proper response to “disappointment” is to say, ‘Oh well, maybe next time.’”

Once he has been equipped to manage his emotions, through vocabulary development, background building and being instructed in the proper response he may manifest his emotions through the exercise of his will. At this point we can assess what soul training is necessary.

If he is tempted to express his emotion by crying out, fit throwing, or screaming, we recognize this as an opportunity for soul training–specifically training the will (not the emotions.) Their will must be trained in self control. We do not spank a child for being disappointed, but we may for not using self control and for being disobedient. At the point one experiences an emotion one has a choice to exercise the will or let the emotion “high jack” the will. If one doesn’t know the proper response to the emotion he feels and is not trained to exercise his self control over that will, then he will likely cry out, throw fits or do whatever thing he feels like doing.

Mama Amy

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