TLP 292: Parenting Angry Children, Part 6 | how to help our kids with their clamor
Screaming kids can be scary kids, but God gives us a direction toward which to parent them. Join AMBrewster as he shows Christian parents how to figure out why your child is yelling and what to do after you’ve determined the motivation.
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“The Communication House” (episode 38)
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Welcome back to our “Parenting Angry Children” series. I pray this has been a help to you. But if you are in such a place that your kids are not yet malicious or slanderous, I know today’s topic will describe your child.
But before we go any further, I want to thank Ray and Carolyn for making today’s episode possible. As my parents, I know they had clamorous kids. So, not only are they Patron’s of TLP, but they’re also the people who parented me through my malicious, slanderous, clamorous, angry, wrathful, bitter years.
So, we owe them a double thank you for their contribution to this material.
I love you guys!
Okay, so let’s remember what it means for our kids to be clamorous, and then talk about how we can parent them.
Before we start, I do need to make a note for the parents of malicious and slanderous kids. You will need today’s episode as well. We’re working our way backward through the list from most dangerous on down. That means that if your child struggles only with bitterness and their anger hasn’t manifested itself in any other way, that will likely be the only episode that will address their struggles. But parents with malicious children will benefit from all six episodes because we need to know how to work through all the layers of their children’s anger.
Of course, let’s be honest. The vast majority of our kids quickly move from bitter to wrathful very early in life. Tons of kids are regularly angry, and a good percentage are mad enough to try to hurt the perceived source of their discomfort by tearing them down verbally or physically.
Few children won’t be on this spectrum at all.
That means we all need to do our absolute best understanding our children and interpreting their anger in light of Scripture.
So, let’s now focus on clamor.
If you remember from Part 3, clamor is the yelling and crying and screaming part of an explosion or tantrum.
However, we need to contrast clamorous yelling with wrathful yelling. Both groups yell, but they yell for different reasons.
Therefore . . .
1. The first step in dealing with a clamorous child is to determine why they’re yelling.
Now, this is not to say that you ask your child, “Why are you yelling?” That may be a helpful question that provides a valuable answer, but it may not.
You may ask, “Why are you yelling,” and the child replies, “Because my sister pushed me!” Well, that may be the case in their minds, but that’s not the information for which we’re looking.
The “why” you’re trying to discover is whether they’re mad because of an emotional flair-up or a pattern of thinking.
Your son may have been pushed and — without any forethought whatsoever, lost control of his emotions and exploded in anger and tears.
Or, your daughter may have a habit of picking on your son, and he’s been stewing for a while. Today she pushed him, and he lost his cool.
So, how do you tell the difference?
Three things will help you with this:
A. Be observant.
It really amazes me when everyone seems to know that a child is a bully . . . except the parents.
If you’re paying attention, you should have a pretty good idea if your child is experiencing consistent stress and conflict that could tempt him to anger.
B. Pay close attention to how your child talks during their outburst.
Is their talk filled with emotion-laden words that communicate passion with very little reasoned thought?
Or have they launched into a detailed account of all the times this has happened in the past and discussed how you never deal with it and let on that they always get away with it and smile afterward?
Well, that’s far more reasoned.
Now, their reasoning may be false, or your emotional child may have such a way with words and be so in touch with their feelings that they cross into reasoned thought very well, but that’s going to be up to you.
You have to know your kid.
Here at Victory, I get eight brand new boys every year, and it’s super important for me to figure them out as soon as possible. Who are my wrathful guys, and which ones are seething beneath the surface?
I’m able to deduce most of that from how they talk, and it would be wise for all parents to know their kids well enough that their communication isn’t enigmatic to us.
Sure, we’ll misinterpret things and not understand and get things wrong, but we can’t afford to be sitcom parents who can’t understand anything their teenager thinks, feels, or says.
We need to be observant, we need to interpret their communication, and . . .
C. Understand what it takes to stop them.
Generally, wrathful kids will calm down as soon as their emotions are in check. That might be immediate, but generally a wrathful tirade is easier to work out of than a clamorous tirade.
Do they push and push to get you to understand their side? Do they continue to steam even after the issue has been reconciled?
This is a very helpful indication that your child is struggling with clamor over wrath.
So, the first thing you want to do is figure out why your child is angry. If it’s an emotional response, we’ll talk about that in a few episodes.
But if it’s a clamorous response, we need to take the next step.
However before we continue, please know that we have free episode notes linked below.
Okay, clamorous children need to enter The Communication House.
We introduced The Communication House in episode 38. If you’ve never heard it, the next few points may be more difficult to appreciate. I would even encourage you to pause this, listen to that episode, and come back to this later.
But, if we’re all on the same page, let’s move on . . .
2. Clamorous children need to communicate Truth.
People often get angry because they’ve lied to themselves. It’s easy to stew every day at school when you’ve convinced yourself that no one likes you just because you’re a Christian.
And even if it’s true that everyone at school hates you because you’re a Christian, if you’re upset about it, you’re lying to yourself about God’s power and purpose in the situation.
And if you know what God says, but you think that God is unkind to allow it, you’re lying to yourself about that.
I’m going to say that 100% of angry outbursts are caused by believing a lie. That’s what bitterness is.
I have a standing rule in my life and home that since communication cannot happen unless we’re all speaking Truth, when something is said that is a lie (intentional or not), we really can’t move forward until we address it.
Clamorous kids are likely going to say something that’s not true. And even if they don’t, you can ask the right questions that will reveal that they’re lying to themselves.
Now, before I give you some examples, please know that they’re going to hate this. They want to complain to you or about you . . . they don’t want you to turn it back to their heart and response to God’s Word.
But you need to be able to guide the conversation in such a way that Truth is the focus of everything said. It’s amazing to watch tempers subside as Truth is acknowledged.
But what if your child feels righteously indignant? What if everything they say is factually and biblically true and they speak as if they’re not denying God’s Word — they just feel so upset because someone else is sinning.
Basically, what if they talk a good talk?
Then we move to . . .
3. Clamorous children need to communicate Truth in love.
You’re not in the House if you’re seeking Truth in an unloving way.
The four basic walls of Love are humility, patience, kindness, and forgiveness.
It’s kind of hard to imagine shouting falling within those parameters. It can happen. We have a number of episodes about godly anger, and sometimes that involves raising one’s voice.
But, in the case of our clamorous kids, as they submit to God’s expectations for communication, their volume will usually fall.
By the way, consider your malicious and slanderous children. Once you’ve separated the child and allowed them to experience the consequences of their sin, and you're seeking to speak biblically — not pragmatically — I recommend starting with The Communication House principles.
A malicious or slanderous child is functioning off the lie that they get to enact vengeance. They’re likely also not only lying to themselves about the situation, they’re likely lying to others about the situation.
You need to figure out why your child is doing and saying what they’re doing and saying, and then bring them back to Truth and love.
That’s easier said than done, but that’s a good progression.
So, what happens if — after hearing what you have to say — the child disagrees? Do you lecture until they finally throw up the white flag just to get you to stop talking?
4. Even if they refuse to enter The Communication House, they at least need to stop clamoring.
Obedience is key.
Sure, it may not be immediate, but it needs to happen eventually.
One of the rules of The Communication House is that if the individual refuses to enter the House, the conversation cannot continue. They may listen quietly, but it won’t be valuable to continue arguing unloving lies.
Sure, you can have a conversation where the child asks questions and shares their doubts and communicates that they don’t understand, but the moment they refuse to even interact with Truth, you’re not accomplishing anything beyond shout-tennis.
Remember it this way, teach it to your children this way, “Clamor doesn’t communicate.”
Teach your children that if they believe there has been an injustice or a sin committed against them, let them know they can always be safe to communicate it to you.
Let them know if they ever feel as if something is unfair or if life is just confusing, you’ll be more than happy to talk with them and hear their doubts and concerns and feelings and opinions, but clamor is not communication.
Communication is when we discuss God’s Truth in God’s love for God’s glory.
Okay, by way of review . . .
1. We must determine why the child is yelling.
2. Clamorous children need to communicate Truth.
3. Clamorous children need to communicate Truth in love.
4. Clamorous children need to stop clamoring.
5. Clamorous children need Bible, not pragmatism.
Take your children to Ephesians 4:31.
Guide them to Isaiah 5:8-17. This is an interesting passage with many applications. It reads, “Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land. 9 The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing: ‘Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant. 10 For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.’
God starts by offering a condemnation on those who are greedy. Then He says, “11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! 12 They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands. 13 Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst.”
In this section God condemns those who seek satisfaction and pleasure outside of God and His will.
And then verse 14 says, “Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude will go down, her revelers and he who exults in her.”
The word translated “reveler” is a Hebrew equivalent to our Greek understanding of clamor. It describes a terrible uproar. This uproar may be one of anger or it may be one of wicked delight, but God clearly explains that Hell is their final destination if they continue in their sin.
Then verses 15 through 17 provide the salvation from such a fate: “Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are brought low. But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice,
and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness. Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture, and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich.”
Instead of being humbled by God, we need to humble ourselves before God. We must exalt Him to His rightful place and remove ourselves from the throne.
Now, again, I feel the need to reassure you that I completely understand that it’s rarely this easy to go from a passionate, shouting child to a Truth-embracing child, but we must work at it.
We must be more patient than they are. We must be more passionate than they are, but our passion must be passion for God’s will. We must be consistent, and we must communicate with our kids before there’s a problem so as to help them work through their issues before they’re issues.
But we’re limited on time. Who knows, perhaps you’ve already had to pause this podcast just to deal with a temper issue from one or more of your kids.
The goal of these episodes is to simplify your action steps. Taking those steps is going to be a lot more challenging than simply talking about them.
This is also why we need help. We need to be unified with God, unified with our spouses, and unified with our parenting community so we can have accountability and assistance.
On our next episode we’re going to tackle the source of clamor; we’re going to talk about how to spot and work through anger in our kids — that under the surface smolder that explodes into clamor, erupts into slander, and evolves into malice.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Every parent has had an angry child, and God gives everything we need to parent our children into life and godliness.
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