The Heart of Anger; practical help for the prevention and cure of anger in children, by Lou Priolo promises to be a great read.
I've only read two chapters so far and they have, as we say in Bislama, "stikim hat blong mi finis" (pricked my conscience).
The first chapter first looks at the characteristics of an angry child (outbursts of anger, argumentation, disrespect, fighting, animosity, cruelty, strife, acts of vengence, malice, bitterness and discouragment) and then goes on to pin-point the most-usual cause (in his experience) of angry child; a child-centred home.
This chapter was somewhat encouraging for me for while I have had trouble with expressions of anger from one of my children, I can see now that she is not "an angry child"; her anger has not become so habitual that it characterises her. We both have a way to go in dealing with this anger but this little distinction in my mind is enourmously helfpul.
The second chapter, not so encouraging but equally helpful, looked at "provocative parents". He identifies 25 (yes, that many) ways that parents can provoke their children to anger. Have a look...
Lack of marital harmony
Establishing and maintaining a child-centred home
Modelling sinful anger
Habitually disciplining while angry
Being inconsistent with discipline
Having double standards
Not admitting your wrong and not asking forgiveness
Constantly finding fault
Parents reversing God-given roles
Not listening to your child’s opinion or taking his or her “side of the story” seriously
Comparing them to others
Not making time “just to talk”
Not praising or encouraging your child
Failing to keep your promises
Chastening in front of others
Not allowing enough freedom
Allowing too much freedom
Mocking your child
Abusing them physically
Ridiculing or name calling
Child training with wordly methodologies inconsistent with God’s word
There is some overlap here but I am definitely guilty as charged.
When I think about the particular instances when I have trouble with my child's anger it always involves (4) disciplinging while angry, (6) being inconsistent with discipline, (12) not listening to her side of the story and (23) unrealistic expectations.
So would you pray for me? Pray that I would finish this book and prayerfully consider all that he says, reflecting honestly on my on life and conduct. Pray that I would repent of provoking my children to anger and learn better habits.