A defiant “No!” Banshee-like wails of rebellion. A willful collapse to the floor followed by violently flailing limbs. In short, a hissy fit of epic proportions. Does this sound familiar to you? If it does, maybe you’ve seen this display at the grocery store with a red-faced parent standing close by, or maybe you’re the red-faced parent. If you’re that red-faced parent, you’ve probably thrown up your hands dozens of times with thoughts like “How do I parent this child without having to put him in a padded cell?” and “How am I supposed to keep myself from turning into an ogre when he does this?”
For those of us in that boat, there is a reason why you can be thankful for your child’s fury. I know it seems unthinkable, but there is a legitimate reason to praise God for your angry child. Jesus says in Matthew 12:34, “… out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” This means that what is coming out of your child when he is yelling at you is coming from his heart. Your child, then, is not hiding who he is really is. He’s wearing his heart on his sleeve. When your child throws a fit, the true nature of his heart is not being manipulated or airbrushed so that what you see is the pretty version that’s easy on the eyes. No, you are getting a clear view of his sinful heart.
Some children deal with their unmet desires differently, in ways that are harder to see and interpret. I know parents who find it very difficult to draw out their kids’ hearts and get them to talk about what’s going on inside of them. Parents of angry children, the work of drawing out your child’s heart is not hard work for you. Really, they’re doing it for you every time you deny them something their heart desires more than it ought.
Praise the Lord that there’s not much of a filter on your child’s heart! Because of this, you know what you’re dealing with and you can readily get to work on addressing your child’s root sins with the gospel and the promises of God. So, next time your heart starts running back to the whole “Woe is me, for I have an angry child” routine, remember that your child has made it easy for you make the diagnosis so you can get to the remedy more quickly.