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Why are You Yelling at Your Daughter?

why are you yelling at your daughter

Ouch…that title stings. As I write this, I’m sitting in a pizza parlor, waiting for my husband to get out of a meeting.  I’m sitting next to a mom and her daughter. They are out for dinner with each other…beautiful thing, right?

Well, it was until her daughter wouldn’t eat and the yelling began.  You could feel her Mom’s exasperation rising…”why aren’t you eating”, rose to “eat your pizza!!!” Which turned to, “Money doesn’t grow on trees…does it?”  Which turned to “you are wasting food and money!”  Which continued on with threats “if you don’t eat your food…” and words followed that were not meant for a near 6-year-old or anyone really.  My heart ached (and still does) for this little girl.  It lasted for 15 or so minutes until she finally ate her food.  Then the phone rang and the Mom’s sweet voice returned.

Why are you yelling at your daughter by

We can all recognize this situation. While most of us probably don’t unleash like this in public, who among us hasn’t raised their voice at their child or another person?  Who among us hasn’t let our anger get the best us.  We may not use the words that were used here, or maybe not the same threats, but are our attitudes any better?

My first instinct was to pray for this mom and her little girl.  I prayed she would eat her pizza.  I prayed the mom would stop and hear what she was saying.  I prayed the mom would remember that how much she loves her little girl and how much she would regret the unkind things she said.

Then, as I thought some more, I began to grieve the times I acted in anger toward my own children who I love with my whole heart. I suppose that’s one of the reasons that the scene before me prompted prayer. I also suppose that’s also why it stings to watch.

Tonight I have been reminded that as a believer in Jesus, I must have kindness on my tongue. I must have mercy in my heart toward my children and those around me.  This picture of a quickly escalating argument between mother and child also reminds me that this type of escalation rarely, if ever, ends how you had hoped when it began.  I was reminded to pray for my own parenting also.

My husband’s meeting ended, but right before it did, I got a call from home.  It was our daughter who was watching our little son.  He was in tears and didn’t want to go to sleep.  He was afraid and wanted Mommy and Daddy.  He missed his favorite stuffed animal Ellie the Elephant (who was left at a hotel over the weekend and is on his way home!).  Because of what I had just witnessed, I paused.  That was what it took to act in wisdom and kindness.  He was up way past his bedtime.  He had nothing to be afraid of.  I am thankful for a moment to pause.  I talked him through it and he stopped crying and said goodbye.  He read books on his bed with our daughter until we returned home.  Then…off to sleep.

On our way out, I stopped at this Mom’s table and said, “goodbye”.  My inner mama bear wanted her to know that I heard what she said and she was accountable.  My inner child of God, forgiven by grace wanted her to know that I cared and saw that it was hard.  She looked up and said goodbye and, “I’m sorry you had to hear all that yelling.  I try to be a disciplinarian Mom, but I am a single parent, and it is hard.”  “I’ll find a suitable father for her someday.”

After that admission, all I could do is tell her I prayed for her and will continue.  Her face softened and I repeated myself.  I will be praying for you.

While I wish I would have had more to say, I am thankful that I know that I am loved by a God who hears my prayers.  The book of James reminds me that my prayers are effective.  And, this time, I am thankful to know that prayers are even more effective than my words.

I am so thankful that by God’s grace, my initial reaction of “why are you yelling at your child”, became so much more.  I am praying that this mom would come to know the peace and forgiveness offered in Christ.  I am praying for her parenting and for her little girl.  And, I am thanking God for His grace and forgiveness in my life and His patience with me.


2 Responses

  1. Yes, Yes. Let’s pray for these people. May they develop patience and understanding for their little ones.


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