Why Yelling Just Doesn't Work... (Restoring Children with a Gentle Spirit)

This post was contributed to Life, Abundantly by the talented Amber Palmer. See her full bio below. I hope you’ll be as encouraged and convicted as I was!

The intense yelling coming from the other side of the house floated down the hall to where I was putting laundry away in my room. “Oh, not again, I can’t do this again…” I thought to myself as my children’s yells and cries got louder.  This was the third time within thirty minutes that I was interrupted while trying to put the pile (ok, mountain) of laundry away.  

Anger poured over me and through me and all around me as I marched down the hall toward the sibling fight. Huffing and puffing, mumbling and complaining, I hustled to the fire I was desperate to put out for good.

No one wants to think of themselves as a "yeller" or angry mom. But even the most gentle-spoken mom can slip into the habit of yelling in frustration in order to correct her children. But there is a Biblical basis for correcting our children with gentleness.

Marching over to them, I matched their loud screams with, “Why are you always yelling at each other!” I felt pain rip through my throat and a voice come out that I wasn’t even familiar with myself. My typical soft spoken voice that people have trouble hearing was replaced with a  whole different side of me that I didn’t know was there. Tears sprang from everyone’s eyes and more unkind words seem to flow out of everyone’s mouths way too easily with no end in sight.

How many times do we as mothers try to change our children’s behavior when they are doing wrong with more anger, louder voices, more tension, more strife, more domination, and harder force? We either try to match them in their sin or even painstakingly worse, outdo them in their anger. 

Sweet mama, I absolutely get it. When you are dealing with the same misbehavior from your children over and over again, it would cause most people to lose their cool. BUT, when we lose our control when our children are out of control, nothing good comes from it. And most sadly it is a missed opportunity to lead them to Christ. 

They just see an out of control mother before them leaving them feel more out of control.  

Their hearts are not changed but hardened.

Spirits are not restored but crushed.  

Tender moments are not shared but lost.

At the end of these battles, we are all left broken and resentful. This is not at all what we want to have happen with the people we love the most. 

God wooed my heart to Galatians 6:1 after too many of these hard moments with my kids. This scripture spoke so deep into my mama soul and I felt God tugging at my heart strings with His beautiful word.

“Brothers and sisters if someone is overtaken in any wrong doing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1

The big “Aha” moment from this scripture for me was about restoring with a gentle spirit and to not join in on their wrong doings. Time after time I was doing the opposite of this. I was restoring with more anger and joining in on the crazy train. 

I was literally making the situation worse and then getting frustrated that my kids would not change. What needed to change was me- my heart. What needed to change was how I was seeing the situation and how I needed to show my children the way God deals with our own sin; with love, grace, and forgiveness- on repeat constantly, no matter what. This creates a change in the heart, and from there, we start to see those changes happen within ourselves and in our children.

This in no way takes away from the fact that our children need discipline. It simply changes the way that we go about doing it. Our delivery in those intense moments- battles of the will and power struggles- can more than likely be stopped in its tracks if we come at it with a gentler approach, abiding in God, and coming alongside our children by showing them the appropriate way to handle things. 

It may take many, (oh so many) times before our children get it, but we cannot grow weary in doing good because at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Please know that I am typing out these words today for myself, as a reminder for each and every moment of motherhood. I am desperate for God’s Word in my life, and I thought maybe you might be too. Let’s choose today to restore our children with a gentle spirit and make sure we do not get tempted to join in on their sin.

Let’s not grow weary! Our bountiful harvest is right around the corner.  As their mother, let’s come alongside of them and help carry their burden and point them to God. It is through us that they can see Him and what it means to truly abide in God no matter how we are feeling inside.

If we get lost and the overwhelmingness of motherhood hits us hard (which we know will happen!), God’s grace is there waiting for you to try it all over again. Remember sweet mamas, love, grace, and forgiveness are always there for us all.

Amber  (2).jpg

Amber is a busy mom of two kiddos, wife, and blogger over at My Jars of Clay. When she is not homeschooling her daughter you can find her writing to encourage other moms and helping them keep their focus on Jesus. Amber enjoys spending her time reading, singing when no one is around and throwing random dance parties in her kitchen. She loves connecting with other moms in person and over on Instagram.