Colossians 3:21 (NASB)
Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.
“Exasperate” is not a word that we use very often…but its certainly something many of us dads have a tendency to do to our children. The most common definition is “to cause irritation or annoyance to.” We do this when we arouse or excite or kindle anger in our children for no good reason. Here are some ways in which we do that:
Over-protection…showing favoritism…depreciating their worth...setting unrealistic goals or changing them without notice or forethought…failing to show affection…not supplying standards or enforcing them inconsistently…destructive criticism…neglect…excessive discipline.
That’s a tough list to read, but what about the results of that exasperation? Our children lose heart. We break their spirit. We place them in a box that says, “I’ll never amount to anything.” God’s Word is very balanced, and so on the heels of children obeying their parents God commands the parents not to break their children’s spirit by being overly critical and condemning. We must encourage at least as much, if not more, than we correct.
Catch your children doing things right, dad, and then make a BIG deal out of it!
APPLICATION: Give your children permission to share with you the behaviors you exhibit that really frustrate them. Don’t get defensive! Give them the freedom and security to answer honestly and then seek forgiveness where it is needed.
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