“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
“Fathers, do not provoke your children”
“Fathers” in this context means parents. The word “provoke” means to exasperate, to become disheartened, and hence lack motivation. Parents are not to exasperate their children. “Provoke” carries the ideas of bitter and irritate. Ephesians used a different Greek word meaning exasperate (Eph. 6:4).
Parents can provoke their children with perpetual censure or peevish anger. They may nag their children about inconsequential things. They rub them the wrong way.
Parents possess authority in their roles. God does not want them to exercise uncontrolled authority. Poor judgment in the exercise of authority hinders the development of their children. Severe discipline makes children bitter and exasperates their personhood.
This caution does not mean the parent will never do anything that might irritate their children. Discipline will aggravate children. However, the issue at hand is over-discipline or unfair discipline. The word “irritate” is in the continuous tense in Greek. “Do not keep on irritating your children.” If parents nag their children, it will dampen their spirits.
If parents irritate their children, they will demotivate them; if they commend them, they will encourage and strengthen them.
Here are some principles that may help parents avoid exasperating their children:
1. Under-discipline causes exasperation.
Rules should be clearly stated and should not come out of disaster. Unannounced rules made known after the child breaks them cause exasperation. Too many regulations cause exasperation; a rule should be followed through to the stated punishment.
Under-discipline is caused by divided authority. Under-discipline creates frustration resulting in yelling and other false systems of correction.
2. Over-discipline causes frustration as well.
Some Christians overreact to the permissiveness of society and flaunt authority over their children.
3. Unfair punishment causes exasperation.
When a parent fails to distinguish what a child must learn on his own and what must be enforced, as a rule, the parent will punish the child capriciously.
4. Withdrawal of affection causes exasperation in the child.
There must be a balance between discipline and love. All discipline should be done in love and not out of personal injury to the parent. Discipline is not the same as punishment. Discipline seeks the welfare of the child in the correction. Sentimentality, not love, withholds discipline. If we do not believe in discipline, we do not believe in standards and judgment. Discipline strengthens the moral bonds between parent and child. Sentimentality thinks fear and love cannot coexist together (Deut. 6:4,5,13).
5. Parents must not simply threaten as a way of discipline.
Discipline should be an event. Isolation of discipline to an event ends scolding, nagging, and impulsive swatting. Discipline brings a spirit of authority to the home. It maintains an atmosphere of stability in the home. Discipline should be reserved for disobedience, not discord. Rebellion to authority is the issue.
6. After discipline, express forgiveness to the child.
Obedience has to do with outlook. Children should rebel against an action but never against our attitude. Parents are to encourage their children. Ephesians warns against discouraging our children. Discouragement means to lose heart. Giving the child a sense of belonging, worth, and confidence is essential. They need to understand their needs and fears. Children need supervision and help.
Thanks for your clear and concise explantion
thank you sharing insightful and pointed commentary. And thanks for making it understandable. Great!!!
Thank you Gale and Wayne.
My son has a tendency to rebell. I used firm words with him and now I feel bad about the whole situation. Also this was a build up of constant rebellion from my son. Did I provoke him or not???
Ronzell, there is not enough information about your son to make a determination whether you provoked him or not (and I am not asking for that information). Using firm words do not in themselves cause rebellion, in fact, not using firm words may cause rebellion. If, however, you denigrated or diminished him, then that might cause rebellion. It could be that you have done nothing to cause this rebellion.
am now clear thnk you for that answer as for me..i thought may be it deals with marriege and girlfriends and boyfriends..thnenk you again
Does this apply if your an adult living with a mother that treats you badly in the ways spoken of here?
Shawntia, the primary interpretation of this passage is dealing with children, not adults. The issue of communication arises in other passages.
Narcissistic behavior is difficult to understand or justify…..thinking if you Shawnita
When a child is already discouraged by her both parents behaviour to the extend that they drained the whole happiness in her life and her heart is full of bitterness, she is never confortable staying around them, can she still love such parents?
Lilian, love does not require one to change the facts. If the parents are miserable people, it is not necessary to like them and overlook the facts of who they are. Love does not mean like. To love them would mean a person would do the best for them. Neither is it necessary to spend protracted time with them if a person lives independently of them. It is important to deal with personal bitterness because that attitude will rot the soul. Hebrews 12:15 “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.”
My father is too restrictive, even in such small issues that doesn’t even mean anything bad like going out with friends or wearing short sleeve tops or ripped jeans. His so intent on have control over me even when I’m an adult it makes me, want to break free and rebel when I’m older, I pray against that! But I just need help on what I should do and if my father is provoking me and leaving me disheartened?
Lucy, it is difficult from my end to know the facts necessary to respond to your blog properly. Most fathers who are control-oriented are that way because they love their children and are afraid of what might happen to them. However, many fathers have a difficulty from transitioning from a father over a child to a teen. There is a risk in giving a teen more freedom, but that is necessary for their development into adulthood. Have you tried explaining to your father the effects of his over-control? Some control is obviously necessary for a teen but not absolute control like in a child.
I have a teenage daughter diagnosed with BPD. Rebellious, risk-taking behavior and emotional outbursts are staples puff this diagnosis. I am really trying to be firm, fair, and consistent with her, but it is very difficult. I love her deeply, but if I am painfully honest, it is hard to like her most of the time. I need prayer for God’s guidance and Holy Spirit intervention in this issue.
Rebecca, I have prayed for your daughter.
Sometimes I think I nag my children. Here are some examples of our 10 yr. old daughter: I tell her to care for her long hair that she wanted long & brush it more often. Remember to brush your teeth while wearing braces esp after school and after eating. That is not a cheap expense, take care of them! To wear your clothes in your closet that you picked out and we spent money on that you said you were going to wear and you don’t. If u really want to join the after school program then you need to write up a good and reasonable essay when the school informs you to, not just a small sentence, which is good start! Just need to add more detail to the essay. I tell her “ as parents we trying to help you”. As a mother and father we try to help our daughter understand that she needs to put forth the extra effort and not rush thru and to try harder. To remember herself, to do these things on her own. She doesn’t need to be reminded by us constantly. We are here to encourage her, remind her at times, however trying to get her to do it on her own and do it her best with extra effort. She can rush thru when there is plenty of time available. Also she asks to have these things and we want to give them to her, however just want her to be responsible. That’s when I think I nag because we repeat these words a lot. She tells me “you don’t think I do my best when I do”. she says. That I ( mom) explain my self too much and make it become a real big deal. Sorry I know this is long, please what do you think God is telling you that you could encourage me with? I read this bible verse and I want to understand it more in-depth. Thank you much!
Vee, some girls are in puberty at 10 years. If that is so, she needs to be treated more (but not completely) as an adult. If she is not in puberty yet then each child is different and there is a need to approach them differently.
Thank you for your response! She is actually not going thru puberty right now, however some of her friends are. That is something to think about and beware of. Maybe she is changing & we are not aware of it. Her school had a girls class about that recently.
Does it sound like I am nagging, from the recent post? What Godly advice could u give me if it was your daughter? When I think of nagging I think of that vs. Proverbs 27: 15. Thank u!
Vee, it is difficult to determine from your post whether you are nagging. Must of it depends on the attitude and approach that you use. Is it condemning or helpful correcting, for example?
Thanks i found this resource enlightening i am encourage i plan to speak on this text on fathers day. i am a father of 7 seven 5 girls an 2 boys they are adults i am proud of them i was hard on them. Now when i hear them speak of their up bringing they thank both my wife an myself i give God thanks.
Ian, thanks for your testimony.
Thank you. I feel that my son can be almost narcissistic, skimming the bible to find out how he can ‘correct’ me. Constant battles with everything. Turning 15 soon. I dont want to lose him and i see alot of rebellion si i am searching scripture and asking God what I can change in my parenting and not focusing on him alone. Glory to The Most High:) Prayers please saints.
Hi, thank you for those encouraging words. I love my son n he is wonderful person. He is 10 yrs old.. The only concern with him is regarding his school. He is not at all responsible with his school work. I don’t know what to do. From class work , home work, class test I have remind him. All he does is Rebel. I’m all confused am I raising kids in right way in Godly manner. Can u plz help me understand how shud I make up with my son.
Siri, that kind of question cannot be answered on a website like this. It would take significant investagation into the problem.