Thus, yelling can become terribly addictive for parents. It feels like a fast track to getting their children’s attention, and it leaves them feeling satisfied. – Pitchin’ a Fit, page 85.
Do you yell? Ever? Are you ever angry with your kids, and unable to deal with them in a gentle, Christlike manner? I am ashamed to admit that I yell, more than I’d like. Some days it seems to be my default parenting response.
When we were contacted to review Israel and Brook Wayne’s new book Pitch’ a Fit: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting, I jumped at the opportunity. I was hoping to glean one or two little bits of information that I could use to improve my patience in parenting.
Instead I struggled through a short, simple-to-read twelve chapters that deeply convicted my heart.
The Waynes have written an incredibly wonderful book on managing anger. It is chock full of Scripture, practical application tips, and personal stories so the reader doesn’t think the authors are perfectly patient parenting experts. But at the same time, each short chapter hits right at the heart of an area connected to an anger issue: expectations, triggers, hormones, excuses, exhaustion. If you think you have a brand new reason to be angry with your children, I guarantee the Waynes have uncovered the real reason you are angry and will hold it up, gently, in the light of Christ in order for you to examine it and fix it.
This books could easily serve as an individual or group Bible study. Each chapter contains plenty of well thought out Scripture application, and there are questions to be answered by the reader at the end of every chapter. Beginning with what Scripture says about anger, moving into why parents experience anger, and finishing with practical ways to manage and put off anger, this book will help you stop a cycle of yelling and impatience in your parenting, if you are willing to do the work.
For me, the parts of the book that had the most impact revolved around two things: recognizing what triggers anger (or what makes me less patient), and what kind of damage continual anger can do to children.
First, I was thrilled when Mrs. Wayne addressed the issue of hormones in chapter five. I have read books on anger before that ignored this issue, but she takes this topic on full force, not as an excuse, but as an explanation. She then gives solid practical tips for managing yourself on days when you know your hormones will be out of whack, so your temper will be touchy.
In fact, all of chapter five, “Trigger Happy – What Sets You Off?” is a richly revealing chapter that will show any reader why they lose their patience.
I also appreciated the extent to which the authors went in showing how damaging anger is to children. We often think children are quick to forgive, and while this is true to an extent, long-term anger from a parent, even if it’s just a simmering-type rage, is incredibly harmful.
“If the common passerby were to eavesdrop on your heated verbal barrage toward your child, would they see your heart of love drawing your child to repentance through witnessing your exchange…or would it leave them confused?” (page 86)
“The two factors that influence a child more than any other are: 1.Time. Whoever spends the most time with a child has the greatest ability to shape and mold his or her beliefs and behavior. 2. Affirmation. Everyone innately craves acceptance. We all want to be loved and liked. Even if a parent spends time with his or her child, yet neglects to show proper love and affection, the child will eventually seek to meet those needs elsewhere.” (page 56)
“The atmosphere yelling creates promotes breaking a child’s spirit. It wears on a body to be spoken to harshly in an unduly loud voice. As soon as Mom or Dad’s voice goes up, a child’s defenses go up as well.” (page 89)
The Waynes also spend a good portion of the book discussing the importance of teamwork in marriage, building good habits, and the fact that what comes out of your mouth is a symptom of what’s in your heart. Having walked this path themselves, they acknowledge that it’s not as simple as waking up one morning and saying, “I’m not going to be angry ever again,” and I appreciated their candor and encouragement throughout the book.
If you are in any way struggling with patience, yelling, discipline, consistency, or pride, I strongly recommend this book to you. I thought it would be a quick easy read, and while it’s certainly not difficult to read, it is convicting and life-changing.
“Sometimes we just have to walk out the thing we know to be true until it becomes a habitual part of us. Loving our children in their unlovable moments may not come easily at first, but over time, doing the right thing can become our default position.” (page 146)
Wayne, Israel & Brooke. Pitchin’ a Fit! Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 2016. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and all thoughts & opinions are mine.