Love and Anger ~ Forging Constructive Paths
My notes on Gary Chapman’s “5 Love Languages of Teenagers” Chapter 10 on Anger
Resolving anger is so important!
“Unresolved anger in the heart and mind of the teenager is one of the worst things that can happen…it breeds bitterness and resentment. …If the parent is going to successfully communicate love to the teenager, the parent must first seek to deal with the unresolved anger.” p.168
Steps for Forging the constructive path:
Determine if your teen implodes or explodes when angry
LISTEN, refuse the temptation to defend yourself, if you get the silent treatment, examine yourself to see if you over control and if so, confess that and admit you are trying to be a better listener.
Affirm that their angry feelings are valid. EMPATHIZE; put yourself in the teens shoes and recognize how it might make you feel if you were them.
THEN you can explain your perspective and seek resolution. Remember to admit when you make a mistake.
I put this method to use last week with awesome results. An argument over tracking my son on the Find my iPhone app was a source of resentment stemming back to an argument over a year ago. At that time I handled it incorrectly. When he first exploded in anger, I jumped to defending myself. Eventually, I realized I was wrong in my accusation and apologized for that. But I did not listen to the underlying feelings that caused the anger. Fast forward to last weekend. My son is home from college for spring break and went out with his sister and a friend. My daughter thought he was over the high school stuff and she mentioned another time that I tracked him secretly that she knew about. She thought he would laugh about it now. But NO. As soon as they walked in the door, he exploded again. He had bitterness and resentment that were triggered. But this time I was better prepared.
I LISTENED! …PEOPLE… that is huge!
I learned a lot about him. He simmered down. I EMPATHIZED. I recalled how I felt when my husband started getting daily updates on out credit card balance. He wasn’t trying to track me or bug me but if he said something like “How was Michael’s today? Did you go to Target 3 times today?” I would get defensive and maybe even explode or implode depending on the day. I could understand my son’s feelings.
And THEN, he was ready to listen to my parenting rationale and the potential this tool could have in some cases. And be a protection if a teen was heading down a dangerous path. I spoke more hypothetically about teens and he conceded my point. He still did not want me to track him or his sister but it was a productive conversation and the anger was gone!!! Woo Hoo!!
Personal Reflection Questions:
- Having to listen to an angry teenager can be challenging. Are you a listening parent who is prepared to field hard questions? Why is it so important to allow angry expressions to be heard?
- Was there ever a time when your feelings were ignored and you knew they were important? Why is recognizing your teen’s feelings essential to affirming the validity of your teen’s anger?
- What is strategic about explaining your perspective as a parent and then seeking a resolution? What can it enable that helps break the destructive patterns of anger?
- Parents make mistakes. Have you ever confessed past failures to your teen and asked forgiveness? How do expect your teen would respond to a sincere apology?
Choose a memory verse to help you in times of anger:
(resource: bible.com app teen devotional on anger)
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.
Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
I chose to memorize James 1:19-20. Being slow to speak is a challenge for me. If I am not intentional, I tend to speak the first word AND the last word. (and maybe most of those in between). I pray for God’s strength to help me change in this area.
I added part of the verse to a photo I took this week. These tulips, in a road median, spoke God’s creative beauty to me. How awesome that God can correct and mold me as well as surprise me with flowers.
Have a great day, my friends.