Sorrow Instead of Anger

Here is another parenting tip I would like to share with you. Something worth thinking about.

The goal of discipline is to help children change their hearts as well as their behavior. When misbehavior requires discipline, one of the ways to touch a child’s heart is to respond with sorrow instead of anger.

Anger can be a type of revenge, to get back at someone for an offense committed. Anger builds walls between people. Sadness or sorrow, on the other hand, opens doors in relationships. It touches the heart of a person. When a child sees disappointment in a parent’s eyes, it’s often a powerful motivation for the child to want to change.

“But I’m not sad, I’m mad!” you may be saying. Just stop for a moment and look past your anger. If you think about it you really are sad because of what this negative pattern will do to your child if not addressed. You can see future consequences and know where this course of action is heading. Sadness is there. It’s just covered up by your anger.

Ephesians 4:30 says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” God expresses sorrow when we sin. The same thing can be true in family life. Let your child see your disappointment and why it hurts you. That alone is a powerful motivation for children to change their hearts. “I’m really sad that you’re acting so selfishly.”

Be careful you don’t lay a guilt trip on your kids by faking it, but sincere sorrow touches the heart so don’t be afraid to show it. Your genuine concern for your children will go a long way to foster a closeness with them.

What are some ways you’ve been able to reflect genuine sorrow instead of anger? Click here to tell us about it.

This tip comes from the book, Home Improvement, The Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.


  1. Exchanging postcards is a great way to learn about other people's culture. It's also a fun activity for children and even adults!

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