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Let’s start by reading Ephesians 6:4, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  Let’s also read Colossians 3:21, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”  Ephesians 6:4 gives us the proper alternative to provoking our children, while Colossians 3:21 warns us of the result of provoking our children.

Notice that both of these verses are addressed to the fathers.  In a normal household, the father is the one that is usually the disciplinarian.  He is the one that has the final authority in the family.  I have heard many women tell their children, “Just wait until your father gets home.”  I have never heard a man say, “Just wait until your mother gets home.”  So, it is the father that is instructed not to provoke their children to wrath.  It is usually the father that has the final authority in the home and sometimes the father misuses that authority with his children.  Have you ever heard of expressions like, “As long as you live in my house, you will do it my way”, or “You will do it because I said for you to do it”?  These are examples of provoking your children to wrath.  Without teaching them Godly principles, when we demand obedience just because we are in authority, that will provoke our children to wrath or anger.  To bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord means that we teach our children from the Word of God.  We teach them to obey the highest authority, which is the authority of God.  Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  When we teach our children with the Word of God, it will not depart from them.  It doesn’t mean they will always be in direct obedience, but it does mean that when we instruct our children from the Bible, the truths will always be with them.

Sometimes, even when we use the Word of God to train our children, they will still get mad at us.  We cannot let that bother us or cause us to compromise what the Bible says.  While we don’t want to provoke our children to wrath, we cannot let their anger dictate what we will teach them.  If we compromise our principles with our children, we really don’t have anything left to offer them.  By obeying God’s Word and teaching our children to obey God’s Word, we give them a foundation that will follow them into adulthood.  It will also give them the proper example of how to raise their own children.

While we don’t want our children to become discouraged, we do want them to understand boundaries and consequences.  2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”  This teaches us that what the Lord says, He will do.  As parents, we need to set proper rules and boundaries and establish consequences for our children if they disobey the rules.  Then, we need to make sure that we carry out what we have promised.  It is so confusing to a child when consequences are promised and then ignored.  The child will not learn proper boundaries this way.  As parents, we will lose all credibility if we tell our children that there will be consequences and then we don’t follow through.  On the other hand, it is so important that we praise our children for the things they do that deserve praise.

So, what do we do if we have provoked our children to wrath?  As parents we need to learn to tell our children that we are sorry when we do wrong things.  We try hard to teach them to say they are sorry when they are wrong, but we often find it very hard to say that ourselves.  Again, we need to set proper examples for our children.  If we find ourselves angry and trying to provoke our children, we need to stop, confess it to the Lord, and then tell our children we were wrong.  This will help in raising them in the nurture and admonition, or discipline of the Lord.  (42.1)