Confessions of a bully-mom

By Trillia Newbell

bully momThe news is swarming with stories of kids bullying other kids. These stories are heart-wrenching. The unfortunate end too many times is the death of a child. It’s pretty easy for me to cast stones at these bullies. Often I think they should be ashamed of themselves. Are their parents involved? But recently I realized just how much I can be like these reckless, hateful bullies that throw out empty threats yet cause great harm. I don’t bully a friend, I wouldn’t dare, and I definitely don’t bully strangers. No, I save my hateful attitudes, quick responses, and threats for my son. I am a bullying mom.

It’s two o’clock in the afternoon and it’s “my time”. It’s quiet time in our home and the kids are supposed to rest so I can work, write, clean, do whatever I need to do without interruption. But one of my kids decides they don’t want to rest. I’ve asked repeatedly to stop banging on the wall. It is still going. I am now frustrated. “You are waking up your sister,” I yell out. Still knocking. I storm in the room, look him in the eyes, point my finger and say, “If you don’t stop that knocking I’m going to sit you outside.” He gets quiet. He surely doesn’t want to sit outside.  I walk away, thankful that it’s quiet but quickly aware that my threat was empty and my response was full of anger.  I am convicted.

These types of scenarios have happened one too many times in my home. I can be quick to anger and loose with my tongue. Yes, my son should have obeyed. But I wasn’t going to throw him out of the house. And what does that communicate to him?  When you disobey me I will disown you, I will cut you off, and I will push you far from me.  I will do harm to you and you inconvenience me. Ouch!

Left to myself I would fall into this sinful habit each and every time I needed to address my children and teach them to obey. And obviously there’s a lot more than simply me being unkind to my kid going on here but I like to address one thing at a time as not to be crushed by my own sin. Christ did that for me! Because of God’s Holy Spirit I can have self-control, I can learn self-control, and learn how to be patient and gracious to my child.

Do you find yourself throwing out threats and verbally pushing your kids around? You are not alone, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.[i]  God makes it clear that this problem with our tongues is a struggle all people have. “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body,” (James 3:2 ESV). I haven’t met a perfect man yet, that is until I met Jesus! The good news is we have power to change because of Jesus!

God promises that if we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us.[ii] He has made us a new creation so we no longer have to be slaves to our sin, rather we can fight it and grow.[iii] God is gracious to give us his Holy Spirit if we ask. Everything good, including our sanctification (our growth in godliness) comes from Him. [iv]

Those episodes of my tongue getting away from me in anger are much less these days. God has been helping me to learn from His Word how to care and love my children. It’s easy to do when we are dancing around, when they do as I say immediately, or when we are making a fun memory. It’s the tough times of parenting that I’m learning how to love. But dare I say that the times my son might remember most are those days when mommy bowed her head and asked the Lord for forgiveness for her sinful anger towards him and then asked him to forgive her too. I think those will be the times he remembers his mom is real and needy for God.

[i] “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23 ESV).

[ii] “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9 ESV).

[iii] “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin,”(Romans 6:6 ESV).

[iv] “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change,” (James 1:17 ESV).


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One Comment to “Confessions of a bully-mom”

  1. amy m says: