Family Life Motherhood

Why Scolding Doesn’t Work

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“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such (a word) as is good for edification according to the need (of the moment), that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

photo from Microsoft Publisher

“And while He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining (at the table), there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; (and) she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly (remarking) to one another, ‘Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the (money) given to the poor.’ And they were scolding her.” (Mark 14:3-5).

One of the Greek words from which the term scolding (in the above text) was derived, means “to snort with anger.” It was used to describe the snorting of horses. In his book, Hints on Child-Training, first published in 1891, H. Clay Trumbull, considered by many to be the founder of Sunday School, explains:

“To ‘scold’ is to assail or revile with boisterous speech. The word itself seems to have a primary meaning akin to that of barking or howling.

“Scolding is always an expression of a bad spirit and of a loss of temper…the essence of the scolding is in the multiplication of hot words in expression of strong feelings that, while eminently natural, ought to be held in better control.

“If a child has done wrong, a child needs talking to; but no parent ought to talk to a child while that parent is unable to talk in a natural tone of voice, and with carefully measured words. If the parent is tempted to speak rapidly, or to multiply words without stopping to weigh them, or to show an excited state of feeling, the parent’s first duty is to gain entire self-control. Until that control is secured, there is no use of the parent’s trying to attempt any measure of child training. The loss of self-control is for the time being an utter loss of power for the control of others.

“In giving commands or in giving censure to a child, the fewer and the more calmly spoken words the better. A child soon learns that scolding means less than quiet talking; and he even comes to find a certain satisfaction in waiting silently until the scolder has blown off the surplus feeling which vents itself in this way. There are times, indeed, when words may be multiplied to advantage in explaining to a child the nature and consequences of his offense, and the reasons why he should do differently in the future; but such words should always be spoken in gentleness, and in self-controlled earnestness. Scolding–rapidly spoken censure and protest, in the exhibit of strong feeling–is never in order as a means of training and directing a child.”

Excerpted from Heart of Anger: Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children by Lou Priolo.

Reading God’s Story Schedule today, 7/25/13: Isaiah 43-45, Psalm 80.

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About Kellie Renfroe

Kellie and her husband Greg have been married 32 years and have four children ranging in age from 17 to 28. She co-founded Mentoring Moments for Christian Women in 2005. Kellie is a homeschooling mom who enjoys reading, studying the Bible, writing, photography, and learning how to cook.

Encouraged? Share this post...

Kellie Renfroe

Kellie and her husband Greg have been married 32 years and have four children ranging in age from 17 to 28. She co-founded Mentoring Moments for Christian Women in 2005. Kellie is a homeschooling mom who enjoys reading, studying the Bible, writing, photography, and learning how to cook.

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