Anger Over Disappointing Dad (Part 2) – Practical Applications

Today's guest blogger is Linda Rice. Linda counsel at Gateway Biblical Counseling and Training Center. M.A. in Biblical Counseling. Certified by Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. You can read more of her writing here
The post Anger Over Disappointing Dad (Part 1) introduced the problem of Donna, a teen who perceives herself to be constantly disappointing a parent. Her escalating anger about it was boiling over into increasingly frequent arguments with her dad. Part 1 looked at how God’s love and sovereignty intersect with the situation, considered consequences of Donna continuing in her present anger and arguing, pointed her to evaluate her heart, and suggested that she plan God-pleasing responses. This post will provide specific actions a teen (or other person) can take to put on God-pleasing responses. Begin with some evaluation of the situation.
Evaluate according to options A and B below and make changes. Find out if your perceptions are accurate. For inaccurate perceptions, change to right thinking. For accurate perceptions about problems, work out your problems biblically.
A. Maybe it only seems like you frequently fail to meet your dad’s expectations. 
Perhaps you are misreading your Dad. Perhaps he is weighed down with a problem totally unrelated to you. Or perhaps the expressions you interpret as disappointment are less over disappointment of his standard and more an intense concern for you out of his love for you. Your anger certainly won’t put him at ease; he knows that your anger will cause you trouble. Perhaps he feels anxiety that choices you are making will lead you to physical, social, or spiritual difficulties.
Seek to understand him. Proverbs 18:13 says that “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him.” In any given situation, don’t make assumptions. Ask him what his main concern is. Ask for clarifications. Consider how he sees the situation.
Provide information. Teens often withhold information. Sometimes they know parents will disapprove of what the teen really wants or thinks. Sometimes they like the feeling of control that comes from being in the know. Be aware that if withholding of information happens frequently, it can insinuate an intention to hide, which automatically and naturally raises suspicions in your parents. Rather than withhold information or insist on privacy, tell your dad all of the facts so that he has a fair chance to consider them and also so that you demonstrate candidness. It builds a reputation of trustworthiness.
B. Maybe you do actually fail to live up to your dad’s standards. In that case:
Option 1. Your dad’s standards are not the problem. Rather, you simply do not want to do what he asks. Perhaps you are harboring a sin in your life that you don’t want to give up. Sin results in guilt, and guilt causes fear (Prov. 28:1). If legitimate guilt underlies a sense that you constantly fail your dad, it isn’t worth the cost. Repent from it, put off desires for self-gratification and put on the desire to please the Lord. Confess your sin to your parents, and put on doing what is right.
Option 2. Your dad’s standards are too high. Like you, parents aren’t perfect and sometimes they do expect too much of their children. In that case, learn to appeal in a godly way. This post includes a few pointers, but study the Bible to learn how to appeal God’s way. Get help from a wise counselor. Read The Peacemaker, by Ken Sande.
Whatever the case or what you perceive it to be, out of obedience to God you must do your best to honor and obey your parent (Eph. 6:1-3). The Holy Spirit promises to provide the strength to do what the Lord commands, including honoring and obeying your parents (Gal. 6:16-23). Trust in the Lord to give you the grace to obey Him in this way.
Remember God’s wisdom, love, and sovereignty. If you love God, if you have trusted in Christ alone as your Savior, then obey Him and He will work out your trials for His glory and your welfare (Rom. 8:28-29). If you are seeking to glorify Him in all that you do, you will obey Him even when it is hard to do so. When you do, no matter what the outcome, you can have the confidence that you have succeeded in glorifying God. Joy and increasing godliness will be two of your many rewards.
Fear the Lord. It is good and right to revere parents and want to give them joy (Prov. 23:25). A certain fear of discipline or displeasing them can be a helpful aid to children toward obeying the Lord’s command in Ephesians 6:4. This is how discipline is intended to work. However, if you are so fearful of disappointing your parent that you are dominated by that fear or unwilling to converse respectfully with your parent, evaluate whether you harbor an inordinate fear of man. If so, put on fear of the Lord. “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted” (Prov. 29:25).
Frustrated Teen, Practice the Principles:
Choose an option from the following ideas and use it to help put off anger and arguing and put on patience and love, all for the glory of God.
This post is not a thorough treatment of the subject. Seek God’s solutions in His Word and the help of a biblical counselor.