How to Be a Peaceful Parent When You’re Completely Overwhelmed

Do you want to be a peaceful parent?

I know I do! Becoming a peaceful parent is the fervent desire of my heart.

But it is not the default setting of my nature. And is especially challenging when I am overwhelmed!

Nothing reveals our sin nature more than our families with whom we let down our guard and unfortunately, too often take for granted.

We are at our most comfortable and vulnerable in our own homes. It is there we are tired, sick, weak, stressed, and do not put on the mask of calm competence that we often wear in public.

Unfortunately, being vulnerable and comfortable, also makes us vulnerable to selfishness and sin, especially when we’re overwhelmed.

I found out the hard way that I am not immune to sin as the parent.

I thought I was a patient person, until I became a mother.

Schedules, labels, and organizational bins make me happy in weird little places in my head. And while those things help me be an organized parent, they are not traits that help me be patient in midst of the disorder and chaos of parenting.

Turns out little people don’t know the plans you have made and generally do not care about your schedule, which can be insanely frustrating.

Dealing with my frustration and impatience has been the most challenging, sanctifying journey of the past couple of years.

I am still a work in progress as a peaceful parent, but God has definitely done a HUGE work in my heart in the past year.

I have learned so much about myself and the condition of my own heart from watching my daughter respond to me.

Through her, I see how my rebellion and defiance and selfishness must look to God.

And through Him, I see how I should love her.

“… in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3

When I look at her dragging her heels on her math assignment, throwing our schedule into disarray, am I thinking of her more highly than myself? Or am I selfishly getting angry because she has disrupted my plans?

To stop the cycle of frustration and anger of being an overwhelmed mom, I’ve learned to address my own heart first.

I have to get un-overwhelmed. I need to be peaceful before I can be a peaceful parent.

By searching my own heart for what is causing me distress, I can better address those feelings without letting them control my behavior.

Most of what determines the peacefulness in my home is my attitude and actions. It’s easy to say, “I would be a peaceful parent if she obeyed more often, didn’t talk back, treated me more respectfully, etc.”

But the truth is, God gave us these amazing, adorable, sinful little beings to disciple, not just discipline. If we want them to act in healthy ways, we need to model those behaviors.

“Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah” (Psalm 4:4

It’s natural to FEEL anger. We don’t have to act on it.

The Bible tells us to be silent and think about what is happening. Sometimes we can’t take a full mommy moment, but we can . . .

To stop being the overwhelmed mom, Hit PAUSE:

  • Pray for clarity, wisdom, gentleness. I usually pray to see this moment with God’s eyes.
  • Assess what is happening in your heart and home. Is it spiritual, emotional, physical?
  • Understand your goal as a parent is to raise children who glorify God.
  • Sympathize with what your child is feeling or needing in that moment.
  • Engage with your child in a peaceful, positive manner.


Prayer needs to be our first defense against angry parenting. The more upset I am, the more I’ve learned to recognize how deeply I need God in that moment.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to intervene in your heart and mind and in your children.

I often ask God to give me His eyes for my daughter or the situation.  After praying, which sometimes is more of a cry from my heart in a heated moment than organized thoughts or words, I need to figure out what is happening with me.


A few questions I ask myself to regroup as a peaceful parent.

  • Am I feeling panicked or overwhelmed? If so, why?
  • Can the plan for the day be flexible so we can relax in this moment?
  • How can I prioritize the needs of my home, job, children, spouse to reduce stress?
  • Are my emotions out of control due to other issues or circumstances? (for example COVID)
  • What lesson am I trying to teach my child here? Will my anger accomplish that goal?
  • How is God looking at this situation?
  • Can I take a parenting time-out?
  • Am I teaching my child self-control and a positive way to deal with emotions through my actions?

When I can get to the source of my emotions, I can refocus my heart and mind on being the parent God has called me to be.

My purpose as a peaceful parent is to raise children who glorify God.

My primary goal is not a peaceful home nor obedient children who make me look wise and wonderful.

I am called to raise a child who glorifies God. A peaceful home and obedient children are what result from shifting our focus to glorifying God in our lives and parenting.

When I change my perspective, I start to see that much of my anger and frustration comes because I am not in control. I want my daughter to do what I want her to do.

But, we truly can’t control our children. They have to learn to control themselves.

If we do manage to control some of their behaviors only through fear of punishment or too firm of discipline, then we’ve done a grave disservice to our kids.

We’ve taught our children to act rightly to keep us appeased instead of acting rightly for righteousness’ sake.

Jennifer DeFrates
Jennifer DeFrates
Jennifer DeFrates is a former teacher turned homeschool mom who writes about faith, family, marriage, and parenting at

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