Paul addresses fathers here for several reasons. The husband/father is the head of his family (Eph. 5:23). Fathers are to lead the family, which includes the instruction and discipline in the home (Eph. 6:4). Fathers also play an especially important role in the life of a child. However, all these reasons do not exclude “mothers” and their equally important role in the lives of their kids from Paul’s instruction. The command to fathers (parents) is, “To instruct and discipline in the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4)
Yet in the midst of this instruction is this warning to “Not provoke your children to anger.” Paul must have known our natural sinful reaction as parents to our kids when they disobey is to respond in frustration and anger, thus provoking them to anger, instead of calm, firm, and loving discipline.
Because of our propensity to this reaction and Paul’s warning that accompanies this instruction, I submit to you this question that parents should constantly be asking and evaluating in their own hearts and each other’s hearts:
“In what ways do you see I am most prone to provoke our children to anger.”