Parents of angry children are frequently at a loss as to what to do with them and for them. Life is somewhat of a whirlwind in the family, as everyone tries to keep the child from exploding into a fit of rage.
Angry children tantrum, break and smash things, throw things, scream, hit others and themselves, destroy harmony in the home, cause friction in marital relationships and in sibling relationships. Typically other family members will walk on eggshells around the angry child and this raises the already high levels of tension and misery in the home.
The root of anger in a child is the same as the root in an adult; it is an issue of the heart. The Bible is clear that evil thoughts, beliefs, and desires come from the heart (Matt. 15:19; Gal. 5: 19-21).
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Luke 6:45 (NASB)
Because anger is an issue of the heart, “managing” the child’s anger is an ill-fated course of action. Sin can not be managed, it must be repented of! Please don’t be discouraged by this news, it is actually wonderful news! If what your child is dealing with is sin, then he or she can change and in Christ the change can be lasting change. This should fill your heart with hope for your child’s future!
You might be wondering where all this anger came from in your little one. While he or she was born with a sin nature and with a propensity toward sin (Romans 5:12) when a child demonstrates out of control anger as a habitual behavior there may be more to it than meets the eye.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Eph 6:4 (NASB)
While each person is responsible before God for their own sin (children included), parents have a primary role in the lives of their kids and our sin can affect them and actually contribute to the sin problems our children have. This demands that we as parents begin by looking within, examining ourselves in the light of Scripture, and taking the log out of our own eye (Matt. 7:3-5) before we can begin to really address the issues of the child.
You must deal with your own sinful heart and ask the Lord to reveal your sinful issues in dealing with your child. Some questions to ask yourself would be:
- Are you consistent in disciplining your child?
- Are your expectations age-appropriate and have you clearly communicated these expectations to your child? Do they honestly understand your expectations?
- Do you discipline in anger?
- Do you compare your children to each other?
- Do you yell or scream when angry?
These are just a few of the ways that parents sin against their children and foster anger in their heart. The remedy is the same for you as it is for them, bring your sin out in the open by confessing it to God. Bring it to the cross and deal with it in light of the gospel. Admit to your child that you too struggle with sin and in the ways that you know you have sinned against him or her confess and ask for their forgiveness. In doing so you will find freedom from the sin that has held you captive and you will also soften your child’s heart toward you.
One of the best things I ever did was to confess and ask forgiveness when I sinned against my kids. The first time they were astonished! They could not believe that their Mom was humbling herself in this way and it went a long way to furthering our relationships.