How Should Christian Parents Handle Angry Children?

Kara Durbin
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What is Anger?

Noun—The strong feeling of being very annoyed.

What Does the Bible Say About Anger?

Here are some key Bible verses about anger:

Genesis 4:6–7
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Psalm 37:8a
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath.

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 22:24–25
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

Ephesians 4:26–27
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

James 1:19–20
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

See also: Proverbs 14:17a, 29; 15:18; 29:22; Ecclesiastes 7:9; Ephesians 4:31

How Can You Talk to Your Kids About Anger?

Think of a recent time you were angry.

  • Was it really worth getting angry?
  • How could the situation have been handled differently?
  • What does anger accomplish?
  • What are some methods that will help calm anger? (See how many your child can think of on his own.)
  • Take a deep breath and count to ten before reacting in anger. Use the time to think how you can calmly handle the situation. See Psalm 37:8a.
  • Politely walk away, and do not discuss the situation until you have had time to calm down. See Psalm 37:8a.
  • Pray over the situation, even if you only have a moment. Ask God to help you control your anger and deal with the situation in a reasonable manner. Read James 1:19–20.
  • Remain calm and speak quietly when you feel the anger rising in you or the other person. Using this method in an intense situation will often speak more strongly then a loud, angry voice. See Proverbs 15:1.

Read and discuss the warnings about anger in Genesis 4:6–7 and Proverbs 22:24–25.

How to Lead Your Kids to Address Anger

1. Challenge each other (parent and child) to use one or more of these methods for a week. After each situation, discuss how both of you fared with the tactics and what needs to be improved. Focusing on these strategies for a period of time will help them become habits.

2. Remember Ephesians 4:26 and try to work through any anger before bedtime.

For Further Reading:

Parenting With Scripture

by Kara Durbin

Train your child in the way he or she should go, moment-by-moment with God’s Word. Parenting with Scripture is an easy-to-use topical...

book cover for Parenting With Scripture