Q: How can I let my children express their anger and emotion without allowing them to be out of control? A: Every child, every person feels angry sometimes. Anger starts deep in our hearts and works its way up into our attitudes and behavior. Training your child how to handle his anger is one of the most important tools you can give him for the future of his relationships. And for some children, it is one of the most difficult lessons to learn.

The book of Ephesians uses three different words to describe what we call anger.

Thumos is explosive anger, translated, “wrath” in Eph 4:31 (NASB).

Orge is an attitude of indignation that frequently seeks revenge, mildly translated, “anger” in Eph 4:31 (NASB).

Parorgismos is irritability, or ‘exasperation” in Eph 4:26, Romans 10:19, Eph 6:4 (NASB)

To allow your child to express anger in these ways condemns him to a life of really hurtful relationships. That’s why you should never ignore his outbursts or irritability. Let’s take a look at Ephesians, chapter 4 to grab some ideas on how you can help your child when he gets mad.

Words of wisdom from Ephesians…

  • Watch your own heart as you give your child discipline in the moment. Approach the situation with humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, and love. (Eph. 4:1) The opposites of those attitudes are more typical: arrogant authority, harshness, impatience, disgust, and cold rejection!
  • That said, be affectionate- touching your angry child communicates love and gentleness and involves your child in the communication.
  • Turn an outburst or a sulking bad attitude into a conversation. Encouraging your child to talk truthfully (Eph. 4:25), to involve Jesus (Eph. 4:20,21), and to give grace (Eph. 4:29), will not only diffuse the situation, but will re-center him on the whole point- that Christ died for even that sin!
  • Help your child to see that his response is his responsibility. He can and does choose what he will say and how he will act when he gets mad.
  • Think and pray through the appropriate discipline to use in response to your child’s behavior towards others. Does the moment call for reproof? A rebuke? Correction? Training? A little exhortation? Or a carefully controlled spanking?

By allowing your child to open his heart to you, and helping him deal with his angry feelings, you will be initiating an intimate level of relationship that few families really experience. Instead of merely being a mom who reacts, you will become your child’s safe confidant and spiritual counselor. He will learn to look to you as one who understands- and yet helps him to lift himself out of the sinful responses that make his life miserable.

From my heart,


P.S. for more explanation on biblical discipline, listen to the teaching entitled A Heart of Obedience

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