I remember the day so clearly. That day when my little boy first exploded. He was playing with his brother outside while I was cooking a meal when something happened that sent him over the edge. I don’t know what it was because I didn’t get to see it, but I did see and hear the blow up. It was loud, aggressive and ugly. My sweet boy had lost his temper. And it wouldn’t be the first time.
Over the years my son has struggled with self-control, his temper and being destructive. It’s a struggle that I know firsthand because I struggle with Mommy Anger myself. The challenge for me has been learning to teach myself to control my emotions so that I can help my boys do the same. My little one has a temper as well, it’s not as explosive as his big brother’s, but it’s there.
What are we to do when our boys struggle with self-control and restraint? How can we help them overcome the temptation to anger and sin?
Here’s what I have learned: that innate bend toward aggression is God given. Our boys are programmed to be protectors and providers. Being a warrior means that sometimes you have to get aggressive. The challenge is helping our boys learn to restrain themselves until the appropriate time. I’m not talking about teaching our boys to bully others. I’m talking about teaching our boys how to manage those big emotions, deal with those aggressive situations and discern the right time to tap into that warrior nature from God.
If you have a young man that struggles with anger and self-control here are a few things that have worked for me:
- Helping my sons have a biblical view of anger: When I see my boys struggling with something I take some time to point them to scripture. We read what the Bible says about anger.
- Helping my boys identify their emotions: Boys don’t really think in terms of feelings and emotions. My boys are either happy, hungry or mad. Mad often looks sleepy, bored, offended, etc but I have to give my boys those words. When they can identify what they are feeling with words it’s easier to manage those big feelings.
- Have a plan: I sat down with my oldest son and wrote out a plan for him. Steps that he would take anytime that he felt like he was about to blow his top. We go over his plan often and he is learning to use the tools that we created together.
- Prayer: Pray for your son. Take some of those scriptures you’ve read about anger and pray those over him. Help him memorize those verses so that he can pray too.
- Point them to Jesus: My boys want so badly to be like Jesus so we spend a lot of time reading the Gospels. We look at all the things that happened to Jesus where he could have lost his temper but did not.
Prayer for you:
Lord help us to teach our boys the importance of being angry but not sinning. Help them to follow the example of Jesus when He constantly choose not to retaliate against those who hurt Him. Help us to teach them that real men control their emotions instead of being controlled by them. Amen.
- Why do you think boys have such struggles with anger and other big emotions?
- What are some ways that you can teach your son to express his anger so that he can let it go without hurting others?
- What’s one thing you can do right now to work towards helping your son manage his emotions better?
Some resources to help you:
- Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo: a great book to help you help your son get to the root of anger issue
- Parenting an Angry Child: This is a 3 part series on my blog. I’m sharing some ways that I have help my son with his anger plus some free scripture cards for your family.
- Calming Homemade Playdough: easy recipe for you to use with your children when they are angry, it’s truly calming and soothing and gives them something to take their aggression out on without hurting anyone
Super good post!! Oh this one is huge, and though all boys have to deal with this, you are right that some personalities are clearly just wired differently. One of my boys is just more enthusiastic in all ways–good and bad. Sometimes I have felt like there is no “changing” him, but I do realize that having a plan is his best tool…And so we work on it together still. 😉 Great suggestions, as always. 🙂
Thank you SO much for this post! I have a temper (that I inherited from my dad). I worked so hard to overcome that temper, and actually learned to manage it. Until I had kids. Now, as a working mom to two little boys, that temper has come back. And my 10-year-old is me made over. It’s hard for me to condemn his bad behavior when I see it’s exactly how I act. We’re both working on it together, but this helps!
This is so helpful, thank you! It’s been years since I read wild at heart, but I think it’s time again. My youngest has so much muscle in his heart. I never thought of it as the warrior in him, but I see that now. Now to give him a Godly perspective of how to control himself when it’s not time to fight!
Great post! I will think of this while raising my 5 year old and 10 month old! Shared on pinterest! God bless!
Thank you!! I especially deal with this in my three (almost four) year old. We’ve memorized “in your anger do not sin” and try to remind each other often (because mom needs the reminder too). I also tell him to run upstairs as fast as he can and punch his bed. This is a slow process and can still be very discouraging, but I’m seeing progress!! My scripture reading this morning said: Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away. (Proverbs 22:15 NIV). This is a good reminder to us as parents that this anger is “bound up” in our children’s hearts and it’s a process to get them on a better path. Only with God!! Blessings!!