25 ways to raise an angry child

25 ways to raise an angry child

In helpful tips by Ryan Sanders, M. Div. / June 07, 2018

You've met the curmudgeon haven't you? The older gent who seems to hate everything and everybody? There's not much sadder sight than this. How did the curmudgeon come to be? Nature or nurture? Sin or suffering? We can't judge too much.


But, here's what we can judge—ourselves—against God's Word. This seems like a good use of a blog post to me. Our tagline isn't "Helping dads build curmudgeons". So, let's talk about the 25 ways we might be raising an angry child. 


5 questions


I get it. At some magical age, your son will do what he wants. He can start on the path of the curmudgeon early or take the slow, methodical steps to curmudgeonville. Darn, freewill! But, I'd like you to ask yourself: How much of the anger in my home is caused by me? Ouch. That’s a painful question. As fathers, we must take note of what God says in Ephesians 6:4.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. —Ephesians 6:4


This verse seems pretty clear. You, dad, CAN do stuff that will actually provoke anger in your child. Try to avoid doing those things. If there is a verse in Scripture I need to hear, with a preteen in my home, it's this one. This is one of the biggest challenges dads face. We can blame being tired, overwhelmed and lack of self care, but we still have to hold up this Scripture and try live by it. So, knowing this begs the question...

 Angers Antidote


What are the most common ways you might be provoking your child to anger?


Glad you asked. Here’s a helpful list I first heard from Randy Patten in biblical counselor training, noted author, speaker, and biblical counselor who wrote this blog 25 Ways to Provoke Our Children to Anger years ago. 
1. Lack of marital harmony (Gen. 2:24; Heb. 12:15)
2. Establishing and maintaining a child-centered home (Prov. 29:15; 17)
3. Modeling sinful anger (Prov 22:24-25; Jas. 1:20)
4. Habitually disciplining in anger 
5. Scolding your child
6. Being inconsistent with discipline: from differing standards or enforcement from mom to dad. (2 Cor. 1:17,18; Ecc. 8:11)
7. Having double standards (Matt. 7:1-5)
8. Being legalistic (Matt. 15:7-9; 1 John 5:3)
9. Not admitting you’re wrong and not asking for forgiveness (Matt. 7:3-5)
10. Constantly finding fault (Prov. 11:9,11; 12:18; 18:21)
11. Parents reversing God-given roles
12. Not listening to your child’s opinion or taking his or her "side of the story" seriously (Prov. 18:2,13,17; Jas. 1:19)
13. Comparing your child to others
14. Not making time "just to talk" (2 Sam. 14:28,29)
15. Not praising or encouraging your child
16. Failing to keep your promises (Matt. 5:37; Col. 3:9; Ps 15:4-5)
17. Chastening your child in front of others (Matt. 18:15)
18. Not allowing your child enough freedom (Luke 12:48; 1 Cor. 13:11)
19. Allowing your child too much freedom (Prov. 29:15; Heb. 12:6-9)
20. Mocking your child
21. Abusing your child physically
22. Ridiculing or name calling (Eph. 4:29)
23. Unrealistic expectations
24. Practicing favoritism
25. Training your child with worldly methodologies inconsistent with God’s Word


Homework: review this list and mentally circle the ones you've done over the last month. 


While each child is personally responsible for his own sin, the warning from God is in Scripture for a reason. Biblical fatherhood matters. We are to "bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord". 


Our calling is to raise our child to maturity, not just physically, but by training in such a way that he learns to obey God's Word and function as an adult who can ultimately think and act biblically—independent of his father. Some might call this "making disciples"—and they'd be correct.


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Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. Ryan is married to Tonia and they have three children. He serves as Lay Pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. and is a diehard Redskins fan. Learn more about Ryan here and find him on Twitter @RyanSanders. 

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