How to Deal with Anger Issues in Children

Growing up is harder than it looks. Children face many challenges, everything from bullies to broken homes that can cause anger issues to build and manifest in a variety of ways from name calling to throwing a book at a sibling. There are multiple triggers that could cause anger to erupt in children and the root of that anger isn’t always to identify.

Emotions are real but not always reliable

It’s important to mention that being frustrated or angry is a natural emotional response. If a child gets angry it’s not always something to be afraid of nor should a parent avoid discussing it either.

The results of that anger are what needs to be addressed carefully to successfully find a healthy way to express angry emotions. Unhealthy anger in a child could be expressed by violating someone through a form of physical aggression, verbal outbursts, seeking revenge or other negative, disruptive behaviors.

Address, but don’t suppress anger issues

Suppressing anger isn’t the solution. Children should have the freedom to express anger, happiness, sadness and the range of other emotions on the spectrum. They shouldn’t be restricted to only experiencing and displaying a certain set of emotions.

Controlling the emotions a child is allowed to feel can force those emotions to grow inward leading to depression or a host of other hidden hurts. Telling a child not to be angry is invalidating their feelings and telling them that anger emotion doesn’t exist. Acknowledging and addressing anger issues is the answer.

Parenting inconsistencies

Properly addressing anger largely falls on the parents involved in a child’s life. Parents of children struggling to manage angry outbursts, find it helpful to reflect on their own personal parenting methods.

Use of inconsistent disciplinary actions or methods leave the child with unstable boundaries and the inability to figure things out. As a result, the child is constantly frustrated due to the lack of consistency in their environment and they don’t learn the proper coping skills necessary to handle real-life situations.

A parent that remains calm during an anger outburst can easily detach from emotions and defuse the situation. Parents who model a healthy way to channel anger will be better equipped to facilitate the development of those same healthy ways in their children.

Ephesians 6:4 reads, “Father, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” In other words, Paul is admonishing fathers not to provoke their children to anger by providing them with a training process that builds their character through exposure to biblical principles that are good for them.

Freedom of choice

Life moves at the speed of our choices. Some choices move us forward while others take us back. When children learn that their choices are bringing them unfavorable results—limited screen time, timeouts, loss of privileges—they become more open to learning healthy ways to express emotions. Children have individual identities and need the opportunity to explore choices on their own.

It is helpful for parents to set clear expectations and consequences when in control of their emotions, refraining from impulse consequences that end up confusing their children.

An example would be to tell your child every night they need to wash the dishes after dinner. Failure to wash the dishes will result in no screen time that night. It’s better for a child to learn lessons from their bad choices and discover how to make responsible choices that are beneficial to their lives.

Delivering consequences

It’s a fine line between tender and tough. Letting a child know in the midst of a failure that they are still loved as they receive the consequence for failing to meet the expectation is how balance is struck between soft and stern.

For example, the child who did not wash the dishes before turning on the TV may be told, “What a bummer that you are going to miss out on tonight’s episode of your favorite show. I know next time you will remember to wash the dishes first.”

In this example, the parent’s anger isn’t evident and the consequences are upheld using a loving approach. This technique calmly explains the consequences of the child’s personal decision to disobey but focuses on the opportunity to try again tomorrow.

A child that is just yelled at only learns how much they dislike being yelled at or learns to use that in the future as their way to solve problems. Reacting to misbehavior during a crisis is never a wise option. Spanking or yelling when angry will only perpetuate that same behavior in your children.

Hebrews 12:11 (NLT) reads, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it’s painful! But afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”

Children and adults don’t naturally gravitate toward a disciplined life. It’s not easy to embrace.  Implementing expectations, giving the freedom to choose and clearly discussing consequences with your children are a few steps to take to navigate anger outbursts and prepare them for the real world.

If your child is showing signs of uncontrollable rage or hostility, it may be helpful sit down with a licensed therapist to talk through what could be causing the problem. Learning how to train your child without exasperating them can often yield great results for a child with an explosive temper.

“Let go,” courtesy of Josh Willink,, CC0 License; “Snatching berries,” courtesy of Kelly Sikkema,, CC0 License; “Kitchen drawer,” courtesy of Jaroslaw Ceborski,, CC0 License; “Red head,” courtesy of Matheus Bertelli,, CC0 License 

Lies Women Believe: Experiencing the Stages of Spiritual Development

This blog post is a review of “Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free,” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

In her book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free, Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes about three different stages of spiritual development for women. We’ll take a look at each of those stages below.

Three Stages of Spiritual Development for Women

Stage One: Knowing Eve

What do you think Eve thought after she was removed from Eden? Do you think she regretted paying attention to the lies of the serpent? Picture what it must have felt like for Eve, one moment being in agreement with God, and then rebelling and being separated from him and not thrown out of her home. This was her first experience with isolation and failure. As women, we have all experienced these feelings (non-Christian and Christian women alike).

DeMoss believes that Christian women today are in bondage. She says: “They can’t enjoy God’s love.” This is a result of past experiences and sins. Another type of bondage that she mentions is “fear of man,” which consists of fear of being rejected, fear of what others think, and our need for others to approve of us.

Scripture teaches us that we should be free, but most women aren’t. Why is that? Because we were deceived. This began with Eve, and women have continued to believe these lies down to this present day.

Every difficulty we have today is because we have believed in these lies. We need to take back our lives!

Stage Two: Seeing the Lies

The author includes a list of the most common lies that women believe. This list is not exhaustive and not everyone is weighed down by the same lies. However, the lies mentioned are quite common among women.

Lie #1 – God: A common question in counseling is this: “if God is good, tell me why this [insert bad thing here] happened to me/my loved one?” Satan made use of a similar question to create doubt in Eve, distracted her (and us) from the good things God has provided. It also justifies us in deciding good and evil for ourselves, apart from God and his word.

Additionally, we tend to believe falsehoods regarding God’s attitude toward us. For example, if God doesn’t answer our prayers, we question his love for us. This is true even of Christians who were raised in a Church setting. They might know all about God’s love, but they don’t necessarily always experience it. This is another example of what the author describes as bondage.

Other lies that women believe about God may include: comparing God to the men we interact with, believing that God isn’t sufficient, feeling that living a godly life places too many limits on us, and thinking that God ought to fix every problem we have. If any of these lies sound familiar to you, you ought to read this book.  After all, our view of God is the foundation for all of life.

Lie #2 – Us: When we think about how we view God, we also begin to question how God sees us. Ms. DeMoss writes “If we do not see Him as He really is – if we believe things about Him that are not true – invariably, we will have a distorted view of ourselves.” If we believe that God does not control all things, it leads us to believe in lies.

For example, we start to believe that we are worthless. 42% of the women who were surveyed by DeMoss reported believing that they were worthless. This feeling can begin in childhood and run through a woman’s life all the way into adulthood. Left unaddressed, it can even lead to mental health issues as well.

Jesus has lived this pain. 1 Peter 2:4 reminds us that Jesus was “rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him.” Jesus viewed himself with reference to God the Father. Jesus showed our worth by loving us enough to die on the cross for us

This chapter also addresses the following lies: the lie that we need self-love, the lie that we cannot change, the lie that our rights are sacred, the lie that beauty on the outside is more important than beauty on the inside, and the lie that all your longings should be fulfilled. The end of each chapter has Bible passages that counter these lies. The author also has questions that you can use to determine whether these lies are present in your life.

Lie #3 – Sin: As Christians, we still sin. We are born with it, and that’s why we need the grace of God. While sin is present until we arrive in heaven, there are a lot of lies that we believe about it. Satan’s objective with Eve was to get her to sin and to believe that there would be no consequences.

This may be seen when the Serpent told Eve, “You surely won’t die!” though God had already told her “Eat this fruit and you will die.” The book offers a great discussion of this lie. It also expands to include other lies such as my sin not that serious, God will never forgive my sin, and I am not responsible for my sins.

In order to fight against these lies, we are asked to 1) Acknowledge God’s view of our sin, 2) Take full responsibility for our sin, 3) Assert the truth, 4) Act on the truth and 5) ask for God’s help to live a life of truth.

The remaining five lies addressed in the book focus on major aspects of our life such as emotions, marriage, children, and the personal circumstances we find ourselves in. Similar to the earlier chapters, each of these ends with a discussion of some truth from Scripture. The last page of each chapter has a prayer that may be of use to help you seek God’s help. We all want to be free of these lies.

Stage Three: Seeking the Light

The book has two main points. First, that believing lies restrain us, and second, that the truth can freedom. When we allow our relationship with God to grow, we stop believing in the lies.

In this last step, DeMoss walks us through a number of specific passages that will help to break our bondage. This review won’t go into much detail because it’s important that you read this portion of the book, yourself. However, we are here to help each other out. If you struggle to let go of a particular lie and need help, the Christian Counseling Newport Beach can help you.

Lastly, the each chapter’s structure allows you to know the truth of specific scripture verses. Some lies that you don’t know you believe will be revealed, and God will give you the confidence to start addressing them.

Also, each chapter provides sufficient Scripture to read to become stronger against lies that you may not have experienced. Store the lessons in your heart, and you will find God’s plan revealed to you.

“Long Distance,” courtesy of Chris Lawton,, CC0 License; “Strong,” courtesy of Christopher Campbell,, CC0 License; “Pray,” courtesy of Olivia Snow,, CC0 License; “Smile,” courtesy of Caique Silva,, CC0 License 

How to Cope During a Panic Attack

Are chest pains, a pounding heart, faintness, weakness or dizziness, breathing difficulties, sweatiness or chills, a feeling of impending doom all too familiar symptoms to you? If so, then you probably know how upsetting a panic attack can be.

Some people even think they’re having a heart attack when they experience these symptoms, so a trip to the emergency room would be wise to rule out the possibility. It’s quite stressful for your body, and it takes a toll on your emotions as well.

A Defense Mechanism

Stress is not necessarily evil, though. It’s the body’s way of reminding us we need to keep things in check. Our bodies are fragile and yet also adaptable, ready to cope with whatever comes its way.

The body is equipped with the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which acts as a defense mechanism that helps us in times of crisis. This sympathetic nervous system stimulates the fight or flight response, which helps your body to make a split-second decision to either stand and defend yourself against a certain threat or flee it.

For instance, when faced with a person in an alley who seems to be wielding a weapon, your SNS could either prepare you to take out your umbrella to defend yourself (fight) or run the opposite direction as fast as you can (flight). Basically, the function of the SNS is to do whatever is necessary to maintain that balance, to keep you safe.

Traumas and Triggers

Understandably, your body would be agitated by such an encounter. Suppose you realize shortly after that instead of a weapon, that stranger was actually just holding a flashlight. Your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) then takes over to calm you down, helping you to relax by inhibiting or slowing the high energy functions activated by the SNS. It slows down your heart rate and relaxes some muscles, among other things.

The PNS is crucial because too much stress damages the body. Events like these can leave you traumatized, and trauma can rewire your brain and make your body act as if you’re always in danger, making it nearly impossible to remain in a state of calm. This predisposes you to anxiety and panic. If this persists for more than six months and remains unchecked, anti-anxiety medication may be required to help you keep things in check.

Our bodies have a way of remembering trauma. This can lead to a panic attack, which usually has a trigger. But not all triggers are the overt type. Some are less obvious, and this can make it quite challenging to figure out exactly what triggered your panic attack. This commonly happens when you don’t have outlets for these traumatic experiences, such as having someone to talk to and process these events with.

In these cases, they can build up in our system and implode with a panic attack even without any tangible trigger. A fainting spell is also possible; though this could also have a more serious root cause, in which case it would be best to see a doctor.

What You Can Do

You may begin to think that you’re helpless when it comes to managing your anxiety. The good news is that you’re not. There are many coping skills you can learn to help you keep your anxiety at bay. You have your parasympathetic nervous system to thank for that.

It may take a while, but it is definitely possible to unlearn your body’s response to trauma and retrain it to respond differently to anxious thoughts and feelings. One of the best and easiest ways to do this would be to control your breathing.

Here is a step-by-step procedure on how to do just that:

  1. First, find a place where you can sit in a comfortable, relaxed posture.
  2. Next, engage your diaphragm and breathe slowly. Make sure you push out your stomach (diaphragm). You can place your hand on your stomach to ensure its movement.
  3. Inhale slowly (through the nose) to the count of three. Inhale 1…2…3. Then exhale slowly through your mouth.
  4. If you were able to do that, increase the count of your inhale to six. Inhale 1…2…3…4…5…6. Then exhale slowly.
  5. Do this for a minute, focusing on your breathing and just feel the anxiety melting away as your body calms down.
  6. Continue this exercise and increase deep breathing duration to two minutes, then five, then ten, or twenty if necessary.

This exercise may not be easy to do at first. But just as you are teaching your body to cope in different ways, you are also unlearning some unhealthy learned responses to stress, so it may take a while to get used to. Take it easy on yourself. After all, you’re doing your part to teach your body that it’s okay to calm down.

The Three R’s: A Non-Medicinal Treatment Approach for Anxiety

A guide to the non-medicinal treatment of anxiety can be outlined with these three words: Recognize, Reflect and Redirect.

Recognize – A wise man once said: “Anxiety is a monster that grows when we feed it with avoidance.” This could not be truer. Some people are predisposed to avoiding anxious thoughts with unhelpful coping mechanisms, such as diverting their attention to social media, television or whatever it is that makes the anxiety go away…temporarily.

The thing with avoidance is that it does not solve the issue. It doesn’t even recognize the issue. Not recognizing the issue means not recognizing the need to keep things in check, until the issue has spiraled out of control. A series of persistent anxious thoughts that remain unchecked could lead to a panic attack, which leads to more panic attacks. This is why recognizing that you feel anxious is crucial in managing anxiety.

Reflect – Not all stress or anxiety is bad. In fact, a certain amount of anxiety could keep you out of trouble. For instance, that sudden stress you feel when you wake up in the middle of the night and realize you left your front door unlocked would be enough to make you get out of bed to lock it so you can keep your family safe, no matter how tired you are.

But catastrophic expectations, such as thinking that one day, you are bound to forget to lock the door and an intruder will come in can quickly spiral into panic. Which is why it’s necessary to do a bit of reflection and consider asking yourself, “Is there anything I can do about this now?” If nothing can be done for the moment, then focus on the present. Practice deep breathing and remind yourself to focus on the now.

Redirect – Here come the helpful diversionary tactics. Once you’ve been able to recognize the anxious thought and reflect on it, it’s important to ensure it doesn’t cycle back to being picked up again. Now is the time to focus on positive things like work, your environment or even a memory verse from the Bible that ministers to you about your anxiety. Focus on mindfulness, the here and now, your extrasensory experiences and engage your imagination.

An example of using redirection would be to put on some relaxing music and work with your hands (clean the house, wash your car, clean up your closet) after you’ve recognized an anxious thought and reflected on it. As you redirect, engage your imagination and think about the instruments being used to play the music, consider what it must’ve been like as they recorded the song, think of who the musicians were.

While you’re at it, consider also the feel of your hands working through whatever it is you’re touching – a broom, a t-shirt, a sponge. Feel the texture, weight, shape in your hands. These mindfulness techniques help you focus on the here and now, thereby redirecting your mind and preventing the anxious thought from starting up again.

Growth and Healing Are Choices

One important thing to remember with any treatment approach is that you need to treat yourself with curiosity and kindness. The curiosity will help you look into your emotional world and try to see what drives your trauma, and the kindness will go a long way in your journey of healing.

All your past experiences, good or bad, shape your emotional structure as do your responses to these events. The responses may have ended up as learned (though unwanted) behavior. The key is that once you recognize that there is a pattern of unwanted behavior you may have picked up from some negative past experience, you have the chance to free yourself from being a helpless victim. If that means you need to take anti-anxiety medication then do so – there is no shame in that.

To say that a lack of faith causes anxiety is to oversimplify a psychological condition and undermine faith. In fact, in 1 Timothy 5:23, Timothy is given instruction by Paul to drink wine to ease his stomach discomfort. This shows men of faith taking practical steps to heal physical ailments.

Why should asking for help to ease your minds be any different? After all, God has given you a sound mind to be able to discern where to seek treatment – whether it be a recovery group, counseling or a psychiatrist. God has provided avenues for healing. You must make the choice to move forward.

God Loves and Values You

It is unfortunate that many believers think God doesn’t want us to feel good about ourselves. Blame it on the excesses of the self-esteem movement in the 60s that took Christianity and feeling good about oneself out of context and to an extreme.

No matter what has happened in the past, what’s happening now, and what’s to come, God loves you. He treasures you. Remember what He did on the cross to redeem you. This should be enough to remind you of your worth in His eyes. So stop believing the lies of the enemy. You ARE worth it.

Stop beating yourself up – He has already won. The work is done. Christ is victorious. All you need to do is take steps to manage your anxiety. God wants you to see His goodness in your life.

Christian Counseling for Anxiety

You are created in God’s image. As God’s image-bearers on earth, shouldn’t you be the best version of yourself so that you can reflect God’s greatness? If you struggle with anxiety, if it holds you back in any way perhaps Christian counseling Newport Beach could help you examine your struggles and provide expert guidance on how to cope. After all, you are not meant to bear this burden alone.



“Depressed,” courtesy of HolgersFotographie,, CC0 License; “Upset,” courtesy of Ben White,, CC0 License; “Please, Lord,” courtesy of Diana Simumpande,, CC0 License; “Stretch,” courtesy of Jacob Postuma,, CC0 License