The Root of Anger and 3 Ways to Control It

Anger is triggered by many factors, and sometimes one person can carry more of those triggers than others.  Some of us have deep wells of hurt, regret, or fear that can transform into anger at a moment’s notice. I had one such incident the day after Christmas with my eleven year old daughter.

The Root of Anger and 3 Ways to Control It

She displayed some behavior that I’ve noticed in myself that I’m not particularly fond of and I reacted. (With more bad behavior, go figure). This, in turn, created a reaction in my daughter and things escalated quickly. Before long I realized what had happened and after unloading loud words and punishments, I began to recognize what I had done. Most of us have flaws that we’d rather not see birth out of our children. Beyond that, recognizing where the origin of our anger or frustration lies is the key to eliminating much of that anger. Rather than laboring to control our anger, perhaps it’s a good idea if we face it head on.

Root of Anger

How can we get to the root of what’s making us angry and deal with it? While we’ll need to train our reactions in the short run, sometimes working through root anger issues can take years to sort out and heal from. This may take some time to reflect, perhaps journal, and really dig deep. Sometimes it really requires some searching to finally reach the problem. Aside from part of my frustrations stemming from fear that my children will pick up my bad habits, I have several other anger issues stemming from selfishness, unrealistic expectations, and feeling overwhelmed that can all trigger reactive responses.


Anger in and of itself is not a sin in some cases {it really depends on your heart}. However, responding in anger can be and it carries consequences with it. We can wound our children in our anger. We can break their spirits or even be a root cause of anger in their own lives. I don’t think it is something we should brush off as normal or no big deal. It is something that we should be taking diligent steps to minimize and control.

But, How?

First, begin with prayer. Ask for God to change your heart because it’s really the molding of the Holy Spirit that is going to be effective in our change. Second, be willing to be molded. We can’t expect change when we don’t want to be changed. It’s going to take some effort on our part, not merely a change made up in our minds, but some purging of our heart. I think we expect that anger will be lifted from our lives with little to no effort, but that’s just not the case. It really does require some chiseling and pain to purge those areas. Third, memorize scripture dealing with anger and the tongue.  This simple task can be very helpful in the midst of an episode rising in us. If we can stop our anger from elevating from a frustration to an explosion, we’ll begin to learn self-control. One way to do this is to be familiar with verses on anger so they can be brought to memory when we feel those frustrations rising in us. James 1:19 and Proverbs 15:1 are great places to start. None of these are meant to be a cure-all for all anger issues. They are merely a starting point, and we all need to start somewhere. It begins with recognizing we have anger, pinpointing it’s root, and taking steps to control it. Let’s start with an attitude adjustment. Let’s respond with a soft answer. I have an eBook devotional on speaking words of grace to our children rather than in anger and frustration. It’s called, A Gentle Answer, and you can get a copy of it here. It’s 21 days of verses, tips, and ideas on how to be mindful of our words and our tone, especially in frustration. A Gentle Answer - devotional for moms What’s one way you have found that helps you deal with anger? Joy in Christ, Christin, Joyful Mothering

This post is part of the month-long challenge From Grouchy…To Great.  Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

From Grouchy…To Great

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  1. Elissa Philgence says

    Hi Christin

    You said it all when you said, “She displayed some behavior that I’ve noticed in myself that I’m not particularly fond of and I reacted…” Oh my oh my, have I not been there, too many times to count,. Thank you for saying that.

    We see in our children what we hate in ourselves and we try so hard to change them. In fact we should be trying to change self and then they too will follow.

    Yes, the more I see ‘me’ in my daughter the more I fall to my knees. It’s a daily growing process but I am getting there slowly. Thank you for sharing this, it really hit home.

    Blessings on all you do.

  2. Myra says

    Thank you for the free ebook! Just last night, one of my prayers was asking God to whisper to me when my words or attitude towards my children are less than what He wants. I started reading your ebook today, and I am so encouraged to read Psalm 139. It’s as if it were written just for me. :) It’s yet another prompting from the Holy Spirit. Thanks and many blessings to you!

  3. Xochitl Elizondo says

    Thank you! I began my first day and thank you for your honesty and putting this together. Sometimes i get so discouraged because I don’t know where to start or what to do. I want to change, I “choose to see” because I desire to serve Him. Thank you

  4. says

    This is such a good word! I never even knew I had a temper (struggle with anger) until I had children. I think one of the biggest revelations for me was to recognize that my children weren’t “making” me angry, but that it was coming from within me. Probably sounds pretty basic, but it was the beginning step for me. Thanks for sharing and for your book too!

  5. Jenny says

    Thank you so much for the devotional, I’m so looking forward to reading it!
    (Small world, my family lives on the Central Coast & my parents did City to the Sea also!) :)

  6. Steph says

    Thank you for this great reminder. I heard once (wish I could remember who said this so I could give credit where it is due) that if a glass of water gets knocked over, why did the water come out of the glass? Not because it was knocked over…but rather because the water is what was inside of the glass. The water is a metaphor for any behavior that comes out of us. Mine is anger…and I also never thought I had anger or impatience inside until I became a homeschooling homemaker of 4 littles. I realized quickly I had never been tested. I failed many tests on my own…then started leaning on Him. It is still an uphill bloody battle, but my family depends on me. God’s speed to all of you.

    • birdruth says

      I’ve listened to an anger seminar audio cd by ?Paul Tripp, he used that water glass illustration! Just as milk won’t spill out of the glass (water will), anger only comes out of us if it’s within. “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”says Jesus in Matthew or Mark I think. I, too, before kids thought I was patient,selfless +kind, not angry, selfish+impatient, idolising my comfort. May God change us as only he can.

  7. Kathleen says

    My children are my heart and soul. I try to be a good parent every single day but sometimes I just don’t know if I’m doing it right. Some of things I have said and done that have damaged my children break my heart. I beat myself up over it. I see my older son acting so much like his father, who is not a good person and I get so angry over that, and try to stop him from being like that. Then I get so frustrated with my two year old testing me and my limits every single day and I sometimes snap. I never spank, but I did the other day and it broke my heart. I don’t know how to forgive myself for some of these things. I pray but I feel like I’m not being heard. Thank you for sharing this, I feel like I needed it today.


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