Homeschooling an angry child: The hardest part of Jamie’s homeschool year

Homeschooling an angry child The hardest part of Jamie's homeschool year
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom, with the permission of my angry child, who “hopes this story will help others”

The whining starts before breakfast. It rapidly escalates to full-blown screaming, and we never know how long it will last.

Maybe ten minutes, twenty, or thirty. Maybe one hour.

On our worst days, maybe two.

When it’s over, the heartfelt remorse finally kicks in:

“Sorry, Mommy.”

The hardest part of my homeschool year

Then it’s damage control and recovery time:

How many things have been thrown and need to be cleaned up? Is anything broken? Our nervous systems now shot (especially my highly sensitive one), we may or may not continue with our learning rhythm for the day. It depends on whether or not we can pick up the pieces–literally and emotionally.

“Hi, my name is Jamie, and I homeschool a child with anger issues.”

I didn’t realize it for the longest time. I thought that we were just dealing with typical developmental stages that would eventually work themselves out.

We figured we probably had one of those strong-willed children on our hands, and with firm, loving, consistent discipline (like all the books recommend) the situation would resolve itself.

You’ve heard, of course, about the “terrible twos.” But what about the terrible threes, fours, fives, sixes, sevens, eights, and nines? By this point it became glaringly obvious that we were no longer dealing with the norm.

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 7.02.30 AM
Photo by David M. Goehring

After years of this, I was one tired, sad mama. A mama convinced that I must be seriously screwing something up. A mama with a popular homeschooling blog who was just about ready to throw in the homeschooling towel.

A mama feeling ridiculously angry herself.

My journey with my child is far from over, far from being wrapped up with a beautiful, “we’re fine” bow. But there are a few things I’ve learned over the years, a few things I wish someone had told me earlier.

Homeschooling an angry child – A few suggestions:

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 7.05.01 AM Photo by Samuel Sharpe

1. Tell someone; don’t hide it.

For the longest time, I didn’t open up about what we were going through. Because most of my child’s anger is directed toward me, I felt like it was my problem, my fault. So I kept it inside or tried to make light of it.

THIS WAS MY BIGGEST MISTAKE. Please, if you have an angry child at home, tell someone! Make it a dear friend, of course, but you need support.

One of my turning points was when, in the middle of one of my child’s tantrums, I wrote this to a handful of trusted friends:

“Right now my child has been screaming for over an hour and I am so sad. I need you guys to know, just because I don’t want to feel like it’s this dark secret I’m keeping, and also because I need someone to tell me that it’s not all my fault, I guess. I know I can trust you and I would really value your prayers.”

Typing those words was a relief, and so were the kind, caring responses that came back afterwards.

2. Try stuff.

Anger can arise due to a host of reasons: physical causes, spiritual causes, emotional causes. In some cases all of the above.

This means there’s plenty to investigate and try to see if something helps: curing your child with foodcutting out sugar, counseling, neurofeedback, exercise, time in nature, medication, and/or new discipline techniques.

If you’re dealing with anger on a daily/weekly basis, you have nothing to lose by taking steps toward solutions that might improve the situation.

3. But know that it might not work.

We’ve tried a lot of stuff over the years, but none of it has been the magic cure-all that we hoped to stumble upon.

And that’s why we’ve learned to celebrate victory in baby steps.

In our case, it’s been the slow growth of maturity in our child’s life that has started producing a bit of self-control in their heart. 

We cling to and celebrate each good day, each peaceful hour.

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 7.07.27 AM Photo by Mark Dixon

4. Make sure you’re standing firm when it really matters.

One of the most helpful things I realized from this popular book by Dr. Ross Greene is that I was making my life harder by fighting battles that weren’t critically important.

I now try to ask myself: “Is this issue going to matter in ten years’ time?” If the answer is yes, I follow through; if it’s no, I backtrack and try to give some leeway. This allows my child to retain a sense of control and independence, which helps.

5. Identify your own anger.

I never thought of myself as an angry person before I began raising this child. My how things change.

Acknowledging my own anger, and the ways I handle it badly at times, has definitely been a part of my own growth through this process. I have been on my knees again and again, weeping and pleading with God to change my heart.

Sometimes my child is right there beside me, doing the same thing.


6. Tie in a reward for yourself.

This may sound cooky, but I promise it makes a difference. On days when my child has had an outburst, I get to watch an episode of Little House on the Prairie.

Crazy, right? But it changes (to a small degree) the way I view and respond to my child’s anger. Usually after a tantrum we need a bit of recovery time, so a show (which the kids can join me for) ushers in calm before we start again.

What would help restore your equilibrium after a child’s explosion? A walk, a bike ride, a story? Just don’t make it a food reward or you’re creating a new issue to deal with!

7. Consider your options.

This past year I reached what felt like my breaking point when it came to homeschooling our angry child. As painful as it was, Steve and I started to consider other options.

For us, public school is out. This child would absolutely not work well in that environment. We might solve one problem by enrolling, but we would create a whole host of others.

Then we looked at private schools, but the cost is prohibitive. Having a child in school full-time would also alter the mornings and afternoons for all of us, which isn’t a trade-off we’re willing to make.

But now I think we’ve stumbled upon a solution–a drop off program for homeschoolers two days a week. I’m hopeful that this break in our week will help us all feel as though we can breathe a little.

It’s more than legitimate to consider your schooling options when dealing with an angry child. You need help and can’t do it alone, so brainstorm what your choices are in this life season.

Imagine what the ideal solution would look like if you could design one, then pray into it and ask God to  provide what He knows you need most.

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 7.08.37 AM Photo by Vinoth Chandar

Mamas and papas of angry children,

I wish I could wave a magic wand over you today. But I can’t. I can’t make grand promises, can’t tell you how long this will last, can’t offer you ten steps to make it all better.

I can tell you this, though: Your pain has a purpose. It’s a testimony, showing what real faithfulness and devotion looks like in this all too fickle and unstable world of ours.

Your job is not to “fix” your child. Your job is to love. To see with eyes of faith beyond this moment to what one day could be. To believe: Today, tomorrow, and for however long it takes.

As long as your brokenness leads you back to the One who makes all things new, you and your child are in good hands.

Hands that can be trusted–both now and in whatever tomorrow brings.

In this together,


Are you also homeschooling a child with anger issues? What would be your most helpful suggestion for others in the same situation?

This post is part of our Hardest Part of my Homeschool Year series.

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She is the co-founder and editor of Simple Homeschool, where she writes about mindful parenting, intentional education, and the joy found in a pile of books. Jamie is also the author of a handful of titles, including her newest release, Give Your Child the World.


  1. Tasmanian says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This post has come at such a good time for me. Thank you for your honesty and your help. I will definately take your advice. Favourite post from you.

    • Blessed by that, so glad it is a help and encouragement to you!

      • You’re an encouragement to me too. I had thought (hoped) all that was wrong with my younger kid was ADHD, super minor ASD or even just getting over some difficult things in our lives (two great grandparents dead, two grand parents, last two currently dying, my Babs and Lyme disease 18 months ago, Dad unemployed for almost two years and now constantly having to work overtime, Sissy going onto college now, constantly having to move around except for the last few years, “not working out” at the local Christian school and not having the money for a full time attendant while in school). I have tried the last two years to home school but he is WAY behind other kids and really out of control. I am doing my best, but it’s NO WORKING. We pray constantly and we notice lately my son wants to interrupt EVERY church service and can’t stand anyone reading, especially the Bible and can’t stand being read to. Wants to only watch movies or look at books himself and wrecks the edges and bindings of his books but when you stop and read or try to read to him, he gets mad. His hearing and vision are just fine. He’s very healthy and growing fast and really can do some great soccer moves but wasn’t allowed on any team in school and supposedly couldn’t function in gym and ended up spending ALL of his time with the attendant in the special ed room and on the playground and at the end had taken to breaking and running away from the people that worked with him. So now he’s at home and there’s been SOME improvement, but only very little. He now acts like he hates, won’t do anything I say, and tries to break things whenever possible and has temper tantrums every day. I am worn out and since I had the Lyme/Babs I am not what I used to be physically, so I can’t keep up with him. I have been trying to exercise and eat right so as to lose weight and gain more vitality but I still can’t keep up. He doesn’t want to exercise with me (not even guy-directed videos, which I prefer over Jane Fonda type aerobics anyway), which I think would solve part of it if he would try them. I try to have him help me with chores but he always wants to do the opposite and if left alone, will find something to break, dig up, throw around or destroy. Sometimes I just give him something to “throw around” so he thinks he got to do something like that. I wish we could buy a hobby farm with some woods and acres because I think that’s what he really could use. I still haven’t found a way for him to channel his destructive energy in order to change from destructive to constructive. I would even try a wood stove and him chopping wood if it helped. We had a wood stove along with our LP gas heat in order to keep the electric and gas bills down. It was good for us four kids. My parents had deliberately bought an acre place in the country after Milwaukee became too violent a place to live in. It had a huge garden, lots of trees, a big natural sand box, lots of flowers and bushes, a playground set, lots of grass, even a turn around place to run a bicycle in, a huge garage and basement, enclosed back porch, and a wood stove in the basement even though it had all the other modern conveniences. For us three kids and eventually four and a dog and cats it was perfect. Our current place sits on a tiny lot next to a busy street, has no dryer or dishwasher and a tiny basement I can’t even stand up in and a garage that is “off limits” to my son. The only saving grace is that it has a tree, but my son doesn’t climb it and we are likely to get in trouble if he falls. He got bitten by a dog, so that brought investigation into our lives. We lost a grandparent a few times, though she’s gotten out of just about EVERY place she’s lived in, so that’s gotten us into trouble, plus another incident. It’s easier to avoid trouble now with him full time at home and me always watching him, but he’ll even have a huge temper tantrum even sometimes when I use the bathroom. I don’t know what to do. We try very hard with him and he SLOWLY is improving, but it’s not fast enough for some people.

  2. Thank you for this. It helps to know others go through this too.

  3. I bet it was painful to write that. I’m sorry that you have this struggle, Jamie.
    I grew up as a sibling of an angry child, and I wish my parents had acknowledged how hard that was for me. They said I had it easy because I was stable and she was the one with the burden, and they also had the burden of being the parents. There was no care for me as the sibling. The last thing I want to do is cause you more pain, so I hesitate to share this, but I just wanted to say that it can go such a long way to acknowledge that this is hard and painful for your other two. Bringing the Lord into everything is also key. We didn’t have that growing up.
    This is just beautiful:
    I can tell you this, though: Your pain has a purpose. It’s a testimony, showing what real faithfulness and devotion looks like in this all too fickle and unstable world of ours.

    • I think that is such a wonderful point, Lori. Thanks for sharing it! We do talk about it with the other two, but I will certainly keep this in mind as we move forward.

    • This is a great point, I often worry that my other 2 children are getting the raw end of the deal. What exactly do you recommend to do for the other two non-angry siblings?

      Jamie, thank you so much for this post. The comment section alone has been hugely encouraging for me to read. I also am a highly sensitive and introverted mom, the angry outbursts really really weigh me down dramatically. I don’t know how to move on with my day in a joyful manner. I feel like our home has been pretty miserable for awhile now and a big part of that is these angry outbursts! How do you get to the point where it doesn’t ruin your day???
      Candace’s latest post: Simple Oatmeal Bake

      • If I had figured that out, Candace, I would have included it in the post! LOL In our experience it just depends, sometimes we are able to put it behind us, some days not. There’s definitely no formula I’ve found that will work every time, but I try to see what the moment calls for and follow it. It doesn’t always work, mind you, but that’s what I am for!

  4. Melissa says:

    I just wanted to share something with you! I have an angry child too, and it took me years to understand that it is mostly a blood sugar thing with him. He has a high metabolism and has to eat often, but mornings are the worst! Or when he’s been out playing with his friends and too distracted to eat. This can turn into a severe meltdown quickly! He has been doing this all his life, and seems to not realize when he is hungry. We have talked about it so much now that we have him connecting this feeling with hunger, and he realizes he needs to eat quickly… There are times when I just grab something and say, “Eat this.. NOW!” He usually apologizes after he’s eaten. Things have been so much better for us since our realization. I just wanted to share this with you since your situation sounded similar to ours.

    • Thanks, Melissa, for sharing. Yep, we have tried that one as well – but it ended up not being the case for us. I’m glad you’ve found something that has helped!

  5. Some days I wonder if this is me, but my children are so young that its hard to know what’s a phase. At 3 and 6 they fight as much as not. The screams and whines start at 7 AM, I often wake to the sound of them yelling at each other (they share a room by necessity). I put on an audio drama during breakfast to help create a background of calm, but one child yells through it to make the other angry. By then my nerves are shot so wasted food and frequent spills send me over the edge and we haven’t even started school work for the day! (Which will also be filled with battles). My six year old hardly eats at all anymore and every few days eliminates another food from her diet. I don’t like to cater to her, but neither do I like to see her starve. We battle her chronic belly pain, my three year old’s food allergies and another baby on the way. (I don’t doubt that my daughter’s GI issues contribute to her anger, but she refuses to cooperate with treatments such as drinking enough water, eating a proper diet and taking probiotics and other supplements). Do I have angry children? I don’t know yet. I know that most days they make me want to run screaming from the room. The sound of their thumping feet, screaming voices and crashes of things dropped or broken makes me want to crawl out of my skin. I blame some of it on pregnancy hormones, but in my heart I know they’ve unearthed a level of anger in me that I didn’t know was possible. (I wish there was a homeschool drop off program in our area, those kind of breaks sound great. I’m lucky to get a night off once or twice a month). I’m going to keep this article around for reference and try to keep coming back to it for inspiration.
    Bethany V.’s latest post: Greening Your Beauty Routine: Lip Color and Mascara

    • Sending up a prayer for you and yours now, Bethany. I also found the book series: Your two year old, your four year old, etc helpful when my kids were your kids’ ages.

      • Jamie, my mom buys those books for me. They are definitely helpful, though I’ve discovered that my son doesn’t really have equilibrium in the usual sense (only comparatively speaking). I have a large stack of parenting books (several of them I found on your blog) that I’m working my way through, just to feel like I’m doing something. I sent them outside after breakfast, hoping it will help. (They or may not have shoes, I’ve decided not to care about that).
        Bethany V.’s latest post: Greening Your Beauty Routine: Lip Color and Mascara

        • Steph J says:

          Bethany, I just want to give you a ‘you are not alone.’ My kids are also 3 and 6 and I just delivered baby number 3. Pregnancy definitely contributed to my ability to handle the noise, and I even have the exact same “wasted food” issues. At my very worst I have asked in an unkind way for my children to go to another room because I cannot handle them (great message–You are not safe with me because I cannot handle this situation/I can’t stand to be around you). At my best I slip away quietly to breathe. I’ve tried to understand myself as possibly highly sensitive and make adjustments (e.g., I love the idea of the audio drama, but then if my kids would talk at the same time, I would be way too overstimulated–I need sound from only one source at a time. That, by the way was my biggest challenge with having two kids–both of the talking at once! I sometimes shudder to think what three will bring!) I also have to know that sugar does bad things to my mood even though I crave it when I’m stressed. And my best days (which still haven’t been great) are usually when I force myself to drink more water than I’d like.

          • Allisson says:

            I completely identified with you on “the message”. My daughter (future peacemaker or therapist) has recently started telling me to breathe. My son and I both seem to escalate rather quickly lately. It seems like someone is yelling for some reason ALL. DAY. LONG! My nerves are shot before lunch. I’ve started taking time outs because I really can’t take it and need to regroup.

            Even though it sounds terrible, if that is what’s needed then so be it. I try to hit the reset button and come out with a clean slate. Some days I need more than one time out. 👎

          • Don’t be embarrassed about that, Allisson, time outs for moms are such a needed gift! Plus a way to model for our angry children the appropriate way to deal with frustration in the moment. Take as many as you need!

    • Bethany, I just wanted to let you know you’re not alone (I’m even right there with you on the wasted food issue). My two are 2 and 6 (almost 3 and 7) and the constant bickering, noise, and drama really gets to me too. My oldest and I butt heads more days than not, and I’ve actually been trying to find some kind of anger management resources (for me–if anyone has any books to recommend I am open to suggestions) because the level of anger I can hit worries me sometimes. We are taking a summer break from homeschooling–we probably should be doing *something* so my daughter doesn’t forget everything, but I just couldn’t face the battles anymore and declared school out for the summer. Now it’s time to start planning for fall, and I’m going back and forth between excitement and dread.

      • Helena, I’d definitely look into Thomas Jefferson Education as an educational philosophy if you haven’t done so already. It can be an absolute life-saver for families with kids like ours, because it removes so much of the need to “battle” over school in the first place. This post is a good place to start, since both of your kids are still in Core Phase: God bless you!

  6. Hi Jamie,
    My son is nearly 15 now.Over the years we have ‘tweaked’ our educational style until we reached full autonomy.It does get better.I so remember the days of kicked doors and turned over furniture. We haven’t had outbursts of anger for several years now.Hang on in there and do what works for you!

  7. You are not alone! Thank you, Jamie, for writing this. I have one child, and he is angry often. We’ve tried so many things to help mitigate his outbursts and attitude. We know some of the issue is his own giftedness and passionate nature, but that isn’t all of it. There are days when I wonder what I’ve done wrong or what I haven’t done. I forget to leave his heart in God’s hands (or I take it back). Knowing there are other moms walking this road helps. We are praying together!

    • Amen! These kids have a passionate future ahead of them, that’s for sure.

      • My oldest child is also an angry child. She is in private school and there were phases when she came home all angry and aggressive. It was terrible and I know the feeling of being a failure as a mom too well.
        I learned a lot through her, though. And I am very greatful for that. She is such a strong character – even though now, in puberty, she feels very vulnarable.
        She is a passionate, strong feeling, deep thinking, talented person. She writes her own piano pieces and fills every spare moment with drawing. She is also very good at handling and riding horses.
        Now, as a teenager, she has calmed down quite a bit. She hardly ever “explodes” and puts her energy in other things more worthwhile. She is not at all the typical teenage girl. Much easier and more reasonable than I thought she would be. I am surprised how firmly she sticks to her believes and how loyal and supportive she is to her friends and family.

        I think angry children are really challenged by themselves – with their energy, their emotions, their intelligence and gifts. I think they are often overwhelmed, but the older they get the more they will learned how to put their gifts to good use. 🙂
        Wishing you all well,
        Sarah (from Germany)
        Sarah’s latest post: Ausgemalt

        • It’s so true, Sarah, there is such a depth and richness to their passions. My hope is that, as you’ve found, those will also begin to show up as my child grows and matures. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thank you! I really needed to see that others go through this too. I keep feeling that I am the worst mom with my son acting the way he does. Ultimately we know that God will use this for His glory and that our son will be used by God to do mighty things. But until then, it is very hard. It is helpful to know others are out there and we are not alone in this.

  9. We have an angry child, too, but he has gotten so much better over the years. I knew he was prone to anger when he was two years old, and I knew it wasn’t just toddlerhood. I was right. But the Lord has also shown me a LOT about my own anger and how much I’m upset at my child for upsetting me. Thank you for writing this. We also use a homeschool drop-off program with all three of our kids. It’s a win-win situation.
    Hannah’s latest post: Things That Always Make the World Better

  10. connie galloway says:

    I don’t homeschool my granddaughter, however, the article gave me a sense of i”m not in this alone! THANK YOU and God bless you

  11. Hi Jamie, I have been reading your blog for awhile now and you have helped me through some difficult times with two young kiddos 15 months apart. Thank you! I don’t know if this info will help but I want to put it out there just case. I have been dealing with adrenal fatigue for quite sometime and came across Dr. Kalish. He is a functional medicine doctor. He also deals with brain issues. Low dopamine/low serotonin. He says it is very easy to get children balanced. The test needed is a simple urine sample and all can be done over the phone. I just had my appt. By phone with him and I also have the low dopamine low serotonin and he says everything should be quite easy to correct. I actually start supplements today. I can’t imagine what you are going through. Hope this can be of some help. God bless you and your family!

  12. Thank you for sharing your deeply emotional blog. This last school year my youngest daughter (who has always been the go with the flow kid) went through a spurt of anxiety/fear/worry/anger all at once. It threw us into a tailspin and there was literally 4 months that we did not do school. After a month or so I reached out to some trusted family/friends and shared what I was living through, then I finally posted a blog about it. It is amazing how many people experience similar things, but if we never share it then we just feel all alone.

    Thank you for your honesty today and always,
    Jenny Johnston’s latest post: DONT LET A FEAR BECOME A PHOBIA – PART 3

  13. Thank you! It is so helpful to know that I am not alone! We will be starting our session in about 3 weeks and I am starting with a fresh heart but know that there will be challenges. This is my 3 year homeschooling and I know that this is the right choice for him but there are days….so thank you for sharing! It does help to lighten the load to know that we are not the only ones!

  14. Thank you for sharing your heart. We too have such an angry, negative child and this summer I have taken a bit more of a break from our homeschooling to notice that most of his episodes come in the morning. I think that this fall schedule will be lighter in the morning hours and see if I can naturally help the issues. ??? Your insights are invaluable, and take me off my island of isolation. Thank you again.

  15. Well now, how can you possibly write my story? ; ) I have 2 of those boys. Started with reading The Strong-Willed Child by Dobson and threw it in the bin. Read a couple of books by Miller & Turansky and it changed many things for us. Then they came to our homeschool convention and breathed new life into me. We were going to put our youngest into public school (I was THAT desperate) and I was completely willing to trade his childhood for some peace in our house for a few hours. But after the convention and implementing the Miller/Turansky Honor System, things have been so much better for us all. He is not going away to school but we, too, are looking for some outside classes for him because he does really well with more time to himself and his own projects. The last few weeks have been so much better. My middle son had horrible anger issues from 2 that involved biting, hitting and even being shunned by friends. Once he threw his friend up against the wall by the throat. He was 10 and a 2nd degree black belt so it really scared his friend. Now this boy is 12 and has so much more self-control. It took professional counseling (both my younger boys go), lots of love and boundaries and we talked a lot about appropriate responses and what to do with frustration. We also studied Precept’s Loving God & Loving Others Bible study and it helped to emphasize that how we treat others is how we treat the Lord. As they get older, that becomes more important to them. For my 9yo, it’s just starting to become important to him. I think what I’ve learned about learning issues and heart issues is that slow and steady wins the race. We can’t solve everything overnight but there is hope in the new day and the Lord’s grace and every morning He gives us what we need to get through the day.

    • Deanna Rich says:

      Thank you. Can you share the names of the books that were the most helpful for you (Miller/Turansky)?

  16. It’s rough, isn’t it? Finding answers, getting through the day. The Ross Greene book is fabulous.

    I almost hate to suggest this (well, I do … I hate it), because I wouldn’t wish our road on anyone, not anyone. But looking into mood disorders might yield some answers. I seriously hate even typing this out. But there is a book, called The Bipolar Child, which can help rule that in or out. There are varying types/degrees of bipolar. Doctors are reluctant to diagnose children because of the lifelong issues. But that means many parents struggle valiantly for years, not knowing what’s going on. Bipolar looks very different in children than adults, and many are unaware of the spectrum of bipolar.

    Again, I’m sorry to even suggest/put it in your mind. It’s not an easy thing to consider. Hopefully you have already ruled it out. But if it’s something you have yet to look into and the answer looks as if it’s what you’re dealing with — there is a lot of help and there are answers.

    You are not alone. It’s not your fault.

    • Excellent book! My daughter is an angry child. She was diagnosed by 4 separate doctors with bipolar disorder and suffered through abuse by her father. This will be my first year to homeschool her. I am praying for the best. So glad to know I am not alone taking on this challenge. I wish we had an online support group!

  17. Jamie, can you elaborate on what a homeschool drop off program is? Times, activities, caregivers?

    • It would depend upon your area, and what’s available, but there are a few to choose from in my town. One of them offers time in nature, crafts, horseback riding, etc. Just a chance to hang on some rural land and just “be” in nature. You have to get active in your HS community and find out what’s available in your town!

    • Hi Sheri! Programs vary so widely depending on your location, but a drop off program would be a program open to homeschoolers during the day that differs from a traditional co-op in that you don’t stay with your child but drop them off and pick them up afterwards. We have a couple of farm-based/nature programs in our area. I’d recommend searching Yahoo groups in your state/area to find out what’s available around where you live. Hope that helps a little!

  18. So sorry all of you are going through this, too, but SO grateful for this posting today. So helpful to know we aren’t alone. Thanks too, to the moms who made suggestions in the comments. Looking those things up right now. My daughter is at camp for a week (it’s fine… WE are the targets of her fury) and it is so peaceful, yet I can’t breathe easier b/c of the guilt I feel about how much easier it is with her at camp. It’s SO hard to not feel like all this is because of some thing I did, or didn’t do. And yes, please get help for the siblings… my son is now into GI issues from the stress. Best of luck to everyone, and thanks again for this essay.

    • Oh goodness, Kim, sending a prayer up for you and yours right now. Isn’t it hard when it feels so easy without them?! My child also does fine with others; the anger only displays with family. This makes it both easier on some levels, and more sad on others. Hugs to you. xo

    • Whitney says:

      Please look up dr Laura Markham focuses on the parents in her guidance of children, and has been a life saver.

  19. Hey there,
    You were such an encouragement to me a year ago when we exchanged some “not everything is perfect” parenting emails. That was a sweet gift to me. I have such admiration for you on so many levels. What I’ve always loved most is your ability to both inspire and be utterly real. So glad you’re my friend, sweet Jamie.

    Love you to pieces!
    Caroline Starr Rose’s latest post: Reading Links

  20. Beth Roberts says:

    Thank you Jamie for sharing your story. It’s a real encouragement to me who has one son with similar issues. We’ve recently discovered that he has SPD which means his body senses/experiencre the world differently than we do, which in turn causes some of his anger and outburts. Thankfully with the help of occupational therapy we are starting to see some improvements. I also really appreciate the reminder that it’s not my job to fix the problem, but to love him. I’m a “fixer” and I struggle alot with what can I do to fix this issue.

  21. Christine says:

    Have you ever explored occupational therapy. I have learned through our experience with SPD. Anger issues are part of modulately our emotions. OT with the right therapist has changed our lives for the better.
    You are not alone!

  22. Thank you for sharing! While it doesn’t sound as extreme as your situation, I do have a “difficult” child. Many of your words will be of help to me.
    Shirley’s latest post: Homeschooling Means…#10

  23. I myself have struggled with anger issues since I was a child. Oh, my poor parents and siblings. I didn’t get help until my early twenties. My third child also has this anger, and I feel like I’m the most patient and understanding with her than the older two, but also can feel discouraged and exhausted by it. Just know that your child will direct their anger towards you, but they are most likely angrier at themselves. I will look into this book. Thanks for sharing this tough issue. We still like your angry child:)

    • Thanks, Sophia! I still like them, too. 😉 xo

    • Whitney says:

      ‘Just know that your child will direct their anger towards you, but they are most likely angrier at themselves.’
      They are not truly angry at themselves. They are in pain, frustrated, maybe embarassed, and at that time have the greatest need of our empathy and compassion.
      They are frustrated that they can’t deal with their own emotions, because they haven’t been shown by example, or given the tools to manage their big feelings. They direct their anger at us because they have no other way to get our attention to ask for help. Their inner emotional turmoil has become such a burden, the only way they can TEMPORARILY absolve it is to scream, break things, etc. They are crying for help.
      But they are not angry at themselves. If they are, it is misplaced and should not be brushed off because it is hard to deal with their anger directed at us. It will only be directed further inward and further emotionally damage that child.
      Our emotions in any situation teach them how to manage, or in most cases not manage, their emotions. No child should be truly angry at themselves, they are in pain; it is manefesting as anger and they really need help from us at that point to get through those emotions.
      AHAPARENTING.COM would really help in this situation. Dr. Laura Markham explains situations like this and a lot of the other ones I’m reading here, as well as have occurred in my own life. It’s a life saver. Guaranteed.

  24. Oh, Jamie.
    What a timely post for me. Thank you so much for being brave enough to write this. My son also has anger issues. He is on the spectrum and has several struggles, but the explosive and violent outbursts and irrational meltdowns are what completely wipe me out emotionally. And, yes, I have let my anger boil up way too often because of the terrible build up of frustration and helplessness that I feel. My current goal is to work on my own anger before working on his. I just have to. I even reward myself with a sticker on my planner each day now that I don’t yell. We are also on a waiting list to get an ABA therapist to work with him (and us) so that we can better learn how to teach him in a way that gets through and that he understands. I’ve also begun organizing meetings with fellow special needs moms in my homeschool group basically for selfish reasons because I need the encouragement–and in the process I hope that I can encourage some of them, too. It’s so horrible to feel isolated and ashamed of what’s happening in your home. It helps tremendously to be able to talk to someone (the right person/people) about it.
    Lora @ my blessed life’s latest post: A Mid-Summer “hello!”

    • Putting a group together is a brilliant idea, Lora. It will help so much. Kudos for taking that intentional step to get the help and support you need. xo

  25. Great post! Anger runs in my family… and I’ve got a son who has struggled with his anger very badly off and on over the years. It peaked when he was 3 and also when he was in his tween years. I definitely agree with the advice you gave. It’s important to have someone to talk you through it – and reassure you that you aren’t crazy. It’s also important to keep showing love to this child. And in my case, it was vital for me to take a look at anything I might be doing to cause his anger to be worse. I had a tendency to put a lot of pressure on this son (my oldest) and once I backed off, things got much better between us. Thanks for sharing your story. I think there are lots of us moms out there who are in the same boat! <3
    Michelle Caskey’s latest post: Family Movie Night – Get WILD with the Wild Brothers!

  26. Jamie, we too homeschool and parent an angry child- one with very special needs. Thank you for opening up and helping all the mother parents who deal with a child who has special needs!

  27. My son was also an angry child, and the one thing that has worked amazingly has been constitutional homeopathy. We tried dietary measures and lots of different parenting strategies, but they never gave us any long-term benefits. Homeopathy, though, has worked so well and so obviously that I even became a homeopath to share this healing modality with others.

    In addition to helping with my son’s anger issues, homeopathy helped with his chronic constipation, sleeping issues, and eczema. This is because constitutional homeopathic treatment actually goes to the root of the issue and stimulates the body to heal the underlying imbalance that leads to the anger issues in the first place. I have blogged about this topic here if anyone is interested in learning more:

    I’d be happy to answer any questions about this, and if this information is unwelcome, please just ignore it!
    Sarah Smith’s latest post: Snapshots of My Family’s Summer Garden

  28. Amber Parry says:

    Oh thank you! This very week our angry child had become to much for me. My husband wanted to put him back in public school and had told our child that because of his abusive behavior to me that this child had not earned the opportunity to be taught in our home. I appreciated his defense of me, but this isn’t the path to help our son. My heart has been broken wondering what I have done wrong to create his anger. It is just so so SO HARD! Your post was a balm to my soul, I needed to hear we’re not alone. I love my boy but I felt so exhausted. Knowing that there are others fighting this same battle has strengthened me. So thank you. Thank you with all my heart.

    • You’re welcome with all my heart, Amber. May God bolster your worn out mama’s spirit. xo

    • Allisson says:

      I hear you completely. Husband is trying to protect you. Son is more than you can handle at times. Big picture you are doing what’s best but the day to day is unbearable.

      I cherish every small victory. Even a pebble can be a stepping stone. God always provides what we need to endure trials. Trust that he will see you through.

  29. I would probably try some magnesium for children. Most of the population is mag deficient based on our eating habits, processed foods, sugar consumption, sodas and leaky guts. If you ruled out food allergies/sensitivities and you are looking for something just to be calm magnesium oil (its a spray) I used Ancient Minerals brand off amazon just for my neck muscles. The Magnesium Advocacy Group on facebook has all the info on using magnesium for better health and info for kids. My daughter went through a period of being angry when I had to divorce(emotionally abusive dad) and she was forced for a while to share a room when she needed her space. She drew pictures of hurting her younger siblings and I had to sit down each night and spend time explaining how to verbalize and work through feelings. We worked slowly through issues using discussions, journaling and lots of hugs. At the same time she was suffering from an undiagnosed food allergy(actually two) that her peds doctor said was in her head. Thanks to another naturopath and an acupuncturist, we had some blood labs done and found out she was allergic to chicken eggs and hazelnuts. We used acupuncture, essential oils, magnesium, probiotics and a lot of love and reassurance to finally get to where we are now. Hang in there, momma!

  30. Whitney says:

    When a child has an emotional outburst, it is often caused by them having big feelings they can’t manage themselves. Whenever we as parents respond to any situation with anger, impatience, or resentment, it teaches our child to respond like that as well. It’s extremely difficult to control your anger. (Not to male it disappear, but to not let it control our actions) When we learn to regulate our emotions, they do too. It takes time and a lot of patience, but it can be done. Try DR. LAURA MARKHAM. AHAPARENTING.COM. it’s a life saver! It’s not about discipline, it’s about reacting with anger or love, choose love.

  31. There were tears streaming down my face throughout my entire reading of your courageous, honest, beautiful post. I’m still crying! Thank you for your vulnerability with us, the faceless ones who consume your words.
    I struggle intensely with not taking the angry outbursts and vicious words personally. I have never experienced so much anger in myself, either. I am practicing simply recognizing my own pain/anger at my sweet child’s words. And then breathing. I hope someday to be able to be calm in my response to him. Thank you for posting!!

  32. Thank you! My son has anger issues. I tend to believe it is my fault as I myself have anger issues. Your post helped me lots and reminded me why I am making my utmost to get the law changed to allow homeschooling in our country since public school is draining us and private school is way too expensive for us
    melissa’s latest post: Lazy days of Summer (day 28)

  33. Thank you for sharing and for being vulnerable, Jamie. By the looks of the responses, I’ve found I’m not alone. Parenting an angry child is extremely challenging and the Lord is using my own daughter to help me grow and mature (at least I hope so!). A previous post of yours about introverts helped me discover that daughter is an introvert and needs lots of down time to replenish and renew otherwise we have major fireworks. As a result, I watch over how she spends her time and where her energy goes and then we make needed adjustments. So thank you for that post too!
    Lastly, I also appreciated the blog from Kari Patterson “Overcoming (your own) Anger in your Homeschool” July 1, 2015. Each of your posts has given me much to consider before we start our next homeschool year. Thanks again and the Lord richly bless you!

  34. Katrina says:

    Jamie, Thank you for this, and for the post not long ago about dealing with my own anger. My eldest son is 9 and gets crazy angry, usually with me. Some of it is blood sugar related, but sometimes he is just mean. I often feel defeated and sad by the whole thing, and have also considered throwing in the towel on homeschooling. Your vulnerability and openness and reminder to find strength and hope in Jesus are REALLY encouraging to me today. I am so glad I am not alone. 🙂

  35. THANK YOU, JAMIE. Thank you for writing this and bringing us mamas together here. I just read through a your post and all the comments. We are all such wonderful, loving mamas to want what’s best for our babies, but (sometimes) not know how to provide it! It’s good to know we are not alone.

  36. Thank you for sharing, we are struggling with our 9 year old son who has Asperger’s syndrome. He had been a difficult fussy baby, then a stoic toddler who morphed into an angry small child at the age of 5. Nothing has changed. He is now 9 1/2 due to his anger which I am also his main target I have not tried to home school him. That breaks my heart as I know he would love it but I don’t see how. Having him go to school is the only break from him that I receive. His brother has special needs too, so any extra thing I have to do for him is met with anger and jealousy from my 9 year old. I know we make the extra effort to treat them both the same but in his eyes he is always getting the short straw. Nothing makes him happy. Medicines have helped slightly, especially with his OCD but our lives for the last 5 years has been very tumultuous. I am a my wits end. Luckily school will begin again, and I will get some much need respite. My heart is so heavy, I feel like I have failed him as a Mom. But I know we have tried everything. God bless you for sharing your story, sometimes it is so easy to think that others have it so much easier when in truth we all have something……

  37. Oh Jamie, thank you so much for sharing.
    “Your job is not to fix your child, your job is to love.” Amen and amen! Thank you for being willing to be honest and open, even when it’s difficult.
    Shawna@nottheformerthings’s latest post: Mixed Blessings

  38. Thank you so much for sharing. This has been my life for years, and I just recently felt the freedom to talk to friends. It is really difficult for me to know what to do next. I appreciate you sharing.

  39. Well, I guess I’ll chime in here too! I have one very angry child (with autism and ADD too) and another who has intermittent rages plus anxiety. Both struggle with learning difficulties. A new naturopath suggested I have them tested for pyroluria, and low and behold, both kids have it. It is easily corrected with supplementation and I am already seeing the anger diminishing after only five days. Thank You God!!! I can’t believe how long we’ve been living with this. Poor stress control, nervousness, anxiety, mood swings, inner tension, anger, depression, aggressiveness, and learning problems are all hallmarks of pyrrole disorder. Breakfast is usually a time where either child gets their feelings hurt and stomps off to slam a door and hide, or they begin picking verbally at each other until one is raging and the other won’t stop and I am unable to get them stop, getting hugely angry myself in the process. Their irritability has been a nightmare. Today I served breakfast and they were laughing and giggling, talking about this and that, enjoying their breakfast, smiling at each other. I could hardly believe it! One out of ten people has pyroluria, and it is genetic, so I’m going to test me and hubby too. Nothing like a house full of untreated pyrolurics to make for a Cranky-Fest!!!!

    • What a miraculous discovery, Renee! Praising God on your behalf, and yes, we’ll definitely look into this too! Thanks for sharing…

    • Stacy Eisenberg says:

      Renee, Thank you for sharing this information. I have never heard of pyroluria, but after looking it up, I think it may run in my family. I am not a doctor, so I won’t know for sure until I talk to one who is knowledgeable about this condition, but I did want to thank you for posting the information.

  40. Jamie,reading this came at a perfect time for me…we are in the midst of dealing with our “angry child’s” issues, including receiving a legitimate psychiatric diagnosis that has been somewhat devastating. There are definitely days (and not only when we try to do school), that I feel like I just. can’t. Thank you for showing me that our family is not alone in this!

  41. Stacy Eisenberg says:

    Jamie, I want to thank you for sharing your story. I have only one child and his anger issues have always been directed at me and me alone. They came often and were sometimes violent. I used to worry about what would happen when he was older and I was no longer strong enough to keep myself protected from his attacks. It was a secret I kept from my external family because bringing it up was always met with “helpful” suggestions of ways to discipline and all the things I should try (most of them I already had tried). I have tried therapy, diet, changing activity levels, creating stronger boundaries, giving him more choices, medication, supplements… you name it. I was at my wits end. Thankfully, things have calmed down as he has gotten older. He is now 11 and his violent outbursts are gone. He still has anger issues and often they begin out of fear. He has a very, very active mind and he suffers from a very strong level of anxiety about almost everything. He doesn’t realize how much quiet time he really needs to calm his mind, but quiet stillness in our house has been a huge help. The main things that I feel have helped are trying to get a lot of sleep each night, simply growing older, and lots more love and attention in a quiet environment. He is on medication and that has also helped his anxiety. I do give him vitamins as well and I believe that has helped, too. Some days are good, but many days are still a huge struggle. From a mom who is very used to keeping her struggles with her child to herself, I just wanted you to know that your story meant the world to me. And to the other mom’s who have posted a response, it really is good to know that I am not alone. Thank you.

    • Totally not alone honey! One thing my son has suffered from that most people don’t know about him is noise. When we moved out of our old house of concrete and wood floors into one with carpeting the difference was noticeable. He also has problems with the concrete and steel bathrooms at school. Something about the way sound reverberates sends his nerves into overdrive. Being outside is the best place for him when the noise gets to him. However, he also has anxiety about being alone (monophobia) which means I have to go with him, but just 10 minutes outside will do more for his peace of mind than anything else we’ve tried.

    • God bless you and yours, Stacy! Thanks for sharing. I also feel that we are starting to see self-control blossoming a bit just with age and maturity, so my hope is that it will continue!

  42. Rebecca says:

    One of my kiddos has a very volatile personality. I spent years feeling like I tried everything and that these outbursts must somehow be my fault, or something I was overlooking. After not finding much help via the traditional route (our MD, OT, diet and such) we switched gears and started seeing a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. The treatments have made a noticeable difference in behavior. I’ve also found that plain old age/maturity along with a few books have also helped.
    Moody Cow Meditates by MaClean, Ahn’s Anger by Silver, and Breath Chill by Roberts are all books we found helpful.
    Thanks for this post I’m sure there are many people out there with a similar experience. God bless.

  43. As a single parent of a (now) 10 year old with these problems and a (now)17 year old who is most certainly one of the “stable” ones, been there, done that! You are most certainly not alone. I haven’t had time to read through all these comments yet, so someone may have already mentioned this, but here’s a few tidbits I have learned over the years. 1) Make sure that you are taken care of. I finally broke down and accepted that I was suffering from depression and anxiety myself. While I’m not a big advocate of pills, getting on an anxiety/depression medication helped me IMMENSELY! Whether you go that route or not, make sure you understand yourself and your needs, strengths and weaknesses. 2) Don’t be afraid to talk about your “issues” with your kids, admit to not being perfect and make sure your child(ren) understand that your greatest desire is to HELP them. They often get into the mindset that we are disappointed in/angry with/insert negative emotion here..with them. Sometimes the best conversations I’ve had with my kids were after an outburst when we sat down and talked honestly about the mistakes we both made and apologized (them and ME) for our mistakes and worked out a possible alternative to the original instigator for next time. 3) Understand that their angry is probably not really about you. a) you’re their safety net. You are the one who will love them no matter what they do and deep down they know that. They hate being this way, especially with someone they love so much but you are the one they trust and feel safe with. b) chances are they have been working EXTREMELY hard to function and are quite simply exhausted. They have to let out the frustration (AKA anger) before they can function. We actually set up a “safe” place (my big bed with pillows) where he was allowed to throw a temper tantrum where he and our house were safe from the episode. When he felt or I sensed it coming, he’d go there or I’d pick him up kicking and screaming and take him there. At one of his pre-schools, the teacher helped him to recognize the signs of overload at school and allowed him to put himself in time out whenever he felt the need. It wasn’t a punishment, it was him recognizing that a storm was coming and giving him a chance to “separate” from the overwhelming stuff going on. During or after his self imposed time-out, she rewarded him with smiles, hugs and the occasional food treat. He learned that she cared about him and would help him any way she could but she didn’t make a big deal in front of the other kids. She understood that trying to force him to take part in the “normal” activity of the time would result in catastrophe. 4) See above about picking your battles…seriously, how important is the current issue???? 5) Take time out with the other kids. Make sure you specifically spend time AWAY from the house with them. A special movie date, a girls day of mani-pedis, a boys day at the park playing football, whatever works. Make sure to ask them how they’re doing and get seriously caught up in their lives for at least a short time. If they are old enough, talk to them honestly about what it’s like to be one of the “other kind” of kids and that you appreciate how helpful they are and that you will always be there for them when they need you. Perhaps create a “safe” word or phrase so that if they are having a really bad day or need help RIGHT NOW with something they are dealing with they can use that safe word to let you know they need your attention. If you’re home alone with both kids, allow yourself to park ’em in front of the tv or call a friend or relative to come over (ASAP) to sit with the one while you take time to help the “stable” one. It means a LOT to the other children to know that while mommy is often pre-occupied, she will still drop everything for them if the need is urgent.

  44. Jenneper says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have three girls at home that we adopted, public school wasn’t working for them. To much trauma had happened in the past. Now we have them at home, but their are days that we see their anger exploded and I wonder if we will get anywhere and after awhile, my anger takes flight. One of the girls actually told me I had an anger problem. I looked at her and said yes, you are right, but I didn’t, but when I have tried everything I know to resolve the situation and you still don’t respond, I get frustrated and angry just like you. That stopped her in her tracks. It is a frustrating and difficult time when they are angry, thanks for sharing. I am glad I am not alone.

  45. You HAVE to read, The Explosive Child. That book will change your life. Every parent should read it. Any parenting issue that comes up can be solved using the techniques detailed in the book. It doesn’t have fluff gets right to the point and is logical and kind. Buy it on kindle right now. I read it in one sitting.

  46. Jamie, I just wanted to say Thank You for your courage to share the grittier parts of your life. This sounds exhausting, perplexing and upsetting for your whole family. My mom, who raised a child with anxiety disorder, has said, “A mother is only as happy as her least happy child.” You’ve always been a beacon of parenting/homeschooling inspiration for me, and I wish for you peace (in great doses, and in small moments).
    Rachel’s latest post: Summer’s precious offer

  47. Reading this post I wondered, “Did I write this?” It sounds so completely familiar! My angry child is 10 now & has been having anger issues since he was 5. Maturity on his part has helped an incredible amount, as have countless prayers, the realization that my getting angry only escalates the situation, and my own strong will (aka stubbornness!). We still have the occasional explosion and ruined day, but they are becoming less & less frequent, praise God! Thanks for being real. It’s good to know that we are not the only ones!

  48. My child is more subtle. She’ll break her glasses or pick through her clothes or chew up her tooth brush or dip toilet paper rolls in the toilet and put them on the dispenser or harm her brother…. All in the name of “accident” of course. God help us all.

  49. Thank you. Nearly every day is a battle over something or other with my 8 year old. In his case it has a LOT to do with what he’s eaten in the last 24 hours so we keep an eye on that, but it’s not a guarantee that he’ll be ok on a particular day. Still, I think we’re making progress, albeit slowly!
    Mel Smith’s latest post: How I use MBTI in Everyday Life

  50. Rachael says:

    Jamie, thankyou so much for sharing, it was an absolutely timely moment – a gift! I also felt like it was my story you were writing, as the years have rolled by and we have realized this is not the norm. Today was the start of a second week in a row where the outbursts from our 9yr old
    have been almost daily again and we are back to reading the explosive child and praying our hearts out ! Your steps have given us a place to start. Thankyou!

  51. Jo Beekmeyer says:

    Oh Jamie. I needed this right at this very moment of my very hard day with not 1 but 2 angry children. Thank you for your honesty and for opening your heart to us so that I can begin trying to heal 3 broken ones. Xx

  52. Thank you for sharing this!

  53. Jaimie,
    My first thought was “this is a thing?!? We’re not the only ones!?”
    My second is to share my heart – we have two children on the autism spectrum and one who we can never put our finger on…adhd? bipolar? sensory processing? high needs baby/child? lack of habit training? somewhere on the spectrum? “middle child” syndrome?” sibling of twins” syndrome? Gi Issues? Yeast overgrowth? “D” all of the above?!?
    It’s been 7 years of detective work…but the verdict, no matter what the cause, is yes, he can be an angry child. He has rage issues that – until I read this post – felt so unique – the throwing furniture, physical aggression, the outbursts followed by heartfelt repentance.
    Thank you for being transparent about this.
    I do have a word of hope for other moms dealing with this – The Son-Rise Program. We do bio-medical therapy and have had some good success but we’re finding that what we thought was autism therapy for our other two boys is working really, really well for him, too. In fact, it’s helping our whole family.
    Pinning this to share!
    Cindy’s latest post: How to Plan for Family Pictures with Young Children

    • God bless you, Cindy. I’m so glad you know it isn’t just you–I know that helps a lot. What a relief to have found something that is working for your family!

  54. I have not found anyone who understands this type of child – I felt completely alone until now. After two very difficult years homeschooling my son, I have made the decision to enroll him in school. His outbursts only happen with me, not with anyone else, so I think a break in our dynamic will help him to thrive. At least I am hoping. May G-d bless you in your journey, thank you for sharing.

  55. Hi Jamie! I just found your blog at the beginning of this summer. I very much enjoy it. Your ebook, “secrets of a successful homeschool mom” has been very helpful to me. Thank you!!

    I have eleven adopted children between the ages of 17 years and 2 years old. We put our whole family on the GAPS diet for 3.5 years and have seen tremendous success with behavior issues and with physical ailments. I also studied (among many other things) the MTHFR gene mutation, and consequently put my children on high doses of B12/folate. This supplement was instrumental in allowing us to slowly transition off the diet. I just wanted to share this info in case your child needed deeper gut healing and or supplementation.

    God Bless,

  56. I think we all have our issues that we feel like we have to keep quiet, secret. It’s one of the sad sides of homeschooling. The fact that we are usually home (alone) with out littles means a lot of what we do and struggle through is not public. Now, I’m a huge fan of privacy, but like my mentor said “you’re only as sick as your secrets.” I know when I’m sick in my thinking, feeling, or doing – I need to take the first step of sharing the ick with someone who provides me security and love. There’s so much hope and healing in this post.
    Thank you for sharing these suggestions and the encouragement behind them.
    Cara Thompson’s latest post: Curricula: What We Use, Part 1: Preschool and Kindergarten

  57. Thank you for sharing this. Our school
    Counselor gave me a copy of the book you mentioned after a very rough kindergarten year for my oldest. He doesn’t display quite the level of anger but the strong willed intractability is there and wow it’s hard. I love tht you say our job isn’t to fix them but to love them. And it’s so validating to know we aren’t alone and that it probably isn’t our fault. Blessings on your family.

  58. Thank you for sharing this, Jamie. I am a homeschooling mom to 3 kids (9, 7, 6) who are all adopted. One of my biggest challenges this past year – our first homeschooling everyone – was anger and defiance. I can completely relate to the things you are saying in this post. Knowing some of the issues are adoption/attachment related sometimes helps, but at the end of the day, my child is angry, I’m angry, we didn’t get much school done (or it was way more of a challenge than necessary) and we are all exhausted. Some of it for us was making some parenting changes, but that didn’t magically make everything better. You aren’t alone. Thanks for reminding me that I’m not either. It really helps.

  59. Natalie Jones says:

    I worked in a public school and with a really sweet, kind special ed teacher (he pulled students from my room). He always brought a sack lunch. I usually did, too. So we found ourselves eating lunch together every once in a while. Did I mention how sweet and kind he was? Well, he told me he HAD to bring his own lunch, much like a person with a Gluten Free diet. He had to be VERY careful. “Why?” I asked. Because he had always been an angry child — and adult. Until he somehow discovered he was sensitive (or allergic?) to corn. Corn?! Yes. He said he discovered that all corn products (from corn on the cob to corn starch to …) made him angry. So he had to read labels very carefully and always prepare his own meal because corn is in everything.

    This story has always stood out to me. Because, as I said, he was such a kind man. And he was not a follower of Jesus so I know it was the food which turned him around and not the Word of God, in that aspect anyway. It made an impact on me over 10 years ago on the importance of food. But I have never heard of anyone else with a corn sensitivity. Which is why I mention it. Maybe it will help one of you out there. It did for my friend.

    • I know that everyone’s situation is different, and anger can come from lots of places, but I just wanted to comment that my son is also allergic to corn. His behavior on/off of it is remarkably different, and anger is one of the signs that he’s eaten something he shouldn’t. Interesting that you ran into someone else. Glad to hear that he’s a well-functioning, kind adult. Thanks for sharing.
      BeckyG’s latest post: Book Notes: Pretending We’re Normal

  60. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your struggles and for helping me realize I’m not the only one. I have four adopted kiddos and one struggles so much with anger. I spent the afternoon yesterday searching for school options, while in my heart knowing that homeschooling is the best choice for our family right now. It’s just so hard. I know God is working in my heart through these challenging days and I am grateful for that. Thank you again for sharing.

    • I have spent many afternoons in desperation online searching for school possibilities, Rachel, so I definitely know where you’re coming from. God wrap his arms around you and bless you and yours.

  61. thank you so much. I truly felt like the only one with an angry child. I have 6 kids, 4 are adopted. 1 of my little girls is an angry child. I have felt like a failure that I can’t “fix her. ” medication has been working some for her, enough to bring down the anger from constant to occasional during the day. I am reading all the suggestions in the responses, thank you everyone for sharing your stories.

  62. Julie Gonsalves says:

    I too have an angry child and have spent hours and hours crying with him and over him. He is so completely differently temperMe red than my other kids I have often thought something was terribly physiologically wrong with him. As he grows older, I do see that maturity is helping him to respond better in situations but we still have lots of bad days. He is very extroverted and thrives in group situations so we are sending him to our neighborhood kindergarten next year. I’m hoping that someday I’ll be able to homeschool him along with my older kids but the co-op type options aren’t available for his age. Thank you for your honest article and for helping me to see that I’m not alone!

  63. Amen. I have one who has had one long continuous headache since January. She’s always been very tense and has many learning struggles. After 2 CTs, 4 rounds of bloodwork, appointments 2 hours and 6 hours away from home, a sleep study, a neurologist, a sleep behavioralist, about 6 rounds of antibiotics, and now the elimination diet from Hades, we’re finally making way on the headache. Little sis has been observing and stressing about all of this PLUS is dealing with over-the-top allergies and has the whole asynchronous-development plus perfectionism set of gifted issues. She’s crazy angry at times. Plus add in hormones for our growing girls. We too are doing a drop-off twice a week next year. The teacher in charge is a good friend and won’t let things slide. Sometimes when things go negative, it’s WORSE to be together allllll the time. Less time together, but a greater percentage positive time in which I am not the windmill they’re tilting toward? I’ll take it.

  64. Thank you! I have problems with my daughter as well and with anxiety and depression issues on my end, things get crazy. Thankfully no throwing issues, but the yelling isn’t any better. She is 9, going on 10, and I hope to not put her in school if at all possible, it made my sick just looking at the school’s website the other day after a difficult morning. I will pray for you and your family as you all try to work things out for the better.

  65. Thank you so much for sharing your struggle with us. It helps so much to find that you’re not alone in situations like this. While reading this I felt like I was reading straight from one of my journal entries! There are days when I stand in front of my daughter’s closed door listening to her rage and anger and I just cry…and pray. Mercifully, we found out that she has a sensory processing dysfunction (along with ADHD & major anxiety) which has enabled us to find ways to help her work through some of her anger. Thank you again for sharing your situation!

  66. Wonderful post! Our child had some unusual “anger” issues at an early age. We tried everything, too. It is so hard. Our child turned out to have non-convulsive seizures going on.
    Homeschooling gives us time to deal with each child one on one! If you have time, I’d love for you to share this post at my Homeschool Memo Blog Hop! Thanks 🙂
    Lisa Ehrman’s latest post: Homeschool Memo Blog Hop #3

  67. I’ve been waiting and waiting for this part of the series. Please keep writing about this; while I wish others weren’t on the same journey, it sure makes it easier to hear that others are experiencing the same, especially in the homeschooling context. It is so hard…around age 7 my eldest went through basically a horrific year, rage for hours almost every night for months and months. I would look at her and feel like ‘she’ wasn’t even there, nothing I recognized was in this body lashing out at me, threatening to jump out the window (first floor, but still), so out of control. I dreaded bedtime, I dreaded getting out of bed to face another day of probable rage. We did neurofeedback/counseling. I think it helped a bit even though she HATED it. If nothing else, it helped me feel like I wasn’t so alone and that we were taking a proactive step. I think time was also a big factor. At 9, things are no where near perfect, but mostly tolerable (so if you’re in one of the dark periods-there may be hope with time!!), she has come up with ways of at least keeping in the physical violence, but still gets very very angry. It’s difficult to ‘school’…she struggles with the 3Rs, but hates rote practice or really practice at all…and if I push too much, it results in a melt-down (and what learning is happening then??). I’m not religious, but holy cow, parenting this child takes faith. It is so hard to watch the anger, pessimism, impatience, and defiance, and still have hope that the future (the adult she’ll be!) will be okay. I’m not sure I’ve found that path to just loving and not fixing…
    Jess’s latest post: Tobago mania

  68. I stumbled accidentally upon this post and am so glad I did! My 10 year old son struggles on a daily basis with anger. He is not physically harmful towards others but he lashes out verbally and throws/hits things like walls and doors. It is embarrassing and I never know how he’s going to respond out in public when something doesn’t seem to go his way. I too have considered placing him in school but know it would not work well for him at all! I have never mentioned anything to his pediatrician because I always felt like it was going to get better, and in some ways it has. I just worry about him constantly and wish there was some way to get through to him. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I don’t feel so alone now.

  69. Thank you.

  70. Tracy Alsterlund says:

    Grateful for your post and equally grateful to your child who struggles with anger. It is hard to be open and respectful of your child’s privacy. I lead an adoptive family support group at our church and posts like this bring tears and comfort as we too have struggled with raging and recovery. It is so important to have support as we go though our parenting journey and to know we are not alone. Your child is very brave for allowing you to be honest about the struggles you face together. Praying for you as I know you are praying for us all going through the same difficult path.

  71. I have a son who struggled as well. He has SPD and always been anxious. Although better at controlling his anger now that he is 10, we do have rough days more than I would like. I’ve tried many different things and hope this year I hit on a plan that works better for all of us.

  72. I have similar issues with my second child. It appeared first when she was a toddler. I thought it was just typical toddler stuff. Or then it was “terrible twos”. But by 3, then 4, then 5…I knew we had a problem. Still, at 6, it is ongoing. Its exhausting and it feels like walking on eggshells. I think I would blame it on myself or my parenting or homeschooling if it weren’t for the fact that my other two children do not react in this way. This child also has a lot of characteristics of a “strong willed child” and a “spirited child”. The best thing that I have found is spending time with her doing things that she likes to do. For her that is time in nature and really examining it. She is incredibly perceptive and notices everything. I focus on these strengths and when I focus on this and spend time doing this with her, it helps me to like spending time with her and like her (something that I struggle with, even though I love her I don’t like her outbursts, that as you said, can last for hours). Spending time doing something that is less likely to cause her an outburst and something that we both enjoy helps me to recharge for those other frequent difficult times. I’m glad I am not alone in this. Many people blame it on my parenting. It can be very lonely and discouraging. Find someone who supports you and ignore the others.

  73. Jamie,
    So glad I found your website this weekend and am thankful for your honesty. I recently took my angry, anxious thirteen year old out of public school to homeschool him. Trying to homeschool a teenager who hates anything that looks, sounds or feels like school or learning is a challenge that I’m still trying to meet. Thanks for sharing . It helps to know, both from your post and all of the comments, that I’m not alone in this.

  74. Jamie, thanks for this post. It’s very honest, which is hard when you’re talking about your own children and family! All my kids are so different from each other, and I sometimes wonder where they came from. It has helped to say blessings over my kids, especially when they are at their worst. Some days I think maybe unschooling in the wilderness might be easier – just put them out the door in the morning and say, “See you at dinner time!”
    Anthea’s latest post: Your Negative Words Will Set Your Kids on Fire

  75. Melinda S. says:

    Thanks for posting this. It’s so important that we all know we are not alone. I struggled with this for many years, and two of your suggestions were big turning points for us.
    1. Food–my dd reacts very angrily to anything with corn in it, from corn syrup to corn on the cob. This was a huge deal for my daughter. We also used the Feingold program to eliminate artificial dyes and preservatives–huge changes for us, though I know it doesn’t do that for everyone.
    2. One day, I cried out in prayer, “What am I going to do with this child?” and the Lord said, “Give her a hug.” I did not think this was the answer, but I finally did, and it really was a huge thing for us. I learned to offer a hug, then when the feelings subsided, we could talk. I wanted to back away, but stepping toward her in love was a huge part of the answer for us.
    Thanks for this blog post!

  76. My child with anger issues also has autism. Recently we’ve had a major breakthrough with the movie “Inside Out”. When I see him getting angry, I say, “Anger, get off the controls before I flick you across the control room”. This lightens the mood and has helped us a lot. Also, I just finished Busy Mamas Bible Study on parenting and the tips for children to visualize how their responses affect others has been a help for him too. I’m still trying here and by no means have a non angry child, but we’re getting a little closer.

  77. Michelle S says:

    Wow! Thank you for sharing this! We are dealing with this as well. I never really knew what to call it until I read the first couple of sentences and it hit me that you were describing our daughter, our house, the overwhelm and discouragement we feel as parents while the screaming and throwing and hitting and name calling is happening and the calm, peaceful, I’m sorry after the storm. Thank you again for sharing.

  78. Jamie, as I read this, I felt like I was reading about a day in my own life. I am so grateful to you and your child for being willing to share this. It is an immense blessing to know that through this blog post, you are reaching so many mamas who are feeling so alone…and letting us know that it’s okay, that it is not our fault, and that there is no shame in asking for help. We have had a rough ride with our middle child, and are currently in counseling with him and are going to try some biofeedback, parent-child interaction therapy, and so on. Yes, it can complicate our homeschooling sometimes, but he is SO worth it!

  79. Thank you so much for posting this! We recently had our son evaluated and he has sensory overload issues along with visual processing issues. We are taking steps to help him in these areas, but there are days that his throwing tantrums about life gets really hard for me as his Mom. Thank you for sharing your story, and offering ideas and grace.

  80. Thank you. So many days I want to give up and resonate with weeping before God to change me too. Nothing quite brigs out all of my stuff as this journey with my oldest.

  81. Jamie,

    My heart is full.
    Thank you so very much for sharing this! My boys are 6 and 8, and it has been such a joy, and relief, to see our elder child returning/growing into the child we always knew was “in there”- unmasked by anger and stubbornness. I am starting to see the YEARS of peaceful parenting making a difference- reflecting in him as I had so desperately hoped they would- but so many times despaired that they- that I had failed him. I was afraid to share our struggles because I didn’t want anyone thinking badly of him- that he was weird or crazy- or thinking that I was a bad parent and that: “he should be spanked, punished, not coddled, you are letting him get away with things…”.
    Don’t get me wrong, we don’t make excuses for him or “allow” him to be dangerous. Rather, we teach him safe ways to be angry, to express his anger, and we hold him accountable.

    Does he still explode? Of course, but so do adults! And now, he is able to find the space he needs to get himself together (the emotional and physical space), and to apologize and handle his anger in safer ways. He knows he is not alone, that he will not be condemned or shamed, and that we are all here for him. And I am able to not internalize his every verbal and physical explosion. It has taken YEARS for both of us- years glued together by unconditional love, by the ability to apologize to him when I lose my temper and patience, to let him know every day (hundreds of times a day) how much he is loved, what a great, kind, funny little boy he is, and that we will work together to help him not let his anger hurt things or people or himself.

    My heart overflows when I witness him able to handle his anger in healthy ways- at 8, he has learned the skills so many adults still need to learn! (And, honestly, I do love it when I hear over and over from complete strangers how kind he is and how polite). Above all, however, I am filled with joy seeing my child free- free from being controlled by anger- free to laugh, to play, to love.

    • Beautiful Aliena! It’s so true, we can know that adults have issues that take years to overcome, but sometimes we expect our littles to just “get over” something. We are also starting to see growth and a bit more self-control as my child with anger issues gets older. It feels like a real triumph!

    • Deanna Rich says:

      What were some of the books you read – what were some of the peaceful parenting techniques you used? I love to read encouraging posts like this. So glad you found a way to teach him gently through – and instill an awareness and a beginning of mastery of his big emotions. You are creating a lasting legacy. I feel so far from that. I try but seem to not truly possess the tools to teach when I myself struggle with anger. I have really good moments and I do see progress. If only I were more whole though I am sure the progress would be more. I created a song that I sing to him every night (he is 4)…It reassures him that I “love you just the way that you are”…..the chorus repeats, but the rest of the song reflects all of his successes that day…or just things about him that I love. They are not fake words but based on truth from that day and he knows it. I am trying to pour as much love – unconditional – into him as possible. Thank you for your post – I found it encouraging.

  82. After another night of tears in 6 month-long period of feeling lost and helpless, and finally signing up for an appointment with a therapist, I was shocked to see this post that seemed to be speaking directly to me. It made me feel both less isolated and crazy, and really depressed – that there is no easy way to make this better and it may be our new normal for quite some time. Things were never ‘perfect’ – my older child has clearly had some sensory things going on since his traumatic birth. BUT he was 99% extremely joyful. And enthusiastic about everything. Was. That is so hard to admit it’s a surreal kind of pain unlike anything I’ve dealt with so far. The frightening angry explosions that would happen so very rarely (a few times a year and always connected in some way to low blood sugar, being tired, over-stimulated, etc), that I thought were a phase that should be gone by now, have now become almost daily. Sometimes multiple times I day. This is something I couldn’t have seen coming at all. Honestly, I feel somewhat lied to – by every attachment parenting promise, by Waldorf education, by veteran homeschoolers even. I did everything that was hard, anti-mainstream and for the benefit of my child’s development, I thought, and this is what I have to show for it. The idea that this is now a permanent feature of my child’s personality, a permanent timebomb in our house, unable to ever be fully ‘solved’ is just really …intolerable. I have no idea how I’m going to cope with this.

    • God bless you, Maia. I’m definitely not saying this is a permanent feature of your son’s personality. Actually, I think reading Aliena’s comment and my response to her might be an encouragement–to see how all the peaceful work we’ve invested in our children does make a difference in the long-run. We just don’t always see it right away.

      Plus there have been plenty of people that have found “one thing” that seemed responsible for their child’s anger and that helped eliminate most of it. That just doesn’t happen to be true in my case, and I found that accepting that instead of constantly searching for the miracle cure helped me more. But that’s just me–we’re all so different, our families are different, and our children are different. I’ve been where you are, but don’t give up hope! As Aliena and I were discussing, these victories are sweeter because they have been so hard to fight for. So many children like ours are lost, floundering, with no one to “fight” for them. Everyone gives up on them. I can’t help but feel that our kids will have a resiliency and a confidence after years of seeing their struggles and knowing that someone loved them through it and refused to give up until they had conquered it.

  83. I do not homeschool but I do have a son who can be VERY angry. He’s three and we are beginning to take some steps to start working on it with professionlals. Your post found me at the right time and I am so thankful for it. I hope that we can work through his anger and see more of the peaceful guy that we know is there behind his tantrums and rage. I know that as we start this process I am going to be reminding myself that it’s my job to love him, not fix him. But oh the walking on eggshells in public and the fear of how he will lash out… I am glad to know I am not alone.

  84. Im the mom says:

    not that this is the answer- but it is worth looking into. I use it with my kids and it helps a lot.

  85. Jamie, I want to say first of all how deeply impressed I am by the child-respecting way you wrote this post. No character faulting, no blame, no hints about which of your children you mean. You share your story along with lots of resources. It’s all the more powerful because you don’t have a happily-ever-after answer. Thanks for you honesty.

    I also want to say that we all want solutions to result in greater peace in our households no matter what the problem. Who wouldn’t? But sometimes the struggles we’re going through are long-term for reasons beyond our understanding. Sometimes they develop strengths in us we might not ordinarily have possessed or give us insight that becomes useful later. By way of example, I’ll say a little about my experience. I was raised in a loving, affectionate, orderly home with a highly volatile sibling. That sibling’s behavior caused chaos, especially during the teen years. I know it was particularly painful for my parents. But looking back, I think it expanded my concept of love. My mother in particular never gave up, never. She got in the fray like a mother tiger, doing her very best, refusing to take the advise of a therapist who suggested remanding that child to authorities as incorrigible. Looking back I also know that it made us closer, all of us. I am honored to call this adult sibling of mine a friend, a confidant, and a person whose outlook changes my own outlook.

    Hold fast Jamie. We’re rooting for you and your family.
    Laura Grace Weldon’s latest post: Educate for Conformity or Educate for Innovation?

  86. Cheering for you, Jamie! I love this. Love your courage and honesty. You are a hero, and I’m praying God’s powerful provision this year! I love you!
    Kari Patterson’s latest post: Planning Purposeful Rest

  87. Hello, thanks for writing this. I am homeschooling my three children and one of them is just so angry a majority of the time; striking out, screaming’ throwing things and making life (unintentionally) very hard and stressful most of the time. I feel like a failure most of the time. And, of course, people helpfully suggest that school is the answer, as school is the answer to all of a homeschooled child’s problems! Anyway, I guess I’m just wanting to say thank you for providing some reassurance that there are more of us out there, struggling along wondering how we are going to cope through the bad days (which in our house is most of them).

  88. i have been a reader of your writing for some time now and quite often I am left thanking the Lord for leading me to an article you have posted and feeling thankful for you writing it. This one in particular has left me in tears; I’m not the only one! My son isn’t the only one. My husband and I (mainly myself as I homeschool our boys) have been completely overwhelmed by our loving son who has before our eyes turned into a very angry boy, he flips from being a loving little boy just having fun and enjoying himself to a screaming angry mess, hurling words and objects, taking some time to calm down. Some days it feels like we are all on eggshells waiting for the next trigger point and other days we feel like any other “happy” family. The hardest part of all this has been seeing not only one of my darling boys go like this but watching my youngest son start copying his big brother and wondering if it is copying or if I’m doing something wrong and now I have “broken” him too. There is a lot of prayer, tears, heartache, repentance, forgiveness and hugs happening around our house. Thankyou Jamie for your words which are so much the encouragement I needed to hear. God bless.

  89. Jami, thank you so much for sharing this honest, open, and emotional piece. My life echos what you wrote with our 11 year old son. I went through the same stages too. Terrible two’s, nope, etc… It is so hard at times and sometimes I fall into the trap of it is all okay when things have been good for a while. Then the wake up comes. I work hard now to celebrate the small milestones in control which really are huge! Thank yo again. It helps to know I am not alone.

  90. Oh my goodness, this is us! I have a very sweet, loving 8 year old daughter, until she is triggered by something (mostly lack of a full nights sleep, we’ve discovered), then look out! Just today, me and my other 6 kids suffered for 2 hours from her screaming, kicking doors, attacking siblings outburst! Nobody outside of our family knows we deal with this. What a testimony it is to read this and other moms going through the same thing. Thank you for sharing this, I’m sure it wasn’t easy!

  91. I have a sensitive and often times very angry 13-year old daughter. I know you said public school isn’t an option, but you really don’t know if it will work until you’ve tried it. My daughter did very well in school after a transition period. She also gained independence and her anger greatly subsided. She became more reasonable, I think, because she had to be. I hope whatever you do in the end works out.

  92. Jamie, the reader link up post compelled me to come back to this post and say thank you so much for sharing and being so vulnerable. Truly. Peace and light to you.
    Nicola’s latest post: another turn around the sun

  93. I cannot tell you how much I needed to hear this today. Thank you for giving voice to my unspoken fears, which I now realize were not mine alone.

  94. I do not know how I missed this post as it directly relates to us! What terrific suggestions. We have one child who struggles with anger and rage. Initially, I was horribly embarrassed to speak about it. However, I have found being open and honest has helped everyone around us. We must do what is best for our family and sometimes that means missing a family function or not staying until the party ends. I have also learned about so many other families who are struggling with their own “issues.” I wrote a few posts about a year ago on anger in our world. I would love to share one:
    Thank you for writing this post!

  95. I have watched the other parents in my co-op and wondered how they do it. I have started and stopped Homeschooling so many times that its now a joke in our family. I dont understand why a child that is gently parented could be so aggressive towards me. I currently tell people that we unschool because I am to embarrassed to admit that I am failing at homeschooling. It wasnt until my son’s therapist (he takes PT and OT twice a week) said that my son has ODD that it started to make sense. After the holidays we are going to seek professional help for him. In the meantime the tips on this site have been helpful :

    • My heart goes out to you, Helen, because your pain is something I know at least a taste of myself. But it doesn’t sound like you are failing to me–it sounds like you are doing everything in your power to access the help your son and family needs. I couldn’t think of a better definition of success. I often remind myself that helping my angry child get their anger under control is one of the most important things I could possibly do for their future success, and unschooling could be the perfect educational philosophy that allows you to keep your focus on what is most important: God bless!

  96. We don’t have an angry child, but we have a difficult child who makes us angry. He (middle child) has been the only one who has been homeschooled so far. He has had some reading and attention challenges that made me want to bring him home after Kindergarten. He 1st and 2nd grade were a really challenge as I tried to figure out what to do with him. I feel like we’re in a better place now (3rd grade), but I still wonder constantly what is best for he and the other 2. We too decided to try a homeschooling enrichment program 2 days a week this year after finding out his best friend was doing it. He loves it! His teacher is great and he’s made other friends. It’s 2 less days I don’t have to fight with him, yet he’s still learning and practicing math/reading/writing and doing projects that I never find the time to do at home.

  97. Hi! I don´t know if my child could be labeled with “angry” but the problem that I have with the way he acts is about not knowing when to stop horse play. We have 2 kids, 5 and 7 years, the big one is the one that I don´t know why can´t stop!. I can´t stand him fighting with his little brother and with kids at school and basically every place he goes. Teachers are always talking to me about his behavior, he hits the other kids at tennis class, at school, when we go to a park… EVERY TIME! They start playing but I guess he has troubles knowing when is too much, when to stop. Few days ago he told me that he wanted to learn how to be a good friend, how not to hit others… that was cute, but I really don´t know if he said that from his heart, because he really wants to change that or to work in that, because is making him sad or frustrated … or if is because he feels my frustration about the way he acts with other kids. Please Help! we are starting homeschooling in June with my two kids (we decided unschooling for life style preferences) but know I´m wondering if it really is a good choice for him?

    • It sounds to me, Diana, like unschooling/homeschooling might be a huge blessing, allowing you the time to focus on habits and consider what the root of the issue may be. Have you considered whether or not he could be a highly sensitive child? If so, it could be a sense of overwhelm that leads him to lash out when he can’t handle the stimulation any more. Find out more here:

      Hand in there, loving mama!

  98. Thanks for this post. Good to know we are not alone.

  99. Thank you! I never, and I mean never comment on blogs, but I had to thank you! Just this moment I sent my kids outside to play. My nine year old has suddenly become very defiant. He’s always been a deep thinker, but lately everything out of his mouth is I hate this or that. I just felt so lost. I’m homeschooling three kids for the first time and it’s so easy to feel as though you are ruining these children. I have to talk myself out of the gremlins in my mind that tell me I’m inadequate. I just needed to read this today. I need to remember not to take every small act as an affront to all that I’m trying to do, that if it matters in 10 yrs then it’s important. I’m on the verge of tears and maybe I need that. Homeschooling is the only option that fits our family right now, but boy is it a good lesson in humility and humanity.
    Thank you so much💗

  100. Jamie,
    What a great and honest post. Thank you.
    I have just endured a horrific season of anger with my son. Here’s what I learned…
    1) His anger was an emotional mask or reaction.
    2) the real emotion was sadness and fear.
    3) his real struggle is with anxiety.
    It was 6 months of my beautiful child turning into an unpredictable monster. Finally I said enough! And started begging my girlfriends for prayer and then sought help from every specialist I could.
    We put him in a small, private school which gave me more energy to oversee his emotional health and not have the schooling burden (not always an option, tho). We now have a child therapist that is a huge help. His pediatrician has been hugely helpful (we decided to medicate for mild ADHD so we could deal with the root issue).
    School is now a consistent success, behaviorally and academically. Because his mood has improved, his relationship with me and his sister has been repaired and restored. Our home is peaceful.
    Much love,

  101. Thank you! I really needed this today. We are going to a counsellor for the first time today. My son says: have fun getting me there. Already an issue today. Sigh…..
    Will keep working but I’m so tired….he thinks its everyone else but him. He never causes anything.

  102. I think I am in a similar situation, my boy gets very angry, he is a musician, but he will bang his instruments or say very mean things when he is angry. My ex partner, who is all the help I have, will say that’s all my fault because this is the way I taught him to deal by being dramatic myself, I feel terrible and I see no other option now than to drop any interest or activity I have to give him my full atention, I feel resentful about that idea because I just recently started studying again. I’m desperate and crying most weeks.
    My family does not live near, but they are all strongly against homeschooling.

    • Nahuatl, I have been there with my daughter! I just want to encourage you. First of all, it’s not your fault!! Something is going on with your son. My daughter became this screaming, difficult, ANGRY child at the age of 3. One thing that did help us was to remove gluten from her diet, and we could at least live with her. But that was us. I’m not sure why, but it bothered her immensely. We also did about a year of counseling with a behavior modification therapist. She is 8 now, and we have the high-functioning autism along with a few other diagnoses, but when we do have anger she isn’t throwing things or hurting me anymore. (And yes, it’s usually directed at their caregiver/mother, because that’s who feels “safest”.) She can say she’s mad, call me a jerk, stomp off to her room. Hang in there!! As for homeschooling, no one in our families approved either but we don’t live by any of them and didn’t care anyway 🙂 If you think that would work best for him, you do what your Mama Heart is telling you to do. Good luck!!!!

      • Thank you for taking time to answer. I moved to a different country than my family in order to do things my way. I have celiac disease si we hardly ever eat anything with gluten, but I’ll try to cut him off completely. I also think that I need to cut screen time and dedicate more to him. Thank you.
        Nahuatl Vargas’s latest post: This year Harry Potter it is

  103. Kerry Flemington says:

    One thing that my husband and I try to focus on is that in as much as our angry child causes us anguish, she causes it in herself even more. She sobs afterwards in remorse. We have realized that as parents, it’s our duty to equip her and give her the tools to deal with her own difficult personality above all else. And that she is worthy and wanted and loved!!

  104. Thank you for this post, so many mom’s will benefit from this. My son was an angry child, you know the type with the head spin, eyes roll back in head kind. Ok, he didn’t really spin his head, but he did roll his eyes back, his face would get beet red, almost purple, he would salivate, growl, kick and swing at anybody, didn’t matter who or what age. Only way to get through the temper flare up was to lie him on the floor, pin him down, full body, until it passed. It made it worse for a moment, but I knew he wasn’t able to hurt anyone else or himself that way. Even then, at 6 years old, he had so much anger strength that he could almost buck me off, I was amazed at his strength. When he was done, his eyes would roll back to normal, face come back to his beautiful fleshy color and he would cry, he was so sorry. I felt so sad for him. We tried talking through what he was feeling, he didn’t, nor did I, understand how to change it. We tried eliminating all fried foods, all sugary drinks, processed foods, add more whole foods and it got a little better, but still present. When we eliminated meat from his diet, that’s when the change happened, literally overnight. It was like a veil had been taken off my son and he was this sweet, young boy that he was meant to be. We did have to go through a period of a few months of being almost the extreme opposite (I’d take that emotion any day over what he was going through) where he was very emotionally sensitive. He would cry more easily and at simple things. I believe it was such a change in emotions he wasn’t sure how to handle not being so angry. The were a small amount of times in the beginning when he had consumed meat and you could almost instantly see the change. So, we’ve made certain to be more strict with his food choices. He now understands why he can’t have certain foods and he’s good with that. We, as a family, have been vegan for over 5 years and it has been a lifesaver. My son has a great big heart, evenly tempered, very giving, inquisitive and very empathetic towards other children he sees reacting the same way he used to. We also homeschool and things are so much more at peace, no broken toys, no worrying about a sibling running away in fear of being hurt, sure we have occasional sibling stuff going on, but not like most other households. These 4 are together every day, all day, side by side, with a rare disagreement. This choice of being vegan had saved my family and especially my son.

  105. This article was wonderful Jamie – but the comments are even better. They have me in tears over here. Three children are a heck of a blessing, but can also be over whelming. My middle child is an angry child and it effects every aspect of our family dynamic! It breaks my heart that when he is away – our house is happy and quiet…even our 3 year old comments. How horrible is that? He is a sweet boy – and I love him so much! I want him to have a sense of belonging and community within our family. Last winter I made the hard choice to put our kids back in school. I was miserable and spearing my poison to them. My eldest LOVES school, my three year old begs to go, but my poor angry middle child seems “meh” about everything.

    I feel like such a failure with the homeschooling thing – being a mom is SO hard. I pray often, meditate and set intentions, but seeing all of these comments has made me feel less alone than I EVER have.

    Thank you all for sharing – thank you for spreading hope. I am so deeply grateful. <3

  106. Thank you for being so vulnerable and therefore encouraging for others who are struggling with the same thing. I’m sure you’ve read a ton of books in the meantime too. One that helped me in dealing with my own anger is Good and Angry by scott Turansky. He says that anger is good for identifying when there is a problem, it’s just not good for solving them. He also goes through a lot of common parenting situations and how to deal with them. And I love its biblical perspective as well. Prayers for you and the rest of us parents as we struggle to raise our kids the best way we know how!

  107. Ashley Wells says:

    This is so encouraging. Thank you!!!!

  108. Hi im at a cross rd were my 10 year old daughter is quiet physically violent often punching me and kicking the other day she tipped my freezer box over and tried kicking my door. I homeschool her. I have told her if she doesn’t start listening she needs to go back to school shes meant to start tomorrow but my heart feels sad and heavy theres got to be another way any insight will be helpful please

    • Where do you live, Chloe? I’m so sorry to hear all that you and yours are going through. I can imagine and it breaks my heart for you both. Does she do this when she’s around others or does it just happen mainly around you? Has she always been this way or is there something unusual that has happened to bring this anger out? Does she have any other diagnosis from a doctor or counselor that might be a part of this behavior as well, or should you take her to someone you trust in order to pursue finding out?

      It is possible that school could be better for her, so I think you’re wise to consider it. Don’t feel badly for trying it out–you’re searching for what’s best for your whole family, not just a single individual. There is hope! My child who used to struggle with anger has come a LONG way and has made a lot of progress since I wrote this. I just called him in as I was writing this to you and we said a prayer for you and yours. This supplement has also been a help to us:

  109. Thank you! Very encouraging …

  110. I am right there with you. Things work differently for different people. We had to go the medication route after trying every single other option and it has helped. Not the solution but has allowed the child the ability to pause before acting…at times. That along with lots of prayer ( me alone, me with child, me with siblings) plus child’s maturity has helped. Also lots and lots exercise for this child….in the form of basketball. So many factors really I can’t point to one that works the best…diet is so important. Time together as a family…and as far as the siblings I realized late in the game, so to speak, the hurt they were experiencing and my husband and I have just wrapped our arms around them literally and with prayer. I don’t worry about any of them ( or the most part- I am not perfect!) bc I know God has them in the palm of his hand.

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