Focus on the Family Broadcast

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

How to Help Your Angry Child

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

How to Help Your Angry Child

Tricia Goyer offers parents practical advice to help their kids deal with anger issues in a discussion based on her book Calming Angry Kids: Help and Hope for Parents in the Whirlwhind. Tricia covers various age ranges and both biological and adopted children.

Calming Angry Kids

Receive Tricia Goyer's book Calming Angry Kids for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

Featured

Today's Guests

Calming Angry Kids

Receive Tricia Goyer's book Calming Angry Kids for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

Featured

Episode Summary

Tricia Goyer offers parents practical advice to help their kids deal with anger issues in a discussion based on her book Calming Angry Kids: Help and Hope for Parents in the Whirlwhind. Tricia covers various age ranges and both biological and adopted children.

Episode Transcript

Opening:

Teaser:

John Fuller: Here’s an entry from Tricia Goyer’s journal:

Tricia Goyer: I’m hurt by my daughter’s rejection. I feel angry to sacrifice so much and instead of gratitude, I get defiance and rejection in return.

End of Teaser

John: Well, straight from a mom’s heart, there is a lot of pain right there. And as a mom or a dad, you might feel that same kind of thing. We have hope for you today on Focus on the Family. Tricia’s our guest. Your host is Focus president Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller. And we’re really gonna dial into dealing with anger today.

Jim Daly: That’s right, John. The children’s anger and the parent’s anger, too, because they often go hand in hand. I am amazed at how we come with these buttons. Yeah, push here for my anger.

John: Yeah, they’re very prominent. And kids find those really quick, don’t they?

Jim: They are really good at it. I don’t know why. That might be one of those questions you ask the Lord when you get to Heaven. We can all relate with that, as parents. Moms, my heart goes out to you, because I know that moms particularly deal with that issue. And Tricia captured it so well in that journal entry there. Tricia and her husband, John, have navigated a lot of situations in their family, dealing with angry kids. And they’ve learned so much along the way. And that’s why we’re excited to bring that wisdom to you. Somehow, she’s managed to home-school all 10 of her children and write about 70 books in the midst of all that.

John: Incredible.

Jim: Tricia’s written a new book called, Calming Angry Kids. And we are looking forward to hearing some of those great ideas that you put into this. Tricia, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Body:

Tricia: Thank you. I always love being here.

Jim: It’s great. Now, first of all, I got to ask you this question on behalf of the moms that say, “Okay, I give up.” I mean, here’s a woman raising 10 kids, and you wrote 70 books in the midst of that. Uh, you sound like a superwoman.

Tricia: Well, I wrote them before I got all the kids.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Okay.

Tricia: So we’ve adopted – we’ve adopted seven…

Jim: So, little disclaimer.

Tricia: Yeah.

Jim: I’m not sure if that helps much, but – you know, but you are in many ways – and I mean this as a compliment – you – you’re that average mom. You have done some above-average things. But you do represent motherhood so well in that way. And describe your family. And when you talk about 10 kids, what’s the makeup of those 10 kids?

Tricia: Okay, so I had Cory, before John and I were married, so I was a teen mom. I had him when I was 17 – prayed for a future husband, and God brought me John. And then, we had two more kids, Leslie and Nathan. Those three are all adults. And then, we adopted seven kids. So…

Jim: Seven. In fact, four were siblings. Correct?

Tricia: Yes. So we have one, just from a birth mom, two from foster care sibling group, and then the last one’s a sibling group of four from foster care.

Jim: And you have stated your biggest achievement in life is learning to calm angry kids. And the thing that’s so important about this program is it’s not just for biological kids, or just for adoptive kids. These are children of all stripes that come into a family all different ways, right?

Tricia: Absolutely.

Jim: Because you can have angry biological kids.

Tricia: Yes. And I’ve talked to many parents that have angry biological kids.

Jim: So…

Tricia: Ours were through adoption.

Jim: Looking at all that, why is this idea of learning to calm angry kids your biggest achievement, if you call it your biggest achievement?

Tricia: Absolutely, because, you know, when I sit down to write a book, it’s me – and the words obey me on the page. Like, they line up where I tell them to.

Jim: Okay, really?

Tricia: Well, pretty much. Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

Tricia: I mean, I could produce a book and…

Jim: Yeah, the book, but not the kids?

Tricia: No, not the kids, not the kids.

(LAUGHTER)

Tricia: The kids – and I think once we brought kids in from foster care, they had emotions that I didn’t know how to deal with. So we’re thinking about – you know, the pain of their past is all built up. They’re angry from being away from their biological families. They’ve often had difficulties in foster care. And here’s all this pain and anger now against me and my husband.

Jim: Right. And in that context where you adopted the four siblings, to me, that captivates my imagination, because that is a big commitment. Of course, we do adoption programs here at Focus – Wait No More. Just about every month, we’re actively encouraging families to consider adoption through foster care, that kind of thing. But taking in four kids, tell me that story and how that changed the dynamic of your family.

Tricia: Absolutely. So we had adopted through foster care before, but they were younger. And I think you have more control when, you know, they’re little; you could hold them, when they’re having a fit. Adopting four, they’d been in foster care about six years. They had been moved around a lot. They had a failed adoption right before. So they’re a sibling group of four girls, so we’re talking about all the hormonal stuff, too, about being teen girls. They were between the ages of 11 and 14 when we first brought them home. And then suddenly, we have these girls. And often, they hadn’t even lived together. They’d been moved around, so they’re getting used to living together, getting used to us. And when we say, you know, “We’re gonna love you forever; you’re here” – they have had people say that before that, it didn’t happen. They’d been rejected time and time again.

Jim: Right. The commitment didn’t hold?

Tricia: Right, the commitment didn’t hold, because they had – they were angry girls. They had a difficult time.

Jim: Yes. And we – you know, we – Jean and I have done foster care for the last 10 years or so. And that’s one of the things I noticed right away. These children come into your home, and they’re basically saying, “Will you love me, even if?” and then fill in the blank, whatever that behavior might be. I don’t think they can articulate it that way, but they’re really challenging you to say, “Yeah? You think you love me? Do you love me if I, you know, do something which is inappropriate?”

Tricia: Right. And we’re there saying, you know, “We’re gonna love you. We’re gonna be here.” And they’re afraid to put the walls down, because they’ve had other people say that.

Jim: Yeah.

Tricia: And they’ve been hurt. They’ve been sent away. And really, it’s almost testing us to see, “What are you going to do when I do this?”

Jim: Yeah. The distinction between, as we said at the top of the program, the anger issues in children of all types – I mean, biological children, again, they have anger issues. You know, their environment may create some issues. But then adoption, you – as you’re describing – these kids come in with a lot of pain. Is there a distinction in the types of anger that you’ve seen from your biological kids versus the kids that you’ve adopted?

Tricia: For us, there was a distinction. I mean, our biological kids got angry, and it was over small stuff, and were able to handle it and calm them down quickly. With this, it would just go on and on. And I – they pushed my buttons, and I found myself getting angry, because I didn’t know how to handle it. And we ended up going to trauma therapy, where I got a lot of help on how to handle the kids. But I think you’re right. All types of families have angry kids. And it could be from trauma. It could be from loss. It could be personalities. Some kids are just born angry, and they have a hard time with it, um, and parents often don’t know how to handle that.

Jim: With the four girls that you adopted, you had a particular story. What happened that really showed this anger within that setting?

Tricia: So, when we brought the girls home, we would have situations where a small thing would – all of a sudden, it would be this huge angry moment. So I remember one of my daughters was angry at me. She’s yelling at me. And all of a sudden, she takes off and heads upstairs. And I’m thinking, “Well, maybe she’s going to go calm down.” My other daughter runs down and says, “She’s trying to climb out the window.” Well, this is a two-story window. So I’m trying to get up there and calm her down. And because her sis – she’s mad at me; her sister’s also mad at me. So I have two girls yelling at me. I’m trying to pull one in the window. And the third is crying, saying, “You’re gonna ruin this. You’re gonna ruin this. They’re gonna send us away, too.” So, not only am I dealing with the one angry child, but then we have a second angry child who’s angry joining in her sister and the third that’s upset because, all of a sudden, she thinks we’re gonna send her away because she’s seen this behavior before, and other families have sent them away.

Jim: Yeah. In so many ways, you’ve become an anger expert. I mean, when you look at it, you…

Tricia: I wish I wasn’t, but…

Jim: Yeah. It’s true, though.

Tricia: Yeah.

Jim: What is behind that anger that you see in all children – those that are dealing with anger? What’s at the core of most of this?

Tricia: Yeah, the core of most of this is there is something in their past that is triggering the current moment. So if I’m not giving attention, they may feel like they’re being abandoned. And so all of a sudden, these small emotions turn into big things, because they are worried about what’s going to be happening. So I have another example. One of my little girls, who was 6 at the time, got burned. And I was helping her deal with the burn. So I’m putting ointment on it. And her older sister, who was 14 at the time, says, “I burned myself last night, too. Can you help me?” And I said, “I’ll help you in a minute.” And that – me not tending to her in that moment brought up all the emotions of people pushing her away, telling her she’s not important. All of a sudden, she’s running away. We were out camping. She’s packing her bags. She’s running through the woods. She’s running away. So, this little thing for me, just saying, “I’ll help you in a minute,” turns into “I’m not wanted. I’m not loved. I’m not cared for.” So there’s something internally that’s going on in the child where it seems like a pretty innocent conversation or comment turns into a bigger thing. So there’s really something that’s going on in the root of that.

Jim: Well, and Tricia, the difficulty for us as parents is that we’re working out of a logic base, right? I mean, it’s completely logical. She’s just burned herself. You’re helping the one daughter. This other daughter, there is so much more in that request. But when you deal with logic, I mean – “I’ll get to you in a minute. Just hang on” – how else could you have dealt with that that would’ve had a better outcome?

Tricia: Right. And I think in the moment, I didn’t know that’s how it was gonna turn out. It just made me aware in the future to be understanding, like, “I promise” – you know, “I love you. I care for you. I will help you.”

Jim: So making those qualifying statements?

Tricia: And making those qualifying statements ahead of time and letting her know. And even, you know, when I go on a trip, they say, “You’re abandoning me,” you know, because they have these emotions inside. I’m not. I’m going on a trip for work. I’ll be back. I promise. You know, I’m not leaving you. And so all these situations, where it seems like it’s minor, little things end up being a bigger issue.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Okay. So there – there is some mom saying, “Tricia sounds so calm.”

(LAUGHTER)

John: “And I wish that when my children had an issue, before they blow up, that I could just do that.” What – what’s going on there?

Tricia: Well, you know, I didn’t think I had a anger problem until I had these kids in my home that were pushing my buttons, and I would find my voice rising, my fists balling up and so angry. And one thing that helped me – I was talking to a therapist about it, and she says, “They want you to escalate, because when you escalate, suddenly, it’s not about their issue. It’s about you.” So…

Jim: It’s a soothing mechanism.

Tricia: Well, they – when…

Jim: They soothe themselves.

Tricia: Yeah, because all of a sudden, they’re a victim.

Jim: Right.

Tricia: So, if I’m yelling at them and saying, “Go to your room, and don’t talk to me that way,” all of a sudden they’re like, “You’re mean. You’re yelling at me.” So it’s not about whatever they were in trouble for or whatever they’re dealing with. All of a sudden, they became a victim. And she says, you know, “So they want you to do that. So when you’re able to keep yourself calm, then you could focus on what the real issue is, what’s going on with them.” And so, when they try to push the buttons, she said, “If you can stay calm, you win. And they don’t become a victim.” And she said, “You will – they will find people to become victim to their whole life if you let that become a pattern.”

Jim: That’s a powerful point for all of us as parents, if they’re biological kids or adopted kids. Tricia, you also have a story where you’re trying to give your daughter – one of your daughters – a compliment in terms of her reading capability – another good insight about how that communicates into the kids around that one you’re complimenting. What happened?

Tricia: Yeah. So we were just around the dinner table. And we were talking about the first books that we remember reading. So my husband was like, “Mat the Rat.” And I was like, “Harold and the Purple Crayon.” And one of our girls said she remembered reading, like, Junie B. Jones when she was, like, five, because she was an early reader. I’m like, “That’s great you were reading that early.” And one of my other daughters got up and just stormed out. She goes, “I hate when people treat me like that.” And everyone is just in shock. Like, “What are you talking about?” Well, it turns out she was a struggling reader. She has dyslexia. So people would make fun of her, and they would praise her younger sister. So in the moment we were praising her younger sister, she was remembering the moments where people were teasing her, putting her down. And I was able to talk to her and said, “No one was doing that in this moment. I know you have that feelings, but we had no ill intentions towards you.” And she really was able to calm down.

And I think, just helping them realize, like, “We are for you. We love you. Even if you yell at us, we are gonna be here to support you” – and the – part of the calming is going to them and saying, “What’s going on?” Because so many times, we could say, “You don’t get to watch TV tonight for the way that you acted at dinner,” or, “You don’t get to go do something with your friend this weekend.” We try to get them to calm down by giving them consequences, but really, she just needed me to say, “What’s going on? Why did you act that way?” Then she was able to share her heart.

Jim: And I think back to John’s question, the difficulty in that moment is you’re hassled, as the parent. You’ve got things you have to do. And you can fall prey to the bait – you know, the – the angry bait, if we want to call it that. I want more in that mechanism. You may be a calm soul, but you said that you have had to resist the temptation to fight back. What about the mom – or the dad, for that matter – who falls prey to that too often; their buttons are pushed too easily?

Tricia: Yeah.

Jim: So what advice would you have for them to not go to the juvenile level – which I – we all do. I mean, you know, “You are pushing my button!”

Tricia: Yes.

Jim: “You want to go there, let’s go!” What can you do to pull back from that and say, “Okay, here’s where I need to calm down?”

Tricia: Yeah, well I think the best way you could help an angry child is to remain calm yourself. So soon as we escalate, no one is thinking correctly. And once those emotions are peaked, then kids just run with those emotions. And they’ll – they’ll ride the train as far as you’ll carry it – and so, just realizing that if you can stay calm, you could help them manage their emotions. And you show them how it looks to remain calm even in a difficult situation.

Jim: Right.

Tricia: And also, to remember when their emotions are peaked, there is no trying to talk to them at all. So their emotional brain and their thinking brain, only one can be turned on at the same time. So if their emotional brain is turned on, their thinking brain isn’t there. So, if we’re there upset and lecturing them and raising our voice and trying to talk to them and explain how they should act instead, it’s like the teacher in Charlie Brown saying, “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Yeah, yeah.

Tricia: It is not going through. It is not connecting to their thinking brain. So…

Jim: But if you go, “Wah, wah, wah, wah” louder, it might connect, right?

Tricia: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

Tricia: It doesn’t connect. It just gets worse.

Jim: See, that’s my problem.

Tricia: Yeah.

John: Yeah, pound the table and be louder. That’s a normal reaction for all of us. We’re talking today to Tricia Goyer on Focus on the Family. And stop by our website or give us a call to find out more about her book, Calming Angry Kids: Help and Hope for Parents in the Whirlwind, which it is. Our number is 800-232-6459. Online, we’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Tricia, I want to make sure parents are hearing us, because some of this we can say – with a bit of tongue in cheek, you know – that it’s funny. But sometimes, anger can get out of control, and too many buttons are pushed. And I – I can speak to that as a father, I mean, of teen sons. That can be sometimes a bit too intense.

John: You – you just clenched your fist right now. I mean…

Jim: Well, I mean, because I, you know…

John: …Because you’re feeling it.

Jim: I’m trying to give her the – the word picture here. You know, you can really “bow up,” as they say. And we’ve gotta deescalate that. And we’ve got to remember who we’re serving – the Lord Jesus Christ – as we model parenting to our kids. How do we, in that moment of fight or flight – how do we do that in an effective way? I’m gonna keep pushing you on this…

Tricia: Yes.

Jim: …because I know parents struggle with this. And it’s completely normal to struggle with this. It’s how do we get control of it that is so critically important.

Tricia: I think one of the things that was causing me to get so angry at their anger – because I felt like I had to solve in the moment. So all of a sudden, they’re angry; they’re blowing up; they’re explosive. I feel myself getting angry, because I want them to be respectful. I want them to listen to me. I want them to apologize. I want them to calm down. And so, I was following them through the house. “You don’t talk to me that way. You don’t treat your father that way,” or “You don’t treat your siblings” – because I want them in the moment to calm down – and realizing that they are not capable in the moment of controlling that and letting them go, letting them walk away, knowing that later that day, we can talk to them about it when they are calmed down. So in the moment, when they’re escalated, when we feel ourselves getting escalated, nothing good is gonna come out it. And it’s the hardest thing to let them walk to their room and shut the door – often slam the door. Or with teen girls, I hear the, “Whatever,” as they stomp away. It’s so hard to let them go. But know that I don’t have to solve it in the middle of the angry moment. Later, we can talk about it.

Jim: And it’s so critical, and the words you used just now are so critical. I want to remind what – remind all of us what you just said, which is, “They’re not capable of.”

John: Mmhmm.

Jim: That is so important to remember, that they’re not dealing with adult brains. I mean, they have a – a building brain, a developing brain – emotionally. They may not be capable of resolving the conflict in that moment, so let them go.

Tricia: Yes, and even the – just what the – physically, what happens in your body – I mean, there’s – there’s hormones that are shooting through. There’s adrenaline that’s shooting through. They aren’t able to calm themselves down in the moment. And it’s the same with us. When my child is yelling at me, I could feel my heart start pounding. Like, there’s a physical reaction that our bodies are made to either fight, flight or freeze. But we can control that. We can lower our voice.

Jim: Absolutely.

Tricia: And when I find myself lowering my voice, then all of a sudden, they kind of come down a little bit. And just letting them walk away, letting them go to their room, giving them time to calm down – and I’m shocked. The more I do that, the more they’re able to calm themselves, and then come back around, and then we could talk about what’s really going on.

Jim: Right. And remember this: they’re processing at their rate of speed, then.

Tricia: Exactly.

Jim: You know, if you want to look at it that way. You also talk about the calming bag. So tell me more about the calming bag. It seems like the right place to ask this question.

Tricia: Yeah. So, you know, so many things, we train our kids how to do – how to go potty on the toilet, how to use a fork, how to use a napkin. But we never teach them how to calm down. And so what we created – and one of the therapists helped me to come up with the calming bag. So it has Scripture verses in it for kids that can read. It has Play-Doh, bubbles. And so they go to their room, and they know to go to their calming bag and use those tools. So maybe they’re squeezing Play-Doh, or they get out the bubbles. And when you have bubbles, you put it in, you blow, you take a deep breath, so they’re really breathing to calm themselves down. And pretty soon, they’ll use these tools maybe – it might be Scripture verse. One of my daughters loves going to those Scripture verses and reading them. It helps her calm down. But you train them in a non-angry moment. Like, “This is your bag. This is fun. We’re gonna put these things together,” and then you could use these tools. Other tools are just going to your – the bathroom and washing their hands under warm water. The warm water will calm them down.

Jim: Huh, that’s interesting.

Tricia: So some of the kids – some of my teenagers, I’m like, “Just go take a shower.” Like, it’ll – the warm water calms them down.

Jim: Yeah, I’ve got to admit, though, when I hear about colleges doing some of this, I’m a little – I’m thinking, what?

Tricia: I haven’t heard of colleges.

Jim: This should happen, like, at maybe 9 or 13. But when you’re 22, it seems like this wouldn’t be the right approach. But I don’t know. Distinguish between the preteen and the teen anger issues…

Tricia: I’m telling you, the…

Jim: …and how you deal with it as a parent.

Tricia: Well, those – those ages are the hardest, personally, because…

Jim: Which?

Tricia: The – both.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Yeah.

Tricia: …Preteen and teen with the hormones and everything that’s going on. I think the preteen’s hard, because they’re part child, part older kid, so they want to maybe get away with more than you think is – they want social media. They want all these things. And that might bring up some of the anger, because they want to be older when we know they’re not capable of.

Jim: Correct.

Tricia: And so I think just – but then you get all the hormones involved. And I think with those ages, one of the things that helps the most is just spending time with them doing something that they want to do, just, like, “We’re gonna hang out. We’re gonna sit here and watch YouTube videos if that’s what you want to do,” and spending time with them. So really, just spending that time with them makes us realize, like, “We still care about you, and even if you’re gonna be cranky, I’m still gonna love you and draw near to you.” And it really makes a big difference.

Jim: Well, and that’s the key, because that’s where they learn unconditional love, in that context. We’ve talked about the young person who’s exhibiting anger. What about the child that may stuff their anger or hide their anger? What can you do to help that child cope?

Tricia: Yeah.

Jim: Because that could be a dangerous situation, as well.

Tricia: It is a dangerous situation, because often you don’t know the extent of their anger. And usually, when you see them pulling away, or wanting to be alone, or wanting to go on walks by themselves, you realize there’s something going on. And often, it’s, again, just spending that time with them and saying, “Hey, how’s – how are things going? Is there anything that’s really bothering you? I want to be here to support you,” and let them know that they’re not gonna get in trouble – like, if they have something that they want to talk about, or something that they’re struggling with, that they’re not gonna get in trouble. We also always tell them, “We’re praying all the time that if something’s going on that you’re really struggling with that God will show us what it is.” And, you know, sometimes, if they’ve been doing stuff on social media they shouldn’t, and, you know, they just are pulling back – and just know that, you know, “God is here, and He loves you, and He wants us to draw near to you” – and just that over and over again, when they’re – even when they’re ignoring you, even when they’re pushing you away, just to let them know, “I’m here. I love you. You know, how can I help you?”

Jim: Yeah. It’s so important. And you got to continue to ask questions and be engaged and find mechanisms to help them express that anger, I guess.

Tricia: Absolutely. And – and just talk in a term, you know, that they understand. Like, “I see that you just really seem down. Like, what’s going on?” Or, “Is there someone at school that you’re really struggling with?” Or, “Are you worried about your grades?” And a lot of anxiety shows itself as anger. A lot of sadness shows itself as anger. A lot of these other emotions that they don’t know how to deal with show itself as anger or show itself as pulling themselves back – and so just letting them understand, like, “I would be anxious, too, if I was worried about my algebra test” – and – and just be there for them.

Jim: Tricia, right at the end here, again, I want to continue with the practical help, and with your permission, we’ll post some of these things online, but you have five tips for helping your teen deal with anger. What are they, quickly?

Tricia: Okay, so the first one is be there for them, and remember that their anger isn’t, most likely, about you. I think so many times with our kids…

Jim: It’s hard sometimes.

Tricia: I know. When they’re acting out…

John: And you don’t want to personalize it.

Tricia: …There’s something going on in their lives. Maybe they got bullied at school that afternoon, or they’re dealing with something else, or they feel like they’re too overweight or whatever’s going – it’s not about you. But they feel safe with you, so they often act out towards you because they know that you’re gonna be there and support them. Number 2, let your teen know the rules and your expectations. And so often, we have to have those rules for our kids. So we have social media rules. We have television rules of things they can’t – and these are expectations. And so, it’s not a battle every day, whether, “Yes, you can watch that. Yes, you can do that.” They know these are your expectations, and you’re gonna stick by them.

Also, establish boundaries and set consequences for angry outbursts. And I tell ‘em all the time, “You could be angry, and you could even go in your room, but do not kick the wall.” Like, you know. And it talks about, you know, in your anger, do not sin. I mean, the Bible talks about that. It’s okay. There are some things that you can be angry about. You can be angry if someone treated you unjustly, but how you act is a different thing. And then work with your teen to discover triggers and to keep an anger log.

Jim: Right.

Tricia: And they are able, at that age, to figure out what is really going on, and what’s angry. And even girls that are hormonal, you know, different times of the months, they’ll come up to me, and, like, “Mom, just know, probably in the next couple days, I’m gonna be really emotional,” and they’ll tell me ahead of time. And that’s something that we could talk about.

Jim: Yeah.

Tricia: And then also, help your teen identify healthy ways to release their anger.

Jim: Yeah. Those – and that’s really critical. And I don’t know that – that parents do that well. It’s something you have to, I think, study and learn to be able to do that successfully. You also have 10 ways to make your home a place of healing for kids from foster care, particularly. But again, all these principles apply. And we’ll post that as well. But I want to end right here with this question, which is, when should a parent seek professional help when they see anger issues in their child? When is it right to say, “I think Christian counseling would be a good thing”?

Tricia: Yeah, and I – I think when you feel like this is becoming a problem that you can’t get a grasp on and you’ve seen it over and over again – so all of our adopted kids, we’ve gone to trauma counseling with them, because they just had pain in their past. And so, even if it’s biological or adopted, there are professionals that can help you. And I remember I was – I had been a mom 23 years. I ended up going to therapy, and it was this intern who was our therapist. And she probably was younger than my oldest child. And I’m just like, “Britney, tell me how to help calm this child.” And I’d been a mom, but the things that I had in my tool belt for being a parent didn’t work with children that were dealing with anger and trauma. And she just gave me some things to use. And so I think if you feel like, “I can’t get a handle on this. I need help. I need someone else to work with me and work with my child.” Go seek help. Go seek counseling. It really makes a difference.

Jim: Yeah. Well, Tricia, you and John have done a marvelous job with these 10 children. And it’s great to see your – your zeal to help these kids, particularly the 7 that you have adopted, the four siblings. That right there – that’s a bold step. And it seems like a mountain so high that most couples wouldn’t say yes. But you’ve done that. And the children are doing well. And I’m sure it’s messy. I’m sure you’ve got…

Tricia: All the time. All the time.

 

Closing:

Jim: You’ve got challenges in there. But I want to turn to the listener and just say, if you’re struggling in this area, where your kids exhibit anger and you’re concerned about it, and maybe you haven’t found that right tool in your toolbox, this is a great resource for you. And I want to encourage you to get Tricia’s book, Calming Angry Kids. And, she has so much practical advice packed in there. And again, we’ll post some of that online – the – the 10 helps, as well as the five that you’ve mentioned, and so much more. So give a gift to Focus today. We want to get this into your hands. And we’ll do that for gift of any amount as our way of saying thank you.

John: Yeah, we want to encourage you to contact us. It helps ministry happen when you get resources from us. Make a donation, get the book or a CD or download of our conversation. The website – focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And our number – 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY – 800-232-6459.

And while you’re online, be sure to find out about Wait No More. Jim mentioned that program that Focus on the Family has to help you learn more about adopting from foster care and supporting those families who do.

Jim: Tricia, one last thing – you mentioned that if you and John had to do this all over again, meaning the adoptions, the bio kids, everything, that you would do it again. That right there is an amazing statement. Are you sure?

Tricia: They – there are some days…

(LAUGHTER)

Tricia: …Like, “Why did we do this?” But they are my kids. Like, I love them just as much as I love our biological kids – and just knowing, like, where would they be if we hadn’t stepped forward? I have no idea. And I’m just so thankful that God called us to this. And they are blessed by being in our home, but we are blessed by having them in our lives.

Jim: Well, you are good parents, you and John. Thank you for doing it.

Tricia: Well, thank you. 

John: Well join us next time as we hear from Les and Leslie Parrott. They’ll explain how you can improve your marriage by learning how to disagree well.

Teaser:

Les Parrott: If you know how to fight a good fight, you can use conflict to your advantage and rather than let it burn up your love life, allow it to enhance that.

End of Teaser

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Recent Episodes

Working Together as a Team in Your Marriage

Dr. Joshua Straub and his wife, Christi, discuss the marital challenges they’ve faced which has made them realize their need to become more intentional about connecting with and supporting each other. The Straubs offer practical ideas for couples to become more “we-focused” instead of “me-focused.”

You May Also Like

Avoiding Shame-Based Parenting

Psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan discusses the origins of shame, the search for self-worth in all the wrong places, and the importance of extending grace to ourselves. He also explains how parents can help their kids find their own sense of self-worth, belonging and purpose.

Becoming a Clutter-Free Family

Joshua Becker discusses the benefits a family can experience if they reduce the amount of “stuff” they have and simplify their lives. He addresses parents in particular, explaining how they can set healthy boundaries on how much stuff their kids have, and establish new habits regarding the possession of toys, clothes, artwork, gifts and more.

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.


If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.