You Need to Know the Ugly Truth About Temper Tantrums

Temper tantrums are unattractive in children and downright ugly in adults. Here's help to control your temper and bless your relationships. Ooh, she was angry. I don’t know why. I don’t even know who.

But I could hear her shrieks coming from down the street. She was angry and wanted everyone to know it.

I don’t know whether it worked for her or not but temper tantrums and angry outbursts typically cause more problems than they solve.

We tend to think of tantrums as a toddler problem but…

temper tantrum is an unplanned, unintentional expression of anger, often with physical and verbal outbursts.

So, based on that definition…

When was your last tantrum?

The last time you let everyone know that you were NOT happy? You were feet stomping, hands flailing, purple-faced angry?

Who was the recipient?

  • Your spouse.
  • Your children.
  • Your parents.
  • Your child’s teacher.
  • Your boss.
  • Your server at lunch.
  • Your neighbors.

I get it, they’re ugly and you’re squirming a little.

The truth is, even if you and I don’t want to call them temper tantrums any time we lash out in anger ranting at the closest victim . . . we can name it anything we want, it’s still a temper tantrum.

They are able to ruin a perfectly good day for both the tantrum thrower and the recipient.

Look at what King Solomon said about anger.

People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness. Proverbs 14:29

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1

Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. Proverbs 29:11

Just as stirring milk makes butter, and twisting noses makes them bleed, so stirring up anger causes trouble. Proverbs 30:33

Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. Ecclesiastes 7:9

Causes trouble. 

Oh no.



Labels you a fool.

Double ouch.

Okay, you’re convinced. You’ve decided it’s time to shelve your angry outburst. Now what.

How can you and I stop our tantrum habit?

Temper tantrums are unattractive in children and downright ugly in adults. Here's help to control your temper and bless your relationships.

5 Wonderful and Doable Ways to Control Your Temper

1. Before you throw a tantrum . . . breathe.

Count to ten, count to fifty – anything to slow down and take time to calm down.

“When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.” ~Author Unknown

2. Before you respond to a tantrum . . . be quiet. 

Refuse to scream and shout. One of the best teachers I ever had used to speak in a whisper when she was angry. She could quickly get our attention and rarely raised her voice.

“Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.” ~Unknown

3. Before you reward a tantrum, yours or anyone else’s . . . stop.

The person, child or adult, venting is often satisfied just to get an angry response. Do your best to remain calm. Memorize a scripture verse or quote to mentally recite when you’re tempted to react with anger.

“When things begin accelerating wildly out of control, sometimes patience is the only answer. Press pause.” ~Douglas Rushkoff

4. After a tantrum . . . confess.

We’re all going to “lose it” once in a while. As hard as it is to admit, anger happens. Stop the cycle by remembering Ephesians 4:26–27

When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. Do not give the devil a way to defeat you.

5. Work out your anger with the Lord, repent and apologize.

Ask God for His forgiveness and go to person on the receiving end of your anger and ask for an opportunity to talk about it with humility and without excuses.

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” ~Benjamin Franklin

I’m so thankful Jesus showed us a better way to deal with each other without anger by speaking truth respectfully.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. Matthew 5:43–44

 If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? Even sinners love the people who love them. Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy. Luke 6:31,36

How I wish I could control my anger and love people perfectly.

It’s hard, isn’t it?

But I’m not ready to give up or give in. With prayer, practice, and Holy Spirit power we can do a better job of using our words and controlling our tempers.

Temper tantrums are unattractive in children and downright ugly in adults. Here's help to control your temper and bless your relationships.

Finally, Quotes to Inspire

 “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” ~Ambrose Bierce

“The greatest remedy for anger is delay.” ~Thomas Paine

 My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily, because anger will not help you live the right kind of life God wants. James 1:19–20

It is wise to direct your anger towards problems — not people; to focus your energies on answers — not excuses. – William Arthur Ward

 Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that war within you. James 4:1

“Anger is one letter short of danger.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Do not let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. Romans 12:21

Friends, anger is a valid emotion. You and I will get angry on occasion. It’s what we do with it. Because when anger takes control it has the power to make us do and say things we don’t want to do or say. And that’s a problem.

So count to ten, speak softly, remember God’s Word, confess and apologize. 

What’s your best tip for pushing pause and controlling your anger?

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  1. “Never ruin an,apology with an excuse.” That’s a great quote. Also, “Anger is one letter short of danger.” I confess, I tend to have temper tantrums. I didn’t label then as such until now. I call them hussy fits. It sounds more…ladylike. Same thing. Mostly, they’re directed at my computer. I lose my patience easily and I often don’t like having to spend so much time with technology, espero ally when I don’t understand it. I hear myself and I hate how I sound. Then I tell God how sorry I am and feel terrible. These are good words, Deb. I will remember these two quotes that spike to me today. Now, I’m off to work to NOT have a temper tantrum.

  2. oh my goodness..I just re-read my last comment-which I should have proofread BEFORE I clicked submit. But this is a perfect example of the ramifications of a temper tantrum, and I’m happy to be your guinea pig, Deb. I need to clarify (I typed that comment using my phone)…I do NOT throw hussy fits, although it may sound like that to the observer. I throw more ladylike HISSY fits. Same thing, I guess. Like words in a comment section that cannot be edited, so are the words in a temper tantrum. And I haven’t even gotten to work yet! Welcome to Monday! LOL

  3. You’ve shared some great advice here, Deb. I need these reminders more than I care to admit. I think what helps me the most in dealing with anger is to pause. I don’t have to respond right away and I’m always glad when I wait.

  4. This is an area the Lord has been working me on since high school. I come from a very passionate family … if you know what I mean by passionate … so I have to be intentional about not getting irritated with things sometimes. Great reminders!

  5. These are wonderful Deb! I use several of these and needed a reminder of them. I also have learned I need to care for my physical body, because when I’m tired or my blood sugar gets low, I’m more likely to have a problem with anger. Proactive prevention. ? My favorite of these is “Work out your anger with the Lord, repent and apologize.” I do repent & apologize (I have to more often than I care to admit), but honestly haven’t thought to take my anger to the Lord. Thank you, Deb. You’re such a blessing!

  6. Yes, we will get angry from time to time, but it’s definitely how we redirect that anger, displaying self-control and turning to God, that will have the best results, always!
    I can’t remember the last time I had a temper tantrum – guess the Lord’s been hard at work in me. I feel blessed!
    Blessings to you, Deb!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..TimelessMy Profile

  7. Oh what a great article! I tend to react and then breathe so I love the quote about anger being one letter away from danger. So true! Today is International Happiness Day and the very First Day of Spring so with these two great things to smile about thankfully so far it has been a tantrum free day.

  8. I remember interviewing Ruthie Gray on my blog about her mommy anger book Count to Nine and thinking, “I don’t have a problem”. But God showed me areas in my life that opened my eyes. Wow.

    And the thing I love most is that verse in Ephesians. Anger itself isn’t the problem, it’s what we do with it.
    Thanks for these practical tips, Deb
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  9. So much wisdom here, Deb! God is continually working on my temper, and I really appreciate your thoughtful suggestions for avoiding a temper tantrum. I’ll be pinning and sharing and using them as I help my kids (and myself) learn to tame our tempers. Thank you so much for linking up at Encouraging Word Wednesday this week!
    Charlie recently posted..Is Jesus really the only way?My Profile

  10. Oh my goodness after a day with fourth graders, an exhausting day, I needed this. Kids not doing homework, check. Parents asking for things that were sent home a week ago, check. A parent meeting at the end of the day, check. Aarrgghhh! I find as I get older, I’m 52 now, with 29 years of teaching under my belt, and I am tired and frustrated on a daily basis. Today I said to my husband, I’m no longer going to focus on the 2 or 3 kids who refuse to follow rules. I’m going in tomorrow with a new plan…Focus on the other 20 kids who consistently follow rules, who never miss homework, who are a joy to teach. The other 2 or 3 are not going to zap my energy anymore! I hope this gives me peace. It means ignoring bad behavior on a daily basis. It may even mean ignoring not only the behavior, but the children themselves. But I’m just so tired of giving so much attention (negative at that) to the wrong kids. Tomorrow I’m going to focus on good behavior, praise the kids who deserve to be praised, reward the kids who deserve to be rewarded. I can’t help every single kid no matter how hard I try. Anyway, this reminded me to stop having temper tantrums, I am going to try the”whisper” technique and breathing (deep cleansing breaths)!! Amen!

    • Oh, Karen, as a former teacher I know how disruptive and frustrating one or two seeking negative attention can be. I applaud your efforts to try something new. Even if it doesn’t change their behavior, I believe you will enjoy your class more and find more peace inside. I’m praying God gives you all the strength you need to find joy in this new way of approaching the day. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to share your story. God’s blessings!!
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