Parental conflict can leave the children feeling frustrated and helpless. Often, these emotions are portrayed with lots of anger and aggression. Some single parents may make the mistake of assuming that the children are undisciplined which is quite untrue. Here we look at some of the ways parents and guardians can help children with serious anger issues after a divorce of the parents.
The 5 Stages of Grieving
Children will go through 4 stages upon the divorce of their parents. However, children will act differently depending on their age, personality, and support they get from the parents and the entire family.
Most children will have a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that their parents’ marriage is over.
Anger is the second stage that the kids will go through. The young ones feel that the parents should have worked harder to sustain the marriage. Bitterness builds up which makes the kids aggressive and they may also acquire some destructive behavior.
Children will then go through the stage of bargaining. This is where a child will start praying and even promising to do better in school or even be more obedient if only the parents could get back together.
This is the constant state of sadness when the kids realize their divorced parents aren’t getting back together.
When a child feels everything is beyond their control, they finally accept the outcome and move on with life. This stage could take longer to achieve for some children more than for others.
Tips to Deal with Angry Kids
Anger is a normal feeling just like happiness and parents need to understand this. The most effective way to help children of divorce deal with this emotion is through self-expression. Here are some of the tips you can try if you’re dealing with an overly angry child after divorce.
1. Don’t Assume the Child is Okay
Even if your child acts normal, encourage them to talk about their true feelings. However, you need to be ready for the harsh truth because the kid will express how they feel. It’s not unusual for the angry child to blame you for the separation between you and the other parent. Ensure that your emotions don’t take over when a child blames you for the parental divorce.
2. Avoid Playing Blame Games
The cause of the parental separation or dissolution of marriage may be difficult to deal with. Either way, some little diplomacy is needed to help the kids get over their anger issues. Never blame your ex-spouse for the things happening in the family.
Always have a united front on how to navigate possible questions from the children. For example, you need to discuss the possible questions the children might ask and also come up with satisfactory answers. As you explain the reasons why the two of you no longer live together, ensure that you don’t speak ill of your ex. It’s even better if you can discuss the issues with the children together. as difficult as this might be, parenting after divorce requires some level of maturity.
3. Be Honest
You’ll find some parents lying to children that the other parent is just out of town and will be back soon. The child knows that’s a lie, remember they witnessed when you and your ex-spouse exchanged words. It’s wise to tell the children the truth but ensure that it’s age-appropriate.
4. Your Presence is Needed
You might also be going through the stress of divorce. However, with kids, you need to put aside your personal feelings and be there for the child. This is the time to accompany the child for their music performance or soccer match. Playing with the angry child can also help them find comfort in that they can rely on you.
5. Engage Your Other Family Members
Children have that favorite aunt, uncle, grandma, or grandpa that they enjoy being with. It’s okay to call in for help with your extended family because it will help the children to realize that there are people who love them. Your other family can engage the children in activities like going to the park or for some shopping to help them relieve off the pressure.
6. Don’t Keep the Children Away from your Ex
No matter how bad the separation was, it’s not wise to punish the other parent by keeping the children away. Allow the children to spend time with the parent because it can help reduce their anger since they are able to feel the love and care from both parents.
7. See a Child Therapist
If all else fails, you should see a therapist for guidance on how to handle your child. In some situations, the child may be too angry to even go for therapy with you. You can still seek the services of a mental health professional alone so that you’re better placed to handle the anger issues with your child.
How to Provide Stability to Children through the Divorce
Children depending on their age aren’t as flexible as adults. You can therefore expect some resentment to change from the parental divorce which can further exacerbate anger problems. However, if you and your ex-partner can work out a schedule that offers more stability for the children, it can help them adjust.
This means having regular routines in both households and communicating the same to the children. By doing so, the children are much more likely to remain calm and stable through the end of your marriage.
Establishing routines helps children know what to expect when they visit each parent. They know that on Saturday afternoons regardless of which parent they are with, they get to watch their favorite movie and so on.
Some parents may have feelings of guilt after they end a marriage and will try to compensate for this by overdoing rewards or even being relaxed on rule enforcement. Ensure that even during this time, your kids get to be on their best behavior and they don’t get away with bad behavior. Also, don’t reward them unnecessarily as it may bring conflict between you and the other parent.
Anger if not addressed early enough can develop anxiety and depression in young children. Don’t assume that the child is fine after your divorce. It’s also wise to ask people spending time with your children about their behavior. For example, get in touch with the teachers, nannies, or close relatives to help you monitor your child’s behavior. Most importantly, don’t shy away from seeking professional help if the feelings of anger persist for months.