How to deal with an angry child after divorce
When parents separate, their child’s behavior is likely to change, as divorce is a challenging experience for both adults and underage family members. Depending on the age of your children, they may feel shocked, uncertain, or angry. Parents ignoring concerning signs, such as aggression or depression, unconsciously contribute to the child facing severe psychological problems that will affect their future.
If you are wondering how to help a child cope with parents’ separation appropriately, make sure to keep reading this article. We will consider different ways to navigate this unsettling time by making your child’s well-being the top priority.
1. Encourage your child to share their feelings
Any child coping with divorce needs to express their emotions. If you don’t help them express their anger in a normal and healthy way, they may destroy property or hurt others. Do not argue or reprimand your children for expressing themselves. Instead, talk to them and explain that you love them no matter what.
2. Don’t lie to your child about the dissolution of marriage
Many divorced couples prefer to hide the truth from their kids due to the fear of potential problems, including depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. Don’t forget that your child lives under your roof, so they are aware of all the pain and fights going on there. It would be better to say that the parents decided to live separately, although it doesn’t change the fact that they both love the child unconditionally.
3. Don’t be the victim of manipulation
Some parents notice that their child starts acting out more after divorce. For instance, some 6-year-old children can act out as victims after divorce by refusing to talk to their parents or disrespecting them. You should not fall for these manipulations. In contrast, define your parenting principles and speak to your child instead of shaming their manipulative behavior.
4. Put your relationships with the child first
Living in a stable, single-parent home with lots of attention for at least one year is the best situation for children after divorce. If divorced people dive into new dating relationships right after marriage termination, it might trigger some anger issues among kids. Keep in mind that underage family members need a lot of time to get used to the thought that their parents are no longer together.
5. Let your child know they are not at fault
It is very common for kids facing divorce in the family to blame themselves for this situation. Tell your child the real reason why you decided to end the marriage if it is possible. Also, remind your child that the parents will always be there for them.
6. Maintain routines
Once you separate from your ex, the daily routines of your child will most likely change. Even if your child has to switch homes from time to time, do not forget to observe rules, rewards, and discipline with them. It is recommended to reach an agreement with your child that dinnertime should be followed by homework and then a bath no matter where they live. Otherwise, your child is likely to start acting out because of divorce. For example, some 4-year-old children might throw tantrums.
7. Consider using the services of a therapist
It is pretty difficult to deal with separation when a child is involved, as you take responsibility for yourself and the younger family member. Thus, seeking psychological help can be one of the parents’ best decisions during this challenging period. Only a trained professional, such as a counselor or therapist, can help you and your kid handle anger issues if the behavior is bad enough or has persisted long enough.
8. Find a common language with your ex
Whether you’re officially divorced from your partner or not, conflicts between you two can be highly damaging for the well-being of your kids. When you talk to your child, refrain from blaming your ex for their behavior. According to psychologists, people putting children in the middle of their fights unconsciously make them feel like they have to choose between parents.
9. Read books on child psychology
It is important to have a high level of awareness in child psychology to provide appropriate help for children of divorce. Make sure to read books on learning patterns, behavioral developments, and environmental factors affecting children. By understanding your child’s behavior, you’ll be able to find the most effective strategies to help them cope with anger.
10. Pay attention to red flags
After several months following the divorce, the majority of children get used to a new way of life. They usually stop manipulating their parents, as kids understand they can do nothing to fix the situation. However, some children might be stuck in depression due to this news. The most common signs of this mental health issue are sleep problems, troubles in school, and drug and alcohol abuse.
If you notice some of these signs in your child’s behavior, do not hesitate to contact a child therapist, teacher, or mental health professional who can help you with these problems. Currently, these professionals successfully treat divorce-related issues, such as conduct disorders, delinquency, and impulsive behavior.
Parental separation has a considerable impact on the emotional well-being of children, making them feel anger, confusion, frustration, and sadness. It is essential to use a combination of the different strategies outlined above to make the marriage termination less complicated for the kids. As a result, you can turn a child’s anger into acceptance of the divorce.
Natalie Maximets is a certified life transformation coach at OnlineDivorce.com. She has expertise in mindfulness and sustainability. She is a published author focused on the most progressive solutions in the field of psychology. Natalie helps people go through fundamental life challenges, such as divorce, and build an entirely new life by reframing their personal narrative.