Although a divorce can be complicated and stressful for you, it can be life-shattering for your children. At least, that’s how they’ll likely view it, even if you carefully break the news of divorce to your children. As a result, your kids might exhibit a variety of emotions that can be difficult for them to get a handle on. One of the most common, though, is anger.
How can you help your child cope with anger after your divorce?
Your child’s anger can run deep, and it can be long-lasting. They might act out physically, their school performance could significantly decline, and their relationship with you might sour. As heartbreaking as all of this can be, there are steps that you can take to help your children cope with their anger and get through this trying time in their life. Here are some of the most important steps:
- Be honest: In their attempt to understand what has happened to the life they knew, your children might hit you with a barrage of questions. You need to be prepared to answer them honestly, but not so honest that you alienate your children from their other parent. Don’t try to sidestep these questions, though. Your children probably know more than you think, and deflecting their questions will likely spur additional anger.
- Acknowledge your child’s anger: Even though anger is expected post-divorce, don’t assume that your child is okay. Talk to them and let them know that it’s okay to feel what they’re experiencing. You can also let your child know that they can talk to you whenever they need to, which could help build trust and give your child an outlet for their anger.
- Don’t let your child’s anger lead to manipulation: Children are smart. They might sense that you feel guilty about their anger and thereby use that guilt against you. But giving into your child’s demands is dangerous, as it can cause a rift between you and the other parent as well as your child and their other parent. It can also be unhealthy for your child to get everything they want. The quicker you can nip this in the bud, the quicker you might be able to work through your child’s anger.
- Encourage your child’s relationship with their other parent: A lot of your child’s anger stems from their unease with losing the life that they grew accustomed to and the uncertainty they face. But you can help them retain some sense of normalcy by encouraging them to spend time and develop a strong relationship with their other parent.
- Find activities that serve as an outlet: It’s okay for your child to feel angry. What’s not okay is for them to unleash that anger in unhealthy ways. Therefore, it’s beneficial to find activities that allow your child to exhibit their anger in a controlled and healthy fashion. Physical activities are especially helpful here.
Think long-term when navigating your divorce
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the immediacy of your divorce. After all, you’re going to be dealing with your own emotional challenges. But even though you might want to get through your divorce as quickly as you can, you need to take a step back, breathe, and see what you need to accomplish to set yourself, and your children, on a path to long-term post-divorce success.
If you’re struggling to figure that out on your own, don’t worry. There are supports that you can put in place to help you navigate the process. By diligently working to build your divorce case early on, you might better position yourself for the outcome that you want, which will make it even easier for you to devote the time and energy you need to protect your children and their well-being.