Question: How Do I Keep My Anger At My Ex From Hurting My Child?
Divorce can bring out the worst in people. It can cause an exceptional parent to lose focus on what is best for his/her children, which in turn can cause the children to feel mistreated. It seems some parents can’t divorce their bad feelings for an ex spouse from their feelings for their children. When those negative feelings bleed over into the relationship with children, the result is a fractured child/parent relationship.
A parent can turn their child’s anger into acceptance if they are there to help their child cope with the stress of divorce.. It’s important that the divorced parent put away their own anger and hurt feelings in order to heal the relationship with their child. A parent needs to set standards for themselves that will help meet their child’s needs. These standards, along with the help of a therapist can be very helpful when attempting to heal a relationship with an angry child. Below are some guidelines for dealing with an angry child.
- Love your child and be there for them even if their words are hurtful.
- Show your child love by expressing it.Show love when you talk to him/her, no matter how hurtful you feel they are being toward you.
- Hold your child accountable but do not abandon them because the pain is too much for you to deal with. Be there to show them what is and isn’t proper behavior.
- If they won’t communicate with you write them letters on a regular basis. Keep a connection going, even from a distance.
- Show an interest in their life, ask what they are doing and how they are feeling. Don’t allow your new life to cause you to lose interest in the needs of your children.
- If the anger continues, be willing to go to therapy with your child. Show your child that you will stop at nothing to rebuild your relationship.
- Don’t internalize and take things your child says personally. Keep in mind that the anger is coming from fear of losing you as a parent.
- If your child has questions and needs to talk about the divorce be willing to listen and respond. You need to try and see things from their perspective.
- Ask other family members to intervene. Ask them to talk to your child in a positive manner about the importance of the parent/child relationship.
- Heal your own pain. You may feel rejected and hurt but it’s important you stay strong for your child’s sake.
- Do not put new relationships above the relationship with your child. Even if you meet someone new, continue to live in a way that lets your child know they are your number one priority.
A single parent support group can be key to the survival of your relationship with your child. Talking and sharing ideas with parents who are experiencing the same problems will generate new options and ways to deal. Don’t bottle up your feelings and refuse to talk about them or deal with your children’s anger. You stand to lose the most important relationship you have if you do.