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What do you do when your child is angry about the divorce?

Children react to their parents divorcing in many different ways. They often feel a wide range of mixed emotions, including sadness and confusion. Unfortunately, this mix of emotions can often manifest in children acting out in anger.

So, what should parents do when their child is angry about the divorce?

Make sure they know they are loved

Even if children are angry and acting out, parents must make sure their children know that they are still loved. Parents can do this by:

  • Continuing to vocalize and show affection to their children;
  • Showing interest in their activities or their interests to connect with them; and
  • Talking with them about how they are feeling and showing understanding.

Regardless of their age, a child’s anger over a divorce is often rooted in fear about the future. Showing children that their parents’ love for them has not changed can help them overcome that fear.

Don’t take things personally

Children might often lash out in anger with hurtful words. It is critical to use the proper strategies to prevent this behavior from becoming the norm.

However, most of the time, these words are not personal. In a divorce, children are rarely angry at their parents. They are usually only angry and scared about the situation. Parents should remember this whenever their child acts out.

Don’t engage in arguments

One critical way parents can avoid arguments with angry children is not taking what their children say personally and engaging in an argument with their child. Children might shout or say things they don’t mean so they can get a rise out of their parents. It is important for parents not to let their child’s anger influence their own.

Engaging in arguments with angry children often only makes the situation worse. Try to de-escalate their anger and talk calmly with them.

Keep trying

If a child’s anger becomes aggressive and destructive, it might be necessary for parents to take measures to mitigate that anger, whether through a different parenting strategy or professional assistance. However, children often only need time to work through their feelings. Parents must keep trying and loving their children, even through the difficult times after a divorce.