Dr. Archibald Hart says you must first understand the purposes of anger in order to help your children through it.
Purposes of anger:
* to force your system to protect itself from hurt and fear
* to help you overcome obstacles
* to put right what has been wronged
* to let you know that something is threatening to you
Have your children responded in anger because they might feel threatened by a new development in the home? Do you have a child who might be attempting to right a perceived wrong? Are your children covering up hurt and fears?
Dr. Hart and Dr. Les Carter offer advice on how to respond to your children's anger:
1. Understand the purpose of the anger.
2. Respond to the anger with tremendous empathy.
3. Avoid becoming defensive.
4. Give your children permission to talk about it.
5. Be willing to use the word divorce.
6. Let them know that you are struggling with feelings and adjustments too.
7. Do not feel you have to solve their problems or give an immediate answer.
Adults may not realize anger can be scary to a child when the child doesn't understand what is happening. Take time to let your children know that being mad is a normal reaction to the breakup of the family. Tell them that while they may be hurting on the inside, it is not okay to hurt others.
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1).