Blended Families Part 6: Angry Children
Today we’re going to talk about angry children.
We’ve all seen them, or experienced them, blended families with angry, resentful children or teens. And parents who are just trying to “live through it” until the kids are old enough to leave home. In some cases, the children aren’t only angry, but are in full blown rebellion. I don’t have to tell you this falls far short of God’s best for families.
How does this happen when couples start out with such high hopes for their marriages and families?
It starts with a seed.
It starts with a seed and that seed is a hurt.
… who can bear a broken spirit? (Prov. 18.14b)
The hurt often comes as a result of sin on the part of one or more parents or step-parents, but not always.
It can be real or, sometimes, only imagined. Things like:
- A step-father trying to take a father’s place.
- Unfair treatment by a parent or step-parent.
- Desertion or rejection by one or more parents.
- Favoritism toward a sibling or step-sibling.
- The loss of friends or extended family.
If it’s not dealt with in a biblical way, the seed will grow into a root of bitterness.
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many (Heb. 12.15 NLT).
The child cultivates that seed by playing the offense over and over in his or her mind. He thinks about how unfair it is, how he wishes things were different, or how he wants his old life back. As he does he’s nurturing and watering it. The seed grows into a bitter root and that root, if not addressed biblically, will spring up into an ugly bush.
We’ve all tasted something bitter. It’s sharp to the tongue and leaves a bad taste.
A bitter person, child or adult, is sharp with others, even when the other people are trying to be kind or loving. Pretty soon other family members are avoiding unnecessary interaction, fueling more anger and bitterness.
Bitterness, if not dealt with grows into anger. This kind of anger is not the occasional outburst that comes from various provocations, life events, or frustrations, but an angry disposition that begins to characterize their lives.
Allowed to remain, it can quickly grow into stubbornness or what some might call insubordination. Imagine the proverbial donkey with her front hooves dug into the ground while her master tries to move her forward. A stubborn son or daughter is uncooperative, often refusing to take part in family events, interact with others, or obey her parents.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry (1 Sam. 15.23a).
Stubbornness is idolatrous because the stubborn person thinks she is god of her own life. What makes her happy is getting her own way.
But sadly, stubbornness is not the end of the road for someone on this downward spiral. Stubbornness can lead to the next step, full blown rebellion. A rebel is someone who has become a fool in God’s eyes. He or she refuses to be under authority, especially, the authority of his or her parents.
Look at some of the characteristics of a fool from the book of Proverbs: Continue reading