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:
- He despises any kind of instruction, rules, or restrictions from his parents.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction (1.7).
- She refuses to listen to anything. She has all the answers and is sure her parents just don’t get it!
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But he who heeds counsel is wise (12.15).
- He’s quick to get angry. His parents learn to expect an explosion at any minute.
A fool’s wrath is known at once,
But a prudent man covers shame (12.16).
- She’s full of pride and self-righteousness. She feels completely justified in her actions.
A wise man fears and departs from evil,
But a fool rages and is self-confident (14.16).
- He is disrespectful and rejects his parents.
A fool despises his father’s instruction,
But he who receives correction is prudent (15.5)
A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother (15.20).
- She will not consider anyone’s viewpoint or concerns but her own.
A fool has no delight in understanding,
But in expressing his own heart (18.2).
- He has a smart mouth that constantly gets him in trouble.
A fool’s mouth is his destruction,
And his lips are the snare of his soul (18.7).
- She does the same things over and over again, in spite of the consequences.
As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly (26.11).
- He gives full vent to his rage and, sometimes, becomes physically abusive.
A fool vents all his feelings,
But a wise man holds them back (29.11).
Lou Priolo, in his book The Heart of Anger: Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Chldren, says, “First, the best way to deal with rebellion is to prevent it: ‘A prudent man sees the evil and hides himself’ (Prov. 22: 3). Second, the best insurance against the development of characterological rebellion is the prevention of characterological anger.”
Your Children Are Not Doomed
If you recognize characterological anger or rebellion in one or more of your children, they are not doomed. It will take work, consistency, love, and a lot of humility on your part, but with God’s help, your family can grow and change.
Next week we’ll talk about some of the ways we as parents provoke our children to anger and how to begin dealing with it.
Strengthening Your Marriage by Wayne Mack
Some of the subjects I’ll cover in future blogs:
Blended families in the Bible
How to prepare your children for being in a blended family
Damage control—healing the mistakes
Dealing with in-laws and out-laws
Helping your child be part of the “other” blended family
Dealing with “exes”
You’re not my dad!
Your questions, please share them in the comments section.
IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER, IT’S TIME TO LINKUP!
IF NOT, CHECK OUT THE GREAT POSTS LINKED BELOW!
Mondays @ Soul Survival is a place to share your insights about God and His Word, parenting, marriage, homemaking, organization and more. Feel free to link up multiple posts as long as they are family friendly. Remember this is a Christian site.
You can also SIGN UP FOR SPECIAL “CHRISTIAN LIVING” posts & receive notices of this LINKUP/Series, along with the “wise woman” series:
Previous posts in the “Wise Woman” series:
Getting ready for 2017
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible.
And I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in. As an incentive, I’ll be giving away one daily Bible to someone who signs up between now and October 31st and another one to someone who leaves a comment between now and then.
So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.
Sign UP FOR THE “BIBLE IN A YEAR” DAILY POSTS TODAY so you don’t miss a single one!
I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:
Mondays Making Your Home Sing Musing Mondays Darling Downs Diaries Mom to Mom Mondays The Life of Faith The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking Our Home of Many Blessings
Tuesdays Cornerstone Confessions Testimony Tuesdays Purposeful Faith Tuesday Talk Intentional Tuesday
Wednesdays Messy Marriage Christian Blogger Linkup A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Seeking God in All I Do Coffee for Your Heart Woman to Woman Women of Intention
Thursdays Frog’s Lily Pad Booknificent Thursdays Children Are a Blessing 3-D Lessons for Life
Fridays Create with Joy Missional Women Grace & Truth Faith & Friends
Saturdays Snippets of Inspiration Word of God Speak
Sundays Spiritual Sundays
This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!