Blended Families Part 6: Angry Children + LINKUP

 

Blended Families Part 6: 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?

 

Blended Families Part 6: Angry Children

 

We’ve been talking about the challenges blended families face and some of the ways their struggles are common to us all.

In previous posts we’ve talked about favoritism, the goal of the blended family, how to love biblically, and the importance of right priorities, among other subjects.

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.

Blessings,
Donna


Additional Resources:

The Heart of Anger: Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Chldren by Lou Priolo

Get Outta My Face!: How to Reach Angry, Unmotivated Teens with Biblical Counsel by Rick Horne

Strengthening Your Marriage by Wayne Mack

When Sinners Say I Do: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage by Dave Harvey

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.


Blended Families Part 6: 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?


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