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“You’re mean!” “I don’t like you anymore!” “You don’t love me!” And my personal favourite… “I’m going to run away so I can do whatever I want!” If you have a child over the age of five, you’ve probably had at least one of these announcements hurled at you from the angry lips of your child.
Fortunately they don’t really mean what they say. Your children are simply expressing their frustration and anger the only way they know how. Especially the ‘running away one’. Just offer to help them pack or to call a cab for them and watch them do an about-face. Yes, it is fortunate our children really don’t mean what they say…most of the time.
There are times, however, when our children really do mean what they say. There are times when your behaviour and your choices turn their little worlds upside down. As a parent it is your duty and responsibility to keep your children safe, secure, protected and feeling loved no matter what. When you fail to do that, resentment towards you can take root inside the hearts of your children. And if you don’t do whatever is necessary to put a stop to that resentment, you are both going to be miserable for a very long time…possibly for the rest of your lives.
Children harbor varying degrees of resentment toward their parents when they divorce. Depending on the age of your child and the circumstances of the divorce, children will be resentful of:
a. The parent who leaves--to your child it is nothing but abandonment
b. The parent who stays--children feel this parent chased or forced their mom or dad to leave
c. A parent who chooses a new lover over the family
d. A parent who leaves without saying goodbye and one who never follows through on promises to spend time with them
e. A parent who remarries and ‘forces’ a new family upon them
f. A parent who remarries and chooses his/her new family over them
Your children will possibly resent you for making changes in their lifestyle due to drastic changes in your income, or changes in how you respond to situations. For example: Joni and Chris had taken a very laid-back approach to parenting from the get-go. Their children were told ‘if you don’t stop…’ so many times it was a joke…to everyone…especially their children. Whatever they wanted they got. Whatever they did was fine. They seemed to think this was working pretty well until their oldest reached that wonderful destination called adolescence. They just didn’t understand what was happening!
Thankfully, though (for everyone), they didn’t like what they saw. So after reading a couple of excellent books on parenting and seeking the advice of trusted older parents who had been through the experience of raising teens, Joni and Chris made some changes. These changes weren’t too well received by the kids. But by sticking to their guns, the resentment eventually subsided and life was good.
Dealing with resentment
Darla Noble has been married to her childhood sweetheart, John, for 32 years. They are the parents of 4 beautiful children and 4 perfect grandchildren :)
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