overcoming anger

You and Your Children’s Mother: Overcoming Anger For Your Kids’ Sake

Getting tired of hearing about how all single dads are angry? If you’re like me, you don’t even read the “deadbeat dad” articles anymore-it’s enough to make you mad!

The real danger of not overcoming anger is that it can easily cloud your thinking and make you temporarily forget one of your most valued priorities in life, your kids. What’s really best for you and them? Do you really get that much satisfaction out of hating your former wife? Who’s really being hurt here? If there’s a constant pain in your stomach, it isn’t her that’s bleeding; it’s you-and the kids.

Like many things in life, hate is a choice. It may seem like an uncontrollable reaction, but in not overcoming anger, you have chosen to hate. [Tweet This] I’m not asking you to love the kids’ mom again; that’s a choice too. There’s a middle ground you have to reach-the lack of anger and hate. It’s a necessary first step in bringing healing to your family.

I’ll be borrowing from Ken Canfield’s book, The 7 Secrets of Effective Fathers-specifically, secret five: Loving Their Mother. I know it may be hard to even think about right now, but force yourself-for you and for the children. Here’s how to do it.

Distrust Your Former Wife? Your Kids Will, Too

No one’s perfect-including you. We all do things that hurt others. With that in mind, let go of all the distrust you can, especially if it’s based on old memories. If you choose to re-live that distrust over and over in your mind, it will give you an ulcer.

But, even worse, your children will pick up on the distrust like the smell of hamburgers on the grill. Your attitude won’t come back to haunt her, only you and your kids. If you reinforce that she can’t be trusted or doesn’t keep promises, you’ll only create a basic anxiety and fear in your kids’ lives.  They may not trust any women. Your son could grow up to have a string of failed relationships with women; your daughter may develop negative views of womanhood or motherhood. They’ll learn to distrust you for it too, and that could undermine many of the other things you’re trying to do as a dad.

No matter how much satisfaction you may get out of spite, don’t do that to your kids. Now that the marriage is over, why not be forgiving?

Can’t Bring Yourself to Talk to Their Mom?

I remember a grade school program where my son was up on the bleachers, singing his heart out about Frosty the Snowman. His mom and I were sitting on the front row, talking. What did we talk about? My son John, of course. No need to be angry about the past or present. No need to hate anyone. Only a great reason to communicate our mutual love and hopes for the life of this great little guy.

Afterwards, when we were standing around with all the other proud parents, a woman approached me and said, “I was talking to your wife, and she said ….” Oh boy. My wife! Then I stopped and thought, Of course. It was an easy mistake, but I also took it as a compliment, because it reflected that we were taking a tense situation and choosing to make the best of it. We both hugged John and then went our separate ways. No ulcers, no atmosphere of distrust, no lack of communication, no anger. Who benefited? My son John, myself, and maybe their mom. We all won and it felt great. You can win and bring your kids into the equation too.

Think about the future now. Imagine no hate, anger or distrust aimed at your children’s mother. You’re there, and there is laughter, affirmation, even love. Your kids see their potential, love their mom for who she is, and give you credit for being the dad all their friends would like to have.

Sound Off

What do you think children in the midst of divorce need most?

  • Tim Warner

    I truly love this article and can honestly say this was one of the key things that I have done right. Soon after we divorced I started following all pro dad. One of the biggest hurdles was rule number 1 which is “love your wife”. I often cringed when it came to this but came to embrace it. I have worked very hard to maintain an amicable relationship with my wife over the past 6 years and I can truly say it has truly paid off when it came to my kids. My boys are extremely loving and caring and now that my eldest son has graduated from high school I am starting to see the true fruits of our labor.

    I often talk with my son’s and let them know that even though I am no longer married to their mother that I love and respect her. It’s definitely not an easy pill to swallow but I found the more I relax and let things go everything seems to work out better.

    I do still get angry and frustrated with her but I have to constantly remind myself that we have separate lives now and that as long as we maintain respect for each other .

  • trueamerican1776

    I like this article. However, even though I do my best to do these things for the past 3 years, my kids still don’t trust her. She left us for a year and a half. They have not over come that, not even with counselling. I read passages out of the Bible to show how God forgives us and how Jesus shows us His Grace (undeserved love) and Mercy. When they say bad things about her, such as she is ugly, I tell them that she is not ugly, that since I married her she is not ugly. I can’t tell them that she doesn’t lie since she does it to them in texts, I just remind them to extend the mercy Jesus gave us to her. I do try to talk up her positives (really smart in math and science, got good grades in college). They are frustrated that her boyfriends (7 in the past 3yrs) are constantly changing, and are more of a priority in her life than them. When I am in public with her, such as school events, I am the same as the article. I talk to her and interact with her, hold the door, ect. I don’t talk bad about her (now I only have half a tounge from biting it, jk.) and have told them if they think I am talking bad about her they can tell me to stop. They’ve tested me on that, I mentioned her about a fun memory with my mom and my oldest told me to stop. That is how I think it was a test, to see if I would stop. I did and we changed subjects. I’m not a push over, I was an NCO in the Army, so I understand discipline. But I was a private too, so I know how to party (without alcohol). Although I have dated, I have never mentioned the women much less introduce the boy to the date. I will when there is potential for the relationship to develop in to more serious. But I am not going to be a revolving door of women.

Subscribe to the Play of the Day for daily advice, videos and updates on how to be better dad.

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you do when you are angry at someone?”

foster and adoption
Did You Get It?
Every Man's Bible
Florida Prepaid