Select Page
In Divorce

How To Deal With Children’s Aggressive Behaviour In Divorce


Today’s theme is children developing anger issues throughout a divorce. Learn why they can’t control it and how you can fix it.  Look out! This post includes an exclusive Cheatsheet/Worksheet.

Niels Klement, Child of Divorce

After my parents divorced back in 2010, I changed from being a more extroverted person to being an introverted and I never talked to anyone about my feelings. In return, there are many children that go differently about this and show their feelings in another output like anger. So, how to deal with a kid that has developed anger issues throughout divorce?
On the whole, there are a few things you can do when your child shows an aggressive behavior. But what you need to know first is that most children are trying to use anger as an opportunity to relieve themselves from the pain that is caused by divorce. According to Dr. Markham, aggressive behavior in children is a symptom of fear or powerlessness, not hate.
“Kids don’t actually want to hurt anyone, It’s just that when they feel threatened, vulnerable or hurt, they see others as the enemy.”
Dr. Markham


We already know that aggressiveness is always connected to a specific feeling or situation. In the case of divorce, emotions play a big role, especially for children. When a kid gets aggressive he usually goes through a process of an inner conflict with himself about a situation he is not sure about. As you can guess, there are quite many topics in a divorce for children to think about that way.
An aggressive child is most likely a sign of overwhelming stress, pain or feeling helpless/powerless if not all three. This type of feelings often appears when there wasn’t enough clarification about the current situation or future. Children are going to make up stuff and fall apart under it. Exactly this type of pain is the one they’re searching desperately an output for.
Another not so common reason for anger issues is that kids try to express disappointment and discouragement against you (their parents) with phrases like “I hate you” or similar. In some case, I need to tell you that there is mostly no misunderstanding or a lack of clarification involved. It’s simply true disappointment your child is trying to make clear to you. Maybe because of something you did in the process of getting divorced, which they could not agree with or maybe just did not get right. Children feeling like this are most likely over the age of 12 because recognizing what is actually going on in a divorce, is something a younger child can not really perceive.

But when you have a younger child, think about this: Sometimes, co-parents try to be nasty about the other co-parent in front of their child because they actually think it would help them be better off as a parent when the other co-parent seems “bad” to the children. Out of experience, I can say its a BIG MISTAKE for the parent whos talking bad. Children only get torn between both parents.

But if this is sadly the case and your co-parent does not know that this is completely ineffective and how to go right about this, be sure to talk to your child about things he got told and briefly explain your point of view and then let your child decide on what it’s going to believe. That might not be easy for you but its definitely a pressure relive for your child. In the other case, when you did something wrong or something your child could not agree with, show him that you deeply regret it and you never wanted to hurt him.

In addition, there are many children that just feel underestimated by their parents. Many parents tend to say something like: “That’s not meant for a child’s ear” or “You are too young to understand this”. Sentences like this just make a kid want to explode. Feeling underestimated gives them the thought that proving themselves through an aggressive behavior would make a change to the way you are treating them.

Last but not least, there is another reason why children are aggressive after divorce. It’s that they feel left and lonely. But I can say, just from the fact that you are reading this, it is not the case.

Reading this blog simply approves that you are caring deeply about your children and that you are on the right path, not just to rais an emotionally intelligent and healthy child but also to be a better parent too. Keep going.


As I already pointed out above, children use anger to free themselves from the pain and stress they feel but that’s not exactly what a child is thinking when he behaves aggressively. There are many reasons for a kid to behave this way. Think about it like this: from a child’s view, being angry should always act like a key to something. That might be pain or stress relieve but it could also be wanting to reach attention or trying to get that new toy that he desperately wanted. For kids of divorce, it is mostly the first reason. However, keep in mind that you can never tell exactly at the beginning what your child actually tries to reach by being aggressive. Try to ask him. Or look out for the key points in your child’s behavior, which I pointed out above to maybe assign a reason to your child’s aggressiveness.
When you are not able to do that directly, do it by focusing on your child at the breakout point of aggression. Try to answer those questions to determine what actually triggers the anger in your child and to establish a feeling on what they are thinking so you can help them calm in the right way.

 1) What similarities do the situations share, when your child behaves aggressively?

2) Who is your kid trying to offend? (You, Everyone, Your new Partner?)

3) Is there also another feeling like sadness involved?


As we all know, the most efficient way to respond to someone aggressive is to be one hundred percent calm. For a child, portray an understanding person, who is always there for help and questions. Just so you know, I know how hard this is but believe me, its the only way how someone should react to aggressiveness, no matter if to an adult or a child. Answering with more aggressiveness will only blow up the problem.


In some case, sure, but in other, no. That’s totally dependent on the kind of aggressiveness your child expresses. I would say, it is good to use consequences as soon as the aggressiveness starts to express physically. That means when your child is breaking something or even tries to hurt you consequences are totally required.
It is actually not common for a child who has anger problems caused by divorce to behave this way because hurting someone is in most case not what they want. They feel hurt themselves, so they are trying to have an output through the anger.


Thank you for reading this!

In conclusion, it is all about figuring out what causes the anger and then working effectively against that.

Every child has a similar way of thinking though, but it is always individually caused by the respective family situation. To help you figure out the exact reason for your children’s anger problems, I created this worksheet for you, to determine the reasons by answering a few questions. You can download it here.

If you enjoyed that post, feel free to share it. are there still questions left? You can contact me here!

If you liked this post

Then you’ll like these too:


Yes, send me the eBook!

By clicking on 'get it now' you'll accept our privacy policy

You're In! Check your inbox.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This