FamilyLife Blended®

Ron L. Deal

Roots of Anger

February 28, 2018

Anger is a secondary emotion. The question, then, is what’s underneath it?


Proverbs 29:22 says, “A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.” If you’ve got a temper, you’ve got problems. In general, people get angry because they are hurt, frustrated, or sad. Maybe they're going through a loss and screaming at the world. Or they feel unimportant to someone they love and the hurt comes out as anger. Or they are frustrated. Whatever it is, to keep your anger from causing sin, deal with the hurt, frustration, or sadness underneath.

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When it comes to school, sometimes parents need a backpack.   The hallmark of good co-parenting between homes is cooperation. And that applies to helping kids succeed in school. So, how do you do that? If you don’t already, have regular “business meetings” to communicate about the school calendar and who’s bringing the soccer shoes to the game. If you need to pass notes between homes, take the child out of the middle by having a separate backpack the parents exchange. After all, good communication and cooperation is your responsibility, not theirs.
February 27, 2018
So, if you’re having thoughts about getting a divorce should you be concerned?   Over a fourth of people who have ever thought about divorce had good reason to question their marriage but at the end of the day, ninety percent of them are glad they stayed married. Every marriage has good days and bad days. Couples who survive work at their problems or get some counseling. Others just press in, stay committed, and persevere through the questions and doubt. Passing thoughts about divorce are fairly common; the vast majority of people are glad they never act on them.
February 26, 2018
“Ron, my ex-husband is telling our son that he can’t call his stepfather, “Dad.” But, of course, I want him to. Is there anything I can do about that?”   I wish kids could decide what labels they use for stepfamily members but sometimes insecure adults try to dictate the terms they use. To a kid choosing mom or dad’s term is like siding with one against the other. So mom should help her son decide what to do. He could call his stepfather “Dad” when at his mom’s house and then respect his father by calling him something different when at dad’s house. Whatever the boy decides take the pressure off. Tell him he matters to you not the labels. .
February 23, 2018
Have you ever gotten confused about which terms to use when referring to someone else’s family members?   Sharon was confused. “When I talk with my friend about her kids I want to call them her ‘children,’ but technically they are her stepchildren. They call her ‘stepmom’ which makes me think they want to be called her ‘stepchildren.’ I’m just not sure what to say.” A good rule of thumb is to use the terms you hear them using. Also, you can ask, “What do you want me to call your kids?” It shows that you want to support the family just as they are. And that, will be greatly appreciated.
February 22, 2018
You’ve heard of the trickle-down effect, right? Well, parents have one, too.   Proverbs 29 says: “If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.” The principle is what influences the leader trickles down to those he leads. That’s true of parents, too. Perhaps that’s why Proverbs 23 says, “Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge. Do not withhold discipline from a child…” The order is important. First, apply your heart to instruction and knowledge, then, THEN, teach your children. What influences you trickles down to your kids.  
February 21, 2018
Interrupting is disrespectful.   I was 10 and I just had to tell my parent's friend, Mrs. Roush something. She held up her hand like a traffic cop, shook her head “no,” and kept talking to her friend until she finished, then I could talk. Now, all kids need to learn not to interrupt adults because it teaches a child respect. They shouldn’t interrupt parents either because whoever gets to interrupt gets to be in charge. So, in stepfamilies a biological parent can support a stepparent just by not allowing kids to interrupt.
February 20, 2018
When one partner holds all the wild cards, the other partner just folds.   Mark held all the cards and still he believed his second wife should trust him. He made her sign a prenuptial agreement and then he managed their finances and determined her monthly allowance. Then seven years into their marriage, he set up a trust to provide for his kids but forced her to sign it without letting her read it first. This is not how you foster trust in a relationship. Treat each other like equal partners, shower one another with kindness and sacrifice. That is how you do it.
February 19, 2018
Friends. Some of us have a lot of them and some of us have only a few. But do you love them all the same?   Well, no, of course you don’t love all your friends the same. To be honest, family members are kind of like that. You may have a lot of siblings but there is one that you are closer to than others. Or maybe you know one set of grandparents much better than the other. Sometimes I hear members of blended families admit they feel closer to some family members than others. But they feel guilty about it. I’m not sure why. We all have family that we love to differing degrees but they are still family.
February 16, 2018
“Ron, I’m concerned. My children now have a stepparent in the other home and I’m afraid I’m going to lose them. What do I do?”   I appreciate this mom’s struggle. Her children now have a stepmother and she’s concerned that it will take away from her relationship with them. Well, I have good news. I don’t care how fond your child becomes of a stepparent you will never lose your significance in their heart. Your bond cannot be replaced. Give them permission and encouragement to like, love, and obey the stepparent. It takes nothing away from you but it blesses them. They have more than enough love for everybody. So do you.
February 15, 2018
…for better, for worse, till death do us part.   I’ve decided every married couple should attend a wedding occasionally. It reminds you of what you promised and the heart that you had for your mate when you said, “I do.” Life has a way of discoloring and diluting that day but a wedding takes you back to your vow to protect and honor one another. To sustain, like your wedding ring, a never-ending commitment. To make your marriage a statement about how God loves, desires, and pursues us and to make oneness a top priority, till death do you part.  
February 14, 2018
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About FamilyLife Blended®

FamilyLife Blended® provides  biblically-based resources that help prevent re-divorce, strengthen stepfamilies, and help break the generational cycle of divorce.

About Ron L. Deal

Ron L. Deal is the Director of blended family ministries at FamilyLife®, and is the author/coauthor of the books The Smart StepfamilyThe Smart Stepdad, The Smart Stepmom, Dating and the Single Parent, and The Remarriage Checkup. Ron voices the FamilyLife Blended short feature and is one of the most widely read authors on stepfamily living in the country. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist who frequently appears in the national media, including FamilyLife Today® and Focus on the Family, and he conducts marriage and family seminars around the countryRon and his wife, Nan, have been married since 1986 and have three boys.

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