Many children of divorce will experience tremendous stress. These children may express their stress through angry behavior. When a child is stressed and living in the survival mode or the fight or flight part of the brain they are incapable of learning, processing information or functioning in a reasonable manner. It becomes all about surviving in the moment. When you can get  Read more…

Sweet

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every little kid who had divorcing parents or had experienced trauma of some sort showed up in your class stress free? Imagine a group where There is no fighting, arguing, or yelling. All the kids want to be involved. They want to form community. They care for one another. The group oozes kindness. Impossible, you say? I beg  Read more…

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Many children of divorce live hectic, frenzied lives. This is partly because they live in two separate homes with different sets of rules, schedules, rituals, and people in the home. At the beginning of the divorce, their stress can be over the top as their minds are filled with chaos. Children with stressed-filled lives need clean, plain, simplistic decoration in their environment. Too  Read more…

Streesed Kid

Major stress can send an otherwise normal kid straight into panic mode. Imagine the impact of stress on the child of divorce—or any child of a traumatic situation! Stress is the body’s way of reacting to challenging or frightening events. Clearly, divorce is a major stressor for the children who are impacted. These children become the disruptive kids in your groups. They need  Read more…

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  In yesterday’s post, we talked about using nature at church to help de-stress children of divorce. It’s a lonely world out there when you’re parenting alone, and your kid gets stressed out by something you have no control over. For us kidmin people, it’s good to have a few suggestions on hand to help single parents. When I was a single parent,  Read more…

Storegade Raised Beds

I’m always on the lookout for resources that can help us better minister to children of divorce. Right now, I’m reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. This book verifies what I’ve thought for years about stressed-out children: stressed kids and children with ADHD and other behavior disorders need to be outside. Louv says they have a “nature-deficit disorder.” Overall, kids  Read more…

Sad Girl

Many children living in divorcing single parent homes experience tremendous stress leading to some out of control behaviors. When they come to your church, your volunteers question what on earth could be causing these kids to act like this? They may wonder if there is any discipline in the home at all. It is not that their parent is a bad parent or  Read more…

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Do you remember the commercial for Chick-fil-A where the spotted cow puts up signs saying, “Eat mor chikin?” I always get a kick out of the way the “cowz” come up with different ways to supposedly keep one from eating beef. This food chain has come up with a unique way to promote its sell of chicken. Today I wish I had a unique  Read more…

Runaway

Several years ago I had a single mom show up at my house late one evening. She had left the husband that day, taken the kids and a few belongings and had checked into a local hotel.  The precious 4th grade little girl looked bewildered. When I asked her what she thought about what was happening she said, “I am sooo confused. Somebody  Read more…

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Grandparents who parent their grandchildren come in all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are healthy. Others aren’t. Some are financially stable. Others live on a fixed income. Many are married. And many are single. And some are in second and third marriages. But no matter the age, health condition, marital status, or finances, raising grandchildren is emotionally tough. Let’s look at three  Read more…

Mom

Recently in our Single and Parenting class we covered the question, “What fears and worries do you have raising your children by yourself?” Our group was quick to share from their hearts. I’ve asked this question many times at workshops and seminars. Here are some answers I’ve garnered over the years How would I keep my kids safe? When my kids lived close  Read more…

Are you are aware of the many crises children today experience? A trauma-informed church understands how a crisis affects a child. Experiencing a life crisis can lead to some children exhibiting particular characteristics of being “traumatized?” Definitions of crisis and trauma Crisis is the event – the disaster, the emergency, the calamity or predicament. Trauma is the result of experiencing a crisis –  Read more…

    Recently a pediatrician friend of mine sent me an article about a ten-year-old dying of suicide. It happened in January of this year and was featured on an ABC affiliate TV station. No one wants to think that children as young as eight or nine years of age would be at risk for suicide or even think suicidal thoughts. Most of  Read more…

Stickers

First let me say that I like stickers. I think stickers are fun crazy and whimsical. I know many of you are tied to your stickers and  rewards. I understand. Handing out rewards has been a mainstay in children’s ministry for a long time. What I want to present in this post is how do you have a class without stickers or other  Read more…

  Have you ever thought about the baggage a child of divorce carries around with them? I’m not talking about the backpacks or suitcases. I’m talking about the heavy stuff, the emotional stuff the things that weigh down their minds and make their hearts heavy. When I’m out doing workshops for children’s ministers and church leaders I like to have the participants play  Read more…

Hungry hearts have no ears. This was a phrase that Ms. Kennedy, an elementary teacher, used to tell the parents of children in her class about the importance of proper nutrition and having enough to eat. After reading a research project that was conducted at the Anthony Elementary School in Leavenworth, Kansas, this above phrase makes more sense to me. The study at Anthony  Read more…

Most of us who work with or minister to children smile when we think about Valentine’s Day. Perhaps you remember the excitement of taking your Valentine cards to school to swap with the other kids.  Or maybe you are experiencing your own kids and their excitement at getting all those cards on Valentine’s Day. While Valentine’s Day can be exciting for many people,  Read more…

Have you ever considered the term emotional concussion? Have you ever thought about what might be involved in an emotional concussion? Emotional concussions occur when young children Live in homes controlled by alcohol, drugs, explosive tempers Live in homes full of stress Live with dysfunctional adults Have exposure to people who are physically, emotionally, and/or sexually abusive Experience the divorce of their parents From  Read more…

Children of divorce have a lot of questions to ask but many times they don’t know whom to ask. If or when they do get up the courage to ask their questions, many are told lies. Or maybe they aren’t really lies but “half-truths.” Children need the truth– not lies or made up stories. I have always advocated that children be told the  Read more…

  I imagine when you read the title you thought I misspelled “whether.” You probably thought I was going to talk about the weather. The weather can be depressing. On my Facebook feed yesterday, several children’s ministers were announcing their church would be closed due to the horrific snow storm in some of the Northern states. A snow storm on Sunday and keeping  Read more…

As we are approaching a new year I want to challenge all of you to represent the little people at the big people’s table. What do I mean by that? I mean that many “little people” of divorce are going to be terribly stressed out as we approach the new year. They are going to need a big people advocate. Holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas are not  Read more…

Brian

In your ministry, it’s likely that you have observed single parents and kids who develop a lot of anxiety about the process of shuttling the children between homes. This stress will be amplified during the holiday season. The switching hour, the time the kids switch between homes, can become less stressful if single parents work at making it normal. I’d like to give you  Read more…

LexiXander

From Halloween through Christmas can seem like an entire season for single parents. For people parenting alone or co-parenting these two months have a tendency to loom very large over them. Stress is high – finances are low. Parties are often – a full night of sleep is desired. Shopping and rushing around is endured – calm quiet activities are rare. What can  Read more…

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When I was growing up, we went to my grandmother’s for holiday events. I remember when our entire family, including all the cousins, came together at Christmas, there were always two eating areas. One was in the kitchen at the kitchen table, and that’s where all the kids or, as my grandfather would say, “the little people” would eat. At the nice dining-room  Read more…

Thankful

    Is there really any good that comes out of being thankful? Does being thankful actually change a person’s attitude? There is a lot of brain research that shows this to be true. Plus, God’s Word tells us to be thankful. First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Children  Read more…

  From the article, What is Veterans Day we read, “Veterans Day is an American federal holiday celebrated each year on November eleventh. The day honors those who have served in the United States military.” This year Veterans Day fell on Sunday so many locations are celebrating today, Monday November 12th. In our area, which is a huge military area, schools are out and all of  Read more…

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  What are the two most difficult days out of the entire year for the child of divorce? Want to try and guess what they are? Christmas? Thanksgiving? Valentines Day? Halloween? Birthday? Did you pick any of the above? These are all good guesses and for many children some of these days are difficult. But the two days that cause havoc with the  Read more…

Reaching out to kids

Recently I published a blog post about the importance of focusing on what we want kids to do and not on what we don’t want them to do. In the article I state, “I focus on how I want the kids to act and how they should behave. I set the expectations and standards early on, like the minute they walk into our  Read more…

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I facilitate a DC4K, DivorceCare for Kids, group at my church. We have 14 kids registered. Some of the kids are already in step family situations. Some have half siblings. Some live with a grandparent, and all have experienced either a divorce or a separation of their birth parents. We have children from kindergarten through fifth grade in our group. Mixed ages work  Read more…

water

Today, we continue our exploration about the importance of “rituals” for the child of divorce. This post will focus on the need for predictability in the lives of children of divorce. It’s very important that the child of divorce knows they can depend on specific things happening at specific times. They often have the perception that their lives are out of control and in disarray.  Read more…

Today’s post is by guest author Linda Alderfer, DC4K director and ministry coach.   Why do children’s ministers and DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids) leaders need to be aware of gaming addiction? Excessive use of video games can become a trap (an addiction) kids get caught in as they try to escape their emotional turmoil. Experts have found that excessive gaming leads to addiction  Read more…

Legacy

Divorce often has a profound lifetime effect on the child of divorce. While not all divorce-related legacies affect every child, most children will have some repercussions from the dissolution of the parent’s marriage. Divorce affects every child differently – even children in the same families. Following are some of the short-term legacies that most children experience. Short-term Intense stress Overwhelming emotions Constant fear  Read more…

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In order to minister to children of divorce, we have to understand them. Unfortunately, many people who minister to these children hold some common misperceptions about children of divorce and their families. They might not realize the extent to which these children are hurting. The following are five misperceptions people have shared with me about children of divorce and their families: “These kids  Read more…

ADHD

It appears our society has a real big problem with fidgety kids and kids who can’t sit still. More children are being diagnosed ADHD, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Children being diagnosed with ADHD went from 7.8% in 2007 to 11% in 2011. Many more teachers, childcare workers, church volunteers, and even parents wonder if the children in their situations are ADHD. Because of the  Read more…

40 percent

Many infants who live in a stressed single-parent home face attachment issues. The single parent, which could be a mom or a dad, might be in a state of shock and barely surviving. They take the child to childcare, work a full day, pick up the child, and stumble home. Hoping the childcare is giving adequate care, they may feed the child and  Read more…

  Take a look at the new “sharpened” ParentZone with resources, to help single-parents and those supporting them. You can send single parents to the ParentZone to watch short videos to hep them during the time of parenting alone. Here are some samples: Parenting Goals & Expectations Tired & Overwhelmed Emotions & Stability: Anger & Anxiety Your Children & Your Fears You can  Read more…

The following is from a children’s minister “There is a 4th grader in my ministry whose parents are on the verge of divorce. Things seem to have improved for now as they are seeking counseling. I have no point of reference for ministering to her, at least as it specifically relates to this situation. I identified that there was something going on with  Read more…

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When my grandson was three years old I moved into my daughter’s house and lived there for a year while she was deployed to Afghanistan. I noticed right away, the three year-old smiled all the time. This little kid was one happy little guy. He even smiled most of the time when he was in trouble. His smile and happiness rarely got him  Read more…

Boundaries

There are many single parents that have always had problems setting boundaries for themselves. For some the lack of ability to set personal boundaries is the reason they are parenting alone. Other single parents develop boundary problems when they begin to parent alone. Maybe it is due to the shock of becoming a single parent or perhaps it is the stress involved in  Read more…

Recover might not be an appropriate term to use. When you think of the term recover or look it up, the definition is “to return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.” When you think of kids recovering from the divorce of their parents, you need to understand their lives will never return to their previous state. Things will always be  Read more…

  Allow me to share this story I think will help you understand how hard it sometimes is to move forward in life. One spring day, I was walking in my neighborhood. As I rounded the curve, I noticed a little girl who looked to be about five years old playing outside while her mom worked in the yard. When I came back  Read more…

Whisper

Several years ago, a lot of attention on social media was given to a teacher, Kyle Schwartz. She didn’t know much about the students in her class, so she set out to find out about them by asking, “I wish my teacher knew … .” She instructed the students to write their responses. The results from that one simple question astounded her. One  Read more…

  I don’t believe in making kids apologize. You may be wondering if you read that correctly. Yes, I said, “I don’t believe in making kids apologize.” Stay with me on this because there are reasons I feel this way. And it is especially true for the child of divorce. Don’t get me wrong—it’s wise to teach children to apologize when they offend  Read more…

People ask me this question quite often. Usually, they are children’s ministry leaders or church leaders who don’t have much experience with divorce or single-parenting issues. Nationally, there is a huge debate on this issue. Let’s take a step back in history to help you understand some of the issues in this debate. In 1969, when then-Governor Ronald Reagan signed the no-fault divorce  Read more…

  Anyone who ministers to children of divorce will come across this issue at some point. Most of these kids struggle with chaotic schedules. Even as they need consistency, they cope with unstable and fluid timetables, a byproduct of separation or divorce. Past posts have addressed the importance of consistent schedules for children of divorce. At the beginning of the school year, there  Read more…

  Many things affect children when parents divorce. However, there is one big, overwhelming variable that causes kids of divorce angst and anxiety—and that is when parents continue to fight and war with each other. Parental conflict affects children for many years to come. When parents continue to fight, that does several things to the children in the family. Many times, kids are  Read more…

Nest

“Nesting” is a term often used by family courts, lawyers, and divorcing parents. It means parents continue to share a residence after divorce for the sake of their children. The parents stay at the family home with the children when it is their scheduled visitation time. The other parent stays someplace else during that time. The thought behind doing this is that staying  Read more…

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  In a post last week about, trauma-informed churches, I referenced a study that has tremendous implications for people working with children and adults who experienced early adverse childhood experiences. The Ministry Best Practices website has an incredible article on “Adult disorders linked to trauma” and refers to an infographic with the article “The Impact of Childhood Trauma on Adult Disorders.” This infographic would be great  Read more…

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  In our world today, many children experience early childhood trauma. Through a lot of research, we now know that childhood trauma can affect children for the rest of their lives. ACEs too High explains in several articles and research reviews how trauma in early childhood can affect kids’ behavior and health during childhood and cause lifelong problems. We know early trauma causes  Read more…

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  Recently, a church leader expressed to me, “I know people used to think divorce was damaging to kids, but today, divorce is so accepted. Why is divorce an issue for kids? I mean, aren’t about half their friends divorced? So it’s not like they feel all alone any longer.” The leader is partially right—divorce is more widely accepted in our culture. It  Read more…

Children of divorce need predictability in their lives. This means it’s very important that children of divorce know they can depend on specific things happening at specific times. They often perceive their lives as out of control and in disarray. Here’s why predictability is important: Predictability lends itself to security. Unlike routines, rituals involve a special feeling of connecting with another human being.  Read more…

Many of us in children’s ministry have worried about children of divorce and whether their emotional needs are being met. Often, we ask, How do they cope with living in two homes? How do they get their emotional needs met when their parents are stressed to the max or still fighting and warring over their “things”? Children in divorced homes may need more  Read more…

  Ever heard of the “Red Zone?” Many of us understand that when something enters the red zone, it can prove to be a daunting situation. For example, if your car overheats, and the temperature gauge moves into the red zone, it’s important to check the engine to see what’s going on. Otherwise, the car may overheat or cause a fire, and you  Read more…

Safe in her mother

  Children of divorce face many struggles on a daily basis. Because of these adversities, some children of divorce have out-of-control behaviors. It’s not because they want to misbehave or like misbehaving; it is because they are doing the best they can in their state of confusion. Many children of divorce who misbehave are actually seeking external regulation or management. In other words,  Read more…

Little girl looking into window

It is important to pray for the child of divorce. Children’s ministers can be a major player in a child’s life by being an intercessory prayer partner. Many times, though, we don’t know how or what to pray for when interceding for the child of divorce. Here are ten ways to pray for children in your ministry whose parents are divorcing: Pray for  Read more…

The teacher looked on as four-year-old Elsa clung to her mom and screamed, Don’t weave me, Mommy. Please don’t weave me. The teacher was confused because little Elsa had always loved coming to her Sunday school class. Mom seemed at a loss as to how to comfort Elsa and get her into the class. The teacher gradually moved into the scene, and with  Read more…

  Every year, the International Children’s Ministry group hosts a Children’s Pastor’s Conference, or CPC, as it’s called by all who attend. This week, the conference is in Orlando. I’ll be presenting a couple of breakout sessions. I get so excited to present to children’s people. The adrenaline starts flowing before I ever arrive. Children’s pastors are the most fun people on the  Read more…

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Some single parents face the holidays with excitement and a resolve to make this holiday season the best ever for their children. However, if this is the first year a single parent in your church has faced the holidays, he or she may be approaching the holidays with trepidation. These single parents might not be sure how their children are going to react  Read more…

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For this single-parent family, it was the first Christmas without the other parent. How could a wind chime make a difference? How did a wind chime help this single parent make new traditions during the holidays? It’s important for single parents to approach the birth of our Savior during the Christmas holidays. It doesn’t have to be all about presents, stressing over where  Read more…

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  Many children in our world today have bad attitudes. These attitudes affect how parents, teachers, and church leaders treat them. Kids of divorce are no exception. As a result of all they’ve been through, many become bitter and sad. Those dealing with these kids interpret their bitterness and sorrow as attitude problems. If children of divorce don’t learn how to find joy,  Read more…

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The other day, I was on a children’s ministry Facebook group. This is a closed group where children’s ministers discuss … children’s ministry things. The discussion was about publishing pictures of kids in different church activities on social media. As I read all of the ideas about how to obtain permission and handle things, it was clear that hardly anyone was discussing how  Read more…

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  Ever heard the phrase “practice makes perfect”? It may be an old, familiar saying, but it is incorrect. It makes no difference how many times you practice something the wrong way; it will still be wrong. Instead, “perfect practice makes perfect.” Allow me to explain how practicing something will help you discipline children of divorce. Many times when working with an out-of-control  Read more…

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Often, when kids of divorce show up in your church classes, they may exhibit unruly, out-of-control behavior. Your teachers and volunteers will ask a question like:     What on earth could be causing these kids to act like that? They may wonder if there is any discipline in the home at all. However, it is not that the parent is a bad parent or  Read more…

Disruptive

Have you ever been teaching a class or had a group where everything was going smoothly, and then all of a sudden, that child showed up, and everything fell apart? You know what I’m talking about. The frenzied, chaotic child who breezes into your group and brings the outside chaos inside. All of a sudden, bedlam and pandemonium reign. Children of divorce live  Read more…

Dinner

What if I shared with you that you have the power to change interactions between parents and children in single-parent and blended-family homes? What if this I told you it is a suggestion that single parents and blended parents can incorporate very easily into their schedule? What is this miracle I’m talking about that will change children’s lives and help single dads and  Read more…

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When children of divorce are being raised in a two-parent home, most people call these two-parent homes stepfamilies or blended families. Blending two completely different families takes time—and much effort on the part of the parents and children in the new family. And remember, there are two additional “other” parents outside the family trying to blend. Quite often, those of us in children’s ministry  Read more…

Chinese Finger Trap 2

When I was a little kid, we had these fascinating contraptions called Japanese finger traps. I believe they are also called Chinese finger puzzles or Chinese finger cuffs. This novelty toy is a lot of fun for kids. The finger trap is a cylinder-like device. When you put a finger in each end and try to pull your fingers out, the cylinder tightens  Read more…

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I realize many of you want no part of using drugs with kids whose parents have divorced or children who have experienced some sort of trauma. However, the drugs or chemicals I’m introducing here today will help you and make your ministry more effective when you use them. They are all natural, legal, and free. These four drugs have the ability to Affect  Read more…

Pool

Summer months can become very sticky, messy, and complicated for mothers, fathers, and children in divorced families. Divorce decrees can mandate that when school is out, and the children visit the other parent for extended periods of time. They may stay several weeks or even all summer with the other parent. In places with year-round school, the children might stay with the other  Read more…

VBS

Summertime in churches can be an exciting time for children as school is out, and churches are gearing up for Vacation Bible School or, as it is known in church circles, VBS. Rooms throughout the church are decorated from top to bottom. The teachers have been trained. Supplies, snacks, and treats are ready to go. Music videos have been practiced, and the gospel  Read more…

Divorce Hurts

Divorce hurts children in many ways. It affects every area of their lives. And hurting children hurt others. When divorce hurts children to the very core, and there doesn’t seem to be any help or future for them, many times, they hurt others. They feel lost in a sea of adversity and confusion. Today, we have Infants and toddlers crying incessantly and refusing  Read more…

Sad and depressed boy

Why do children of divorce wonder, Where will I sleep tonight? These children face many stressful issues, and sometimes wondering where they will lay their head is a big worry. To adults, this might sound a little ridiculous. We all know where we will sleep tonight. Children of divorce, though, do actually worry about this question. Even with a schedule and consistency in  Read more…

Emotional Explosion

In ministering to children of divorce and single parents, it is important to realize that single parents might need to quickly change how they discipline. They’ve moved from a two-parent partnership to a one-parent home. What worked before might no longer work for the single parent. It can be scary to parent alone, especially when children exhibit behaviors not normal for them. This  Read more…

Co-Parenting Hurts

Co-parenting or shared parenting among divorcing couples is becoming more popular. For many children this is a good thing. This means they get to have both parents making life-long decisions for their welfare. It means children can still have family connections with both sides of the family. In our last post, Understanding co-parenting situations we talked about the three different models of co-parenting  Read more…

African-American couple talks in kitchen

Co-parenting or shared parenting as it is more commonly called now is becoming the norm for divorcing couples and couples who are involved in cohabitation situations.  The marriage or relationship has ended but the family still exists. But what exactly is shared parenting? Shared parenting is when separating couples request the courts to award legal joint custody of minor children to both parents  Read more…

www.jessicaoverholt.com

Sometimes as adults we get too caught up in the issue of divorce when little kids just want someone to talk to them and someone to listen to them. Kids get caught in the middle and many times they need neutral territory so they can let down, talk and not worry about hurting either parent’s feelings. Children’s ministers, volunteers, DC4K leaders and loving  Read more…

Relax

This past weekend found me taking care of a couple kids whose single mom had to work. I really don’t mind these cute little girls spending the day with me at my house. I’ve kind of adopted these elementary age girls as my grandchildren. These girls have had a pretty rough time in their short lives. They were away from their mom for  Read more…

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  My daughter on duty in Afghanistan. Right about now I figure most of you are pretty stressed. From fall festivals through Christmas celebrations life can get pretty hectic for those in church ministries. You have the heart to minister. All year long the Lord has given you opportunities to further His kingdom through ministries to children and families. Now it is time  Read more…

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As a children’s minister, have you ever encountered a single parent who asks you about spending the holidays with his ex? The children might be pushing the adults to do this. The single parent wants to please the kids but is seeking your input. How will you respond? In this article, you will discover some points to think about before answering the single  Read more…

Sad gingerbread man

A young single mom entered my class one Sunday close to Christmas. She was almost trembling and I could tell she was very upset. She just stood there looking at me and when I asked, “What’s wrong?” She said, “I need a hug.” Single parenting is tough almost all the time. But Sundays seem particularly hard for single parents. It could be that  Read more…