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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…

8 Ways

  Single parents frequently ask me for help disciplining their children. Remember, single parents are doing it alone and have no one in the house to help them parent late at night or during the day. It can get overwhelming, to say the least. Here are eight examples of questions I get about parenting alone. Sometimes, single parents need more in-depth answers depending,  Read more…

Child-parents

Using Scripture, the plumb line for relationships.   Divorced and cohabiting parents/guardians are the norm for many children today. The Pew Research Center says that only 46% of children under 18 years of age in the US live in the original two-parent birth family. For the most part, kids whose parents are divorced will have a skewed vision of what a successful marriage  Read more…

I’m fairly sure that most people will shout, “NO! Kids should never be kicked out of church.” And yet, that seems to be happening more and more. I don’t mean that leaders are intentionally kicking kids out of church permanently, but many are asking the child to leave a class for a week or two. To the child, it is it feels like being  Read more…

SingleDad

We hear a lot in the news about deadbeat single dads. These stories are about single dads who don’t step up to the plate and support their children. Not long ago there was the news story in the New York Times titled, Skip Child Support. Go to Jail. Lose Job. Repeat. I’m not here to debate the political correctness of that situation. I  Read more…

Choices

One of the tragedies of divorce for children is the feeling of helplessness. Many adults who experienced their parents’ divorce report that, as children, they felt powerless and vulnerable. For the children it seems as though everything is out of control. Changing routines People moving out Things and belongings disappearing People disappearing such as neighbors if there is a move And this is  Read more…

  “Wook at me. I doing it” is really cute when a little toddler has learned to accomplish a feat, such as slipping on a jacket. We might smile and say something like, “Well, look at you! You put your jacket on. You did it.” Kids of all ages want to be noticed. Even as adults, most of us like to be noticed  Read more…

Defiant

Many children who are unlovable have experienced a crisis such, as the divorce of their parents or the breakup of their cohabiting parents. These children can be standoffish. They hold back and don’t seem to want to get involved in relationships with their leaders at church and school. This makes it difficult to love them and incorporate them into your church family. Connecting  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…

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…

Little girl enjoying summertime

One of the tragedies of living in fractured families and the break up of a child’s home is the feeling of helplessness. Many adults who experienced the divorce of their parents report that, as children, they felt powerless and vulnerable. We now realize that the loss of dignity was another issue for many of these adults when they were children experiencing the break  Read more…

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In the article Parental alienation—is it real? we defined what parental alienation is and how to help the children affected by it. Another part of effectively ministering to the child is ministering to the parent. Parental alienation is a family issue, and everyone in the family is affected in one way or another. In order to help you better understand the parent’s issue,  Read more…

DC4K 3-23-16 Blog Post Best Practices dealing_37009470

Training church leaders and volunteers is becoming critical if we want to address some of the more unusual situations and needs of children and families in our communities. It’s also important to educate ourselves on the many societal issues surrounding the children in our midst. The post “Mommy says Daddy has a girlfriend” discussed how to react and what to say and not  Read more…

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    When one is parenting alone, there is no one to help late at night or on a day-to-day basis when discipline situations arise. It can get overwhelming, to say the least. As church leaders, you can be of great assistance to single parents when you understand the many issues involved in parenting alone. Following are some typical questions single parents have  Read more…

Daughter

Recently I posted an article about how blunt kids can be when talking about their parent’s divorce. After that post was published I had someone ask me if I had encountered kids who actually wanted their parents to get a divorce. This person asked if it was possible for little children to truly understood what divorce meant. Do they really want their parents  Read more…

Grandparents

This is a question that comes up quite often when I’m visiting with a children’s minister or a church leader. Many times the grandparent doesn’t actually ask for help but the church leader can sense the grandparent is struggling. First: Begin praying for the grandparent as soon as you realize there is a problem Second: Without being intrusive visit with the grandparent to  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…

Brain

Have you ever had a child exhibit behaviors that you couldn’t quite put your finger on what the problem was? The child who acts out at strange times The child who says something out of the ordinary and you don’t realize it until later in the day when you think, “That was a strange comment for him to make.” The kid who runs,  Read more…

Suicide

This is the second in the series on children and suicide. The first post asked the question, “Do elementary age children seriously consider dying by suicide?” It is important to understand all you can about suicide in young children so you can better minister to the potentially vulnerable child in your church. This post gives you a deeper understanding of what is going on in  Read more…

Today is Herby’s birthday. He is on spring break and sunning on the beach. 🙂 Some of you may not know Herby. Allow me to introduce you to him. Herby is the mascot of sorts for the DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids) program. Children all over the world are enjoying the feelings that Herby’s puppet faces express. They are getting acquainted with their own  Read more…

Mirror

Imagine looking like your father and being proud of that fact. Perhaps at some point in your young life your grandmother proudly said to her friends, “This is Sonny’s boy. Doesn’t he look just like Sonny?” And all of her friends proclaim that yes you were the spitting image of your father and you even look a lot like your grandfather. A smile  Read more…

Forgive

  Forgiveness can be a difficult, sometimes impossible subject to explain when interacting with children who have separated or divorced parents. Some children may have never had forgiveness modeled for them. Others have heard a parent scream sarcastically, such as, “I’m sorry you made me hit you.” These kids have no clue what you are talking about when you say the word “forgiveness.”  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…

DC4K-Easter story

  This Easter story has a little different slant than most posts you’ll read about Easter. This Easter story is written to capture the heart of anyone ministering to children of divorce, of single parents, or in blended families. A few years ago, right before Easter, my church minister Dr. Brad Reynolds preached on Mark 14. I had heard this chapter preached on  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…

Sad Girl

For years, people who work with children of divorce have wondered what the stages of grief are for these kids. One children’s minister asked me, “How can I help a child of divorce when I don’t know what the stages of grief are? Explain them to me, please.” Many have held onto the stages of grief developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Basically, those stages  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…

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We’ve discussed a lot about the incredible, amazing brain these past few weeks. Now, I’d like to pull it all together to help you think through how to use brain research to understand the children of divorce. To help you understand the hierarchical organization of the brain, I’m going to break it down into three main sections. Even though we can’t actually break  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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    The January/February 2017 cover of Children’s Ministry Magazine says, “How changed hearts, change hearts.” I love this phrase. It is what I’ve touted for years, except I have left off the word “how” and simply said, “Changed hearts, change hearts.” In the article “How to transform the heart of your ministry from perfect programs to rooted relationships,” author Dan Lovaglia talks  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…

dc4k_grandpa-custody

  Even though divorce isn’t as rampant as it was back in the seventies and eighties, children now face a new divorce dilemma, which can affect them in deep and profound ways. What dilemma am I talking about? I’m talking about when grandparents divorce. Steve Grissom says in the Gray Divorce Crisis that the largest group of people divorcing is the Baby Boomers,  Read more…

African American mother talking with her daughter.

  How do you talk about, talk to, and describe children of divorce? Most of us know that when a child has special needs, we shouldn’t refer to that child as a “special needs child” but as “a child with special needs.” The special needs aren’t who the child is. For instance, if a child has ADHD, the child isn’t ADHD; rather, the  Read more…

Parental alienation

  My introduction to parental alienation was several years ago. A mom’s ex-husband was constantly telling us all about his ex’s bad traits. If that wasn’t bad enough, when the child returned from visitation with the dad, he was caustic toward his mother. To be honest with you, I got confused about whom to believe and was basically clueless about how to handle  Read more…

Whirlwind

Have you ever had a class or group and all was going well until …….. that one child walked through the doors? You know what I’m talking about. It’s the child that seems to bring a tornado into the room with them leaving a path of destruction all along the way. You may ask What causes a child to be a whirlwind kid?  Read more…

Don’t think divorce hurts kids? Think again. Of all the ways a divorce negatively impacts a child’s life, the impact on their religious life may be the most detrimental of all. Church attendance and participation in church activities can be particularly cumbersome and tricky. Research shows most single parents drop out of church shortly after the divorce. While a child may want to  Read more…

Kids of Divorce

After interviewing adult children of divorce I’ve learned they really want support and understanding in their church today. Even though many may have dropped out of church as a child, they know they want a relationship with Christ. Many of them want to serve in the church or in the least attend on a regular basis. Here are just a few of the  Read more…

Where did he go

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  Read more…