Keeping siblings of divorce together at church events. Part 2




In part 1 of “Keeping siblings together at church events” we talked about how attached children of divorce get to their siblings when traveling between homes.  In this post we learn that many times when a child experiences the divorce of their parents, it affects their schoolwork. It is not unusual for a child to lose an entire school year due to the stress of the divorce.

While some children won’t be retained many will struggle for several years. When a child is under undue stress they can’t think about schoolwork. This is the child that sits and stares out the window at school. His or her mind is on the fighting that took place the night before. Or it’s on the dad who was so angry he punched a hole in the wall. Maybe the child is thinking about the sad and depressed mom at home. They are wondering if mom got up and fixed herself something to eat.

Schoolwork takes a back seat as the divorce and warring parents rises to the front of their minds. The child then comes to a church class and someone asks, “How old are you? What grade are you in? … Oh, you are in 4th grade? Here is the 4th grade quarterly or activity book, activity pages or class.”

Mom left when the child was in second grade and the child is still on a second grade reading level. Immediately you have lost this child. Oh he may come periodically when forced to come but you will not ever get him interested in the 4th grade group.

What if the teacher carefully crafts the conversation to go something like this,

“I am so glad you are coming to worship with us and learn about Jesus. I see on the form your mom filled out that you are in the 4th grade. We have several kids in 4th grade in our class as well as other grades. What is your favorite subject at school?”

Emphasis can be put on the activities that you do in your group with other ages of kids.

Here are somethings to remember

  • Make sure no one calls on that child to read out loud.
  • When giving instructions make sure the child understands all of the instructions. There is nothing worse than being a stressed child and not understanding what you are supposed to do and all your friends are looking at you.
  • Be cautious about layering stress upon stress when you can very easily reframe your wording with the instructions.
  • Allow younger age children to intermix with the older kids in your group.

Because some children will throw themselves into their schoolwork hoping it will bring mom or dad back home, the opposite holds true. They may be way ahead of their age group in reading, schoolwork and or life skills.  Other kids are placed in situations where they see and are exposed to things way beyond their age. These children may be bored to tears in their age group. Become aware and work with them individually or allow them to visit and older age group.

What are other ways you can help a child of divorce feel like they fit and matter at church?


DC4K blogs posts are great to use in training children’s leaders and volunteers and they are free.  Subscribe to the DC4K blog here.

Want to learn more about how to start a DivorceCare for Kids group for the hurting children in your community? Click here.

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