Question of the week: How do I respond to a child who was dis-invited to an event by one of her parents?


15199512 - young girl sitting in a park black and white photography

How would you respond to this message?

Dis-invited from a zoo trip

My granddaughter’s father decided to not invite her (rather, to dis-invite her) to a zoo trip with his girlfriend and her two children, saying that his girlfriend wanted to spend the day with just her girls and him.

My granddaughter shrugged it off, saying, “Well, I’ll probably get rejected by a lot of boys, so I might as well get used to it.”  

Your Feelings

A children’s minister might have difficulty even beginning to imagine why a parent would dis-invite his own child to an event. You might also be a little angry or saddened that a child in your ministry would have to face such a thing.

Please pray through your feelings. It is important that you portray the love of Jesus in your interactions with this child. She still loves her dad. She still craves her father’s attention. She still wants him to want to spend time with her.

What you can do

  • If the child is in your church, find a two-parent family with a child the same age. Pair them up with this child, and encourage them to invite her to special events, such as zoo trips.
  • If you are a male children’s minister, give the child a little extra attention. Perhaps ask her to hand out papers, operate the DVD player, or read a Bible verse. If you are a female children’s minister, find a male volunteer or minister who can give her positive reinforcement.
  • Send the child a card with a verse, perhaps Philippians 4:13: “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Write a note encouraging the child to take every situation and every disappointment to the Lord.
  • Ask the grandmother’s permission to talk to the child about the situation. With permission, open the doors of communication with the child. Perhaps invite the grandmother and the child for ice cream. (If you are a male children’s minister, find a female volunteer to do this.)

Encourage the grandmother to reach out to her grandchild to help smooth over the feelings of rejection from the child’s father. Although it might not appear to really matter to the child, I can guarantee you that it does.

Many children of divorce feel like they are being replaced when a dad (or a mother) starts to see someone with children. They worry that their parent will replace their family with the girlfriend’s family.

If the child is not in your church, pray with the grandmother. Help her by giving her ideas of how to help her grandchild.

What the grandparent can do

  • The grandparent can talk to the child and let her express her feelings.
  • The grandparent can spend time with the grandchild and build up her self-esteem.
  • The grandparent can talk to the granddaughter about her worth in God’s love and His desire for girls to be worthy of male attention, especially as they move into their teen years.
  • If the grandmother knows for sure that the father really loves his daughter, she can talk to the child about how much the dad loves her, but right now, he seems to be distracted by spending time with the girlfriend. Sometimes, that might mean the girlfriend’s kids come first. That’s not fair, but it is what it is.
  • The grandparent can make a date to go to the zoo with the grandchild on a different day and make it special, perhaps taking pictures of the day or allowing the child to invite a special friend.

None of this will take the sting out of the rejection by the dad, but it will help ease the hurt a little. It will give the child some comfort and open the door for communication with another adult. It will give the child a safe place to vent the frustration and hurt.

Above all, it will help the child know that she matters.

She matters to you, the minister at church.

She matters to her grandparent.

She matters to God, the Father who will never leave her or forsake her …. or dis-invite her into His Kingdom.

So, I ask you again, how would you respond to a message like this?


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2 thoughts on “Question of the week: How do I respond to a child who was dis-invited to an event by one of her parents?

  1. I personally would not ask a child’s dad to just spend time with me and my kids. That is not fair to the father or his child. I would make it clear with the one I am dateing and if he has any kids that their is needs to be time just for the two us and then theirs time we need to spend together with our children. Then their is a time that I need to just spend with my kids.
    I just think it is wrong to disivite a child after they have been already invited.
    If I was asked not to bring my kids after they new about the days plan on going to the zoo I would tell him I am sorry I just can’t leave my kids behind go ahead and spend the day with your family and we can make plans next a time to go out.

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