10 Reasons why children of divorce don’t want to attend your church



“What will people at church think of me?”

“I don’t want to be singled out.”

These statements are only two of the many reasons children of divorce might not feel comfortable in your church. New environments are just hard for some kids to accept, but children of divorce have more reasons they don’t want to be in your church.

In my work, I’ve talked with many children about their feelings related to attending church. Let me share the top reasons for not wanting to go they have verbalized:

  1. I felt like people were judging me because I didn’t have two married parents.
  2. Once I was greeted at the door, everyone walked away, and no one explained what was happening next.
  3. I wasn’t able to connect with any of the other kids.
  4. I was the only one there with divorced parents.
  5. Some of the kids were rude to me as a newcomer, and no adult intervened.
  6. One adult made me feel bad because she kept saying how sorry she was that my parents were divorced.
  7. I want to be accepted for who I am, not what my parents did.
  8. My mom is a single parent, not a leper, and she loves the Lord just like other parents.
  9. No one understood why I can’t come back next week. It was just too hard to try and explain about how I go to my other parent every other weekend.
  10. I just didn’t feel accepted, especially when they talked about things families do together. I just wish they would remember that even though I only have one parent, we still are a family.

The reason that broke my heart more than any other was when a fifty-year-old man told me the reason he quit going to church as a kid: “I heard some deacons talking about my mom and her lifestyle, and they were laughing and saying terrible things about her. I walked out the door of that church and never looked back.”

I realize that many kids are in dysfunctional family situations in our world today. However, for whatever reason, many kids of divorce feel they are different. Many think they are the only kid from a divorced home, and in a lot of churches around the country, that is true. Their friends with divorced parents are at school, soccer, baseball, and dance class but not church.

Are these things happening in your children’s areas? Some of these are easy to fix just by

  • Paying attention to new children
  • Discovering what their home life is like
  • Accepting all children and their situations as normal
  • Listening and absorbing what children are saying to you (the next time they attend church, make a comment or ask a question about what they told you before)  
  • Encouraging other children to step up and be a newcomer’s buddy
  • Helping each child feel accepted and comfortable
  • Helping these kids feel like they belong
  • Loving them with the love of Christ

Other issues, such as different people bringing them to church every time they attend, may be more difficult to accommodate, but with prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit, even the most difficult situations can be handled with grace and mercy.

What are your suggestions for helping children of divorce want to return to your church?


DC4K blogs posts are great to use for 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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One thought on “10 Reasons why children of divorce don’t want to attend your church

  1. Pingback: DC4K » Our church flooded. What this taught me about the child of divorce.

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