Are you making life difficult for the child of divorce?



Do you make life difficult for the child of divorce? You might be surprised to learn you are doing that. Let me put this another way, do you dress the child of divorce in meaningless “garb”?

Many times as adults we make life difficult for children. This is especially true for children of divorce. We try to comfort the child with adult-isms. You know,

  • Clichés
  • Favorite Scriptures
  • Kind words
  • Encouraging words

Many times we miss the mark because we can’t get down to the child’s level.

There is a great lesson we can learn from the story of David and Goliath in 1st Samuel 17:38–46. Let’s pick up where King Saul tried to dress David in his adult clothes.

The Scriptures say,

“Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a   bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around. ‘I cannot go in these,’ he said to Saul, ‘because I am not used to   them.’ So he took them off.”

David tried walking around in this garb but the “garb” did not fit David. Of course it didn’t fit. David was a young shepherd boy. The outfit was not made for him. It was made for King Saul.

Parents, church leaders, and other adults try to fit kids of divorce into inappropriate “outfits.”

Divorcing parents load the kids down with all their issues.

  • They dress the kids in a coat of ugliness and bitterness.
  • They put on the tunic of resentment and shame.
  • Then they plop on the helmet of aloneness and add on many other decorations.

The children come to church and we try to make our ideas, our experiences, fit them, and we want them to do battle with our weapons.

  • We give them the sword of Scripture and religious jargon.
  • Our adult perceptions and religious jargon are many times too confusing to a child who is only concerned with his or her family situation.
  • Children can’t make the connections between the Scripture and what is happening in their own lives.

Just like the sword David was to carry into battle was too heavy for him, the Scriptures don’t seem to fit the child’s situation. Unchurched children don’t understand this foreign language. Even if they have been raised in church, all of sudden to them the meanings behind the words are confusing.

They may think things such as, “If God loves me, why doesn’t He make my mom move back home?”

They have to have simple explanations given to them so they can find their own way just as David did when he had to fight Goliath. His way was something foreign to Saul, for it was five smooth stones and a sling.

We can only facilitate the healing process for these children. We can’t make the kids heal, but we can show them and make it easier for them to find their way to the Lord, to Christ, and where they will find true healing.

When David faced Goliath, he said,

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (v. 45).

We have to come against the giant of divorce with not only God’s Word, but also God’s love. These children may come to us with large amounts of baggage and bitterness.

We have to make it easy for them to pick up the smooth simple words of Christ and use those words to put in their slings. Then we can send them out into the world to do battle with what they are comfortable with and what works for each child.

Love, relationships, acceptance, understanding, and connections are paramount with the children who attend our churches.


This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on November 6, 2014.

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4 thoughts on “Are you making life difficult for the child of divorce?

  1. What a great message. It is SO important for people and churches involved with children in separated or divorced families to treat each situation uniquely. A “one size fits all approach” will not necessarily be beneficial. Sometimes the “best” of intentions to help, may cause more harm if you do not know the whole story for that particular child.

  2. THank you again, Linda. The weekly verses you have chosen so carefully for the DC4k program are lifelines each week. Our job as safe keepers is to present them to the kids and make the lessons built around them memorable through our loving and creative actions.

    • It’s faithful DC4K safe keepers like you that bring out the scriptures to the kids that make a difference. Thanks Karen for your comment.

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