Question of the week: Are kids of divorce lonelier than kids in two-parent homes?


The answer is that of course, children of divorce are lonelier. I want to explain why, as the answer goes beyond the obvious– that only one parent is in the home.

Childhood is supposed to be a happy time

Little children are not supposed to be stressed, worried or lonely but we have thousands of children that don’t fit into that mold today. Many of these children are actually in your church classes. You may not ever know they are stressed or lonely if you don’t ask them. Even then they may not be forthright in telling you their stories.

The deep feelings about loneliness

Loneliness can be embarrassing for children in single parent homes. Children may be mortified that people will think they are not worthy of someone loving them enough to be there for them. Some will be ashamed they are lonely.

Why children in single parent homes are lonely

I think children of divorce and separating cohabiting couples are lonelier for many reasons. Here are a few

  • Some children wonder if the single parent will leave them someplace and not return to pick them up
  • The single parent has to work long hours just to survive
  • Many single parents must work weekends and holidays
  • The children spend a lot of time in childcare or with sitters
  • Many children come home and spend hours alone afterschool
  • Even though parents my co-parent a child, many times after the initial, “how was school this week?” the parent has nothing left to talk about with the child
  • Co-parenting parents may not spend enough time with the child to continue developing a deep parent-child relationship. They only develop a surface relationship
  • The child in a single parent home may have a parent (or both parents) who dates and goes out socially so they can have adult companionship

How you can help

  • Encourage kids to talk about their weekly or daily routines
  • Explain what loneliness is and give them words to use so they can tell their stories
  • Provide examples from the Bible about people who might have experienced loneliness.
  • Give children scriptures they can read during the week.
  • Use texts if possible to encourage the child

Children’s stories

When one boy was a young man he told his mom about how lonely he was when he was a child and his dad had left. He said, “Didn’t you think it strange that I loved to watch the movie “Annie” everyday?” He went onto tell her that the reason he loved watching Annie was because of the song “Tomorrow”.

“After I tucked him in and said goodnight, he would sing the song to himself to try to go to sleep. It comforted him to think he would see his dad again “tomorrow”, made him feel less lonely and afraid without his dad at home anymore. He was seven at the time he sang this song every night.”

In one of my DC4K groups, one little girl said, “The day my dad moved out was the loneliest day ever in my life!”

Another child said, “My mom cries a lot and I don’t know how to help her. She is lonely for my dad and I’m lonely for him too.”

An adult child of divorce shared, “The loneliness time for me when I was a kid was in church. Here all these families were sitting together and I sat there in the pew alone.”

The stories are endless. Ask a child today to tell you whey they feel lonely.



6 thoughts on “Question of the week: Are kids of divorce lonelier than kids in two-parent homes?

  1. Great post. It’s funny, I’ve been aware of how lonely I and my fellow single parents are at church and never really considered that our children might be lonely in the same way, for the same reason. Thank you for the insight.

  2. Being a recent addition to single parenthood, I find this slightly offensive. A lot of these were true even when I was with my ex husband. I have worked long hours my entire adult life. I honestly work less hours now because I can’t afford day care more than what I currently pay for & it’s too hard to bring the kids along (pet sitting). I get home & have about 2 hours left for dinner, conversation, then bed. I also have pets to take care of (who I had prior to the separation). My kids are very young yet & I have no idea how I’m going to do this once they get in school & have homework. It’s very difficult & I understand the point of the article, but depending on the sitaution, the child’s life may not be that different from a 2 parent home. I know mine aren’t as far as schedule goes. As far as emotional stability- that is something to write about. When the other parent doesn’t see them for 6 weeks straight when they are suppose to be there half the time…

    • I’m happy that your kids are not having to face the lonely issues many kids of divorce face. Thank you for being there for them and doing such a good job. We are trying to help the families that struggle with this issue. Thank you for commenting.

Leave a Reply