Children of divorce: caught in the middle





On my morning walk, I noticed two birds chirping very loudly. One bird was on the right side of the street. The other bird was on the left side of the street.

It seemed to me that they were conversing with each other. The one on the right chirped almost as if it were yelling. Then the bird on the left side of the street sounded off. Back and forth went their banter. Sometimes one bird didn’t let the other finish before it started chirping.

As I got closer, I thought the bird on the right was saying in its best bird language, “See that lady walking toward us? She belongs to me this weekend.” As I got closer, the bird on the left quit chirping. I’m sure that if I spoke birdese, I would have interpreted his silence as something bad. Plus, I think the bird was scowling at me because I had to move closer to the right side of the road for a car to pass.

Here I was walking down the middle of the street, listening to these two birds chirping over me, when I thought, “This is kind of like a child of divorce who is trying to walk in the middle between two parents who love him and want his attention.”

These kids of divorce fight the fight every single day. They are caught in the middle.

Their worries

If they are with their mother, many worry about their dad.

  • Is Daddy missing me?
  • Is he eating his veggies?
  • I wonder if Dad remembered to feed the dog.
  • I wonder what Dad is doing this weekend without me there.
  • If there is a significant other in the dad’s life who has kids, the questions will pertain to “her kids”: “Are they touching my stuff? They better leave my things alone and my dad, too.”

If the kids are with their dad, the worries go something like

  • I hope Mom is not afraid without me being there to protect her.
  • I wonder if Mom remembered to put out the trash.
  • I hope that trash dumpster wasn’t too heavy for her to move by herself.
  • I wonder if Mom is lonely without me.
  • I worry Mom doesn’t eat when I’m not there to help her get dinner ready.
  • I know Mom doesn’t like to eat alone.

I could continue walking away from the chirping birds, but unlike me, kids of divorce can’t walk away from their two different homes. They can’t walk away from their sometimes two different lifestyles.

Listening to chirping birds is usually a relaxing, enjoyable experience for me. Likewise, for the children of divorce, living with parents who get along can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. When the parents are divorcing—not so much.

What you can do

  • Take time to love on a child of divorce today in your church.
  • Let these children know they matter.
  • Tell them you are glad they are part of your church family.
  • Fill in the gaps of a loving family for them.
  • Teach them what God’s word says about divorce, and remind them God loves the sinner, and we all sin in some way.
  • Help them feel accepted, and better yet, help them feel that their single parent is accepted in your church.

Lastly, show kids of divorce scriptures that will calm them down and connect with the Heavenly Father.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26


This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on May 13, 2015.

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2 thoughts on “Children of divorce: caught in the middle

  1. Hi Linda, I LOVE the wisdom God has bestowed upon you in helping children whom are victims of divorce become conquerors in this battle. I was a child of divorce and every single article you mention about the subject I went through. It wasn’t until in my early twenties I reached out to God to heal me from the effects of the divorce. Even though I’m not married, I went through the Divorce Care classes, for the adults, at that time in my life. The Lord helped me to grow in His Word, forgive my parents, and heal the damage done.

    I am single mother to a teenager and I am also surrounded by many other teenagers who are going through the effects of single parent homes and divorce. I’m a leader for the Single and Parenting Ministry at my church Canyon Ridge. Since I am surrounded with these teens I witness some of their struggles which are very similar to the problems I had as a teen. These teens need an outlet and I was wondering do you have an recommended books or workbooks perhap would be great for teenagers dealing with divorce and single parent homes? I would greatly appreciate the help and support.

    Saundra M.

    • Thank you Saundra for sharing part of your personal story with us. And thank you for ministering to the teens. Recently I was privileged to be on an Internet radio show talking about children and divorce. The next week Krista Smith, the developer of The Big D, a curriculum for teens, was on talking about teens and divorce. When you have time download her two shows and listen to them. ( scroll down past the Chained No More banner and on the right side of the page you will see “Recent Shows.” You can click on Krista Smith. You can click on Linda Ranson Jacobs too. 🙂 Also check out the personal help bookstore in the DivorceCare LeaderZone There are resources on children and teens.

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