Children of divorce: caught in the middle



As I was 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 would chirp almost as if it were yelling. Then the bird on the left side of the street would sound off. Back and forth went the banter. Sometimes they wouldn’t let the other bird finish before they started chirping.

As I got closer I think the bird on the right in its best bird language said, “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.

So here I am 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 that 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 being there?
  • And if there is a significant other in the dad’s life and that other 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 they 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 that mom doesn’t eat when I’m not there to help her get dinner ready.
  • I know mom doesn’t like to eat alone.

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

Listening to chirping birds is usually a relaxing and enjoyable experience for me. Like the child of divorce when they live with parents that get along it 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 them 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 their single parent is accepted in your church.

Lastly show kids of divorce scriptures that will calm them down and help them connect with a 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 (NIV)






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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