Helping single parents and their kids survive Valentine’s Day



Most of us who work with or minister to children smile when we think about Valentine’s Day. Perhaps you remember the excitement of taking your Valentine cards to school to swap with the other kids.  Or maybe you are experiencing your own kids and their excitement at getting all those cards on Valentine’s Day.

While Valentine’s Day can be exciting for many people, for some people it is a sad and lonely day. This is true for many single parents and their children. Many single parents are still reeling from what brought them into the role of parenting alone.

For the parent, it is a day of remembering that you are now alone with no mate. It might be the beginning of realizing the reality of the situation. I think the first Valentine’s Day after one enters the single parent world is probably the hardest. It was for me, anyway. Doubt began to cloud my mind. Thoughts such as:

  • I’m going to be alone forever!
  • I’ll never get another Valentine’s card.
  • No one will ever give me a big box of chocolates – ever again!
  • I want somebody to love me and take care of me.
  • What’s wrong with me?

The approaching Valentine’s Day became sort of a spiritual warfare that first year. When I realized what was happening, I was able to reign in my doubts and trust God in me.  Was it easy? No, it was a very difficult task. I wish I had had someone to explain this to me and to help me understand the range of emotions I was feeling.

As the day got closer, I had to constantly remind myself that I was a child of God and that He loved me more than I could even begin to comprehend. I had to tell myself that I was going to survive and be okay. I knew God would be with me all day long and into the evening.

At the time of my divorce, churches didn’t know what to do to reach out to the hurting. Church leaders weren’t sure how to lessen the pain and help the divorcing person feel worthy of God’s love. Over the years I have had many thoughts about what church leaders could have done to help my children and me survive Valentine’s Day. Here are a few!

What church leaders can do to help the single parent survive Valentine’s Day

  • Gently and carefully talk to the hurting single parents in your midst. Tell them they can survive and they will make it through Valentine’s Day. Share with them that this secular holiday we all celebrate can cause a separation between them and God. It can create a spiritual warfare in them like it did in me.
  • Help the single parent practice the presence of God each and every day. This can be through a phrase or prayer that will set God in their minds and hearts starting first thing in the morning. For example, “Good morning, Father!”
  • Start today praying for the single parents by name in your church.
  • Tell them you are praying for them as Valentine’s Day approaches.
  • Ask if there is anything they need from you to make their day easier.
  • Give them scriptures to turn their hearts toward the Lord. For example:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30)
  • Connect single moms with older widows in the church. There is something comforting about connecting with others in similar situations.
  • If applicable, encourage the single parent to allow their child to purchase or make a Valentine’s card for the other parent.

What about the kids?

For the child in a single parent home, the up and coming Valentine’s Day can be confusing and stressful. A lot of children will obsess and dream about how their parents will reunite on Valentine’s Day. They might begin to ask questions such as:

  • Mom, what if Dad sends you a Valentine’s Day card?
  • Dad, I think I saw Mom buying you a Valentine’s Day gift. Will you come over so she can give it to you?

If one of the parents is already involved with someone else, the child may exhibit sullen or angry outbursts. They may bring these attitudes to church with them and into your group.

How do you talk to the child of divorce about love?

You start by talking about how much Jesus loves them.

  • Explain that even though their parents are divorced, God still loves them. God hates divorce but He loves the divorced.
  • Provide some fun and easy cooking recipes that children can make with their parent on Valentine’s Day.
  • Mail the children and their single parent a Valentine’s Day card. (Snail mail is a big treat for many little kids.)
  • Take them to the Word and show them stories and passages. Send scriptures home with them so they can see and read God’s word.  Here are just a few passages that will help children in single parent homes:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV)

“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1 (NIV)

“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.” Psalm 116:1 (NIV)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

For more on how Valentine’s Day affects kids and divorced parents click here.


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