When military parents divorce — how are the children affected?



Have you ever given any thought to military families? How about the kids in the divorced military family?

I can hear many of you saying,

We don’t have a military base close to us.
I think the base near us handles those issues.

No military base in your area?

While you might not have a military base close to your church, you might very well have a National Guard or someone who serves in the National Guard in your community. These National Guardsmen and women serve in combat zones. They are deployed just like full time men and women in the Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy.

Military marriages have a high divorce rate

This means hundreds of children are suffering. Many kids suffered through the deployed parents tour of duty only to have the parent come home and leave the family. If they lived in base housing the parent not in the military will have to move. Many of these, particularly moms, move back home to be close to family. What if one of these kids is attending your church? What are you doing to reach out to them?

Single parents get deployed too

Contrary to what you may hear or think, single parents get deployed also. What do they do with their kids? Some may be sent to live with the dad in another state. Got any of those kids in your church?

Imagine being a little 6 or 7 year-old boy whose mom gets deployed and “goes to war” as the kids say. The dad can’t take the child due to his job so the child gets pulled out of his school in the middle of the year and is sent to live with grandma in another state. Imagine the insecurity? Got any of those kids in your ministry?

Bullies hurt

One 8-year old boy I know of had been sent to live with his grandmother in another state. His mom had talked to this child about her deployment. Before she left she did her best to reassure him he would be fine and she would be okay.

When he started his new school and the other kids found out his mom was deployed they began to tease him saying, “Dude your mom is not coming back. She is going to be killed.”

Would you know how to prepare your church volunteers to handle a similar situation? Would you know how to calm and reassure this child? Do you have scriptures you can share with the child?

He is always kind and loving to me: he is my fortress, my tower of strength and safety, my deliverer. Psalm 144:2 (NIV)

Military kids under stress

Military kids live with a lot of stress and worry about their parents. They’ve heard the stories from other kids whose parent came back but were different after their deployment. They know kids whose parent lost their life serving in a war zone.

A great resource to learn more about what kids have to say is the book, “Off To War” by Deborah Ellis. Read a review of “Off To War”.

Will you be on the lookout for the military child whose parents are divorced? Will you open  your heart to minister to these kids whose parents serve our country?

How will you minister to these precious little souls?


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2 thoughts on “When military parents divorce — how are the children affected?

  1. All true and beautifully stated, Linda. We in the church are sometimes less helpful than we might be not from malice but because we didn’t prepare, don’t know what to say or not say, and so just don’t do anything.

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