imageA new report was just released by Princeton University that stated approximately 40 percent of children in the U.S. lack strong emotional bonds in their lives. A child’s primary attachments will form with their parents and begin very early in life. However, there are different levels of attachment that kids can form. In the absence of appropriate emotional bonds with their parents, many of these children can still bond with an alternate caregiver such as a grandparent, childcare staff or caring baby sitters. These “secondary bonds” allow these kids to move forward with only minimal attachment issues.

pdf to share rightWhy is this important for our future? If children don’t form emotional bonds and connect with their primary care givers as infants, they will more than likely face behavior issues such as aggressiveness and defiance as children and hyperactivity as teens and adults. Because of their behavior issues, many will face limited educational benefits as they may be suspended from school; sent to alternative schools or end up dropping out of school all together. Some may grow up without a developed conscience intent on doing harm to anyone who gets in their way. If children are severely unattached they will not be able to trust others. Because they learn not to trust others, they turn inward and only trust themselves. These are the children who will lie, steal, hurt animals and hurt other people. These are just some of the problems faced by kids who don’t develop proper attachments early in life.

Attachments issues can arise in many different environments and are the result of the child not getting adequate time an opportunity to attach with their caregiver. Take for example infants who live in a high stress single parent home. The single parent, whether it is mom or dad, might be in a state of shock and barely surviving. They take the child to childcare, work a full day, pick the child up and stumble home. Hoping the childcare gave adequate care for the day; they may just feed the child and put them to bed as they struggle to keep up with life.

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imageWe’ve often discussed how stressful it is being a single parent. A lot of ideas have been given about how to minister to single parents and their children. One subject that hasn’t come up is the issue of the possibility of a single parent with a terminal illness or a disability. How can you help a single parent in one of these situations?

Most single parents don’t plan ahead for such a situation. Most of the time they are barely surviving and yet the necessity of them having to face their fear of death or a disability might become a real concern. I know when I was a single parent the possibility was always in the back of my mind,

“What will happen to my kids if something happens to me?”

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imageSingle parents are hard working people. Basically they are doing the job of two people. This is especially true if there has been a death in the family or if there is no other parent on the scene. They could be parenting alone due to death, desertion or a never married situation.

Sometimes the other parent will live in another part of the country or they have no interest in staying connected to their child. Other single parents who are divorced share custody with the other parent. Even though they share custody, having the sole responsibility in your own home is still difficult.

Single Parent Day is March 21st. This day doesn’t get as much attention as the regular Mother’s Day or Father’s Day and yet it is a very important day for many single parents.

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imageIn my area of the country, it is officially spring break time. By that, I mean all the college kids are coming to our area to enjoy the beaches and … well you know the rest … to party. In the news media when you hear about spring break, they are usually referring to college kids getting away or families taking a week off to enjoy some family time and a vacation. What about the kids of divorce though? What does spring break mean for them? When do they get to party and have a good time?

Sometimes spring break can mean heartache.

My mom is supposed to have me for spring break, but she said I couldn’t come to her house because she is taking a vacation with her boyfriend and his kids.

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Editor’s Note: Cop-parenting is hard. If you have kids from divorced homes in your ministry (and you do), then you also have parents who may be struggling with the right way to co-parent those kids. As a children’s ministry, you need to be prepared to offer advice to those parents which is the purpose of this article from Rosalind Sedacca.

imageWhile moving through divorce can seem like an insurmountable obstacle, for many parents it is just the beginning of a new and equally intimidating challenge — co-parenting your children. Hats off to all of you who have chosen to remain in your children’s lives as co-parents. It means both of you care deeply about your children and want to continue raising them in the least-disruptive possible manner.

Of course not all parents can share the parenting process in this way and for some couples it is not the ideal situation to even attempt it. But those couples who are determined to co-parent and choose to live relatively close to one another so as not to disturb the school, sports and other related schedules of their children, certainly deserve credit and acknowledgement.

pdf to share leftThis is a complex topic that can’t be glossed over with a few simple how-tos. It is based on sincere levels of communication and a sense of trust between the former spouses. When handled with care, your children enjoy the security and comfort of being with their other parent when they are not with you. You are less dependent on strangers as caretakers in their lives, and that is a win-win all around.

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imageRecently when I was doing some research about the brain I read that multitasking is a myth – your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. Most of us in the Kidmin world multitask. I have prided myself on multitasking for years and now I’m reading it’s not very productive. As I thought about this idea of multitasking a light bulb went off in my brain. Could this be one of the reasons kids of divorce might not function too well at various times?”

If your brain can only focus on one thing at a time, it might very well be why kids of divorce can’t concentrate at church, at school and other places that require concentration. To a child and their brain thinking about mom and or dad in two separate houses and being worried about their siblings, their pets, which parent is picking me up tonight might and where am I going to sleep might equate to multitasking.

When you look at the definition of multitasking on Wikipedia you’ll read, “Human multitasking is the apparent performance by an individual of handling more than one task at the same time.” Now I realize the researchers are saying by multitasking one is switching from one activity to another. You are probably going to say the kids are only doing one activity such as scripture memory or listening to a story on Sunday morning.

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imageParenting alone can be a tough journey when one doesn’t feel well. Most single parents will continue to go to work when they don’t feel well. They do this so they can save their sick days for when their child is sick so they can stay home with that child. But, what happens when the single mom or dad is really sick and they need help?

I know there were a few times in my single parent life when I got sick, but I never had to be hospitalized or face a life-threatening situation. I would like to think had that happened my church family would have stepped up and helped. But do churches do that for single parents?

pdf to share leftI know of one single mom that faced cancer. She had a four-year old child. During her cancer she came to know Christ as her Savior through our church reaching out to her. When she found out the cancer was terminal she reached out to our church and to me more than she called on her non-Christian family. Here are some things she liked for us to do: Continue Reading…

Is Divorce With Kids Selfish?

In this insightful article, Lee Block explains why divorce with kids is selfish.  She explains:

Divorce is selfish by necessity when you think about it. No matter what, someone gets hurt. If it isn’t you, then it is your kids and if it isn’t your kids, then it is your ex, but in the end, someone has to pay the price. The question is, who can adjust the best?

If you work with children of divorce, it is important that you understand the perspective of the parents as well.  Reading this article will give you a glimpse into the head of one divorced mom.  Reading through the comments will reveal a wide variety of excuse making and pent up anger.  Either way, it will be very educational.

Click here to view the article.

imageWhen a marriage breaks up and a divorce occurs children have to adjust to a lot of changes. Sometimes it means moving to another place to live or living in two homes. It also means many children have to give up a pet.

If the primary parent has to move to a smaller place or an apartment, the family pet may not be allowed. Even if it is a co-parenting situation, then a child may have to leave their pet behind on the week they go to live with the other parent.

Children get attached to their pets and kids of divorce get even more attached when they experience the break up of their family. I’ve had kids tell me their pet becomes their constant companion. They will talk to their pet and share their deepest thoughts with their pet. They also like talking about their pets. I’ve even had kids request prayer for their pets.

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imageWelcome back as we continue our “Sunday Morning Strategies” series designed to help you to accommodate children of divorce and children from single parent homes in your Sunday morning children’s ministry. Today, we start to tackle one of the most visible issues you will likely face in your ministry in deal with children of divorce – discipline issues.

Children of divorce live in a world where they feel like they have no control over anything. Oftentimes, that leads to them acting out or lashing out in their behavior. They misbehave as a means of getting attention and as a way of exerting the little bit of control they do have left over their lives. You have likely seen these discipline problems in your ministry and dealt with these kids, yet you may never have realized that the root of these problems was in dealing with family disruption. In the coming weeks, we will look at specific things you can do and techniques you can use in terms of discipline and children of divorce, but before we do that, it’s important to step back and take a broader view of the issue of discipline and children of divorce.

What Is Discipline?

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