image As we discussed last week, getting kids to talk about their emotions plays a huge part in helping them to process those emotions and get past them and move on with their lives. And, when you can combine that process with candy, well that just creates an all-around great situation. That why we were so excited to come across the M&M emotion game at

In this game, you use snack sized bags of chocolate covered candy (M&M’s) in order to get kids talking pdf to share rightabout their emotions. You and the child (or every child if you are working with a group) starts with one fun-sized bag of candy. On your turn, you pull one candy out of the bag and share an emotion/experience based on that color. Only after sharing do you actually get to eat the candy.

In this version of the game, you had to do one of the following depending on which candy you pulled out of the bag: Continue Reading…

In working with children of divorce, you will find that they are either dealing with emotions they have never felt before or dealing with an intensity of emotions they have never felt before. Either way they are ill-equipped to deal with those emotions, and in order to minister to them, you will need to find ways to help them process through those emotions. The first step in helping any child deal with difficult emotions (whether those be from the dissolution of their parents’ relationship or any other trauma) will be to help them recognize and name the emotions they are feeling. This week, and over the next several weeks, we will be looking at a number of ways to help kids identify and name the emotions they are experiencing.

pdf to share leftSome of these techniques and methods are very simple and provide you with insights into how the child is feeling. Other ways are more in depth and include you working more directly with the child. The one thing all of these methods have in common is helping children to recognize the emotions they are experiencing and putting a name to those emotions.

This week, we are going to look at several tools available online to increase a child’s “emotion vocabulary.” These tools are all useful both for kids who have been through some sort of traumatic life event and for giving any child a more robust emotional vocabulary. Much of what we learn about emotions is based on our own life experiences, and kids do not have those experiences in order to understand many of the emotions they are feeling. The resources presented in this article can be used in a number of way: Continue Reading…

image In our world today many children are experiencing early childhood trauma. We now know through a lot of research that childhood trauma can affect a child for the rest of their lives. The website ACEs too High (Adverse Childhood Experiences) explains through several articles and research reviews about how trauma in early childhood can affect a child’s behavior and health during childhood and can cause life-long problems.

We know that early trauma causes toxic stress on the brains of young children. So much so that the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement about this issue. They encourage pediatricians to aid a child who is experiencing toxic stress.

pdf to share rightThis means they will need to not only check a child for the normal ear infections, colds and administer the typical childhood immunizations, but they will also need to ask questions about the home life. In essence baby doctors have been told, “Your new job is to reduce toxic stress.”

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image Recently I was ministering to a lady that was new to our area. She was from another state and had just moved here. She said she had to get out of an abusive marriage so she came to live with a relative and for some peace and quiet while she sorted out her thoughts.

I am always for trying to save a marriage. Unless the children are in an unsafe environment and the mom’s (or dad’s) safety is at risk, then I will mention the possibility of saving a marriage. As per my normal questions, I asked if there was any hope her marriage could be saved. She almost shouted at me, “NO! I’ll never go back! Not after what he has put me through.”

pdf to share leftI offered to take her through a program called “Choosing Wisely Before You Divorce.” It is about saving one’s marriage. I’ve used it several times. It has some thought provoking questions that help one sort through their feelings wisely before a couple divorces. I’ve seen several marriages saved with this program. If a marriage can’t be helped then this program gives helps for setting some boundaries for oneself as the couple moves towards divorce.

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imageIn our world today many children experience what is known as an emotional concussion. Emotional concussions can be just as lethal, and sometimes even more so, than a physical concussion.

Emotional concussions occur when young children live in dysfunctional homes controlled by alcohol, drugs, explosive tempers and homes full of stress. They happen when children live with dysfunctional adults and with people who are physically, emotionally, and/or sexually abusive. Divorce can also be a major cause of an emotional concussion.

From the ACEs Too High website we find, Continue Reading…

imageWouldn’t it be wonderful if every little kid who had divorcing parents showed up in your class stress free? There would be no fighting, arguing or yelling. All the kids would want to be involved. They would want to form community and care for one another. The group would ooze kindness.

Impossible you say? I beg to differ. Many children who live in divorcing and stressed out families don’t know how not to be stressed. It is their way of life and, like we’ve said before, they will bring that chaos and stress with them. However, there are things we can do to alleviate some of their stress.

I want to share a few important tips I have learned down through the years. Continue Reading…

imageEvery child of divorce is different and unique, and how you work with and for that child must be tailored to their personality, circumstances and environment. That said, there are some common things that all children of divorce need. If you work with kids, you need to be prepared to offer these to them. Likewise, as the church, we must work to ensure that our ministries and our congregants are equipped to offer these six basic needs to children from disrupted families.


The first thing every child of divorce needs, indeed every child for that matter, is adults in their life who love them and model the love of Christ for them. While a divorce will not cause parents to love their children any less, it will cause children to question whether their parents still love them. On top of all that, the emotions and stress that comes along with a divorce takes time away that parents might otherwise spend with their kids and may leave parents emotionally drained and incapable of adequately expressing their love for their children. As a result, children from disrupted families are often left with a love tank on empty and desperately seeking attention and affection. Find appropriate ways to show the child of divorce that you are there for them and that you love them. Demonstrate the sacrificial love of Christ to them and for them. Read 1 Corinthians 13 and challenge yourself to show them love as defined in that chapter. You may be the one person in the life of a child from a disrupted family that keeps that child from seeking love and attention in destructive places.

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imageOne spring day I was walking in my neighborhood. As I rounded the curve I noticed a little girl that looked to be about 5 years of age, playing outside while her mom was working in the yard. When I came back around the next time the little girl was dragging out a large tub. As I passed by her house she began to pull out the garden hose.

The third time around the block, the hose was in the bucket, water was spilling out over the sides and the little girl was nowhere to be seen. In just a moment she came running out of the house and had on what appeared to be last year’s swimsuit. Evidently she had grown quite a lot over the winter.

pdf to share rightShe gleefully jumped in the tub of water. She tried to sit down in the tub. She stood, got out of the tub and walked around looking at it. With a look of determination she took a running jump and headed for the water again. No matter how hard she tried, she no longer fit in that small tub.

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imageAs 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 chirp. 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.

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imageThe question we get asked more than any other here at Divorce Ministry 4 Kids goes something like this:

What do I say to a child in my church who tells me on Sunday that his/her parents are getting a divorce?

Obviously, each situation is different and how you will reply to this situation will depend on the age of the child, your knowledge of the situation and your relationship with the child. However, there are some standard things that are acceptable o say to any child who announces to you that their parents are getting a divorce.

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