Archives For MInistry

baptistrySeveral years ago, I had a child in our DC4K (Divorce Care for Kids) group who accepted Christ as her personal Savior.  She wanted to follow in baptism. The child’s dad was not in the picture, but the mom was all for her daughter being baptized. This child had experienced a chaotic home life along with some unspeakable abuse from the dad. She was no longer allowed to visit her dad.

In DC4K we had talked about how God will never leave you or forsake you. We had discussed how much God loves each one of us. We discussed turning all our fears over to the Lord. We talked about how to trust Christ and how to accept him as our Personal Savior, forever a friend and the boss of our lives.

I tell you all of this because I truly believe this child understood what asking Christ to be her Savior meant. Because of some personal things that had happened to this child, she truly needed to see a Heavenly Father figure and she wanted a relationship with her personal Savior.

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Divorce Ministry 4 Kids is now/

Hope 4 Hurting Kids

We are in the process of updating all articles and information from this site and moving them to their new home. 

You can find an updated copy of this article on Hope 4 Hurting Kids using this link.

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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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.

1. LOVE

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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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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imageEvery child has dreams and when parents divorce or break up, silence from the adults in their lives can tend to destroy the dreams in a normal child centered environment. All children are self-centered. That’s how God made us – to depend on our parents and other adults.

However, when there is a crisis such as a divorce, kids need people to talk to them and explain what is happening and what’s going to happen. Children don’t need silence from the very people they depend upon to help them through the rough patches of life.

pdf to share rightMany divorcing parents don’t know what to say to their child so they don’t say much. Some will sit the kids down and tell them they are getting a divorce but they stop short of explaining exactly what that means. Continue Reading…

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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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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imageNationally the majority of divorcing families leave the church. Some might stay and in rare situations both partners try to stay involved in the same church. But for the most part after a divorce, the family fades away never to be seen at church again.

Some of the research on adult children of divorce shows that many children are almost as disappointed with the church for their lack of empathy and neglect as they were at the parent who left the home. What can a church do to help the divorcing single parent family stay connected to the church?

#1: Learn and understand what is going on in the family

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