Hope 4 Hurting Kids http://hope4hurtingkids.com Helping Kids and Teens Move from Hurt to Hope and Healing Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:18:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 60642915 Helping Kids Cope With Tragedy http://hope4hurtingkids.com/trauma-tragedy/trauma-impacts/helping-kids-cope-tragedy/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/trauma-tragedy/trauma-impacts/helping-kids-cope-tragedy/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:00:28 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1218 I originally wrote this article in the aftermath of the events in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012. At the time, the deaths of the 20 six and seven year olds from that elementary school and the six staff members were still fresh in our memories and hearts.  In my own house, and in church on Sunday morning, I was faced with kids who were both afraid that something like that could happen at their school and mourning not only the loss of life but a certain loss of innocence. In the years since, we have continued to see stories of tragedy in the news and in our neighborhoods. Our kids continue to be bombarded with information and images of human beings at their lowest moments. This article was written in response to a tragedy, but we would do well to be prepared to help our kids deal with the next tragedy before it happens.  The purpose of this article is to help parents, children’s ministry workers, teachers and anyone else who works with kids to process tragedy. The Sunday night after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, I was asked to participate in a special episode of the Kids Ministry Collective Radio Show to discuss the topic of helping kids deal with tragedy. You can find an archive of that show featuring special guest Linda Ranson Jacobs at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cmconnect/2012/12/16/kmc-special-edition–when-tragedy-strikes-. In preparing for that show, I read numerous articles from experts on how to help kids and compiled what is a fairly comprehensive list of notes that I thought might benefit our readers. This article includes those notes on how to help kids, helpful scriptures for helping kids deal with tragedy, age-appropriate information, and ideas on how to plan and prepare kids for future tragedies and an extensive listing of additional resources available online. Initial Thoughts When it comes to tragedy, it is important to remember that life presents us with a series of teachable moments for our kids. Some of those are not very stressful, and some are tragic. As parents, and those who work with kids, we need to make sure that we don’t let these teachable moments slip away in the process of dealing with a tragedy. Deuteronomy 6 is the picture that God gives us a capitalizing on the teachable moments in our lives to impart spiritual truth in our children. In tragic events, there are things that we can learn and things that we can model for our kids. Helping Children In preparing my notes, I must have read 20-30 articles from different experts with lists of how to help kids. Those lists all boiled down to 12 general things you should do to help kids in the face of tragedy. I have added a couple of my own to come up with a list of 14 things. It is my prayer that these will help you to help the kids in your influence deal with the tragedies of the past week as well as any future tragedies which may happen in our fallen world. I. STAY CALM Children take their cues in terms of how to react to a tragedy primarily from their parents and also from the other adults in their lives. In the end, our kids will cope with tragic events as well as we do. Accordingly, we must avoid being overly protective of our kids. Be honest about your own emotions with your kids, but we must also model strength in the face of sadness, grief and other emotions. As a follower of Christ, this presents an opportunity to model reliance on God in dealing with strong and overwhelming emotion. II. TURN OFF THE TV Our initial reaction tends to be a desire for more information. This is not always best for our kids. Turn off the TV when the kids are around. When children see the same events played over and over on the news, they don’t realize it’s repeated and may assume the same tragic event is happening over and over again. This is very confusing – particularly to young children. Young children also have trouble distinguishing between what happens close to home and what happens far away. Young children will assume that tragic events on the TV are happening close to home. Reassure them that these events unfolded far away (if that is the case). Consider allowing your kids to get their news from outlets specifically geared towards kids. If your kids are watching the events on the news, and you must leave the TV on, watch with them and be prepared to answer any questions and help them process the information. Remember that, in addition to TV, children today also get there news online, on their iPods and Kindles and from social network sites. III. TALK & LISTEN This is the first and most important step in helping your kids. Make sure you start the conversation. This shows them that you are interested in what they think. Don’t leave children to their own interpretations of events. If you don’t talk to them and fill in any holes in information, they will create their own version of what happens which may be worse than the reality of it. Ask what they know about what is going on. Allow children to play or draw as an outlet for expressing their emotions. Don’t interrupt when listening to your kids. Children will need time to process any conversations you have. Come back to them a couple of hours after any significant conversation and check in with your kids. Express your own emotions without putting theirs down. In other words, don’t tell them how they feel or lead them to believe that they should react the same way you do. Expect repetitious and redundant conversations. Encourage verbalization. IV. TELL THE TRUTH Kids are smart. They will figure it out if you are lying to them or misleading them. If they figure out that you are lying or sugar-coating, they will think you’re afraid to [...]

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TragedyI originally wrote this article in the aftermath of the events in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012. At the time, the deaths of the 20 six and seven year olds from that elementary school and the six staff members were still fresh in our memories and hearts.  In my own house, and in church on Sunday morning, I was faced with kids who were both afraid that something like that could happen at their school and mourning not only the loss of life but a certain loss of innocence. In the years since, we have continued to see stories of tragedy in the news and in our neighborhoods. Our kids continue to be bombarded with information and images of human beings at their lowest moments. This article was written in response to a tragedy, but we would do well to be prepared to help our kids deal with the next tragedy before it happens.  The purpose of this article is to help parents, children’s ministry workers, teachers and anyone else who works with kids to process tragedy.

The Sunday night after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, I was asked to participate in a special episode of the Kids Ministry Collective Radio Show to discuss the topic of helping kids deal with tragedy. You can find an archive of that show featuring special guest Linda Ranson Jacobs at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cmconnect/2012/12/16/kmc-special-edition–when-tragedy-strikes-. In preparing for that show, I read numerous articles from experts on how to help kids and compiled what is a fairly comprehensive list of notes that I thought might benefit our readers. This article includes those notes on how to help kids, helpful scriptures for helping kids deal with tragedy, age-appropriate information, and ideas on how to plan and prepare kids for future tragedies and an extensive listing of additional resources available online.

Initial Thoughts

When it comes to tragedy, it is important to remember that life presents us with a series of teachable moments for our kids. Some of those are not very stressful, and some are tragic. As parents, and those who work with kids, we need to make sure that we don’t let these teachable moments slip away in the process of dealing with a tragedy. Deuteronomy 6 is the picture that God gives us a capitalizing on the teachable moments in our lives to impart spiritual truth in our children. In tragic events, there are things that we can learn and things that we can model for our kids.

Helping Children

In preparing my notes, I must have read 20-30 articles from different experts with lists of how to help kids. Those lists all boiled down to 12 general things you should do to help kids in the face of tragedy. I have added a couple of my own to come up with a list of 14 things. It is my prayer that these will help you to help the kids in your influence deal with the tragedies of the past week as well as any future tragedies which may happen in our fallen world.

I. STAY CALM

  • Children take their cues in terms of how to react to a tragedy primarily from their parents and also from the other adults in their lives.
  • In the end, our kids will cope with tragic events as well as we do.
  • Accordingly, we must avoid being overly protective of our kids.
  • Be honest about your own emotions with your kids, but we must also model strength in the face of sadness, grief and other emotions.
  • As a follower of Christ, this presents an opportunity to model reliance on God in dealing with strong and overwhelming emotion.

II. TURN OFF THE TV

  • Our initial reaction tends to be a desire for more information. This is not always best for our kids. Turn off the TV when the kids are around.
  • When children see the same events played over and over on the news, they don’t realize it’s repeated and may assume the same tragic event is happening over and over again.
  • This is very confusing – particularly to young children.
  • Young children also have trouble distinguishing between what happens close to home and what happens far away. Young children will assume that tragic events on the TV are happening close to home. Reassure them that these events unfolded far away (if that is the case).
  • Consider allowing your kids to get their news from outlets specifically geared towards kids.
  • If your kids are watching the events on the news, and you must leave the TV on, watch with them and be prepared to answer any questions and help them process the information.
  • Remember that, in addition to TV, children today also get there news online, on their iPods and Kindles and from social network sites.

III. TALK & LISTEN

  • This is the first and most important step in helping your kids.
  • Make sure you start the conversation. This shows them that you are interested in what they think.
  • Don’t leave children to their own interpretations of events. If you don’t talk to them and fill in any holes in information, they will create their own version of what happens which may be worse than the reality of it.
  • Ask what they know about what is going on.
  • Allow children to play or draw as an outlet for expressing their emotions.
  • Don’t interrupt when listening to your kids.
  • Children will need time to process any conversations you have. Come back to them a couple of hours after any significant conversation and check in with your kids.
  • Express your own emotions without putting theirs down. In other words, don’t tell them how they feel or lead them to believe that they should react the same way you do.
  • Expect repetitious and redundant conversations.
  • Encourage verbalization.

IV. TELL THE TRUTH

  • Kids are smart.
  • They will figure it out if you are lying to them or misleading them.
  • If they figure out that you are lying or sugar-coating, they will think you’re afraid to tell them the truth.

V. STICK TO THE FACTS

  • It will be impossible for you to keep events or details secret.
  • Share facts with your kids as they process the events.
  • Don’t dwell on scale or scope of the tragedy.
  • Don’t overwhelm children with information they might not want or understand.

VI. WATCH YOUR KIDS / KNOW YOUR KIDS

  • All children are unique and their response will also be unique. You need to know the child you are dealing with in order to respond effectively.
  • Children might not verbalize what they are thinking or feeling.
  • It is important that you know your kids and watch for signs of stress, fear, and anxiety.
  • Watch for changes in behavior, appetite and sleep patterns.
  • Pay particular to attention to kids who might be at risk due to prior traumatic events.

VII. VALIDATE EMOTIONS

  • The Bible tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
  • All children will process tragic events differently. Some children will:
    • Cry
    • Threaten
    • Act out
    • Be Aggressive
    • Be Quiet
    • Withdraw
  • Oftentimes, tragedy will bring out emotions children have never experienced before and emotion that will be experienced in a much deeper way than ever before.
  • Remind children that it is OK to be upset.
  • Help children to verbalize and name their emotions. Most children only have a very basic understanding of their emotions are will be unable to express what they are feeling without help. Accordingly, asking “how do you feel about that?” is not likely to elicit helpful information.
  • Teach children how to express their emotions in appropriate ways
  • Talk to children about their feelings.
  • Dealing with emotions, and learning how to name and express those emotions, will help the child to grow in the long-term.

VIII. REASSURE THEIR SAFETY

  • A child’s primary concern will be with their own security.
  • Children want to know who will take care of them.
  • Reassure them, as you are able that they are safe.
  • Point out specific factors which ensure their safety.
  • Make it short and to the point
    • Too many words will backfire on you.
    • Be brief and businesslike.
  • Be hopeful in your reassurance.
  • Don’t provide false reassurance or over-promise in your effort to make the child feel better.
  • Remind the child that God is with them no matter where they are, and that He is control.

IX. MAINTAIN DAILY ROUTINES

  • In the face of a tragedy, children will feel a loss of control and security.
  • By maintaining daily rituals and routines, and not cancelling pre-existing plan, you can provide kids with a sense of “normalcy” in the face of crisis.
  • This doesn’t mean that you bury your head in the sand and don’t talk about the tragic events.
  • It just means that they do not supplant and totally negate your normal routines.

X. POINT OUT THE GOOD

  • Refocus the child’s attention on the good in the current situation.
  • Point to firefighters, medics, police men and other who protect us and provide valuable services.
  • Research efforts to assist those touched by the tragedy.

XI. DO SOMETHING TOGETHER

  • Find an opportunity to serve together.
  • Find a way to help those touched directly by the tragedy.
  • Find proactive ways to get involved.
  • Have fun together, and reassure your children that it’s still OK to have fun.
  • Take a walk together or engage in some other physical activity.
  • Spend extra time together before bed reading together or cuddling.

XII. MONITOR YOURSELF

  • To help your kids deal with tragedy, you have to make sure that you are dealing with it yourself.
  • Watch your stress levels.
  • Turn off the TV for yourself.
  • Model right-thinking with your kids
  • Let them know that you are sad, but it will get better.
  • Let them know that you place your trust in God.

XIII. PRAY

  • Pray with your children.
  • You may need to help children find the words to pray, but also remind them that God knows what it is their hearts.
  • Encourage them to pray for the victims of the tragedy and their families.
  • Pray for any first-responders and communities that are affected.

XIV. BE WILLING TO ADMIT WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW

  • We don’t have to have all the answers.
  • Don’t be reluctant to let kids know that you don’t know.
  • If the issue is a matter of factual information, let the child know that you will try to find the answer.
  • If the issue is more of a “why” type question, help the child to think through possible answers without feeling like you have to land on one answer as the “right” response.

Helpful Scripture

One thing we can do when kids face tragedy is point them to the truth of God’s Word. The following scriptures might be helpful.

  • Isaiah 41:10

“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)

  • Revelation 21:4

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 ESV)

  • 1 Peter 5:6-7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV)

  • 1 John 4:4

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4 ESV)

  • 2 Timothy 1:7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)

  • Romans 5:3-5

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 ESV)

  • Psalm 34:18

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 ESV)

  • John 16:33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV)

  • Matthew 5:1

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 ESV)

  • Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD

forever. (Psalm 23 ESV)

  • Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 ESV)

  • Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance; (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 ESV)

Age-Appropriate Information

It is important in dealing with children to understand that children will react differently to tragedy depending on their age and stage of development. The following are some general guidelines based on age.

A. PRESCHOOL

  • At this age, children might be frightened and think that the same thing will happen to them.
  • At this age, children can’t tell the difference between TV shows and news.
  • They are vulnerable to fears that feed nightmares, separation anxiety, etc.
  • Don’t express your anxiety in front of them.
  • Reassure them – physically if needed.
  • Let them know they’re safe.
  • Let them know, if it’s true, that it is unlikely to happen again.
  • Encourage them to draw pictures about the disaster.

B. EARLY ELEMENTARY

  • Be brief and simple in your explanations.
  • Provide the reassurance of daily structure.
  • At this age, children may ask questions just to know the answers – not because they are particularly concerned.
  • Children at this age will likely lose interest when they realize that a tragedy doesn’t affect their daily lives.

C. UPPER ELEMENTARY / MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • Children at this age will ask questions.
  • They are beginning to develop abstract thinking and are able to separate reality from fantasy.
  • At age 6-9, children develop the ability to understand concepts like death.
  • At age 10-11, they begin to understand tragedy in personal ways.
  • Be honest with them.
  • Remind them that God is in control.

D. UPPER MIDDLE SCHOOL / HIGH SCHOOL

  • Older children will have strong and varying opinions about the cause of any tragedy.
  • At this age, you should listen more and lecture less.

Planning for the Future

As those who work with children, we need to be prepared for the next tragedy. What can we do to make sure that we, and our children, are prepared? What preventative measures can we take? There is much that your church and your children’s ministry can do, but in this article we will address two very specific things.

A. PLANNING

  • Have a written plan that you review regularly with volunteers.
  • Provide volunteers and parents with that information.
  • Have drills to practice your plan with kids and adults.
  • Consider weaknesses in your plan and your facilities.
  • Consult with experts in your congregation (fire fighters, police men, medics, etc.)

B. SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION

  • We need to prepare children for future tragedies by giving them a solid foundation in the truth of God.
  • We need to teach what it means to trust God in a very practical way.
  • We need to model for our kids that a Christian life spent following Christ is not always happy and picture perfect. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation.”
  • We need to let children know that it is ok to have questions and doubts and teach them how to process through those to a deeper and more personal faith.
  • We need to teach kids about the “Godness of God” – meaning that we need to teach kids about all the attributes of God and not focus on one (like love) to the exclusion of others.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on December 18, 2012.

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Colour Away Your Worries by Dr. Leslie Ironside (A Review) http://hope4hurtingkids.com/emotions/anxiety/colour-away-worries-dr-leslie-ironside-review/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/emotions/anxiety/colour-away-worries-dr-leslie-ironside-review/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:00:38 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1541 About the Book Colour Away Your Worries is a British coloring book (hence the spelling of colour) designed to help kids deal with the worries in their lives. Who Is This Book For? The book is meant for kids and teens who are struggling with anxiety, fear and worry. Though it is meant as a coloring book, even kids who don’t color can get something out of this book. Our Synopsis of the Book This book is meant to engage kids in the process of vocalizing and overcoming their worries. It follows a three step process: Get the child to articulate the fear or anxiety. Share the worry by either writing it down or drawing about it. Redirecting thoughts to help the child understand that they can deal with anxiety by thinking about other things. This book is wonderfully illustrated and engaging. Unlike some workbooks that just encourage kids to make a list of color a picture, this workbooks engages kids at every step along the way. The book starts by having the user record some introductory things about themselves. It moves from there to understanding that everyone has worries and fears. This is important for kids who so often wrestle with their emotions feeling like they are the only one experiencing it. From there, the book explores some things that often scare specific people and what our face and body look like when we’re scared. The book differentiates betweens good/healthy worries and unhealthy worries. The book also offers a good list of coping skills kids can use to help deal with their worries like creating a worry box, letting your worries float away like a balloon, concentrating on something else and many others. Amazon’s Synopsis Here’s how Amazon describes the book: Colour Away Your Worries allows children to de-stress and relax through coloring, doodling, and drawing. Boys and girls will benefit from the stress-relieving effects that increased focus and creativity can provide. There are no rules or complicated step-by-step instructions in these pages—children can simply scribble, scrawl, and shade to their hearts’ content. What We Liked The artwork in the book is phenomenal and is reason enough to buy the book. Add to that a very thorough and effective method for dealing with fears and worries and this become one of the best books we have seen for helping kids discover what they’re afraid of and develop coping skills for dealing with it. What We Didn’t Like Not much! The book does, I think quite intentionally, use snakes and monsters as part of the process of getting kids to talk about their fears. I suppose there is an outside chance that this could present a problem for kids who fear snakes or monsters already. That said, I highly doubt it as the artwork is fun not scary, and the whole purpose of the book is learning how to overcome your worries. Recommendation We recommend Colour Away Your Worries for any child or teen struggling with anxiety and worry. The book strikes a wonderful balance between being full of useful information and fun and engaging. The primary target for this book is likely older elementary aged kids, but we can certainly see older kids and teens enjoying and benefitting from it as well. Whether you are a Picasso in training or have the artistic ability of a two year-old, this book will be both fun and helpful.

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Worries About the Book

Colour Away Your Worries is a British coloring book (hence the spelling of colour) designed to help kids deal with the worries in their lives.

Who Is This Book For?

The book is meant for kids and teens who are struggling with anxiety, fear and worry. Though it is meant as a coloring book, even kids who don’t color can get something out of this book.

Our Synopsis of the Book

Worries Book Photo

This book is meant to engage kids in the process of vocalizing and overcoming their worries. It follows a three step process:

  1. Get the child to articulate the fear or anxiety.
  2. Share the worry by either writing it down or drawing about it.
  3. Redirecting thoughts to help the child understand that they can deal with anxiety by thinking about other things.

This book is wonderfully illustrated and engaging. Unlike some workbooks that just encourage kids to make a list of color a picture, this workbooks engages kids at every step along the way.

Worries Book PageThe book starts by having the user record some introductory things about themselves. It moves from there to understanding that everyone has worries and fears. This is important for kids who so often wrestle with their emotions feeling like they are the only one experiencing it.

From there, the book explores some things that often scare specific people and what our face and body look like when we’re scared. The book differentiates betweens good/healthy worries and unhealthy worries. The book also offers a good list of coping skills kids can use to help deal with their worries like creating a worry box, letting your worries float away like a balloon, concentrating on something else and many others.

Amazon’s Synopsis

Here’s how Amazon describes the book:

Colour Away Your Worries allows children to de-stress and relax through coloring, doodling, and drawing. Boys and girls will benefit from the stress-relieving effects that increased focus and creativity can provide. There are no rules or complicated step-by-step instructions in these pages—children can simply scribble, scrawl, and shade to their hearts’ content.

What We Liked

The artwork in the book is phenomenal and is reason enough to buy the book. Add to that a very thorough and effective method for dealing with fears and worries and this become one of the best books we have seen for helping kids discover what they’re afraid of and develop coping skills for dealing with it.

What We Didn’t Like

Not much! The book does, I think quite intentionally, use snakes and monsters as part of the process of getting kids to talk about their fears. I suppose there is an outside chance that this could present a problem for kids who fear snakes or monsters already. That said, I highly doubt it as the artwork is fun not scary, and the whole purpose of the book is learning how to overcome your worries.

Recommendation

We recommend Colour Away Your Worries for any child or teen struggling with anxiety and worry. The book strikes a wonderful balance between being full of useful information and fun and engaging. The primary target for this book is likely older elementary aged kids, but we can certainly see older kids and teens enjoying and benefitting from it as well. Whether you are a Picasso in training or have the artistic ability of a two year-old, this book will be both fun and helpful.

The post Colour Away Your Worries by Dr. Leslie Ironside (A Review) appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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A Disney Approach to Ministering to Children of Divorce http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/a-disney-approach-to-ministering-to-children-of-divorce/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/a-disney-approach-to-ministering-to-children-of-divorce/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:00:03 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1217 Recently the Children’s Pastor’s Conference was held at the Disney World Conference Center in Orlando, FL. I’ve been to other conferences at this location, and something I’ve notice every time is the way Disney treats children. This got me to thinking about how our churches treat children. Today, I want to explore some concepts and ideas that sparked my imagination when it comes to ministering to the child of divorce in our churches. 1. No matter who is checking in or walking through the gates of Disney World the children are noticed first. Do your teachers or greeters notice the children first? 2. Disney staff people are pleasant and accommodating to everyone. Most smile when talking to a child or an adult. When a new child of divorce comes to church are you too busy getting information from the parent to take time to make eye contact with the child and smile? Are you accommodating to the hassled single parent, or are you rushed and thinking they should automatically understand the “church-eese” language you are speaking. If they haven’t attended church before, they may not understand your denominational terms and abbreviations. Many non-churched adults reach out during the crisis of divorce and just as many are turned off by the treatment they get at church because they simply don’t understand what you are talking about. 3. Disney people bend down to shake the hands of the children. Do you take time to get on the child’s level and offer them a greeting? Perhaps you give them some options of how they want to be greeted. A handshake? A fist bump? A high five? A hug? 4. Disney characters make a big deal of welcoming the child by asking them questions that are relevant to the child. It is okay to ask the child about whom they live with or who brought them to church. Tell them you are glad they came to church today. Don’t tell them about your attendance competition and if they come every Sunday they will get a certificate because the child already knows it is out of their control to be there every Sunday. 5. Disney staff does not talk over the child’s head, but even when talking to the adults, they still keep eye contact with the child. Many times it is important to get information from the parent, but think about making eye contact or periodically looking over at the child. You can even ask the child a question or two so they feel like they are contributing and not being talked about. 6. Many times they continue to smile at the child while talking to the adults. Disney people are savvy because they know who is going pull the strings attached to mom or dad’s credit cards. 7. Disney staff always step aside for the customers. Disney staff waits for you to enter a door or walk down a sidewalk or hallway. They hold open doors for children. They say, “Excuse me” when they have bumped or walked in front of someone. In other words they are very polite to everyone including the children. Volunteers might need to be trained in developing Disney like manners when working with the child of divorce. Can you begin to imagine how these children would feel honored and accepted into the loving folds of your church? Research shows that for many children the treatment they receive at church after the divorce of their parent’s hurts almost as much as the divorce itself. Many children feel the loss of a church deeply and for years to come. This next week imagine Mickey Mouse, Goofy or Donald Duck standing at the door welcoming the child of divorce into your church. That in itself should bring an automatic smile to your face and get you started on your way to ministering to children of divorce in a fun and relaxed manner. It could be the beginning of relationship building with a hurting child who needs Christ in their life and needs to connect with a loving church family. This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on February 01, 2013.

The post A Disney Approach to Ministering to Children of Divorce appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Disney ApproachRecently the Children’s Pastor’s Conference was held at the Disney World Conference Center in Orlando, FL. I’ve been to other conferences at this location, and something I’ve notice every time is the way Disney treats children. This got me to thinking about how our churches treat children. Today, I want to explore some concepts and ideas that sparked my imagination when it comes to ministering to the child of divorce in our churches.

1. No matter who is checking in or walking through the gates of Disney World the children are noticed first.

Do your teachers or greeters notice the children first?

2. Disney staff people are pleasant and accommodating to everyone. Most smile when talking to a child or an adult.

When a new child of divorce comes to church are you too busy getting information from the parent to take time to make eye contact with the child and smile?

Are you accommodating to the hassled single parent, or are you rushed and thinking they should automatically understand the “church-eese” language you are speaking. If they haven’t attended church before, they may not understand your denominational terms and abbreviations. Many non-churched adults reach out during the crisis of divorce and just as many are turned off by the treatment they get at church because they simply don’t understand what you are talking about.

3. Disney people bend down to shake the hands of the children.

Do you take time to get on the child’s level and offer them a greeting? Perhaps you give them some options of how they want to be greeted. A handshake? A fist bump? A high five? A hug?

4. Disney characters make a big deal of welcoming the child by asking them questions that are relevant to the child.

It is okay to ask the child about whom they live with or who brought them to church. Tell them you are glad they came to church today. Don’t tell them about your attendance competition and if they come every Sunday they will get a certificate because the child already knows it is out of their control to be there every Sunday.

5. Disney staff does not talk over the child’s head, but even when talking to the adults, they still keep eye contact with the child.

Many times it is important to get information from the parent, but think about making eye contact or periodically looking over at the child. You can even ask the child a question or two so they feel like they are contributing and not being talked about.

6. Many times they continue to smile at the child while talking to the adults.

Disney people are savvy because they know who is going pull the strings attached to mom or dad’s credit cards.

7. Disney staff always step aside for the customers.

Disney staff waits for you to enter a door or walk down a sidewalk or hallway. They hold open doors for children. They say, “Excuse me” when they have bumped or walked in front of someone. In other words they are very polite to everyone including the children.

Volunteers might need to be trained in developing Disney like manners when working with the child of divorce.

Can you begin to imagine how these children would feel honored and accepted into the loving folds of your church? Research shows that for many children the treatment they receive at church after the divorce of their parent’s hurts almost as much as the divorce itself. Many children feel the loss of a church deeply and for years to come.

This next week imagine Mickey Mouse, Goofy or Donald Duck standing at the door welcoming the child of divorce into your church. That in itself should bring an automatic smile to your face and get you started on your way to ministering to children of divorce in a fun and relaxed manner. It could be the beginning of relationship building with a hurting child who needs Christ in their life and needs to connect with a loving church family.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on February 01, 2013.

The post A Disney Approach to Ministering to Children of Divorce appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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The Winding Road of Foster Care and Adoption http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/modern-families/winding-road-foster-care-adoption/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/modern-families/winding-road-foster-care-adoption/#respond Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:00:58 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1530 Editor’s Note: Many users of our site know Kelley Rose Waller as a Foster mom and contributor to Hope 4 Hurting Kids. Recently, she and her family prepared for and attended what they hoped would be the final court date for their foster son of the last two years whom they’d like to adopt. Kelley posted about the very real and heart-wrenching countdown to that date last week on her own blog (KelleyRoseWaller.com). For anyone involved in Foster Care, you might recognize some of your own journey in her heart wrenching account of the five days leading up that final court date. For those who know someone involved in this process, out prayer is that in Kelley’s story you will discover a new found or reinvigorated empathy for families you may know currently involved in the process. We are so grateful for Kelley’s transparency and willingness to share her own family’s journey with the users of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. We have presented excerpts from each of Kelley’s three articles in the countdown and encourage you to click through to her blog to read the rest of the story. Part 1: My Five-Day Countdown Five days until a judge determines the future of my family. Or will he? I choose to embrace the truth that in five days we will simply find out what God has had planned from the beginning. It isn’t a decision to be made; it’s a decision that has already been made. And it is GOOD, my friends. I don’t even know the outcome yet, but God’s decision is GOOD. On Tuesday, we find out if my son is my son or not. Read more Part 2: But God I cried on the way home from church yesterday. I guess it’s ok because a lot of people feel emotional at Easter at church. He is risen! Except that’s not why I was crying. I was crying because I feel like a dry, wrinkly sponge that has nothing left to give and just got run over by a car. Somehow there had been a tiny bit of life left, but now that moisture is squeezed out onto the pavement. The reserves are empty. Wrung out. I know this is what we signed up for, BUT GOD can’t you see what they’re going to do? Read more Part 3: Worth It So much anticipation over nothing. So much tossing and turning and not sleeping. So much time spent waiting in an uncomfortable chair! Read the conclusion of Kelly’s story here

The post The Winding Road of Foster Care and Adoption appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Editor’s Note: Many users of our site know Kelley Rose Waller as a Foster mom and contributor to Hope 4 Hurting Kids. Recently, she and her family prepared for and attended what they hoped would be the final court date for their foster son of the last two years whom they’d like to adopt. Kelley posted about the very real and heart-wrenching countdown to that date last week on her own blog (KelleyRoseWaller.com). For anyone involved in Foster Care, you might recognize some of your own journey in her heart wrenching account of the five days leading up that final court date. For those who know someone involved in this process, out prayer is that in Kelley’s story you will discover a new found or reinvigorated empathy for families you may know currently involved in the process. We are so grateful for Kelley’s transparency and willingness to share her own family’s journey with the users of Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

We have presented excerpts from each of Kelley’s three articles in the countdown and encourage you to click through to her blog to read the rest of the story.

Part 1: My Five-Day Countdown

Five days until a judge determines the future of my family.

Or will he?

I choose to embrace the truth that in five days we will simply find out what God has had planned from the beginning. It isn’t a decision to be made; it’s a decision that has already been made. And it is GOOD, my friends. I don’t even know the outcome yet, but God’s decision is GOOD.

On Tuesday, we find out if my son is my son or not.

Read more

Part 2: But God

I cried on the way home from church yesterday. I guess it’s ok because a lot of people feel emotional at Easter at church. He is risen! Except that’s not why I was crying. I was crying because I feel like a dry, wrinkly sponge that has nothing left to give and just got run over by a car. Somehow there had been a tiny bit of life left, but now that moisture is squeezed out onto the pavement. The reserves are empty.

Wrung out.

I know this is what we signed up for, BUT GOD can’t you see what they’re going to do?

Read more

Part 3: Worth It

So much anticipation over nothing. So much tossing and turning and not sleeping. So much time spent waiting in an uncomfortable chair!

Read the conclusion of Kelly’s story here

The post The Winding Road of Foster Care and Adoption appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Divorce Through Their Eyes: The Cheating Dad http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/divorce-through-their-eyes-cheating-dad/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/divorce-through-their-eyes-cheating-dad/#respond Fri, 14 Apr 2017 12:00:14 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1238 In“Divorce Through Their Eyes,” we look at firsthand accounts of children who have been there and can recount from their own experience how divorce affected their lives. Today’s story comes from a 16-year-old young gentleman named Zane Vanderberg who shares a little bit about his life, and the life of his two younger brothers, since his parents separated in this August 1, 2012 article from Huffington Post titled The Musings of a 16-Year-Old with a Cheating Dad. The article begins with recounting of how his father had cheated on his mother and how he knew about it even before his mom. From there Zane shares some insight into what his family looks like today: I have read the articles that state that children are resilient and not terribly affected by divorce. I can say with absolute certainty that this has not been the case in my family after my mother discovered another secret affair and subsequently left my father. I have not spoken to him in almost two years. I have two younger brothers. The youngest, an anxiety-ridden 10-year-old, longs for a “real family,” as if the four of us don’t have proper qualification to be considered a family. He and my 12-year-old brother have been living with my mother and me for half of the time, literally split down the middle. My father tells them he is happy now. My brothers do not understand this, as they are not happy. Their time with him is spent with my father’s former mistress, who has now evolved to his girlfriend. I have come to believe that my brothers are oblivious to what is truly going on and put false hope in my parents reuniting. My “new normal” family, if you can call it that, has been tripping through life ever since my father left. We were all present when my mother discovered the infidelity; the feeling of chaos was overwhelming. I punched a hole in the wall that is still there. Gaping. An open wall wound. My father did not honor his 18-year marriage with honesty, but chose to have my mother stumble upon his journal instead. We all felt cheated. My emotional toll was almost textbook. I still can’t sleep. I have constant headaches combined with a coping mechanism of throwing humor and sarcasm at everything. I try to lead my fatherless family forward, hating the role I have created for myself. At home, I often feel trapped, an interim father figure to my brothers and sometimes a crutch to my mother. I am told that communicating with my father can reconfigure how I view my roles, but I have absolutely no desire to speak with him. I feel as if I never knew who he truly was and I certainly don’t know him now. Zane’s story is like so many children of divorce. It is yet another first-hand account, from a young man in the middle of it all, that debunks the myth that children are resilient and will just get over it. Zane’s brothers wrestle with the loss of a “real family” though Zane is 100% correct in his assertion that they are still a family – just with a new structure. Like many children who are a little older at the time of the divorce, Zane has taken on the role of adult for his little brothers and for his mother. While admirable, he clearly reflects his hatred for that role which he says he has “created for myself.” In reality, it is a role no child would choose to create. Zane shares one more reflection comparing his situation to that of his friend’s: I know at least one of my old friends went home and asked his parents, “You guys aren’t breaking up, are you?” I can understand the fear over their parents’ divorcing. I observe the “lucky” ones. The ones I envy. Those friends who have their parents standing next to them after a basketball game, helping them learn to drive, or proudly looking on and pulling out their phones to take photos of the first date, first dance, school projects and athletic achievements. When your parents divorce, all that changes. Especially if infidelity and lies were the foundation of your father leaving. Because how do you make believe everything is fine when the shrapnel is still in your skin? My father does not come to my games, he does not know who I am dating and he certainly has no photos of me from the last two years. Divorce is not something that kids “just get over.” Instead, it forever alters the course of their lives. There is healing to do, and with God’s help, I pray that Zane finds that healing. This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on August 20, 2012.

The post Divorce Through Their Eyes: The Cheating Dad appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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In“Divorce Through Their Eyes,” we look at firsthand accounts of children who have been there and can recount from their own experience how divorce affected their lives.

Today’s story comes from a 16-year-old young gentleman named Zane Vanderberg who shares a little bit about his life, and the life of his two younger brothers, since his parents separated in this August 1, 2012 article from Huffington Post titled The Musings of a 16-Year-Old with a Cheating Dad.

The article begins with recounting of how his father had cheated on his mother and how he knew about it even before his mom. From there Zane shares some insight into what his family looks like today:

I have read the articles that state that children are resilient and not terribly affected by divorce. I can say with absolute certainty that this has not been the case in my family after my mother discovered another secret affair and subsequently left my father. I have not spoken to him in almost two years.

I have two younger brothers. The youngest, an anxiety-ridden 10-year-old, longs for a “real family,” as if the four of us don’t have proper qualification to be considered a family. He and my 12-year-old brother have been living with my mother and me for half of the time, literally split down the middle. My father tells them he is happy now. My brothers do not understand this, as they are not happy. Their time with him is spent with my father’s former mistress, who has now evolved to his girlfriend. I have come to believe that my brothers are oblivious to what is truly going on and put false hope in my parents reuniting.

My “new normal” family, if you can call it that, has been tripping through life ever since my father left. We were all present when my mother discovered the infidelity; the feeling of chaos was overwhelming. I punched a hole in the wall that is still there. Gaping. An open wall wound. My father did not honor his 18-year marriage with honesty, but chose to have my mother stumble upon his journal instead. We all felt cheated. My emotional toll was almost textbook. I still can’t sleep. I have constant headaches combined with a coping mechanism of throwing humor and sarcasm at everything.

I try to lead my fatherless family forward, hating the role I have created for myself. At home, I often feel trapped, an interim father figure to my brothers and sometimes a crutch to my mother. I am told that communicating with my father can reconfigure how I view my roles, but I have absolutely no desire to speak with him. I feel as if I never knew who he truly was and I certainly don’t know him now.

Zane’s story is like so many children of divorce. It is yet another first-hand account, from a young man in the middle of it all, that debunks the myth that children are resilient and will just get over it. Zane’s brothers wrestle with the loss of a “real family” though Zane is 100% correct in his assertion that they are still a family – just with a new structure. Like many children who are a little older at the time of the divorce, Zane has taken on the role of adult for his little brothers and for his mother. While admirable, he clearly reflects his hatred for that role which he says he has “created for myself.” In reality, it is a role no child would choose to create.

Zane shares one more reflection comparing his situation to that of his friend’s:

I know at least one of my old friends went home and asked his parents, “You guys aren’t breaking up, are you?” I can understand the fear over their parents’ divorcing. I observe the “lucky” ones. The ones I envy. Those friends who have their parents standing next to them after a basketball game, helping them learn to drive, or proudly looking on and pulling out their phones to take photos of the first date, first dance, school projects and athletic achievements. When your parents divorce, all that changes. Especially if infidelity and lies were the foundation of your father leaving. Because how do you make believe everything is fine when the shrapnel is still in your skin? My father does not come to my games, he does not know who I am dating and he certainly has no photos of me from the last two years.

Divorce is not something that kids “just get over.” Instead, it forever alters the course of their lives. There is healing to do, and with God’s help, I pray that Zane finds that healing.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on August 20, 2012.

The post Divorce Through Their Eyes: The Cheating Dad appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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My Story of a Good Good Father http://hope4hurtingkids.com/help/inspiration/my-story-good-good-father/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/help/inspiration/my-story-good-good-father/#respond Thu, 13 Apr 2017 12:00:39 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1519 Editor’s Note: Here at Hope 4 Hurting Kids, we a pleased and excited to welcome Cindi Peeff to our team. Cindi has worked extensively with kids as a Children’s Pastor and a mom. She brings a wealth of expertise and personal experience to the table, and we are certain that our users will learn much from her. Please join us in welcoming Cindi to the team. I was 28 years old before I ever met my biological father. I walked into work early one Saturday morning, and he was standing there. He just showed up. I had only spoken to him for the first time a few days earlier, and we hadn’t made plans to meet. I guess he was anxious to meet me, which struck me as strange given that it had taken him 28 years to even see if I existed. Let’s just say, it wasn’t fun finishing out that particular work day. Meeting my father for the first time elicited a wide range of emotions from inside me. It was crazy! I had finally met the man that I looked like – the one my mother didn’t feel was worthy of being in my life. To be honest, I’m not sure if I was hurt, angry, nervous, or all of the above. I found a notebook after that weekend and wrote down some thoughts. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but I guess I just needed some way to try to make sense of the situation. Here is a portion of what I wrote: “So many emotions. How do you feel angry, blessed, betrayed, gratitude, and just plain hurt all at the same time? After two days of sobbing and four days of being depressed in my pajamas, I cleaned myself up and left the house. I stopped by a friends house then went to counseling. I finally have started breaking through the fog and depression. I’m looking for purpose. Why did God bring this to light? Why did he do it now? Only a few days later, I don’t know the answer.” You see, my father wasn’t a very good person. He had spent time in jail, time as a fugitive, and time leaving many scars, some even with those I loved. Every new detail and secret being told to me felt like a knife in the chest. I had his DNA. Did the people in my family who knew him judge me based on him? I always felt like an outsider in my own family. Was I like this man? I sure looked like him. Why of all the men in the world did one with a past like his have to be my father? This situation definitely did nothing for my self-esteem. I remember driving in my car shortly after this all happened. I was crying and talking to God out loud. I had been so angry about the whole situation that I hadn’t been ready to talk to God about all of this. I calmed down, and turned on the radio. The song “Good Good Father” began playing. I wasn’t familiar with the song, so I started listening closely to the lyrics. I pulled into a parking lot and heard these words: I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide But I know we’re all searching For answers only you provide ‘Cause you know just what we need Before we say a word You’re a good good father It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are And I’m loved by you It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am Because you are perfect in all of your ways You are perfect in all of your ways You are perfect in all of your ways to us… Oh, it’s love so undeniable I, I can hardly speak Peace so unexplainable I, I can hardly think… It was in that moment that it hit me. GOD KNEW ALL OF THIS! He knew it ALL! He knew this road I was walking. At that moment, I certainly didn’t feel like His ways were perfect, but the words stuck with me: “You’re a good good father. It’s who you are. I’m loved by you. It’s who I am.” That was my aha moment (or God moment as I like to call them). I realized I wasn’t responsible for my biological father, or for any of his mistakes. Yes, genetically, he is my “real” father. But, he was just the means that God used to bring me into this world. My REAL father is a perfect God who loves me. I wasn’t just a mistake of two recovering alcoholics. I was created in the image of my God! There are still moments when those feelings of rejection, hurt and betrayal by my family come back to haunt. I try in those moments, even if it’s through a river of tears, to squash those thoughts with the reality that God is my father… and a good good one at that!

The post My Story of a Good Good Father appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Editor’s Note: Here at Hope 4 Hurting Kids, we a pleased and excited to welcome Cindi Peeff to our team. Cindi has worked extensively with kids as a Children’s Pastor and a mom. She brings a wealth of expertise and personal experience to the table, and we are certain that our users will learn much from her. Please join us in welcoming Cindi to the team.

I was 28 years old before I ever met my biological father. I walked into work early one Saturday morning, and he was standing there. He just showed up. I had only spoken to him for the first time a few days earlier, and we hadn’t made plans to meet. I guess he was anxious to meet me, which struck me as strange given that it had taken him 28 years to even see if I existed. Let’s just say, it wasn’t fun finishing out that particular work day.

Meeting my father for the first time elicited a wide range of emotions from inside me. It was crazy! I had finally met the man that I looked like – the one my mother didn’t feel was worthy of being in my life. To be honest, I’m not sure if I was hurt, angry, nervous, or all of the above.

I found a notebook after that weekend and wrote down some thoughts. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but I guess I just needed some way to try to make sense of the situation.

Here is a portion of what I wrote:

“So many emotions. How do you feel angry, blessed, betrayed, gratitude, and just plain hurt all at the same time? After two days of sobbing and four days of being depressed in my pajamas, I cleaned myself up and left the house. I stopped by a friends house then went to counseling. I finally have started breaking through the fog and depression. I’m looking for purpose. Why did God bring this to light? Why did he do it now? Only a few days later, I don’t know the answer.”

You see, my father wasn’t a very good person. He had spent time in jail, time as a fugitive, and time leaving many scars, some even with those I loved. Every new detail and secret being told to me felt like a knife in the chest. I had his DNA. Did the people in my family who knew him judge me based on him? I always felt like an outsider in my own family. Was I like this man? I sure looked like him. Why of all the men in the world did one with a past like his have to be my father? This situation definitely did nothing for my self-esteem.

I remember driving in my car shortly after this all happened. I was crying and talking to God out loud. I had been so angry about the whole situation that I hadn’t been ready to talk to God about all of this. I calmed down, and turned on the radio. The song “Good Good Father” began playing. I wasn’t familiar with the song, so I started listening closely to the lyrics. I pulled into a parking lot and heard these words:

I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only you provide
‘Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

You’re a good good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Because you are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us…

Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think…

It was in that moment that it hit me. GOD KNEW ALL OF THIS! He knew it ALL! He knew this road I was walking. At that moment, I certainly didn’t feel like His ways were perfect, but the words stuck with me:

“You’re a good good father. It’s who you are. I’m loved by you. It’s who I am.”

That was my aha moment (or God moment as I like to call them). I realized I wasn’t responsible for my biological father, or for any of his mistakes. Yes, genetically, he is my “real” father. But, he was just the means that God used to bring me into this world. My REAL father is a perfect God who loves me. I wasn’t just a mistake of two recovering alcoholics. I was created in the image of my God!

There are still moments when those feelings of rejection, hurt and betrayal by my family come back to haunt. I try in those moments, even if it’s through a river of tears, to squash those thoughts with the reality that God is my father… and a good good one at that!

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Ways to Get Help on Hope 4 Hurting Kids http://hope4hurtingkids.com/help/resources/get-help-hope-4-hurting-kids/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/help/resources/get-help-hope-4-hurting-kids/#respond Tue, 11 Apr 2017 12:00:10 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1515 At Hope 4 Hurting Kids, we are committed to resourcing others to help kids who are struggling through all kinds of life issues. To that end, we continue to expand our repository of articles as well as the listing of authors here on Hope 4 Hurting Kids and the areas of expertise that they bring to the table. We are also committed to offering resources to directly help young people who are suffering. A few weeks ago, we unveiled our chat rooms which offer young people a place to go to find a community of individuals experiencing similar circumstances and individuals committed to helping. Today, we are excited to offer two new ways that suffering young people can find help here on Hope 4 Hurting Kids. 1.  Ask Us Whereas the Hope 4 Hurting Kids Chat Rooms are intended primarily to offer a form of community support, the Ask Us feature offers a more “in depth” response more along the lines of a continuing mentoring relationship. If a you or a young person you know has a question or needs to talk t0 someone, they simply fill out a “ticket” on the Ask Us page and someone from Hope 4 Hurting Kids will respond. The conversation can continue as long as the person initiating the request wishes and allows for a deeper discussion and exploration. 2. Chat with a Hope Line Specialist I Am A Child of Divorce is a related ministry of Hope 4 Hurting Kids and has a long standing partnership with The Hope Line (the off-air “let’s talk” of the nationwide Dawson McAllister radio show). We are pleased to announce that Hope 4 Hurting Kids has also now partnered with The Hope Line to offer their Live Chat feature to user of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. Live Chat puts you in touch with a trained Hope Line staff member who will listen to your concerns and put you in touch with one of their many partners based on the difficulties you are experiencing. You can access the Hope Line Chat feature by using the “Chat Now” box in the bottom right of any page on Hope 4 Hurting Kids (If the box says “Leave a Message,” leave your information and a description of your problem and they will get back to you with a list of resources). Neither of these options represent professional counseling or therapy, but they are a way to talk to a caring individual who can help you to process the situation you are in and point you in the right direction. Our goal at Hope 4 Hurting Kids is to continue to offer new and innovative ways for hurting young people to find help and hope.

The post Ways to Get Help on Hope 4 Hurting Kids appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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At Hope 4 Hurting Kids, we are committed to resourcing others to help kids who are struggling through all kinds of life issues. To that end, we continue to expand our repository of articles as well as the listing of authors here on Hope 4 Hurting Kids and the areas of expertise that they bring to the table.

We are also committed to offering resources to directly help young people who are suffering. A few weeks ago, we unveiled our chat rooms which offer young people a place to go to find a community of individuals experiencing similar circumstances and individuals committed to helping.

Today, we are excited to offer two new ways that suffering young people can find help here on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

1.  Ask Us

Whereas the Hope 4 Hurting Kids Chat Rooms are intended primarily to offer a form of community support, the Ask Us feature offers a more “in depth” response more along the lines of a continuing mentoring relationship. If a you or a young person you know has a question or needs to talk t0 someone, they simply fill out a “ticket” on the Ask Us page and someone from Hope 4 Hurting Kids will respond. The conversation can continue as long as the person initiating the request wishes and allows for a deeper discussion and exploration.

2. Chat with a Hope Line Specialist

I Am A Child of Divorce is a related ministry of Hope 4 Hurting Kids and has a long standing partnership with The Hope Line (the off-air “let’s talk” of the nationwide Dawson McAllister radio show). We are pleased to announce that Hope 4 Hurting Kids has also now partnered with The Hope Line to offer their Live Chat feature to user of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. Live Chat puts you in touch with a trained Hope Line staff member who will listen to your concerns and put you in touch with one of their many partners based on the difficulties you are experiencing. You can access the Hope Line Chat feature by using the “Chat Now” box in the bottom right of any page on Hope 4 Hurting Kids (If the box says “Leave a Message,” leave your information and a description of your problem and they will get back to you with a list of resources).

Neither of these options represent professional counseling or therapy, but they are a way to talk to a caring individual who can help you to process the situation you are in and point you in the right direction.

Our goal at Hope 4 Hurting Kids is to continue to offer new and innovative ways for hurting young people to find help and hope.

The post Ways to Get Help on Hope 4 Hurting Kids appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Five Mistakes to Avoid When Telling Kids About Divorce http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/five-mistakes-telling-kids-divorce/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/five-mistakes-telling-kids-divorce/#comments Fri, 07 Apr 2017 12:13:11 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1232 Preparing to break the divorce news to your kids? Wondering how to broach the subject and how much to share? How your children will react and how to handle their questions? Well you’re not alone. Talking about divorce to your children is tough. You don’t want to make errors you will regret. There are many common mistakes parents make at this time. Here are five of the most important you should avoid: Blaming or speaking disrespectfully about your children’s other parent. It creates pain, guilt and confusion for your kids. They wonder, “If there’s something wrong with Dad/Mom, there must be something wrong with me for loving them.” This can damage your parental relationship. Pressuring children to make choices. Most kids feel torn when asked to choose between their parents. Don’t put them in that position. Assuming your children understand they are not to blame. Children are innocent victims of divorce. Remind them frequently that they are not at fault – even, and especially, if you are fighting with their other parent about them. Confiding adult information to your children. Parents do this to bond with or try to win the kids over. It creates a burden that children can’t handle and they’ll resent you for it. Talk to adults about adult issues. Fighting in front of the children – ever! Remember you will still be their parents following the divorce. The more you can create a parenting alliance, the happier and more stable your children will be. Fortunately there’s a lot of support to turn to before having the tough “divorce talk.” Speak to a divorce mediator or see a therapist. Find a Child-Centered or Collaborative Divorce attorney. Seek the advice of Divorce and Parenting Coaches, school counselors or clergy. There are also many valuable books on this topic. Whatever you do, prepare yourself in advance and try to approach the children together. Be aware of the impact of your words on their innocent psyches. Think before you speak, listen to your children’s responses, and be there to help them face the changes ahead with security, compassion and love. This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on September 10, 2012.

The post Five Mistakes to Avoid When Telling Kids About Divorce appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Preparing to break the divorce news to your kids? Wondering how to broach the subject and how much to share? How your children will react and how to handle their questions?

Well you’re not alone. Talking about divorce to your children is tough. You don’t want to make errors you will regret.

There are many common mistakes parents make at this time. Here are five of the most important you should avoid:

  • Blaming or speaking disrespectfully about your children’s other parent. It creates pain, guilt and confusion for your kids. They wonder, “If there’s something wrong with Dad/Mom, there must be something wrong with me for loving them.” This can damage your parental relationship.
  • Pressuring children to make choices. Most kids feel torn when asked to choose between their parents. Don’t put them in that position.
  • Assuming your children understand they are not to blame. Children are innocent victims of divorce. Remind them frequently that they are not at fault – even, and especially, if you are fighting with their other parent about them.
  • Confiding adult information to your children. Parents do this to bond with or try to win the kids over. It creates a burden that children can’t handle and they’ll resent you for it. Talk to adults about adult issues.
  • Fighting in front of the children – ever! Remember you will still be their parents following the divorce. The more you can create a parenting alliance, the happier and more stable your children will be.

Fortunately there’s a lot of support to turn to before having the tough “divorce talk.” Speak to a divorce mediator or see a therapist. Find a Child-Centered or Collaborative Divorce attorney. Seek the advice of Divorce and Parenting Coaches, school counselors or clergy. There are also many valuable books on this topic.

Whatever you do, prepare yourself in advance and try to approach the children together. Be aware of the impact of your words on their innocent psyches. Think before you speak, listen to your children’s responses, and be there to help them face the changes ahead with security, compassion and love.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on September 10, 2012.

The post Five Mistakes to Avoid When Telling Kids About Divorce appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Empathizing From the Left Side of Your Brain http://hope4hurtingkids.com/emotions/empathizing-left-side-brain/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/emotions/empathizing-left-side-brain/#respond Thu, 06 Apr 2017 12:00:32 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1229 I am a Certified Public Accountant by trade. I tell people that accounting is what I do in my spare time. I don’t know that I would call myself your typical CPA, but I am very analytical – very left-brained. I am not a “touchy-feely” type person. In fact, one of the biggest adjustments I had to make when I started dating my wife is that she comes from a hugging family. That took a little getting used to. I am not a very emotional person, though I do feel things deeply. I struggle with “finding the right words” when talking to hurting people. Let’s just say that empathy is not a gifting that I received from God. That is not to say I am incapable of it, I just have to work a little harder than my right-brained friends who seem to fit naturally in those tough situations. That’s why I was excited to read the article Not “Touchy-Feely?” Here’s How to Comfort Hurts by Dr. Julie Barrier (http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/dr-julie-barrier/not-touchy-feely-heres-how-to-comfort-hurts.html). In that article, Dr. Barrier explains: If you are left-brained you may tend to be less empathetic than your right-brained “touchy-feely” compadres …Perhaps it is more difficult for a systematic, consequential thinker to read what is going on in another person’s heart. So…how do you express comfort and empathize with those who are hurting when comforting doesn’t come easily? You ask questions. “How are you feeling?” “What are you experiencing right now?” “I am so sorry.” “Tell me about what’s bothering you. I really want to know…” You must also notice the event which cause hurt and be prepared to comfort As those who work with children, we need to be in a position to comfort them when they are hurting. They need people who can empathize with them. This is particularly true for children of divorce. If you’re like me, with more of an analytical than emotional bent, this article can help you to comfort someone who is hurting. Dr. Barrier’s article addresses several more “grown-up” types of situations – a friend dying slowly, death of a spouse, etc. However, her advice is also applicable to children and working with children of divorce who have suffered one of life’s most traumatic losses. I have taken the principles from Dr. Barrier’s article below and explained how they can apply to children of divorce. So, here are five ways characteristics of those who help to comfort children of divorce. 1. COMFORTERS CARE ENOUGH TO COME UNINVITED. Some children will be reluctant to talk about their emotions and about the divorce of their parents. You should never force a child to talk, but you should realize that talking about it is a very important first step in the healing process. Don’t wait for a child to approach you to talk about what is going on in their life and in their heart. Approach them, build a relationship, then start the conversation. Dr. Barrier explains: Whenever you see hurt, comfort it. 2. COMFORTERS LISTEN CAREFULLY SO THEY CAN MINISTER TO THE EMOTIONS AND NOT REACT TO THE WORDS. Children of divorce need someone to talk to. That means that they need someone to listen. If you are going to comfort them and help them, you have to first learn how to listen. Don’t rush to offer a solution. Never tell a child of divorce how they “should” feel. Don’t try to “happy them up.” Simply sit and allow them to talk while you listen. We need to learn to respond to the suffering child’s emotions and not the words that come out of their mouths. Many of these children of divorce are so overwhelmed by emotions and circumstances that they have never experienced before that they don’t even know how to express them. Hear their words, but listen to their hearts. 3. COMFORTERS OPENLY EXPRESS THE DEPTH OF THEIR FEELINGS. Don’t shy away from telling the child of divorce how you’re feeling. “It hurts me to hear how lonely you are feeling.” “Hearing about the choices your parents are making makes me sad.” “I’m worried about you and how you are handling your anger.” If you are a child of divorce yourself, talk to the child about how you felt and, ideally, how God has used that pain in your life. Be willing to get uncomfortable by sharing yourself with the child. 4. COMFORTERS UNDERSTAND, SO THEY SAY VERY LITTLE. Of all the advice in this article, this tidbit was the most comforting to me. In trying to comfort others, we don’t always have to find the right words to say. Sometimes, those who are grieving (including children of divorce) just want your presence. It is enough just to be there and that they know that you are there for them. Don’t force the conversation. Just be there as a comforting presence and let them know how much you love them. Another thing that many children of divorce crave is appropriate human touch. Give them a hug. Shake their hands. Give them a high five. There is something comforting about human touch. A word of warning about touch – make sure that your touch is welcome. There are children of divorce who will recoil at your touch. Don’t force the issue. 5. COMFORTERS ARE NOT TURNED OFF BY DISTASTEFUL SIGHTS. Children of divorce come from messy homes. Some are messy emotionally. Some are messy economically. Most are messy relationally. And, some are messy in a more traditional sense as every minute is invested in just getting by from day-to-day and normal hygiene and upkeep are ignored. When you work with children of divorce, you will work with kids from all types of situations. You will hear stories that will make your heart melt and your anger rise. Don’t shy away from this messy-ness. John 8 tells of the time when a woman who was caught in adultery was brought before Jesus and the religious people asked Him what they should do about [...]

The post Empathizing From the Left Side of Your Brain appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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I am a Certified Public Accountant by trade. I tell people that accounting is what I do in my spare time. I don’t know that I would call myself your typical CPA, but I am very analytical – very left-brained. I am not a “touchy-feely” type person. In fact, one of the biggest adjustments I had to make when I started dating my wife is that she comes from a hugging family. That took a little getting used to. I am not a very emotional person, though I do feel things deeply. I struggle with “finding the right words” when talking to hurting people. Let’s just say that empathy is not a gifting that I received from God. That is not to say I am incapable of it, I just have to work a little harder than my right-brained friends who seem to fit naturally in those tough situations.

That’s why I was excited to read the article Not “Touchy-Feely?” Here’s How to Comfort Hurts by Dr. Julie Barrier (http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/dr-julie-barrier/not-touchy-feely-heres-how-to-comfort-hurts.html). In that article, Dr. Barrier explains:

If you are left-brained you may tend to be less empathetic than your right-brained “touchy-feely” compadres …Perhaps it is more difficult for a systematic, consequential thinker to read what is going on in another person’s heart. So…how do you express comfort and empathize with those who are hurting when comforting doesn’t come easily?

You ask questions.

“How are you feeling?” “What are you experiencing right now?” “I am so sorry.” “Tell me about what’s bothering you. I really want to know…” You must also notice the event which cause hurt and be prepared to comfort

As those who work with children, we need to be in a position to comfort them when they are hurting. They need people who can empathize with them. This is particularly true for children of divorce. If you’re like me, with more of an analytical than emotional bent, this article can help you to comfort someone who is hurting. Dr. Barrier’s article addresses several more “grown-up” types of situations – a friend dying slowly, death of a spouse, etc. However, her advice is also applicable to children and working with children of divorce who have suffered one of life’s most traumatic losses. I have taken the principles from Dr. Barrier’s article below and explained how they can apply to children of divorce. So, here are five ways characteristics of those who help to comfort children of divorce.

1. COMFORTERS CARE ENOUGH TO COME UNINVITED.

Some children will be reluctant to talk about their emotions and about the divorce of their parents. You should never force a child to talk, but you should realize that talking about it is a very important first step in the healing process. Don’t wait for a child to approach you to talk about what is going on in their life and in their heart. Approach them, build a relationship, then start the conversation.

Dr. Barrier explains:

Whenever you see hurt, comfort it.

2. COMFORTERS LISTEN CAREFULLY SO THEY CAN MINISTER TO THE EMOTIONS AND NOT REACT TO THE WORDS.

Children of divorce need someone to talk to. That means that they need someone to listen. If you are going to comfort them and help them, you have to first learn how to listen. Don’t rush to offer a solution. Never tell a child of divorce how they “should” feel. Don’t try to “happy them up.” Simply sit and allow them to talk while you listen. We need to learn to respond to the suffering child’s emotions and not the words that come out of their mouths. Many of these children of divorce are so overwhelmed by emotions and circumstances that they have never experienced before that they don’t even know how to express them. Hear their words, but listen to their hearts.

3. COMFORTERS OPENLY EXPRESS THE DEPTH OF THEIR FEELINGS.

Don’t shy away from telling the child of divorce how you’re feeling. “It hurts me to hear how lonely you are feeling.” “Hearing about the choices your parents are making makes me sad.” “I’m worried about you and how you are handling your anger.” If you are a child of divorce yourself, talk to the child about how you felt and, ideally, how God has used that pain in your life. Be willing to get uncomfortable by sharing yourself with the child.

4. COMFORTERS UNDERSTAND, SO THEY SAY VERY LITTLE.

Of all the advice in this article, this tidbit was the most comforting to me. In trying to comfort others, we don’t always have to find the right words to say. Sometimes, those who are grieving (including children of divorce) just want your presence. It is enough just to be there and that they know that you are there for them. Don’t force the conversation. Just be there as a comforting presence and let them know how much you love them. Another thing that many children of divorce crave is appropriate human touch. Give them a hug. Shake their hands. Give them a high five. There is something comforting about human touch. A word of warning about touch – make sure that your touch is welcome. There are children of divorce who will recoil at your touch. Don’t force the issue.

5. COMFORTERS ARE NOT TURNED OFF BY DISTASTEFUL SIGHTS.

Children of divorce come from messy homes. Some are messy emotionally. Some are messy economically. Most are messy relationally. And, some are messy in a more traditional sense as every minute is invested in just getting by from day-to-day and normal hygiene and upkeep are ignored.

When you work with children of divorce, you will work with kids from all types of situations. You will hear stories that will make your heart melt and your anger rise. Don’t shy away from this messy-ness.

John 8 tells of the time when a woman who was caught in adultery was brought before Jesus and the religious people asked Him what they should do about her. Jesus got down and drew in the dirt. Commentators on the Bible differ on what that means, and I don’t pretend to know for sure. But, what if the message Jesus was trying to send us was that sometimes doing ministry means getting dirty. Our job is to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these kids and turn them over to God to lift them out of their messy lives. We can’t do that if we are turned off by a little dirt.

I will leave you with the final words of the article from Dr. Barrier which are applicable to comforting a person of any age:

Don’t be afraid to hurt with someone. Be compassionate. Enter into the sufferings of others as Jesus always enters into yours.

What is the shortest, easiest-to-remember verse in the Bible?

“Jesus wept.”John 11:35. NIV

Enough said.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on October 08, 2012.

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Aaron’s Story – A Family in Crisis http://hope4hurtingkids.com/destructive-behaviors/suicide/aarons-story-family-crisis/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/destructive-behaviors/suicide/aarons-story-family-crisis/#comments Wed, 05 Apr 2017 12:00:31 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1230 It was seven o’clock on a Friday evening when we had to call the police. No one had come to pick up Aaron that evening. His mom had dropped him off at my child care center Friday morning. She brought him in, signed him in, put his backpack on his hook and had left. All the things she normally did but she did not show up that evening. We called the hospital where she worked, and she had not shown up for work that day. They had tried all day to reach her. We called all of the contacts on Aaron’s list before we called the police. No one knew where she was. This wasn’t like mom. While we were waiting for the police to arrive many thoughts passed through my mind. I thought about Aaron’s first day at our facility. He had come to us with the diagnoses of Reactive Attachment Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. We had taken one look at this beautiful child, and our hearts had melted immediately. Unbeknownst to us, he would become one of our most challenging children and one of our greatest success stories. Aaron was three years old, and one of the smartest little boys to ever enter our doors. I already knew from visiting with the therapist that we would have to work not only on bonding with Aaron, but also with the mother. As their car drove into the parking lot on that first morning, I watched from my office window, I smiled to myself, took a deep breath, and began our journey. Now here we were three years later, and mom was no-where to be found. Aaron had come so far; mom had come so far, and things seem to be going well for their little family. Mom had just told me weeks before, “Thank you for giving me back my little boy.” When the police arrived Aaron said, “I guess I better get my pajamas and the key to our apartment.” We all looked at each other and immediately looked over at his backpack. Inside the backpack were his pajamas, two changes of clothes, a key to their apartment, all of his medications in a zip lock bag with instructions for times to be administered and a note that said “Here are the direction to our apartment.” This mother had planned well in advance of what was to take place. I knew immediately what was going on. Aaron’s mother had gone off to commit suicide. She proceeded to go out of town and take medications she had confiscated from the hospital where she worked. We had to turn this six-year child over to child welfare. The older sister, who had a different father, was sent to her father’s. Aaron’s father had never been involved in his life. So at 10:30 on that Friday night I loaded this child into a police car and watched his little face looking at me through the window as they drove away. This family was a family in crisis. The mother was discovered in a hotel room in another town the next morning. She was near death and was life-flighted to a hospital. She did survive. Eventually she got Aaron back and then we lost track of them. Even today as I write this story, one of the saddest aspects remains that I could not find a church in our area to send this broken family to even though I had tried. I had prayed with this mom many times. I had coached her and encouraged her and witnessed to her. Aaron is only one reason I am passionate about helping children’s pastors minister to children in family crisis. This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on September 21, 2012.

The post Aaron’s Story – A Family in Crisis appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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It was seven o’clock on a Friday evening when we had to call the police. No one had come to pick up Aaron that evening. His mom had dropped him off at my child care center Friday morning. She brought him in, signed him in, put his backpack on his hook and had left. All the things she normally did but she did not show up that evening.

We called the hospital where she worked, and she had not shown up for work that day. They had tried all day to reach her. We called all of the contacts on Aaron’s list before we called the police. No one knew where she was. This wasn’t like mom.

While we were waiting for the police to arrive many thoughts passed through my mind. I thought about Aaron’s first day at our facility. He had come to us with the diagnoses of Reactive Attachment Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. We had taken one look at this beautiful child, and our hearts had melted immediately.

Unbeknownst to us, he would become one of our most challenging children and one of our greatest success stories. Aaron was three years old, and one of the smartest little boys to ever enter our doors.

I already knew from visiting with the therapist that we would have to work not only on bonding with Aaron, but also with the mother. As their car drove into the parking lot on that first morning, I watched from my office window, I smiled to myself, took a deep breath, and began our journey. Now here we were three years later, and mom was no-where to be found.

Aaron had come so far; mom had come so far, and things seem to be going well for their little family. Mom had just told me weeks before, “Thank you for giving me back my little boy.”

When the police arrived Aaron said, “I guess I better get my pajamas and the key to our apartment.” We all looked at each other and immediately looked over at his backpack. Inside the backpack were his pajamas, two changes of clothes, a key to their apartment, all of his medications in a zip lock bag with instructions for times to be administered and a note that said “Here are the direction to our apartment.” This mother had planned well in advance of what was to take place.

I knew immediately what was going on. Aaron’s mother had gone off to commit suicide. She proceeded to go out of town and take medications she had confiscated from the hospital where she worked.

We had to turn this six-year child over to child welfare. The older sister, who had a different father, was sent to her father’s. Aaron’s father had never been involved in his life. So at 10:30 on that Friday night I loaded this child into a police car and watched his little face looking at me through the window as they drove away. This family was a family in crisis.

The mother was discovered in a hotel room in another town the next morning. She was near death and was life-flighted to a hospital. She did survive. Eventually she got Aaron back and then we lost track of them.

Even today as I write this story, one of the saddest aspects remains that I could not find a church in our area to send this broken family to even though I had tried. I had prayed with this mom many times. I had coached her and encouraged her and witnessed to her. Aaron is only one reason I am passionate about helping children’s pastors minister to children in family crisis.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on September 21, 2012.

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