Hope 4 Hurting Kids http://hope4hurtingkids.com Helping Kids and Teens Move from Hurt to Hope and Healing Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:00:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 60642915 Draw Your Emotions Workbook http://hope4hurtingkids.com/emotions/exploring-emotions/draw-emotions-workbook/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/emotions/exploring-emotions/draw-emotions-workbook/#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:00:59 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1965 We are excited to announce the release of Draw Your Emotions. Draw Your Emotions is a brand new workbook designed to help young people identify their feelings. A fundamental part of emotional regulation is being able to recognize, name and understand the emotions going on inside of us. In the tradition of our most popular resource, My Feelings Workbook, Draw Your Emotions encourages the reader to use the gingerbread man figure to draw how a variety of emotions affects their body. The reader explores where in their body they feel the particular emotion and what it feels like. The user is encouraged to to explore the various ways and places a particular emotion affects them. The goal of this resource is to help people recognize when, where and how they feel particular emotions so that they will be better able to regulate their feelings. This workbook includes pages for: Afraid Angry Bored Calm Confused Cranky Disgusted Excited Glad Guilty Happy Impatient Joy Lonely Love Proud Sad Shy Silly Surprised Draw Your Own Emotion

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Draw Your Emotions

We are excited to announce the release of Draw Your EmotionsDraw Your Emotions is a brand new workbook designed to help young people identify their feelings. A fundamental part of emotional regulation is being able to recognize, name and understand the emotions going on inside of us.

In the tradition of our most popular resource, My Feelings WorkbookDraw Your Emotions encourages the reader to use the gingerbread man figure to draw how a variety of emotions affects their body. The reader explores where in their body they feel the particular emotion and what it feels like. The user is encouraged to to explore the various ways and places a particular emotion affects them. The goal of this resource is to help people recognize when, where and how they feel particular emotions so that they will be better able to regulate their feelings.

This workbook includes pages for:

  • Afraid
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Calm
  • Confused
  • Cranky
  • Disgusted
  • Excited
  • Glad
  • Guilty
  • Happy
  • Impatient
  • Joy
  • Lonely
  • Love
  • Proud
  • Sad
  • Shy
  • Silly
  • Surprised
  • Draw Your Own Emotion

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The Plague of Suicide http://hope4hurtingkids.com/destructive-behaviors/suicide/the-plague-of-suicide/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/destructive-behaviors/suicide/the-plague-of-suicide/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 12:00:34 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1958 If you’ve thought about suicide, or lost a loved one to suicide, you need to know that you’re not alone! If you currently feel hopeless, I urge you to call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255, or you can send an anonymous email to jo@samaritans.org. Sometimes it helps just to write out what you’re feeling, and someone will respond. Editor’s Note: Cindi is very open and honest in what follows about her own journey and speaks openly about suicide and attempts at suicide. While we commend her on her transparency and the associated message of hope, we also recognize that such a message can be difficult for some people to read. If you are one of those people, I encourage you to skip to the last paragraph and check out our Suicide Help Center for more information and helpful resources on the issue of suicide. In the past, I have rarely ever mentioned the topic of suicide. The mere mention of the word would make my heart feel like it was going to beat out of my chest. Today, I choose to talk about suicide freely. The Plague of Suicide Suicide seems to have plagued my family. It has been in my life for a long time, both as a concept and as a reality. I remember being in a school as a child that was toxic to me. I was made fun of, talked about, criticized and belittled. During that period, I prayed for God to end my life. I remember the first time I had the thought I didn’t need to ask God to do it –  I could take matters into my own hands! I started to think about ways I could it. I had a knife, I would sit and start to cut at my arm, hoping I could be brave enough to go far enough to end my life. I never did muster up that “courage,” which only added to my lack of self-esteem. On another occasion, I thought I could accomplish it by taking whole bottle of Aspirin. I was in elementary school, and maybe part of me wasn’t ready to die, but I just wanted the emotional pain to stop. I remembered the day my mom had gotten a call that one of her friends had taken 200 heart pills in a failed attempt to end her life. I was heartbroken and devastated because this friend was someone we were all close too, and I deeply cared about her. I thought later that maybe that was a good way out. I believe I was in 7th grade when I found a variety of old pills at my grandmother’s house – some were heart pills. I thought this attempt might be finally be the successful one, but again, it just made me sick. Growing up, my dad had guns, but he didn’t keep the ammunition accessible. I remember snatching a bullet one day when we were out shooting and hiding it in my room in case the day came that I just couldn’t take it any more. Though suicide didn’t win with me, but it did other family members of mine still suffer long-term damage from failed suicide attempts. The Day It was 7 months ago when suicide finally turned my family upside down. We had been watching the world series at my husband’s grandparent’s house. We had invited my brother-in-law to join us. Though my team lost, we had a fun night, and we were cracking jokes as we left to go home. The next night, I tried to text my brother-in-law, but there was no reply. This wasn’t really alarming as it was sort of late at night, and he was a 19-year-old college kid. The following night, I was at a friend’s house when I got a phone call from my sister-in-law. She asked me if my husband was home, I wasn’t sure. She exclaimed that there was a family emergency. She said, “It’s Amos.” She said it in a sort of hyper way, and I would later realize it was because she was in shock. I asked what he needed, I assumed he had car trouble or something. She explained, “He’s gone. I tried to call 911, but he wasn’t responsive.” In denial and shock I asked, “Where is he? Is he at the hospital?” I assumed he was in a coma or something. She again replied, “No, he’s gone. I was too late.” I asked what happened and she said, “His depression got the best of him.” I remember replying, “He did this to himself?!” My body went numb and I dropped to my knees. I told my friend what had happened. I began sobbing uncontrollably as I ran out the door to my car to try to get home to my husband. I wanted to be with him when he found out. He still remembers the look on my face as I called him outside to our deck to break the news without our children present. He was in immediate denial, and neither of us will ever forget that night. The Aftermath Our life hasn’t been the same since that phone call. Amos was the life of the party, the center of attention, and always quick to help and encourage people. Though I knew he had a lot of anxiety about school, I never imagined that he would take his own life. I worried about him when he was little. I was a middle child, and though he was the baby of the family, I felt like I could relate to him. He struggled with anger, and liked to push the rules. I felt like we both were the black sheep of our families. Since losing Amos, I have heard a lot of misconceptions about suicide. I’ve had people tell me to accept that this was his choice. Though I am not so sure it was. I have heard it said: “Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain [...]

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suicide plagueIf you’ve thought about suicide, or lost a loved one to suicide, you need to know that you’re not alone! If you currently feel hopeless, I urge you to call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255, or you can send an anonymous email to jo@samaritans.org. Sometimes it helps just to write out what you’re feeling, and someone will respond.

Editor’s Note: Cindi is very open and honest in what follows about her own journey and speaks openly about suicide and attempts at suicide. While we commend her on her transparency and the associated message of hope, we also recognize that such a message can be difficult for some people to read. If you are one of those people, I encourage you to skip to the last paragraph and check out our Suicide Help Center for more information and helpful resources on the issue of suicide.

In the past, I have rarely ever mentioned the topic of suicide. The mere mention of the word would make my heart feel like it was going to beat out of my chest. Today, I choose to talk about suicide freely.

The Plague of Suicide

Suicide seems to have plagued my family. It has been in my life for a long time, both as a concept and as a reality. I remember being in a school as a child that was toxic to me. I was made fun of, talked about, criticized and belittled. During that period, I prayed for God to end my life. I remember the first time I had the thought I didn’t need to ask God to do it –  I could take matters into my own hands!

I started to think about ways I could it. I had a knife, I would sit and start to cut at my arm, hoping I could be brave enough to go far enough to end my life. I never did muster up that “courage,” which only added to my lack of self-esteem. On another occasion, I thought I could accomplish it by taking whole bottle of Aspirin. I was in elementary school, and maybe part of me wasn’t ready to die, but I just wanted the emotional pain to stop. I remembered the day my mom had gotten a call that one of her friends had taken 200 heart pills in a failed attempt to end her life. I was heartbroken and devastated because this friend was someone we were all close too, and I deeply cared about her. I thought later that maybe that was a good way out. I believe I was in 7th grade when I found a variety of old pills at my grandmother’s house – some were heart pills. I thought this attempt might be finally be the successful one, but again, it just made me sick. Growing up, my dad had guns, but he didn’t keep the ammunition accessible. I remember snatching a bullet one day when we were out shooting and hiding it in my room in case the day came that I just couldn’t take it any more. Though suicide didn’t win with me, but it did other family members of mine still suffer long-term damage from failed suicide attempts.

The Day

It was 7 months ago when suicide finally turned my family upside down. We had been watching the world series at my husband’s grandparent’s house. We had invited my brother-in-law to join us. Though my team lost, we had a fun night, and we were cracking jokes as we left to go home. The next night, I tried to text my brother-in-law, but there was no reply. This wasn’t really alarming as it was sort of late at night, and he was a 19-year-old college kid.

The following night, I was at a friend’s house when I got a phone call from my sister-in-law. She asked me if my husband was home, I wasn’t sure. She exclaimed that there was a family emergency. She said,

“It’s Amos.”

She said it in a sort of hyper way, and I would later realize it was because she was in shock. I asked what he needed, I assumed he had car trouble or something. She explained,

“He’s gone. I tried to call 911, but he wasn’t responsive.”

In denial and shock I asked,

“Where is he? Is he at the hospital?”

I assumed he was in a coma or something. She again replied,

“No, he’s gone. I was too late.”

I asked what happened and she said,

“His depression got the best of him.”

I remember replying,

“He did this to himself?!”

My body went numb and I dropped to my knees. I told my friend what had happened. I began sobbing uncontrollably as I ran out the door to my car to try to get home to my husband. I wanted to be with him when he found out. He still remembers the look on my face as I called him outside to our deck to break the news without our children present. He was in immediate denial, and neither of us will ever forget that night.

The Aftermath

Our life hasn’t been the same since that phone call. Amos was the life of the party, the center of attention, and always quick to help and encourage people. Though I knew he had a lot of anxiety about school, I never imagined that he would take his own life. I worried about him when he was little. I was a middle child, and though he was the baby of the family, I felt like I could relate to him. He struggled with anger, and liked to push the rules. I felt like we both were the black sheep of our families.

Since losing Amos, I have heard a lot of misconceptions about suicide. I’ve had people tell me to accept that this was his choice. Though I am not so sure it was. I have heard it said:

“Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.”

I believe this to be true.

Hope and the Continuing Struggle

For me, I have always tried to remove myself from situations that cause me pain. As a child, I didn’t have this choice. Most everything was chosen for me, and my voice was not heard.

For years after my last suicide attempt, I wondered why I wasn’t ever successful. I felt like I wasn’t brave enough to end my own life. The change came for me the day my baby girl was born. I was 20 years old. I sat on the edge of the hospital bed, and looked at her big brown eyes. That day, I felt like I had purpose. I had a beautiful baby that needed me. I wish I could say that was the end of my mental struggles, but I will say that it did change me. While I have since had many feelings of worthlessness, having her gave me a reason to live.

Had I been successful with taking my own life, it wouldn’t have brought me relief from my pain. I would have taken away any chance of my life here on earth getting better. Overcoming my pain brought me relief. Do I have scars? Absolutely! I have both emotional and physical scars. I found ways to cope, and coping looks different for different people. The important thing is to find healthy ways to cope.  I went to a counseling for a couple of years, and I have worked hard to stay out of toxic situations.

So while suicide used to be something I didn’t talk about, today I share about it today because I want people to know they aren’t alone. I suffered silently for too long, and didn’t realize I could get help in a safe way. So if you’re reading this, I promise that you’re here for a reason and your life has purpose! I urge you to take that step toward healing and coping. If you know someone who has struggled, don’t be angry with them. Take their cry for help seriously, because not everyone hears a cry for help until it’s too late.

For more information and helpful resources, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Suicide Help Center.

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Why Is the Pulpit Strangely Quiet About Divorce? http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/pulpit-quiet-divorce/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/pulpit-quiet-divorce/#respond Tue, 20 Jun 2017 12:00:20 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1829 Since the 1970s, millions of children have been caught in the middle of the divorce wars. After the then Governor Ronald Reagan signed the No Fault Divorce decree divorce in 1969 divorce has been rampant. Most recently the divorce rate has slowed down but that might be because the co-habitation rate is up. Adult children of divorce, you know those kids whose parents divorced back in the 70s and 80s, will tell you they don’t trust marriage so they choose to cohabitate. The problem with cohabitation is the children still suffer because most cohabitation situations eventually break up. And to the child it is still the death of the once intact relationship of their parents. Makes no difference to a child if it is called divorce or break up – it still hurts. It is no wonder in Malachi 2:16 that God says He hates divorce. The heavenly Father knew what divorce would do to people. He knew that the act of divorce could be passed down through generations. Adult children of divorce are more likely to divorce than adult children from two-parent families. He knew that divorce is the death of a once intact family and that there would be grieving that accompanies this death. Children grieve, parents grieve, grandparents grieve, friends grieve and God grieves. God knew the children would hurt and they would hurt for a lifetime. Malachi 2:15 tells us that God “made them one” and that He did this because “he was seeking godly off spring.” Most divorcing families drop out of church after the divorce. The children are not given a chance to become “godly offspring”. Recently I wrote about the Murdered Single Mom. It happened in my community and we are all wondering what went wrong. What happened to cause such a tragedy? In that article I write, “Children and youth ministers need to be the first line of defense for kids whose parents are separating and divorcing. We should be the ones leading the way so that schoolteachers, coaches, community leaders and extended family know how to help individual children and teens. This means we must become knowledgeable about what divorce does to some children.” This also means that those standing in the pulpit need to have a deep understanding of what happens when there is a divorce in their congregation. Divorce is wrong but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t love the divorced people because He does. He loves them deeply because He knows how much it hurts. Divorce is the tearing apart of a relationship. It hurts so much because man cannot just pull apart what God joined together. I once heard it described as having two pieces of paper glued together for years. When one tries to pull the two pieces of paper apart there is a tearing of the paper. Some of the paper and residue is left on each side. You cannot pull apart two pieces of paper that have been glued together for years without some damage occurring on each piece of paper. Two people who have been married cannot pull apart without some damage occurring on each person. I realize that ministers and church leaders don’t want to get caught trying to choose sides. If as a minister, you were close to the couple, you will be grieving the loss of this marriage too. You may wonder what you could have done to intervene and help the couple. Or you may wonder why you didn’t see it coming. You may need to find someone to talk to yourself as you sort through your feelings. You will also need to hold your congregation together. I have only seen one minister hold a congregation together when there was a divorce in their midst. In this situation two married couples were close and did a lot of things together. Their children were the same age and that brought the four adults into a close relationship. The problem was that one of the father’s fell in love with the mother in the other family. These two people decided to leave their mates and their children and move in together. Of course the two people who were left were devastated. As rumors began to fly and people began to take sides the church leadership was called into action. One Sunday morning at the end of the service the minister explained that there had been a recent separation in the church and that two couples were divorcing. He went onto explain that he and his staff had followed the mandate in the book of Matthew. Matthew 18: 15-17 “If your brother or sister sins,go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” He had followed the scripture and had visited the offending parties. He then took deacons with him to talk to each person. They refused to repent, were living together and were choosing not to restore their marriages. The pastor then asked that the church not to gossip about the situation but to pray fervently for all involved. He said he would not give out the names of the couples but that the Lord knew who they were. He then asked that those in the congregation who wished to come to the front to the prayer alter to come forward and pray for the adults and for the children in these two families. Ministers and church leaders can educate themselves by reading blog such as this one on Hope 4 Hurting Kids and The Kids & Divorce blog. You can find basic information such as How Divorce Affects Children all [...]

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quiet about divorceSince the 1970s, millions of children have been caught in the middle of the divorce wars. After the then Governor Ronald Reagan signed the No Fault Divorce decree divorce in 1969 divorce has been rampant. Most recently the divorce rate has slowed down but that might be because the co-habitation rate is up.

Adult children of divorce, you know those kids whose parents divorced back in the 70s and 80s, will tell you they don’t trust marriage so they choose to cohabitate. The problem with cohabitation is the children still suffer because most cohabitation situations eventually break up. And to the child it is still the death of the once intact relationship of their parents. Makes no difference to a child if it is called divorce or break up – it still hurts.

It is no wonder in Malachi 2:16 that God says He hates divorce. The heavenly Father knew what divorce would do to people.

  • He knew that the act of divorce could be passed down through generations. Adult children of divorce are more likely to divorce than adult children from two-parent families.
  • He knew that divorce is the death of a once intact family and that there would be grieving that accompanies this death. Children grieve, parents grieve, grandparents grieve, friends grieve and God grieves.
  • God knew the children would hurt and they would hurt for a lifetime.
  • Malachi 2:15 tells us that God “made them one” and that He did this because “he was seeking godly off spring.” Most divorcing families drop out of church after the divorce. The children are not given a chance to become “godly offspring”.

Recently I wrote about the Murdered Single Mom. It happened in my community and we are all wondering what went wrong. What happened to cause such a tragedy? In that article I write,

“Children and youth ministers need to be the first line of defense for kids whose parents are separating and divorcing. We should be the ones leading the way so that schoolteachers, coaches, community leaders and extended family know how to help individual children and teens. This means we must become knowledgeable about what divorce does to some children.”

This also means that those standing in the pulpit need to have a deep understanding of what happens when there is a divorce in their congregation. Divorce is wrong but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t love the divorced people because He does. He loves them deeply because He knows how much it hurts.

Divorce is the tearing apart of a relationship. It hurts so much because man cannot just pull apart what God joined together. I once heard it described as having two pieces of paper glued together for years. When one tries to pull the two pieces of paper apart there is a tearing of the paper. Some of the paper and residue is left on each side. You cannot pull apart two pieces of paper that have been glued together for years without some damage occurring on each piece of paper. Two people who have been married cannot pull apart without some damage occurring on each person.

I realize that ministers and church leaders don’t want to get caught trying to choose sides. If as a minister, you were close to the couple, you will be grieving the loss of this marriage too. You may wonder what you could have done to intervene and help the couple. Or you may wonder why you didn’t see it coming. You may need to find someone to talk to yourself as you sort through your feelings.

You will also need to hold your congregation together. I have only seen one minister hold a congregation together when there was a divorce in their midst. In this situation two married couples were close and did a lot of things together. Their children were the same age and that brought the four adults into a close relationship. The problem was that one of the father’s fell in love with the mother in the other family. These two people decided to leave their mates and their children and move in together.

Of course the two people who were left were devastated. As rumors began to fly and people began to take sides the church leadership was called into action. One Sunday morning at the end of the service the minister explained that there had been a recent separation in the church and that two couples were divorcing. He went onto explain that he and his staff had followed the mandate in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 18: 15-17 “If your brother or sister sins,go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

He had followed the scripture and had visited the offending parties. He then took deacons with him to talk to each person. They refused to repent, were living together and were choosing not to restore their marriages. The pastor then asked that the church not to gossip about the situation but to pray fervently for all involved. He said he would not give out the names of the couples but that the Lord knew who they were. He then asked that those in the congregation who wished to come to the front to the prayer alter to come forward and pray for the adults and for the children in these two families.

Ministers and church leaders can educate themselves by reading blog such as this one on Hope 4 Hurting Kids and The Kids & Divorce blog. You can find basic information such as How Divorce Affects Children all the way through the ages to how divorce affects the adult children.

Why is the pulpit strangely quiet about divorce? I have thought and thought about this question. I don’t know the answer. Is it because divorce is too messy? Is it because ministers are worried it will appear they are condemning the divorce in their congregations? Are ministers worried they will make the divorced angry and they won’t return?

With millions of kids in our world today living in single parent homes isn’t it time we amped up the war on divorce within the church but we that keep loving the divorced person? Do we really want to lose another generation of children to the world, to divorce to the co-habitation?

In DC4K, DivorceCare for Kids, we tell the children that God doesn’t like divorce. We explain that people make mistakes but God still loves them. We want the kids to understand that divorce hurts and God doesn’t like it when people divorce but He still loves their divorced parents. Isn’t it about time we tell the world that God hates divorce and why He hates it?

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on January 17, 2014.

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Sunday Morning Strategies: Thinking About Forms http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/modern-families/sunday-morning-strategies-thinking-forms/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/modern-families/sunday-morning-strategies-thinking-forms/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:00:15 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1883 Welcome back to our brand new series called “Sunday Morning Strategies” where we are examining things you can do in your Sunday morning children’s ministry programs to accommodate children of divorce and children from various types of modern families. There are certain things you can incorporate into your ministry to specifically address the issues and concerns of these children in your churches, and we will get to those later in this series. However, we’re going to start with some of the fundamentals underlying your ministry. Today, we are going to talk about forms and how some simple adaptations can help you to learn about the kids in your ministry who aren’t living in what we might call “traditional homes.” You’ve got to love forms, right? Whether you collect information in a computer database or still use a paper based system, most churches collect some sort of information about the kids that come through their doors and their families. Given that roughly 40% of children do not live with their married biological parents, it is important to consider whether or not your forms reflect the changing shape of American families. How would a family that was cohabiting fill out your intake forms? What about a divorced family where the child splits time between two houses? What about a single-mother and her kids? How would grandparents who are living with their grandchildren fill out your forms? Do you know which kids in your ministry come from non-traditional family forms? Do you have a systematic way of sharing this information in a confidential way with the children’s teachers and/or small group leaders? Take some time this week to sit down with the forms you use for your children’s ministry and consider how they might need to be revised to be more accommodating to kids from divorced and single-parent homes. Here are some suggestions on things to consider: Do you have separate sections on your forms where both mom and dad can fill out their addresses and contact information? Consider a form which includes separate sections for mom and dad with a check box they can check in the event that the contact information is the same. Do you ask for information about other churches the children in the family may be attending with non-custodial parents? If you gather this information you may have a chance to reach out to the children’s pastor/director from the other church to collaborate on the children’s spiritual development. Many forms include a section for listing brothers and sisters. Do you have a section on your forms for capturing other children who live in the same house with the child like step-siblings and half-siblings? What about children of a live-in partner of one of the parents? Is there a place on your form where parents can list other adults (other than mom or dad) living in the home? This would allow parents to list significant others, aunts, uncles, grandparents or friends who live with and influence the child. When you look at the design of your form is it clearly intended to be filled out by a traditional married mom and dad family or does it acknowledge different family types? Is there a place for parents to explain the living arrangements of the child? Do you know if the children in your ministry are splitting time between homes? Do your forms inquire as to whether or not the child’s parents are still married? As you think about redesigning your forms, keep in mind that some explanation as to why you are gathering this information might be helpful to parents who may feel like you are prying into their personal lives. Reassure them that, like them, you are only interested in their child’s well being and that this information will help you to best minister to these kids. For practical reasons, you may want to consider an abbreviated form for allowing children into your ministry on a Sunday morning with a more detailed form to follow that the parent(s) can take home and bring back the following week. This will prevent the proverbial logjam at the check in counter. Forms are critical to gathering important information, and information is key to effective ministry. Sit down with a copy of your forms this week and consider whether you are gathering sufficient information to really know the kids in your ministry who do not come from traditional homes. This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on May 06, 2013.

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formsWelcome back to our brand new series called “Sunday Morning Strategies” where we are examining things you can do in your Sunday morning children’s ministry programs to accommodate children of divorce and children from various types of modern families. There are certain things you can incorporate into your ministry to specifically address the issues and concerns of these children in your churches, and we will get to those later in this series. However, we’re going to start with some of the fundamentals underlying your ministry. Today, we are going to talk about forms and how some simple adaptations can help you to learn about the kids in your ministry who aren’t living in what we might call “traditional homes.”

You’ve got to love forms, right? Whether you collect information in a computer database or still use a paper based system, most churches collect some sort of information about the kids that come through their doors and their families. Given that roughly 40% of children do not live with their married biological parents, it is important to consider whether or not your forms reflect the changing shape of American families.

How would a family that was cohabiting fill out your intake forms? What about a divorced family where the child splits time between two houses? What about a single-mother and her kids? How would grandparents who are living with their grandchildren fill out your forms? Do you know which kids in your ministry come from non-traditional family forms? Do you have a systematic way of sharing this information in a confidential way with the children’s teachers and/or small group leaders?

Take some time this week to sit down with the forms you use for your children’s ministry and consider how they might need to be revised to be more accommodating to kids from divorced and single-parent homes. Here are some suggestions on things to consider:

  • Do you have separate sections on your forms where both mom and dad can fill out their addresses and contact information? Consider a form which includes separate sections for mom and dad with a check box they can check in the event that the contact information is the same.
  • Do you ask for information about other churches the children in the family may be attending with non-custodial parents? If you gather this information you may have a chance to reach out to the children’s pastor/director from the other church to collaborate on the children’s spiritual development.
  • Many forms include a section for listing brothers and sisters. Do you have a section on your forms for capturing other children who live in the same house with the child like step-siblings and half-siblings? What about children of a live-in partner of one of the parents?
  • Is there a place on your form where parents can list other adults (other than mom or dad) living in the home? This would allow parents to list significant others, aunts, uncles, grandparents or friends who live with and influence the child.
  • When you look at the design of your form is it clearly intended to be filled out by a traditional married mom and dad family or does it acknowledge different family types?
  • Is there a place for parents to explain the living arrangements of the child? Do you know if the children in your ministry are splitting time between homes?
  • Do your forms inquire as to whether or not the child’s parents are still married?

As you think about redesigning your forms, keep in mind that some explanation as to why you are gathering this information might be helpful to parents who may feel like you are prying into their personal lives. Reassure them that, like them, you are only interested in their child’s well being and that this information will help you to best minister to these kids. For practical reasons, you may want to consider an abbreviated form for allowing children into your ministry on a Sunday morning with a more detailed form to follow that the parent(s) can take home and bring back the following week. This will prevent the proverbial logjam at the check in counter.

Forms are critical to gathering important information, and information is key to effective ministry. Sit down with a copy of your forms this week and consider whether you are gathering sufficient information to really know the kids in your ministry who do not come from traditional homes.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on May 06, 2013.

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4 Key Strategies for Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/4-key-strategies-successful-co-parenting-divorce/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/4-key-strategies-successful-co-parenting-divorce/#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 12:00:28 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1846 Editor’s Note: Co-parenting is hard. If you have kids from divorced homes in your ministry (and you do), then you also have parents who may be struggling with the right way to co-parent those kids. As a children’s ministry, you need to be prepared to offer advice to those parents which is the purpose of this article from Rosalind Sedacca. While moving through divorce can seem like an insurmountable obstacle, for many parents it is just the beginning of a new and equally intimidating challenge — co-parenting your children. Hats off to all of you who have chosen to remain in your children’s lives as co-parents. It means both of you care deeply about your children and want to continue raising them in the least-disruptive possible manner. Of course not all parents can share the parenting process in this way and for some couples it is not the ideal situation to even attempt it. But those couples who are determined to co-parent and choose to live relatively close to one another so as not to disturb the school, sports and other related schedules of their children, certainly deserve credit and acknowledgement. This is a complex topic that can’t be glossed over with a few simple how-tos. It is based on sincere levels of communication and a sense of trust between the former spouses. When handled with care, your children enjoy the security and comfort of being with their other parent when they are not with you. You are less dependent on strangers as caretakers in their lives, and that is a win-win all around. One of the best things you can do for your children is to transition smoothly to co-parenting with your former spouse. It won’t always be easy and there will certainly be challenges along the way, but here are some things to remember that will help make your new co-parenting relationship work. Don’t bad-mouth your ex around the kids, ever! If kids ask questions, give them age-appropriate answers that are honest but not judgmental. Kids are hurt and feel guilty when the parent they love is put-down by their other parent. Always offer your ex the opportunity for special times with the kids – before involving a new relationship partner, i.e.: taking your teen for their drivers test or tryouts for a new sport. Prioritize Mom and Dad being together for special occasion: celebrating birthdays, graduations and other significant events. Be considerate of one another as co-parents to eliminate stress so your kids can enjoy a sense of family. You and your ex won’t agree on all things so decide to pick your battles regarding parenting issues. Determine what’s worth discussing and what you can’t control and need to release. When you ignore any of these basic communication principles, you set yourself up for conflict, jealousy, stress and tension. Breaking these rules sabotages your sense of trust with your ex and that opens the door to mind games, retaliations and discord for everyone in the family. Remember: when that happens, your children are the ones who pay the price! Be the hero in your relationship with your children’s other parent. Cooperate. Collaborate. Be flexible and do favors. You are much more likely to get them back in return. This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on March 10, 2014.

The post 4 Key Strategies for Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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

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

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

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

One of the best things you can do for your children is to transition smoothly to co-parenting with your former spouse. It won’t always be easy and there will certainly be challenges along the way, but here are some things to remember that will help make your new co-parenting relationship work.

  • Don’t bad-mouth your ex around the kids, ever! If kids ask questions, give them age-appropriate answers that are honest but not judgmental. Kids are hurt and feel guilty when the parent they love is put-down by their other parent.
  • Always offer your ex the opportunity for special times with the kids – before involving a new relationship partner, i.e.: taking your teen for their drivers test or tryouts for a new sport.
  • Prioritize Mom and Dad being together for special occasion: celebrating birthdays, graduations and other significant events. Be considerate of one another as co-parents to eliminate stress so your kids can enjoy a sense of family.
  • You and your ex won’t agree on all things so decide to pick your battles regarding parenting issues. Determine what’s worth discussing and what you can’t control and need to release.

When you ignore any of these basic communication principles, you set yourself up for conflict, jealousy, stress and tension. Breaking these rules sabotages your sense of trust with your ex and that opens the door to mind games, retaliations and discord for everyone in the family. Remember: when that happens, your children are the ones who pay the price!

Be the hero in your relationship with your children’s other parent. Cooperate. Collaborate. Be flexible and do favors. You are much more likely to get them back in return.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on March 10, 2014.

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The Difference Between Losing a Parent to Death and Divorce http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/divorce-grief/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/divorce-grief/#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 12:00:29 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1825 Losing a parent to death or to divorce is catastrophic for any child. There are different issues in the grief process between the death of a parent and death of your parent’s marriage. When a child loses a parent due to death even young children can understand the concept that the body quit working. They all come across toys or things that break and quit working. Most have experienced the death of a pet, a goldfish or an insect they have found. While I’m not comparing the death of a goldfish to the loss and the grief involved in the death of a parent, the concept I want to convey is the idea of things no longer working. The goldfish’s body quit working. The toy quit working. The body of their parent quit working. That is the beginning of understanding the death of their parent. In the death of a parent, other family members, the church, neighbors and possibly even the co-workers of the parent surround most families. Meals are brought in; gifts for the kids might be left. The remaining parent grieves and may weep and hug their child a lot. There is a lot of support and acknowledgment of the death. Ever so slowly the family develops a new normal and life moves forward. There is no fighting about the kids and which parent the child will live or when the child will visit the other parent. There is no confusion about the parent that died loving the child. The parent is gone but the child still knows the parent is still part of the family unit, even if he or she is in heaven. The child doesn’t question the unity that brought him or her into existence. The other parent may pull out pictures and the child sees and remembers family life and the love that existed. The difference in missing a parent due to death and missing a parent due to divorce or separation of a cohabitation situation is there is no public acknowledgement of the death of the marriage unless you want to consider the divorce decree. Most couples don’t even go to court any longer as they rely on mediation. When you think about the separation of the cohabitating parent there is not even a piece of paper ending the relationship. Most young children understand that they exist because their parents love each other. Because they love each other a child was born out of this love. The child is part mom and part dad. Andrew Root in “The Children of Divorce” and on the Family Scholars website talks about how the ontological security of being is threatened in the child of divorce. The divorce strikes at a child’s identity and even existence. After all if I exist because of my parent’s love, now that they no longer love each other, do I even exist? Or am I supposed to exist? What happens to me? Along with these deep questions of being, most children of divorce will blame themselves for the divorce being their fault. They are left wondering not only if a departing parent loved them but also if the one leaving will still make time to see them. Will they still be their parent? Will other kids take their place in the departing parent’s new relationships? Because little kids often don’t understand where the parent went, it is up to the adults around them to help them understand. This is a different situation but one that I used when my daughter was deployed to Afghanistan. I was the primary caregiver of the then three-year-old child. Because he couldn’t comprehend where his mom went, I had to come up with something that was physical and something he could touch. One idea of what to do to help I purchased a large world map. Then I took pictures of my grandson and put it on the place in Florida where we lived. I took a picture of a small plane and placed it over the ocean. Next I took a picture of mommy and placed it in on the map over Afghanistan. I drew short lines to form a path between Florida and Afghanistan. I placed this large map by the back door where he always left and entered upon returning home. I explained that mommy got on an airplane and flew across the ocean. He knew what an ocean was because we live close to the beach. At first he would stop and just stare at that map every morning. Then he would take his finger and trace the flight path to Afghanistan. He could see how his mom and him were still connected and where she was. The entire time she was deployed he would look at that map. It was something physical that kept mommy in his memory and kept her present with him. We kept that map up even after she returned home. Often he would show it to her. This same concept could be used for the younger child of divorce to show him/her where their parent has moved. This may especially help the children when the parent has moved out of the area. Other suggestions Encourage the single parent to allow pictures of the other parent to be posted over the child’s bed. Display family type activities in the child’s room. Encourage the single parent to let her/his child contact the other parent often via Skype or phone. Ask the other parent to record themselves reading a storybook to the child to listen to when going to bed. (My daughter video recorded reading a bedtime story and sent the storybook along with the DVD to my grandson so he could have mommy reading him his bedtime story.) Encourage the single parent to have the child draw pictures, take a picture and email it to the other parent. Set up a secret Facebook page where the child can connect on a regular basis with the other parent. In [...]

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Divorce GriefLosing a parent to death or to divorce is catastrophic for any child. There are different issues in the grief process between the death of a parent and death of your parent’s marriage.

When a child loses a parent due to death even young children can understand the concept that the body quit working. They all come across toys or things that break and quit working. Most have experienced the death of a pet, a goldfish or an insect they have found. While I’m not comparing the death of a goldfish to the loss and the grief involved in the death of a parent, the concept I want to convey is the idea of things no longer working. The goldfish’s body quit working. The toy quit working. The body of their parent quit working. That is the beginning of understanding the death of their parent.

In the death of a parent, other family members, the church, neighbors and possibly even the co-workers of the parent surround most families. Meals are brought in; gifts for the kids might be left. The remaining parent grieves and may weep and hug their child a lot. There is a lot of support and acknowledgment of the death. Ever so slowly the family develops a new normal and life moves forward.

There is no fighting about the kids and which parent the child will live or when the child will visit the other parent. There is no confusion about the parent that died loving the child. The parent is gone but the child still knows the parent is still part of the family unit, even if he or she is in heaven. The child doesn’t question the unity that brought him or her into existence. The other parent may pull out pictures and the child sees and remembers family life and the love that existed.

The difference in missing a parent due to death and missing a parent due to divorce or separation of a cohabitation situation is there is no public acknowledgement of the death of the marriage unless you want to consider the divorce decree. Most couples don’t even go to court any longer as they rely on mediation. When you think about the separation of the cohabitating parent there is not even a piece of paper ending the relationship.

Most young children understand that they exist because their parents love each other. Because they love each other a child was born out of this love. The child is part mom and part dad. Andrew Root in “The Children of Divorce” and on the Family Scholars website talks about how the ontological security of being is threatened in the child of divorce. The divorce strikes at a child’s identity and even existence. After all if I exist because of my parent’s love, now that they no longer love each other, do I even exist? Or am I supposed to exist? What happens to me?

Along with these deep questions of being, most children of divorce will blame themselves for the divorce being their fault. They are left wondering not only if a departing parent loved them but also if the one leaving will still make time to see them. Will they still be their parent? Will other kids take their place in the departing parent’s new relationships?

Because little kids often don’t understand where the parent went, it is up to the adults around them to help them understand. This is a different situation but one that I used when my daughter was deployed to Afghanistan. I was the primary caregiver of the then three-year-old child. Because he couldn’t comprehend where his mom went, I had to come up with something that was physical and something he could touch.

One idea of what to do to help

I purchased a large world map. Then I took pictures of my grandson and put it on the place in Florida where we lived. I took a picture of a small plane and placed it over the ocean. Next I took a picture of mommy and placed it in on the map over Afghanistan. I drew short lines to form a path between Florida and Afghanistan.

I placed this large map by the back door where he always left and entered upon returning home. I explained that mommy got on an airplane and flew across the ocean. He knew what an ocean was because we live close to the beach. At first he would stop and just stare at that map every morning. Then he would take his finger and trace the flight path to Afghanistan. He could see how his mom and him were still connected and where she was. The entire time she was deployed he would look at that map. It was something physical that kept mommy in his memory and kept her present with him. We kept that map up even after she returned home. Often he would show it to her.

This same concept could be used for the younger child of divorce to show him/her where their parent has moved. This may especially help the children when the parent has moved out of the area.

Other suggestions

  • Encourage the single parent to allow pictures of the other parent to be posted over the child’s bed.
  • Display family type activities in the child’s room.
  • Encourage the single parent to let her/his child contact the other parent often via Skype or phone.
  • Ask the other parent to record themselves reading a storybook to the child to listen to when going to bed. (My daughter video recorded reading a bedtime story and sent the storybook along with the DVD to my grandson so he could have mommy reading him his bedtime story.)
  • Encourage the single parent to have the child draw pictures, take a picture and email it to the other parent.
  • Set up a secret Facebook page where the child can connect on a regular basis with the other parent. In a secret group, only people you invite can see what is posted on that page. Grandparents and other extended family can be included on the secret page. Elementary age children, tween and teens can do their own posting on this secret page.

I’m sure if you set your creative minds to it you will think of many other ideas to help the child of divorce survive and process the divorce of their parents.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on January 31, 2014.

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Teaching Kids Using Emotions Jenga http://hope4hurtingkids.com/emotions/exploring-emotions/emotions-jenga/ Thu, 25 May 2017 12:00:55 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1939 Emotions Jenga is a fun game you can play with kids to teach them about emotions. When children have a better emotional vocabulary, they are better equipped to deal with difficult emotions when life throws things at them. Here’s how Emotions Jenga works: Find a colored Jenga game. We found this one from Lewo on Amazon. If you can’t find a colored version, or just want to use the traditional version, you can use colored dots or write the names of the emotions directly on the blocks. For each color make a stack of notes cards with a variety of emotion names on them. You can see the ones we used below. We found colored note cards at Hobby Lobby (on sale), but you could use white cards and just mark a color on them. The child can pick any block to remove from the Jenga game. They then pick a card from the pile associated with that color. For whatever emotion they get, have them do one of the following. You can choose one activity, let the kids pick which one they one to do, or even use a die to determine which activity the child has to do: Act out the emotion on the card. Show what their face looks like when they feel that emotion. Share a time they felt that emotion Share a coping technique/something they like to do when they feel that emotion. Show what the emotion looks like in clay. Describe what their body feels like when they feel the emotion. For our game, we used the following emotions by color (light blue is a wild card block, and the kids are free to choose from any stack). Red (Emotions Related to Anger) Aggravated Angry Annoyed Enraged Fed Up Frustrated Furious Irate Livid Mad Orange (Emotions related to Confusion and Stress) Baffled Busy Conflicted Confused Dazed Discouraged Dismayed Hurried Perplexed Pressured Rushed Stressed Uncertain Unsure Dark Blue (Emotions related to Sadness) Awful Bummed Despair Devastated Distraught Gloomy Grief Heartbroken Hurt Joyless Lonely Miserable Sad Upset Green (Emotions related to Fear and Anxiety) Afraid Alarmed Anxious Apprehensive Ashamed Awkward Concerned Desperate Doubt Embarrassed Frightened Guilty Hysterical Nervous Reluctant Shy Sorry Suspicious Threatened Worried Yellow (Emotions related to Joy) Amused Caring Cheerful Comfortable Content Delighted Enthusiastic Excited Festive Friendly Glad Jolly Joyful Happy Love Peaceful Pleasant Positive Relieved Satisfied    

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Emotions JengaEmotions Jenga is a fun game you can play with kids to teach them about emotions. When children have a better emotional vocabulary, they are better equipped to deal with difficult emotions when life throws things at them.

Here’s how Emotions Jenga works:

  • Find a colored Jenga game. We found this one from Lewo on Amazon. If you can’t find a colored version, or just want to use the traditional version, you can use colored dots or write the names of the emotions directly on the blocks.
  • For each color make a stack of notes cards with a variety of emotion names on them. You can see the ones we used below. We found colored note cards at Hobby Lobby (on sale), but you could use white cards and just mark a color on them.
  • The child can pick any block to remove from the Jenga game. They then pick a card from the pile associated with that color. For whatever emotion they get, have them do one of the following. You can choose one activity, let the kids pick which one they one to do, or even use a die to determine which activity the child has to do:
    • Act out the emotion on the card.
    • Show what their face looks like when they feel that emotion.
    • Share a time they felt that emotion
    • Share a coping technique/something they like to do when they feel that emotion.
    • Show what the emotion looks like in clay.
    • Describe what their body feels like when they feel the emotion.

For our game, we used the following emotions by color (light blue is a wild card block, and the kids are free to choose from any stack).

Red (Emotions Related to Anger)
  • Aggravated
  • Angry
  • Annoyed
  • Enraged
  • Fed Up
  • Frustrated
  • Furious
  • Irate
  • Livid
  • Mad
Orange (Emotions related to Confusion and Stress)
  • Baffled
  • Busy
  • Conflicted
  • Confused
  • Dazed
  • Discouraged
  • Dismayed
  • Hurried
  • Perplexed
  • Pressured
  • Rushed
  • Stressed
  • Uncertain
  • Unsure
Dark Blue (Emotions related to Sadness)
  • Awful
  • Bummed
  • Despair
  • Devastated
  • Distraught
  • Gloomy
  • Grief
  • Heartbroken
  • Hurt
  • Joyless
  • Lonely
  • Miserable
  • Sad
  • Upset
Green (Emotions related to Fear and Anxiety)
  • Afraid
  • Alarmed
  • Anxious
  • Apprehensive
  • Ashamed
  • Awkward
  • Concerned
  • Desperate
  • Doubt
  • Embarrassed
  • Frightened
  • Guilty
  • Hysterical
  • Nervous
  • Reluctant
  • Shy
  • Sorry
  • Suspicious
  • Threatened
  • Worried
Yellow (Emotions related to Joy)
  • Amused
  • Caring
  • Cheerful
  • Comfortable
  • Content
  • Delighted
  • Enthusiastic
  • Excited
  • Festive
  • Friendly
  • Glad
  • Jolly
  • Joyful
  • Happy
  • Love
  • Peaceful
  • Pleasant
  • Positive
  • Relieved
  • Satisfied

 

 

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Parental Alienation After Divorce: Never Take It Out On the Kids!!! http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/divorce-and-family-disruption/parental-alienation/ Wed, 24 May 2017 12:00:31 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1216 Divorce conflicts between parents can get ugly. And too often parents tend to vent or share this anger about the other parent with one or more of the children involved. The results can be devastating – not only for the “target” parent, but for the children, as well. This is just one form of parental alienation which is a serious and very complex set of behaviors which often feel justified by the alienating parent. The problem is that children get caught in the middle, are often confused about being told disrespectful things about their other parent and can learn to manipulate both parents in ways that are destructive for the child’s socialization and ultimate well-being. When any parental disagreements reach into your children’s lives, you are treading in dangerous territory with long-lasting consequences. How you handle the situation could play a crucial role in determining the ultimate outcome in your family conflict. Here are some important strategies to consider, suggested by divorce therapists, to open the door to healing your relationship with the children you love: Strive to maintain contact with the children in every possible way. Take the initiative when an opportunity presents itself. Remember, your children are innocent. Don’t take your frustrations out on them by losing your tempter, acting aggressively, shaming or criticizing them. Never reject your children in retaliation. Threatening that you don’t want to see them if they don’t want to see you only adds fuel to the fire. Stay empowered by not allowing the kids and your ex to determine the parameters of your contact with them. Avoid waiting until the kids “feel” like seeing you. That time may never come. Step up and schedule your time together. Don’t waste precious time with the children discussing or trying to change their negative attitudes toward you. Instead, create enjoyable experiences that speak for themselves. Avoid impressing or “buying” the kids’ affection with over-the-top gifts and promises. Spoiled children create a life-time of parenting problems for everyone down the road. Never dismiss your children’s feelings or counter what they say – even if they admit they are angry at or afraid of you. While you may be right, the children will more likely feel you’re just not listening or don’t understand them. Tempting as it may be, refrain from accusing the children of being brain-washed by their other parent or just repeating what they were told. Even if this is true, chances are the children will adamantly deny it and come away feeling attacked by you. Don’t ever bad-mouth your ex in front of the kids. This only creates more alienation, along with confusion and further justification of your negative portrayal to the children. Be the parental role model they deserve and you will be giving them valuable lessons in integrity, responsibility and respect. Parental alienation behaviors are not turned around overnight. But by following these suggestions you are moving in the most positive direction you can on behalf of your children and laying the foundation for keeping your relationship as positive as possible. This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on February 04, 2013.

The post Parental Alienation After Divorce: Never Take It Out On the Kids!!! appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Parental AlienationDivorce conflicts between parents can get ugly. And too often parents tend to vent or share this anger about the other parent with one or more of the children involved. The results can be devastating – not only for the “target” parent, but for the children, as well. This is just one form of parental alienation which is a serious and very complex set of behaviors which often feel justified by the alienating parent.

The problem is that children get caught in the middle, are often confused about being told disrespectful things about their other parent and can learn to manipulate both parents in ways that are destructive for the child’s socialization and ultimate well-being.

When any parental disagreements reach into your children’s lives, you are treading in dangerous territory with long-lasting consequences. How you handle the situation could play a crucial role in determining the ultimate outcome in your family conflict.

Here are some important strategies to consider, suggested by divorce therapists, to open the door to healing your relationship with the children you love:

  • Strive to maintain contact with the children in every possible way. Take the initiative when an opportunity presents itself.
  • Remember, your children are innocent. Don’t take your frustrations out on them by losing your tempter, acting aggressively, shaming or criticizing them.
  • Never reject your children in retaliation. Threatening that you don’t want to see them if they don’t want to see you only adds fuel to the fire.
  • Stay empowered by not allowing the kids and your ex to determine the parameters of your contact with them. Avoid waiting until the kids “feel” like seeing you. That time may never come. Step up and schedule your time together.
  • Don’t waste precious time with the children discussing or trying to change their negative attitudes toward you. Instead, create enjoyable experiences that speak for themselves.
  • Avoid impressing or “buying” the kids’ affection with over-the-top gifts and promises. Spoiled children create a life-time of parenting problems for everyone down the road.
  • Never dismiss your children’s feelings or counter what they say – even if they admit they are angry at or afraid of you. While you may be right, the children will more likely feel you’re just not listening or don’t understand them.
  • Tempting as it may be, refrain from accusing the children of being brain-washed by their other parent or just repeating what they were told. Even if this is true, chances are the children will adamantly deny it and come away feeling attacked by you.
  • Don’t ever bad-mouth your ex in front of the kids. This only creates more alienation, along with confusion and further justification of your negative portrayal to the children. Be the parental role model they deserve and you will be giving them valuable lessons in integrity, responsibility and respect.

Parental alienation behaviors are not turned around overnight. But by following these suggestions you are moving in the most positive direction you can on behalf of your children and laying the foundation for keeping your relationship as positive as possible.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on February 04, 2013.

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Foster Care: The Journey Continues http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/foster-families/foster-care-journey-continues/ Tue, 23 May 2017 12:00:11 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1890 Editor’s Note: Several weeks ago, we shared with you the story of Kelley Rose Waller, a Foster mom and contributor to Hope 4 Hurting Kids in an article titled The Winding Road of Foster Care and Adoption as Kelley 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. This past week, Kelley wrote the next installment in that story which we share with you now.  We have presented excerpts from each of Kelley’s three articles below and encourage you to click-through to her blog to read the rest of the story. Part 4: Waiting for Tomorrow I can’t handle another emotional adrenaline rush, so I’m just enjoying today. Tomorrow we go to court. Again. I’m not thinking about tomorrow and yesterday and the irony of Mother’s Day and court falling a day apart. I’m thinking about a giant pile of dirty dishes and who’s going to fold all this laundry. I went to the gym and did a normal work-out (as opposed to the angry work-outs where I set personal bests). I went to the grocery store. I need to get gas in the van at some point. Normal Monday. Actually, better: fun Monday! Because life is real, and time is moving forward. And tomorrow is coming… Read more Part 5: Yesterday’s Gone After court yesterday, I didn’t want to go home. Not in a dramatic way, but I wanted to be out in nature and surrounded by people. So first we walked in a park, then we went shopping. My husband had our two youngest in the cart, and something distracted me, so I wandered off. My littlest didn’t, of course, understand that his life had been dramatically altered by a man’s word just hours before. He doesn’t know that in a few days, he’s leaving forever the only home he’s ever known in his 29 months of life: 872 days and counting. I guess it’s a countdown now… Read more Part 6: It Isn’t Like Packing for College I think when you pack up your kid’s room, you should be packing university sweatshirts, not onesies.  Maybe if you’re moving your whole house, then you can pack someone’s tiny socks along with everything else. But it’s weird to pack up someone’s entire belongings and have it only be three boxes. But that’s what happens when everything is small. Small pants. Small PJs with dinosaurs on them. Small dress shirts with only four buttons. This is crappy… Read the conclusion of this installment of Kelly’s story here

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Journey ContinuesEditor’s Note: Several weeks ago, we shared with you the story of Kelley Rose Waller, a Foster mom and contributor to Hope 4 Hurting Kids in an article titled The Winding Road of Foster Care and Adoption as Kelley 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. This past week, Kelley wrote the next installment in that story which we share with you now. 

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

Part 4: Waiting for Tomorrow

I can’t handle another emotional adrenaline rush, so I’m just enjoying today. Tomorrow we go to court. Again.

I’m not thinking about tomorrow and yesterday and the irony of Mother’s Day and court falling a day apart.

I’m thinking about a giant pile of dirty dishes and who’s going to fold all this laundry. I went to the gym and did a normal work-out (as opposed to the angry work-outs where I set personal bests). I went to the grocery store. I need to get gas in the van at some point.

Normal Monday. Actually, better: fun Monday!

Because life is real, and time is moving forward. And tomorrow is coming…

Read more

Part 5: Yesterday’s Gone

After court yesterday, I didn’t want to go home. Not in a dramatic way, but I wanted to be out in nature and surrounded by people. So first we walked in a park, then we went shopping. My husband had our two youngest in the cart, and something distracted me, so I wandered off.

My littlest didn’t, of course, understand that his life had been dramatically altered by a man’s word just hours before. He doesn’t know that in a few days, he’s leaving forever the only home he’s ever known in his 29 months of life: 872 days and counting. I guess it’s a countdown now…

Read more

Part 6: It Isn’t Like Packing for College

I think when you pack up your kid’s room, you should be packing university sweatshirts, not onesies.  Maybe if you’re moving your whole house, then you can pack someone’s tiny socks along with everything else. But it’s weird to pack up someone’s entire belongings and have it only be three boxes.

But that’s what happens when everything is small. Small pants. Small PJs with dinosaurs on them. Small dress shirts with only four buttons.

This is crappy…

Read the conclusion of this installment of Kelly’s story here

The post Foster Care: The Journey Continues appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Sunday Morning Strategies: An Introduction http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/modern-families/sunday-morning-strategies-introduction/ http://hope4hurtingkids.com/family/modern-families/sunday-morning-strategies-introduction/#comments Mon, 22 May 2017 15:15:47 +0000 http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1884 Here at Hope 4 Hurting Kids, we strive to resource individuals who work with kids to help the hurting children in their lives. Those adults include parents, grandparent, other relatives, teachers, coaches and many others who have the ability to influence the course of a child’s life. Another important group are the dedicated men and women who work with kids week in and week out at churches all over the world. Sunday Morning Strategies is a series for those children’s pastors and children’s ministry workers to help equip them to serve children from disrupted families more effectively. It’s easy to talk to churches about starting programs like Divorce Care 4 Kids or The Big D or referring teens to sites like I Am A Child of Divorce, but one of the biggest questions we get asked by people who work in children’s ministry regularly is: What can I do on a Sunday morning to help these kids? People who work with kids have some of the most tender hearts I have ever encountered. I have been blessed to work with these people week in and week out for years now and to meet hundreds of other children’s pastors and children’s ministry workers from around the country and the world. When you talk to these children’s ministry workers about children of divorce they will naturally empathize with them and desire to help them however they can, but many of them just do not know how or what to do. That is why we are starting a brand new series here on Hope 4 Hurting Kids called Sunday Morning Strategies. In this series, we will present practical ideas about how children’s pastors and children’s ministry workers can help children from disrupted families (whether that be divorced, separated, blended or any of the other varieties of modern families around today) in a traditional Sunday morning setting. Whether your church has a traditional Sunday School setting for kids, a small group/large group format or mixed Sunday morning services which include both adults and kids together, we hope that the tips in this series will provide you with practical ideas that you can implement in your church to minister to this hurting portion of your congregation. Come back on Mondays throughout the summer, and perhaps beyond, to find new tips and techniques each week. Sunday may just now be over, but we promise it’s coming again soon. We hope that you will engage in this series by commenting with your own experiences! This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on April 22, 2013.

The post Sunday Morning Strategies: An Introduction appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Sunday Morning StrategiesHere at Hope 4 Hurting Kids, we strive to resource individuals who work with kids to help the hurting children in their lives. Those adults include parents, grandparent, other relatives, teachers, coaches and many others who have the ability to influence the course of a child’s life. Another important group are the dedicated men and women who work with kids week in and week out at churches all over the world. Sunday Morning Strategies is a series for those children’s pastors and children’s ministry workers to help equip them to serve children from disrupted families more effectively.

It’s easy to talk to churches about starting programs like Divorce Care 4 Kids or The Big D or referring teens to sites like I Am A Child of Divorce, but one of the biggest questions we get asked by people who work in children’s ministry regularly is:

What can I do on a Sunday morning to help these kids?

People who work with kids have some of the most tender hearts I have ever encountered. I have been blessed to work with these people week in and week out for years now and to meet hundreds of other children’s pastors and children’s ministry workers from around the country and the world. When you talk to these children’s ministry workers about children of divorce they will naturally empathize with them and desire to help them however they can, but many of them just do not know how or what to do.

That is why we are starting a brand new series here on Hope 4 Hurting Kids called Sunday Morning Strategies. In this series, we will present practical ideas about how children’s pastors and children’s ministry workers can help children from disrupted families (whether that be divorced, separated, blended or any of the other varieties of modern families around today) in a traditional Sunday morning setting. Whether your church has a traditional Sunday School setting for kids, a small group/large group format or mixed Sunday morning services which include both adults and kids together, we hope that the tips in this series will provide you with practical ideas that you can implement in your church to minister to this hurting portion of your congregation.

Come back on Mondays throughout the summer, and perhaps beyond, to find new tips and techniques each week. Sunday may just now be over, but we promise it’s coming again soon.

We hope that you will engage in this series by commenting with your own experiences!

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on April 22, 2013.

The post Sunday Morning Strategies: An Introduction appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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