Over the last ten to twenty years, there has been significant research on the effect of divorce on kids. In more recent years, the volume of studies on children from other family types (cohabiting families, grandparent led families, complex families) and family transitions has increased. There is still much study which needs to be done, however the consensus seems to be that our kids are growing up in increasing complex families, and experiencing (on average) multiple transitions in the families in which they reside, and reflecting worse outcomes than kids raised in traditional two-parent married biological parent families. I wrote this article as the result of one recent study which examined the life course of a group of children.
Do you know the kids in your ministry? Do you know what types of families they are living in? Do you know what types of family transitions they have lived through? Consider the following example:
Suzie was born ten years ago to a single mother. At the time she was born, her mom Angie (who was 22 at the time) was living with a man named Bernie who was not her biological father. Bernie loved Angie though, and so did his parents. Bernie was there as she learned to walk and talk and was potty trained. However, when Bernie was two years old, Angie and Bernie split up. One day he was there, and the next day he wasn’t. Suzie never saw him again – or his parents (the only grandparents she had ever known as Angie’s parents had disowned her).