Hope 4 Hurting Kids Moving from hurt and trauma to Hope and Healing. 2018-05-23T12:00:27Z https://hope4hurtingkids.com/feed/atom/ WordPress https://i1.wp.com/hope4hurtingkids.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/cropped-FingerPaint-Transparent-512-x-512.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Linda Ranson Jacobs http://blog.dc4k.org <![CDATA[Children of Divorce Need Dependable Communities]]> https://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2749 2018-03-02T18:19:38Z 2018-05-23T12:00:27Z In years past, when family life was in turmoil, the local community church was the place people went for comfort. When divorce became rampant in the seventies, many of those divorcing families quit attending church all together. The very place these hurting children needed the most (church) ended up being the first place they were pulled away from. Community As A Place of Comfort Today our families are deteriorating while churches largely ignore the problem. Research and reports tell us that up to 65% of all families in American are non-nuclear families. This includes single parent families, step families, etc. Communities have lost their ability to function as whole and viable places that protect their children and youth. Our children are at risk and no one knows what to do or how to help them. While those of us in the religious realm want it to be the church, sadly today the church is no longer the first place many people think of as the community safe place of comfort. Hardwired to Connect In 2003 The Commission on Children at Risk, a panel of thirty-three leading children’s doctors, research scientist and youth service professionals sponsored by Dartmouth Medical School, YMCA and the Institute for American Values issued a report called “Hardwired to Connect.” This was the first scientific study that concentrated on what communities need to provide for children with challenging behaviors. The project was started because of the concern over seeing growing numbers of children and youth that were failing to flourish. The experts were also concerned with the large percentage of children and youth that were suffering from mental illness, emotional anguish and overwhelming behavior problems. This included, but was not limited to depression, drug abuse, suicidal and violent tendencies. The majority of the people on the commission were children’s doctors and those in the mental health profession. In the report (page 8) it says, “One of the main reasons we formed this commission is that our waiting lists are too long.” The second reason members of the commission gave for developing this study was the failure to understand as a society and as professionals the ability to respond effectively to the decline of the well being of America’s children and youth. The Hard Wired team reviewed new research on the brain, human behavior as well as the social trends of today. Included in this group of distinguished people was Judith Wallerstein, the psychologist that has studied the same 131 children of divorcing parents for the past 25 years. Much of the “Hardwired to Connect” report validates and verifies what she and many of us have known for years. Dependable Communities and the Child of Divorce To me the report typifies what type of communities, and the types of relational environments, children of divorce need in order to be able to survive and later thrive in their lives. Children are hardwired for close attachments to others. This first starts with their parents, broadens out to the extended family and then to the community. The Hardwired to Connect group feels that meeting this need for connectedness is primarily the task of what they are calling authoritative communities, which means dependable communities. These are communities or groups of people who are committed to each other and who model and pass on at least part of what it means to be a good person and live a good life. Does this sound like what many of us think our churches are supposed to be doing? Doesn’t this sound like a New Testament church community that we read about in the Bible? The report says that the weakening of dependable communities is the principal reason why our children are failing to flourish. But remember they are scientists, doctors and professionals that have come together to try and wake up the American society and our government. I believe that the weakening of our families and our churches is the principal reason why our children are failing. Somewhere along the way we have allowed divorce and society to usurp our churches of their responsibilities and their authority. If you read the Hardwired to Connect report you will see two main outcomes of the report. 1. As we have already stated, children are born with their brains hardwired for close connections to others. Children need to belong. Belonging is critical for their development. We see this over and over again in our DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids) groups. Children that come to these groups must feel a part of the group. It’s amazing that in just a few short weeks in these classes we are seeing children bond with each other and with their leaders. They are forming close attachments. One little boy said, “See I didn’t want to come to DC4K but my mom made me. Then when I got here everybody felt sorry for me and I felt sorry for everybody and now we are all friends and Dawson is my best friend.” Children need to be able to have close relationships with parents first and then those around them. 2. Children are hardwired for spiritual meaning. This should be no surprise to those of us in the religious realm. We have known this for years but now it has been given credibility by these scientist, doctors and other professionals. There are ten planks laid out in the report for communities to consider in developing these dependable communities. I believe there are children’s church programs that are dependable and allow children to connect on a deep level; that encourages relationships to develop and points children toward Jesus Christ, meeting the need to develop spiritually. In a later article, we will look at these ten planks and use them as a means for evaluating if your program for ministering to children of divorce successfully accommodates the child of divorce in your community. For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern [...]

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Dependable CommunitiesIn years past, when family life was in turmoil, the local community church was the place people went for comfort. When divorce became rampant in the seventies, many of those divorcing families quit attending church all together. The very place these hurting children needed the most (church) ended up being the first place they were pulled away from.

Community As A Place of Comfort

Today our families are deteriorating while churches largely ignore the problem. Research and reports tell us that up to 65% of all families in American are non-nuclear families. This includes single parent families, step families, etc. Communities have lost their ability to function as whole and viable places that protect their children and youth. Our children are at risk and no one knows what to do or how to help them. While those of us in the religious realm want it to be the church, sadly today the church is no longer the first place many people think of as the community safe place of comfort.

Hardwired to Connect

In 2003 The Commission on Children at Risk, a panel of thirty-three leading children’s doctors, research scientist and youth service professionals sponsored by Dartmouth Medical School, YMCA and the Institute for American Values issued a report called “Hardwired to Connect.” This was the first scientific study that concentrated on what communities need to provide for children with challenging behaviors.

The project was started because of the concern over seeing growing numbers of children and youth that were failing to flourish. The experts were also concerned with the large percentage of children and youth that were suffering from mental illness, emotional anguish and overwhelming behavior problems. This included, but was not limited to depression, drug abuse, suicidal and violent tendencies. The majority of the people on the commission were children’s doctors and those in the mental health profession.

In the report (page 8) it says,

“One of the main reasons we formed this commission is that our waiting lists are too long.”

The second reason members of the commission gave for developing this study was the failure to understand as a society and as professionals the ability to respond effectively to the decline of the well being of America’s children and youth. The Hard Wired team reviewed new research on the brain, human behavior as well as the social trends of today. Included in this group of distinguished people was Judith Wallerstein, the psychologist that has studied the same 131 children of divorcing parents for the past 25 years. Much of the “Hardwired to Connect” report validates and verifies what she and many of us have known for years.

Dependable Communities and the Child of Divorce

To me the report typifies what type of communities, and the types of relational environments, children of divorce need in order to be able to survive and later thrive in their lives. Children are hardwired for close attachments to others. This first starts with their parents, broadens out to the extended family and then to the community.

The Hardwired to Connect group feels that meeting this need for connectedness is primarily the task of what they are calling authoritative communities, which means dependable communities. These are communities or groups of people who are committed to each other and who model and pass on at least part of what it means to be a good person and live a good life.

Does this sound like what many of us think our churches are supposed to be doing? Doesn’t this sound like a New Testament church community that we read about in the Bible?

The report says that the weakening of dependable communities is the principal reason why our children are failing to flourish. But remember they are scientists, doctors and professionals that have come together to try and wake up the American society and our government.

I believe that the weakening of our families and our churches is the principal reason why our children are failing. Somewhere along the way we have allowed divorce and society to usurp our churches of their responsibilities and their authority.

If you read the Hardwired to Connect report you will see two main outcomes of the report.

1. As we have already stated, children are born with their brains hardwired for close connections to others. Children need to belong. Belonging is critical for their development. We see this over and over again in our DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids) groups. Children that come to these groups must feel a part of the group. It’s amazing that in just a few short weeks in these classes we are seeing children bond with each other and with their leaders. They are forming close attachments. One little boy said,

“See I didn’t want to come to DC4K but my mom made me. Then when I got here everybody felt sorry for me and I felt sorry for everybody and now we are all friends and Dawson is my best friend.”

Children need to be able to have close relationships with parents first and then those around them.

2. Children are hardwired for spiritual meaning. This should be no surprise to those of us in the religious realm. We have known this for years but now it has been given credibility by these scientist, doctors and other professionals.

There are ten planks laid out in the report for communities to consider in developing these dependable communities. I believe there are children’s church programs that are dependable and allow children to connect on a deep level; that encourages relationships to develop and points children toward Jesus Christ, meeting the need to develop spiritually.

In a later article, we will look at these ten planks and use them as a means for evaluating if your program for ministering to children of divorce successfully accommodates the child of divorce in your community.

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on May 11, 2012.

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Wayne Stocks <![CDATA[The Lord is Near to the Brokenhearted]]> https://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2495 2018-03-05T17:38:37Z 2018-05-21T12:00:51Z Hope 4 Hurting Kids has an unofficial verse which guides most of our efforts in ministering to children of divorce, children from single parent families and those who minister to these kids. Before Hope 4 Hurting Kids ever formally existed, I had this verse printed on the back of business cards meant to make people familiar with the site. The verse is Psalm 34:18 which says, The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. [Psalm 34:18 ESV] This verse, written by David while he was on the run from Saul. Our goal is to minister to children of divorce and help others to do the same, but ultimately healing comes through a relationship with the Living God – a God who is always there even in the bleakest moments – a God who collects tears in bottle and knows our every thought – a God who will someday wipe away every tear. When we are at our lowest point is exactly when God steps in to save us. When we are brokenhearted, He can make our heart complete again. When we are crushed, He can lift us up. That is what we are ultimately all about – seeing God heal these kids who are suffering through no choice of their own. Watching as God, the Great Physician, heals their hearts and shows them firsthand how much they mean to Him. A Word for Children of Divorce The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. The Lord saves the crushed in spirit. If your parents are going through, or have gone through, a divorce those terms most likely describe you. At some point, perhaps even still, you experienced what it is like to have a broken heart. You know the pain of having your family torn apart in front of your eyes. You know the heartache of watching your parents, the people responsible for bringing you into this world and protecting you, declare their lack of love for one another. No doubt, your spirit has been crushed as you hoped, and maybe even prayed, earnestly that your parents would get back together. You may have questioned God – how could He let something like this happen to your family? Why won’t He make things the way they used to be? In those moments, read and meditate on this verse. When it seems like you have no one in the world who understands what you are going through, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” When you feel like you just can’t take another minute of the fighting or shuffling back and forth between two worlds, remember that “God saves the crushed in spirit.” He is there for you, and He wants you to talk to Him. He earnestly desires to be in a relationship with you. Earlier in this same Psalm, David writes: Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! [Psalm 34:8 ESV] God invites us to “test” Him. Ask God for help, and you will see from personal experience that He can and will help you through. Rather than push Him away, try God, and allow Him to comfort you through this process. He will never leave nor will He forsake you. A Word for Divorced Parents When you got married and had kids, I have no doubt that you didn’t plan on getting divorced. Whether you are the responsible party or the injured party or you both mutually agreed that a divorce was the right thing to do, you need to understand that your kids have been greatly affected by your divorce. Your job now is to be there for them and try to help them navigate the road you have taken them down. I think our verse today has two meanings for parents who are divorced. 1. In order to help your children, you must also deal with what you are going through. Are you brokenhearted? Are you crushed in spirit? Just because you are divorced does not mean that God cannot or will not heal you. He is as near to you in your heartache as He is to your child, and it is important that you allow Him, and ask Him, to do the healing work in you that is necessary to allow you to get back to being a first a parent and second a divorcee rather than the other way around. 2. Realize that your kids are hurting and that you need to be pointing them towards God for healing. Many parents practice a form of denial. They refuse to accept that their divorce has hurt their kids. They look at the brave faces that their kids are putting on to avoid hurting them and they think, “They’re resilient. They’ll get over it.” Don’t bank on it. So kids do manage to negotiate the rough waters by themselves – for a while, but more and more studies are showing that even those kids who “handled it well” are suffering in the long-term. Your kids need you, but most importantly they need God. Remind them that you love them, but also point them to the never-ending unfaltering love of our heavenly father. A Word for Those Who Work With Children of Divorce It is hard not to have your heart captured by these kids. Our natural inclination is to want to wrap them in our arms and protect them from the pain that has seeped into their young lives. In part, I believe that is a reflection of the compassion God feels for these kids. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these kids. At the same time, I think a verse like this serves to remind us of some very important truths: 1. We can help, but it is God who is the source of ultimate healing. 2. Techniques are helpful and should be taught, but the presence of God far exceeds any [...]

The post The Lord is Near to the Brokenhearted appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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BrokenheartedHope 4 Hurting Kids has an unofficial verse which guides most of our efforts in ministering to children of divorce, children from single parent families and those who minister to these kids. Before Hope 4 Hurting Kids ever formally existed, I had this verse printed on the back of business cards meant to make people familiar with the site. The verse is Psalm 34:18 which says,

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

This verse, written by David while he was on the run from Saul. Our goal is to minister to children of divorce and help others to do the same, but ultimately healing comes through a relationship with the Living God – a God who is always there even in the bleakest moments – a God who collects tears in bottle and knows our every thought – a God who will someday wipe away every tear. When we are at our lowest point is exactly when God steps in to save us. When we are brokenhearted, He can make our heart complete again. When we are crushed, He can lift us up. That is what we are ultimately all about – seeing God heal these kids who are suffering through no choice of their own. Watching as God, the Great Physician, heals their hearts and shows them firsthand how much they mean to Him.

A Word for Children of Divorce

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. The Lord saves the crushed in spirit. If your parents are going through, or have gone through, a divorce those terms most likely describe you. At some point, perhaps even still, you experienced what it is like to have a broken heart. You know the pain of having your family torn apart in front of your eyes. You know the heartache of watching your parents, the people responsible for bringing you into this world and protecting you, declare their lack of love for one another. No doubt, your spirit has been crushed as you hoped, and maybe even prayed, earnestly that your parents would get back together. You may have questioned God – how could He let something like this happen to your family? Why won’t He make things the way they used to be?

In those moments, read and meditate on this verse. When it seems like you have no one in the world who understands what you are going through, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” When you feel like you just can’t take another minute of the fighting or shuffling back and forth between two worlds, remember that “God saves the crushed in spirit.” He is there for you, and He wants you to talk to Him. He earnestly desires to be in a relationship with you.

Earlier in this same Psalm, David writes:

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! [Psalm 34:8 ESV]

God invites us to “test” Him. Ask God for help, and you will see from personal experience that He can and will help you through. Rather than push Him away, try God, and allow Him to comfort you through this process. He will never leave nor will He forsake you.

A Word for Divorced Parents

When you got married and had kids, I have no doubt that you didn’t plan on getting divorced. Whether you are the responsible party or the injured party or you both mutually agreed that a divorce was the right thing to do, you need to understand that your kids have been greatly affected by your divorce. Your job now is to be there for them and try to help them navigate the road you have taken them down.

I think our verse today has two meanings for parents who are divorced.

1. In order to help your children, you must also deal with what you are going through. Are you brokenhearted? Are you crushed in spirit? Just because you are divorced does not mean that God cannot or will not heal you. He is as near to you in your heartache as He is to your child, and it is important that you allow Him, and ask Him, to do the healing work in you that is necessary to allow you to get back to being a first a parent and second a divorcee rather than the other way around.

2. Realize that your kids are hurting and that you need to be pointing them towards God for healing. Many parents practice a form of denial. They refuse to accept that their divorce has hurt their kids. They look at the brave faces that their kids are putting on to avoid hurting them and they think, “They’re resilient. They’ll get over it.” Don’t bank on it. So kids do manage to negotiate the rough waters by themselves – for a while, but more and more studies are showing that even those kids who “handled it well” are suffering in the long-term. Your kids need you, but most importantly they need God. Remind them that you love them, but also point them to the never-ending unfaltering love of our heavenly father.

A Word for Those Who Work With Children of Divorce

It is hard not to have your heart captured by these kids. Our natural inclination is to want to wrap them in our arms and protect them from the pain that has seeped into their young lives. In part, I believe that is a reflection of the compassion God feels for these kids. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these kids. At the same time, I think a verse like this serves to remind us of some very important truths:

1. We can help, but it is God who is the source of ultimate healing.

2. Techniques are helpful and should be taught, but the presence of God far exceeds any sort of technique for dealing with anger, talking to potential step-parents or sharing feelings with parents. All of those things are important, but it is God who is of the utmost importance.

3. We must constantly and consistently point the children of divorce who pass through our ministries to God and remind them that He is near them at all times.

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on April 16, 2012.

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Rosalind Sedacca http://www.childcentereddivorce.com/ <![CDATA[How Grandparents Can Help Grandchildren Adjust to the Challenges of Divorce]]> https://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2530 2018-03-05T17:07:07Z 2018-05-18T12:00:50Z Grandparents are often caught in the tensions between parents when divorce takes place. Eager to help ease the situation, many grandparents are confused about how they can play a part in addressing the pain, confusion and other emotional issues that may be affecting their innocent Grandkids. Since every divorce is unique there are no cookie-cutter solutions that do the trick. But there are some guidelines to keep in mind, especially in regards to being there for your grandchildren. If you haven’t been close to the kids beforehand, post-divorce is a difficult time to develop a relationship. But if you already have that bond established, it’s important to keep the on-going connection at this time when the children are facing so many unknowns. When communication and trust are strong between you and your grandchildren it’s easier to bring up issues that concern you for a chat. Children who are comfortable in their relationship with you are more likely to confide their frustrations, fears and insecurities to you. Keep in mind that it’s always more effective to offer advice once they ask or bring the subject up. Then you can share your wisdom in an age-appropriate manner. One important word of caution: If you are going to discuss issues regarding divorce or other life challenges, it is essential that you discuss this subject first with the children’s parents to get permission in advance! It’s never a grandparent’s place to interfere where you are not welcome — tempting as it may be. So bring up the topic you want to talk about with your own adult child or son- or daughter-in-law first. Explain your concern on behalf of the children, and what message you’d like to share with them. If their parent approves, then give it your best shot. If the child is resistant to the conversation, don’t push the issue. You’re better off retreating into safer territory. If they do confide in you, be careful not to make judgments about their parents. Listen; offer sound advice they can use, and then talk with the parents about ways you believe they can provide healing, reassurance and support to their children during this difficult time. If the issues are complex, be sure to suggest bringing in professional counselors to handle the situation with all involved. They are trained to handle heavy emotional and psychological challenges. So leave it in their hands. You want to be loved as a caring grandparent – not as a therapist or judge! If your own son or daughter is unaware about the emotional turmoil the divorce or other challenge is taking on your grandchildren, schedule a time to talk with them. Arm yourself with resources in advance. Assemble articles, study results, websites and other valuable information about how children can be adversely affected by family drama and share them during your conversation. Have some positive and concrete suggestions regarding where they can get help and support. Let them know you’re there for them, on their side and also an advocate for the children. Don’t accuse, judge, dismiss or demean their parenting. Remind them they are not alone and that most all families coping with divorce face similar issues. Help is out there. You want to make sure they find it. Remind your grandchildren’s parents how much those children mean to you so they don’t overlook your relationship with the kids following the divorce, especially if relocation or other major changes are in the works. Children need, want and value the safety and reassurance of their grandparents’ love. Be there for them and you can be an asset in their adjustment to life’s many challenges for a long time to come. For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center. This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on January 24, 2013.

The post How Grandparents Can Help Grandchildren Adjust to the Challenges of Divorce appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Help GrandchildrenGrandparents are often caught in the tensions between parents when divorce takes place. Eager to help ease the situation, many grandparents are confused about how they can play a part in addressing the pain, confusion and other emotional issues that may be affecting their innocent Grandkids. Since every divorce is unique there are no cookie-cutter solutions that do the trick. But there are some guidelines to keep in mind, especially in regards to being there for your grandchildren.

If you haven’t been close to the kids beforehand, post-divorce is a difficult time to develop a relationship. But if you already have that bond established, it’s important to keep the on-going connection at this time when the children are facing so many unknowns.

When communication and trust are strong between you and your grandchildren it’s easier to bring up issues that concern you for a chat. Children who are comfortable in their relationship with you are more likely to confide their frustrations, fears and insecurities to you. Keep in mind that it’s always more effective to offer advice once they ask or bring the subject up. Then you can share your wisdom in an age-appropriate manner.

One important word of caution: If you are going to discuss issues regarding divorce or other life challenges, it is essential that you discuss this subject first with the children’s parents to get permission in advance!

It’s never a grandparent’s place to interfere where you are not welcome — tempting as it may be. So bring up the topic you want to talk about with your own adult child or son- or daughter-in-law first. Explain your concern on behalf of the children, and what message you’d like to share with them. If their parent approves, then give it your best shot.

If the child is resistant to the conversation, don’t push the issue. You’re better off retreating into safer territory. If they do confide in you, be careful not to make judgments about their parents. Listen; offer sound advice they can use, and then talk with the parents about ways you believe they can provide healing, reassurance and support to their children during this difficult time.

If the issues are complex, be sure to suggest bringing in professional counselors to handle the situation with all involved. They are trained to handle heavy emotional and psychological challenges. So leave it in their hands. You want to be loved as a caring grandparent – not as a therapist or judge!

If your own son or daughter is unaware about the emotional turmoil the divorce or other challenge is taking on your grandchildren, schedule a time to talk with them. Arm yourself with resources in advance. Assemble articles, study results, websites and other valuable information about how children can be adversely affected by family drama and share them during your conversation. Have some positive and concrete suggestions regarding where they can get help and support. Let them know you’re there for them, on their side and also an advocate for the children. Don’t accuse, judge, dismiss or demean their parenting. Remind them they are not alone and that most all families coping with divorce face similar issues. Help is out there. You want to make sure they find it.

Remind your grandchildren’s parents how much those children mean to you so they don’t overlook your relationship with the kids following the divorce, especially if relocation or other major changes are in the works. Children need, want and value the safety and reassurance of their grandparents’ love. Be there for them and you can be an asset in their adjustment to life’s many challenges for a long time to come.

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on January 24, 2013.

The post How Grandparents Can Help Grandchildren Adjust to the Challenges of Divorce appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Linda Ranson Jacobs http://blog.dc4k.org <![CDATA[Setting the Child of Divorce Up To Fail]]> https://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2748 2018-03-02T18:18:20Z 2018-05-16T12:00:27Z For the past several weeks we’ve been discussing children of divorce who have challenging behaviors. Today I want to discuss reasons some of the children exhibit challenging behaviors. Many times it can be because of what we do to set them up to fail. Things like attendance charts, bible memory drills, mother-daughter days or father-son events can cause the child of divorce to concentrate on their family problems. It can drive them away from the very thing that can help them heal, learning about Christ and our Heavenly Father. It’s not that churches can’t have these events, but it might take some special considerations to accommodate the child of divorce. A Mother-Daughter Tea Disaster When I owned a therapeutic child care, we had one elementary age girl whose behavior began to get out of control every year at springtime. She got agitated. She developed nervous tics. She was unkind and down right mean to other children. One year, as I was planning the Mother Daughter Tea to celebrate Mother’s Day, it dawned on me. Mother’s Day was tough for my little friend because her mother had deserted her at a very early age. I took my friend aside one day and asked her what I could do to make Mother’s Day easier for her. She was very bold and said, “Do away with that stupid Mother Daughter Tea!” By this time my friend was in forth grade. For years she had endured this event that was treasured by the other little girls in our program. After much thought, prayer and discussion with my staff we decided to change the name of our event. We changed it to, “Somebody I Love Day Tea” I explained this to my forth grade friend. I told her she could bring anyone that loved her to this tea. She said, “Can I bring my dad? I mean he is not my mother but he is the only parent I have in my home and he does the things that other mothers do.” We certainly approved of this idea. That year her dad took off from work, and he came and sat at the tea with all the mothers. This little girl was beaming. The next year she brought her grandmother. The name change was a simple solution to a big problem that haunted one little girl for several years. With Mother’s Day coming up, please consider how celebrating this day might affect a child who does not have a mother living in the home. There are many more children in this situation than you might think. Research shows that almost 16% of kids live with a custodial dad. Attendance Chart Agony Another event that can trigger a child of divorce is the dreaded “attendance charts.” While I realize churches need to keep track of attendance, I think there are ways to do this without making it into a big deal. Following is an example about a child who attended two different churches, one with her mom and one with her dad. Take from The Hidden Mission Field by Theresa McKenna: Wendy is a little girl of six who characterizes the problem. Her parents were both Christian when they divorced. She alternated weekends with her parents. On Sundays, her mother took Wendy to her church when they were together and her father to his on the weekends she spent time with him. Wendy faithfully attended Sunday school in both churches. At her mother’s church, the Sunday School teach did not keep track of attendance. But at the father’s church, the teacher rewarded the children with bright gold stars on an attendance chart for all to see. When Wendy first noticed that she was missing half of her stars, she complained. “But you miss every other week,” the teacher said. “No I don’t” she countered. “I go every week.” At that point the other children sided with the teacher. One little boy said, “That’s a lie. You never come every Sunday!” Wendy was inconsolable. It took months for her to return to Sunday school at her father’s church. This teacher could have developed a special consideration for Wendy in this situation. Perhaps she could have checked with the father and could have written in the initials of the other church she attended on the “other” Sundays. These are just two ways that we adults set the child of divorce up to fail. I believe if you pray and ask God to give you wisdom and discernment you will see events and things in your own church that can be revamped or altered to accommodate the hurting children in your environment. “Give me wisdom and knowledge that I may lead this people…..” 2 Chronicles 1:10 (NIV) For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center. This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on May 04, 2012.

The post Setting the Child of Divorce Up To Fail appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Setting the Child of Divorce Up To FailFor the past several weeks we’ve been discussing children of divorce who have challenging behaviors. Today I want to discuss reasons some of the children exhibit challenging behaviors. Many times it can be because of what we do to set them up to fail.

Things like attendance charts, bible memory drills, mother-daughter days or father-son events can cause the child of divorce to concentrate on their family problems. It can drive them away from the very thing that can help them heal, learning about Christ and our Heavenly Father. It’s not that churches can’t have these events, but it might take some special considerations to accommodate the child of divorce.

A Mother-Daughter Tea Disaster

When I owned a therapeutic child care, we had one elementary age girl whose behavior began to get out of control every year at springtime. She got agitated. She developed nervous tics. She was unkind and down right mean to other children. One year, as I was planning the Mother Daughter Tea to celebrate Mother’s Day, it dawned on me. Mother’s Day was tough for my little friend because her mother had deserted her at a very early age.

I took my friend aside one day and asked her what I could do to make Mother’s Day easier for her. She was very bold and said,

“Do away with that stupid Mother Daughter Tea!”

By this time my friend was in forth grade. For years she had endured this event that was treasured by the other little girls in our program.

After much thought, prayer and discussion with my staff we decided to change the name of our event. We changed it to,

“Somebody I Love Day Tea”

I explained this to my forth grade friend. I told her she could bring anyone that loved her to this tea. She said,

“Can I bring my dad? I mean he is not my mother but he is the only parent I have in my home and he does the things that other mothers do.”

We certainly approved of this idea. That year her dad took off from work, and he came and sat at the tea with all the mothers. This little girl was beaming. The next year she brought her grandmother.

The name change was a simple solution to a big problem that haunted one little girl for several years.

With Mother’s Day coming up, please consider how celebrating this day might affect a child who does not have a mother living in the home. There are many more children in this situation than you might think. Research shows that almost 16% of kids live with a custodial dad.

Attendance Chart Agony

Another event that can trigger a child of divorce is the dreaded “attendance charts.” While I realize churches need to keep track of attendance, I think there are ways to do this without making it into a big deal.

Following is an example about a child who attended two different churches, one with her mom and one with her dad.

Take from The Hidden Mission Field by Theresa McKenna:

Wendy is a little girl of six who characterizes the problem. Her parents were both Christian when they divorced. She alternated weekends with her parents. On Sundays, her mother took Wendy to her church when they were together and her father to his on the weekends she spent time with him.

Wendy faithfully attended Sunday school in both churches. At her mother’s church, the Sunday School teach did not keep track of attendance. But at the father’s church, the teacher rewarded the children with bright gold stars on an attendance chart for all to see. When Wendy first noticed that she was missing half of her stars, she complained.

“But you miss every other week,” the teacher said.

“No I don’t” she countered. “I go every week.”

At that point the other children sided with the teacher. One little boy said, “That’s a lie. You never come every Sunday!”

Wendy was inconsolable. It took months for her to return to Sunday school at her father’s church.

This teacher could have developed a special consideration for Wendy in this situation. Perhaps she could have checked with the father and could have written in the initials of the other church she attended on the “other” Sundays.

These are just two ways that we adults set the child of divorce up to fail. I believe if you pray and ask God to give you wisdom and discernment you will see events and things in your own church that can be revamped or altered to accommodate the hurting children in your environment.

“Give me wisdom and knowledge that I may lead this people…..” 2 Chronicles 1:10 (NIV)

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on May 04, 2012.

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Wayne Stocks <![CDATA[Spare The Child – Parenting During Family Dissolution]]> https://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2663 2018-03-05T17:38:28Z 2018-05-14T12:00:49Z “Spare the Child” is a great 18 minute long video produced by The Virginia State Bar Family Law Section to help parents understand how they can help to minimize the impacts of divorce on their children. It is a great video for parents, but it is also very useful for those who work with children of divorce as it provides a good understanding of what kids go through in the process of divorce. The video is based on interviews with judges, lawyers, mediators and adult children of divorce. You can find more information about the DVD at http://www.vsb.org/site/news/item/spare-the-child-new-dvd. The video can be found at http://vimeo.com/16997474, and I have transcribed the video below for those who prefer to read the information rather than watch the video. A Spanish version of the video can be found at http://vimeo.com/17000006. In addition to the video, the VSB has published a pamphlet to go along with the video which can be found at http://www.vsb.org/publications/brochure/spare.pdf. If you know a child of divorce, are the parent of children going through a divorce, or work with children of divorce, I encourage you to take the time to watch this video and read the transcript below. Transcript of Video INTRODUCTION Unknown Voice: I remember asking my mom one day, “Are you and Dad gonna get divorced?” And, I don’t remember anything specifically happening before that. So, there is a shift in the family atmosphere, and I definitely felt that. Unknown Voice: You can’t really explain how you’re feeling, and this massive change that’s going on in your life if you really don’t understand everything. Unknown Voice: I know that people think that children can’t really understand, but they pick up on everything – the cold shoulders, the tension. Lynne Marie Kohm, Esq. (John Brown McCarty Professor of Family Law, Regent University Law School): Well, kids go through a lot of changes, all through their lives until they’re adults, and when a family starts to change, the relationships change immediately – not just between mom and dad, but between mom and the kids or dad and the kids, and certainly between the family members themselves. So, when a family goes through breakdown, the changes are enormous and often not understood by the people right in the middle of it. LEARNING TO CO-PARENT Hon. Angela E. Roberts (Chief Judge, City of Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court): It’s important for the child not to know the details of the disagreement or disputes or problems between their parents. That should be the adult’s business. Dr. Arnold L. Stolberg (Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University): On the issue of what should parents tell children, nothing! Nothing about their personal experience, the failure of the marriage – I would go so far as to say, “Shame on the parent that believes they have to set the child straight.” Amy O. Rizzo (Writer and Adult Child of Divorced Parents): It’s part of human nature to want to explain to a child, even an adult one, exactly what happened – “…and, this is why you can’t blame me for this, because, you know, everyone – if – someone else in my shoes – would do the exactly the same thing.” Well, I don’t want to know the details – really. It’s enough to know that it’s being destroyed. Dr. Arnold L. Stolberg: There are a number of terrible processes that unfold when you do this. Number one, if one parent says, “Let me tell you what’s really going on,” the other parent is going to feel compelled to do the same, and the child has to choose which parent is right. And, a child should never have to choose which parent is right. Pamela Tynes-Morgan (Certified Mediator, Parenting Coordinator and Co-Parenting Training Provider): Parents have a tendency of speaking negative, and making the other parent almost be alienated to a certain extent. And, that’s not helpful, because it takes two parents, whether you’re in the same household or not, to raise your children. Shannon Quarles (Virginia State Bar Employee and Adult Child of Separated Parents): I can distinctively remember times when my mother and my grandmother definitely had negative feelings towards my father and his side of the family in general, and I overheard those conversations. And, it definitely has an influence on how you feel towards your parent. Andrea R. Stiles, Esq. (Partner Batzli Wood & Stiles PC, Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers): In divorce, people don’t understand when they’re being selfish. They think they’re being honest. They think they’re being truthful. They think they’re telling their side of the story, but sometimes they forget that kids don’t need to know each parent’s side of the story. They just need to know they’re loved and that everything will be ok and that both parents are going to work together to make sure that happens. Hon. Anne B. Holton (Retired Judge, Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court): One of the biggest no-no’s in a divorce, obviously, is putting the children in the position of being between the parents in an argument and trying to communicate through the children. And, that seems so obvious, and we all know it, and yet parents succumb to it all the time, and it’s just cruel and unnecessary. The fact that the parents aren’t able to work out their problems directly shouldn’t mean that they should put the children in the middle of it.   Elizabeth S. Bambacus (Virginia State Bar Employee and Adult Child of Divorced Parents): I did feel in the middle, like I was put in the middle sometimes. I don’t think it was intentional, by any means, but I wanted to protect both my Mom and Dad and, you know, I was twelve years old. Lisa K. Evans (Student, Regent University School of Law and Adult Child of Divorced Parents): The roles between my parents shift where I almost became the parent, or the rational one, and my parents became the child where [...]

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Spare the Child“Spare the Child” is a great 18 minute long video produced by The Virginia State Bar Family Law Section to help parents understand how they can help to minimize the impacts of divorce on their children. It is a great video for parents, but it is also very useful for those who work with children of divorce as it provides a good understanding of what kids go through in the process of divorce. The video is based on interviews with judges, lawyers, mediators and adult children of divorce. You can find more information about the DVD at http://www.vsb.org/site/news/item/spare-the-child-new-dvd.

The video can be found at http://vimeo.com/16997474, and I have transcribed the video below for those who prefer to read the information rather than watch the video. A Spanish version of the video can be found at http://vimeo.com/17000006.

In addition to the video, the VSB has published a pamphlet to go along with the video which can be found at http://www.vsb.org/publications/brochure/spare.pdf.

If you know a child of divorce, are the parent of children going through a divorce, or work with children of divorce, I encourage you to take the time to watch this video and read the transcript below.

Transcript of Video

INTRODUCTION

Unknown Voice: I remember asking my mom one day, “Are you and Dad gonna get divorced?” And, I don’t remember anything specifically happening before that. So, there is a shift in the family atmosphere, and I definitely felt that.

Unknown Voice: You can’t really explain how you’re feeling, and this massive change that’s going on in your life if you really don’t understand everything.

Unknown Voice: I know that people think that children can’t really understand, but they pick up on everything – the cold shoulders, the tension.

Lynne Marie Kohm, Esq. (John Brown McCarty Professor of Family Law, Regent University Law School): Well, kids go through a lot of changes, all through their lives until they’re adults, and when a family starts to change, the relationships change immediately – not just between mom and dad, but between mom and the kids or dad and the kids, and certainly between the family members themselves. So, when a family goes through breakdown, the changes are enormous and often not understood by the people right in the middle of it.

LEARNING TO CO-PARENT

Hon. Angela E. Roberts (Chief Judge, City of Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court): It’s important for the child not to know the details of the disagreement or disputes or problems between their parents. That should be the adult’s business.

Dr. Arnold L. Stolberg (Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University): On the issue of what should parents tell children, nothing! Nothing about their personal experience, the failure of the marriage – I would go so far as to say, “Shame on the parent that believes they have to set the child straight.”

Amy O. Rizzo (Writer and Adult Child of Divorced Parents): It’s part of human nature to want to explain to a child, even an adult one, exactly what happened – “…and, this is why you can’t blame me for this, because, you know, everyone – if – someone else in my shoes – would do the exactly the same thing.” Well, I don’t want to know the details – really. It’s enough to know that it’s being destroyed.

Dr. Arnold L. Stolberg: There are a number of terrible processes that unfold when you do this. Number one, if one parent says, “Let me tell you what’s really going on,” the other parent is going to feel compelled to do the same, and the child has to choose which parent is right. And, a child should never have to choose which parent is right.

Pamela Tynes-Morgan (Certified Mediator, Parenting Coordinator and Co-Parenting Training Provider): Parents have a tendency of speaking negative, and making the other parent almost be alienated to a certain extent. And, that’s not helpful, because it takes two parents, whether you’re in the same household or not, to raise your children.

Shannon Quarles (Virginia State Bar Employee and Adult Child of Separated Parents): I can distinctively remember times when my mother and my grandmother definitely had negative feelings towards my father and his side of the family in general, and I overheard those conversations. And, it definitely has an influence on how you feel towards your parent.

Andrea R. Stiles, Esq. (Partner Batzli Wood & Stiles PC, Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers): In divorce, people don’t understand when they’re being selfish. They think they’re being honest. They think they’re being truthful. They think they’re telling their side of the story, but sometimes they forget that kids don’t need to know each parent’s side of the story. They just need to know they’re loved and that everything will be ok and that both parents are going to work together to make sure that happens.

Hon. Anne B. Holton (Retired Judge, Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court): One of the biggest no-no’s in a divorce, obviously, is putting the children in the position of being between the parents in an argument and trying to communicate through the children. And, that seems so obvious, and we all know it, and yet parents succumb to it all the time, and it’s just cruel and unnecessary. The fact that the parents aren’t able to work out their problems directly shouldn’t mean that they should put the children in the middle of it.

 

Elizabeth S. Bambacus (Virginia State Bar Employee and Adult Child of Divorced Parents): I did feel in the middle, like I was put in the middle sometimes. I don’t think it was intentional, by any means, but I wanted to protect both my Mom and Dad and, you know, I was twelve years old.

Lisa K. Evans (Student, Regent University School of Law and Adult Child of Divorced Parents): The roles between my parents shift where I almost became the parent, or the rational one, and my parents became the child where they would be calling me about problems with each other. And, unfortunately, at first, I felt the need to try to solve their problems and to try to make things better.

Dr. Arnold L. Stolberg: Children need to see their parents as pretty strong and successful and able to take care of them. Most of us start seeing our parents as human beings with frailties – usually the earliest is in the middle twenties – but more realistically – thirties or forties. Do you really want an eight year old to begin to see their parent as a frail human being at eight?

Richard E. Garriott, Jr., Esq. (Partner, Clarke, Dolph, Rapaport, Hull, Brunick & Garriott PLC, Certified Guardian Ad Litem): Remember, you’re still a parent. You haven’t switched roles from being mom or dad to now wanting to be your best friend of the child. And, I think it’s important to try to maintain some sort of schedule.

Lynne Marie Kohm, Esq: Make sure you don’t alter their body schedule – sleeping and eating and things like that. Help those things to be as stable as possible. Don’t change all that for him or her.

Cassandra M. Chin, Esq. (Family Law Attorney, Nichols Zauzig Sandler PC): I think if they’re involved in certain activities, you should try to keep them in the activities that they’re in. I know a lot of parents want to try to keep their children in the same schools, and you know, if that’s a possibility, obviously that’s a great thing to do. A lot of parents want to keep the children in the marital residence because that’s what they have known, and I find that that’s helpful for children too who are adjusting.

Andrea R. Stiles: Consistency takes different forms in different families. Kids need to understand what to expect, and it really is more about communication.

Dr. Arnold L. Stolberg: It is incumbent upon parents to make the divorce functional for their child and not the other way around.

INCLUDING THE EXTENDED FAMILY

Amy O. Rizzo: Not only was I trying to deal with my parents’ fighting and grappling with this new situation and how our family was evolving into these different groups, but then there was another group drawn – another line drawn so that I didn’t even have the support of my extended family. Sorry, this just gets hard to talk about because it’s a wound that hasn’t healed. The – there was – people wouldn’t talk about it. So, we would go to dinners with these big family functions with the extended family, and half of them wouldn’t speak to my mother. And, as a child, as her daughter, I wanted to protect her, and there wasn’t anything I could do.

Lynne Marie Kohm: It’s not just between Mom and Dad which a lot of parents think, “this is just between us.” No, it’s really between the whole family because everybody relies on mom and dad as the foundation of the family.

Mary G. Commander, Esq. (Family Law Attorney, Certified Mediator and Guardian Ad Litem): Well, I think a lot of people feel like when they separate from the other parent they become so interested in keeping the child to themselves and their side of the family that they overlook the fact that children benefit from knowing as many relatives and receiving the love from as many relatives, or not even just relatives, but friends, acquaintances, neighbors, as they possibly can.

Elizabeth S. Bambacus: I really think my Dad’s side of the family just adored my Mom, and my Grandmother (his mom), my Yi-Ya, she really missed my mom – really missed my mom! And, my Dad really missed my Mom’s side of the family as well. So, it was hard on them too, and extended family.

Lisa K. Evans: I had so much anxiety about my mother and my father being at the wedding because they are still not civil. I was worried about that more than my dress and everything else. Thankfully, it turned out smoothly, and I asked them to do a favor and just put me first for that day. But, you know, of course there were still things said. And, of course, I found out about them, so yeah, I have extreme anxiety about it, and it’s really sad that my extended family will probably never see each other really.

GOING TO COURT

Lynne Marie Kohm: Nobody likes going to court. Court is ugly. You can smell it as you walk in – the challenge, the trauma, the stress, the no sleeping the night before going to court. So, how can parents best deal with court? They can understand that the judge doesn’t want to be there either.

Richard E. Garriott: So, you walk into the court room, and the person that’s ultimately going to make the decision about what happens to your children for, potentially, the rest of their lives – I mean the decision that’s being made about custody is going to impact every facet of this child’s life for years – and the person making that decision has the least amount of information available.

Lisa K. Evans: And, in court, emotion doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how mad you are at somebody. It’s hard numbers. It’s allocation of assets. It’s division of property. It’s visitation and child support.

Andrea R. Stiles: When you go to court, you are abdicating your role as a decision maker for the benefit of your kids. You’re inviting a judge, and the state, into your life to hear a few hours of testimony. And, that judge sits and makes a decision that affects how your children will be parented, when they will be parented, and who will be doing the parenting. There is nobody who is more capable of making that decision than parents.

Richard E. Garriott: To say, “I’m going to give up control as to what is going to happen to my children to a complete stranger who doesn’t know anything about them – doesn’t know anything other than what they hear in that courtroom,” I think is just a horrible solution to a difficult problem.

Cassandra M. Chin: And, I would have to say that most of the time when people have a contested custody hearing, no one really walks out feeling like they won.

Lynne Marie Kohm: I have seen more judges say to the clients and the lawyers, “Why don’t you guys go out in the hall and figure this out.” And, what that is code for is, “None of you are going to be happy with the decision I make on behalf of your family. Make your own decision.”

Hon. Anne B. Holton: The judge will never know your family the way you and your child’s other parent do. If you all can figure out what’s best for them, that’s what’s going to be best for everybody.

ALTERNATIVES TO LITIGATION

Lynne Marie Kohm: There are alternatives to litigation, and those involve choices by the parties involved in the family dissolution.

Richard E. Garriott: The best alternative is right at the ground level. If you can sit down, if you can talk with each other, if you can try to work out some sort of an agreement, even a base agreement, before you start taking the litigation approach, do it!

Lynne Marie Kohm: One of the best alternatives that you will find, that top divorce lawyers recommend, is a marriage counselor. Every good divorce lawyer is going to say, “have you seen a marriage counselor? Have you considered counseling?” Because, your attorney cannot be your counselor. Your attorney can be your lawyer and represent your interests, but he or she cannot be your counselor. And, a marriage counselor can do things to help you heal that no one else can do.

Mary G. Commander: They feel like they need to see a counselor. They need to see a therapist. A lot of times, they’re afraid to do it because they say it will be used against them in a court case. The reality is far from that. You get “credit” for getting help. You get “demerits” for behaving badly because you didn’t get help. So, if you need to see a counselor, you should go.

Pamela Tynes-Morgan: I know when they come to the sessions, the mediations, or even to our parenting class, sometimes they’ve been ordered to come, and, so that in itself, they might have a feeling of, “I don’t want to be here because I know best.” But, a lot of times after they come into the class, they start to settle and understand that, well it’s not about me. It’s not about us. It’s about making sure that the children are ok, and that’s what I always stress to them.

Lisa K. Evans: Mediation, where you have an unbiased third party, that you can air your concerns, and is actually not – doesn’t have their hands tied as much as a judge does and can really craft an agreement and an arrangement between the parties that hopefully both would be happy with.

Lynne Marie Kohm: There is anything from mediation – where you sit down with a mediator and air out all your difficulties and hopefully come to conclusion – to collaborative family law – where you and your attorney are in a room with your spouse and the other (his) attorney, maybe a divorce coach, an accountant, a tax expert that’s going to tell you all the ramifications of what’s happening here.

Andrea R. Stiles: I’ve got a case right now where the attorneys have sent the parents to a family specialist. That family specialist is calming everything down. We’ve got another specialist working with the children. The children’s specialist and the parental specialist are coordinating to develop a parenting plan.

Lisa K. Evans: And, it’s not as adversarial. When you go into court, you know, you go into win. When you’re sitting and doing mediation, you’re trying to reach a final product and a goal, but you’re doing it together. And, I think it really changes the tone of the divorce.

Pamela Tynes-Morgan: I just ask the participants to come into mediation with an open mind, to have a willingness to be there, and to keep in mind that it is a voluntary process. But, with a little bit of effort, it’s doable. You can make it through that.

PUTTING YOUR CHILD FIRST

Pamela Tynes-Morgan: You know, sometimes I find that the parents get so caught up in the moment of what’s going on they’ll either put the child – have the child carrying messages such as I haven’t received my child support – you know things that the child really doesn’t need to be involved in. But, I really, I just strongly believe that if they would just stop for a moment – don’t get so caught up that you can’t think clearly – you can do this. You can make this work.

Richard E. Garriott: The most important thing that any parent can do is never confuse your anger with their mother or father with them. And, do everything you can to insulate that child from what’s going on in the bigger relationship.

Lisa K. Evans: Unfortunately, divorce seems to make people very selfish, and to try not to be selfish – to think about other people and the impacts, and the ripple effects that a divorce can cause – not only to your children, but to the rest of your family.

Elizabeth S. Bambacus: Just because the divorce is finalized, it doesn’t end there. The effects last for years.

Pamela Tynes-Morgan: Make sure you understand, what memories are you creating for your children in this process? As I said, I was three when my parents divorced, and I remember the day that that uncoupling or my family structure changed, and that was well over fifty years ago.

Cassandra M. Chin: Just remember that you can still be a mom and you can still be a dad, and a good one. It’s not a fight when it comes to your children even though a lot of people think that that’s what it is. Maybe you didn’t get along as husband and wife, or boyfriend and girlfriend or whatever the case may be, but you can still get along as mom and dad for these children. And, I think that’s really what parents really have to remember – that that’s their role with these children, and that they continue to play that role.

Spare the Child is a project of the Virginia State Bar Family Law Section made possible by a generous grant of the Virginia Law Foundation and was produced by the Publications Department of the Virginia State Bar and Park Group. © 2010 Virginia State Bar

NOTE: At Hope 4 Hurting Kids, we believe that the transcription of this video falls within the fair use provisions of applicable copyright laws. Our goal is not to infringe on the copyright of anyone or any organization. We merely wish to get this information into the hands of as many people as possible to assist children of divorce as they navigate this difficult trial in their lives and have included links to the original materials. To the extent that anyone at the Virginia State Bar objects to this transcription of their video, we would ask that they contact the author of this article.

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

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

The post Spare The Child – Parenting During Family Dissolution appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Linda Ranson Jacobs http://blog.dc4k.org <![CDATA[Mother’s Day in a Single Parent Home]]> https://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2820 2018-03-05T17:06:23Z 2018-05-11T12:00:24Z As a single mom, Mother’s Day was always the most dreaded holiday. To me it was worse than Christmas, Valentines or any other day. It didn’t help that it seemed like almost every year when my children were young Mother’s Day came on the weekend they visited their father. So I would trudge to church, sit alone, and watch all the lovely families celebrate their mothers. I remember one year I stood in the church parking lot and watched all the families come out of the church and shout to each other, “Hey we’re taking our mom out for lunch. Why don’t you guys grab your mom and come with us.” Or, “The kids and I are going to celebrate mother’s day for Peggy at the Golden Corral. Why don’t you bring Betty and the kids? Our families can celebrate together.” I swear pain stabbed my heart just as if a knife had been laid to it. I wondered why when church and pastors recognized mothers they only acknowledged the moms in complete families. I know some single moms who won’t even attend church on Mother’s Day. A friend of mine shared that one Mother’s Day the minister at their church had all the moms and dads stand. He asked the dads to bring the moms to the front of the church where he prayed for the moms and her kids. My friend said the single moms were seated all over the sanctuary. As she looked around, she said every single mom left standing alone was weeping. She said she wanted a husband so bad at that moment in time. She wanted a dad for her kids. She wanted to be a complete family. At Single Parents About.com, they state that 84% of single parents are mothers. These are mighty women warriors. They walk the road alone and let me tell you it takes gumption, stamina, fortitude and the ability to exist on hardly any sleep. Take a minute to search out the single moms in your congregation this Sunday, and if they are sitting alone, offer to sit with them. If you have room at your table, invite a single mom to join your family for lunch. Jesus loved the widow and orphan. How about you? For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.   This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on May 10, 2013.

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Mother's Day Single ParentAs a single mom, Mother’s Day was always the most dreaded holiday. To me it was worse than Christmas, Valentines or any other day. It didn’t help that it seemed like almost every year when my children were young Mother’s Day came on the weekend they visited their father. So I would trudge to church, sit alone, and watch all the lovely families celebrate their mothers.

I remember one year I stood in the church parking lot and watched all the families come out of the church and shout to each other, “Hey we’re taking our mom out for lunch. Why don’t you guys grab your mom and come with us.” Or, “The kids and I are going to celebrate mother’s day for Peggy at the Golden Corral. Why don’t you bring Betty and the kids? Our families can celebrate together.” I swear pain stabbed my heart just as if a knife had been laid to it.

I wondered why when church and pastors recognized mothers they only acknowledged the moms in complete families. I know some single moms who won’t even attend church on Mother’s Day.

A friend of mine shared that one Mother’s Day the minister at their church had all the moms and dads stand. He asked the dads to bring the moms to the front of the church where he prayed for the moms and her kids. My friend said the single moms were seated all over the sanctuary. As she looked around, she said every single mom left standing alone was weeping.

She said she wanted a husband so bad at that moment in time. She wanted a dad for her kids. She wanted to be a complete family.

At Single Parents About.com, they state that 84% of single parents are mothers. These are mighty women warriors. They walk the road alone and let me tell you it takes gumption, stamina, fortitude and the ability to exist on hardly any sleep.

Take a minute to search out the single moms in your congregation this Sunday, and if they are sitting alone, offer to sit with them. If you have room at your table, invite a single mom to join your family for lunch.

Jesus loved the widow and orphan. How about you?

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

 

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on May 10, 2013.

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Linda Ranson Jacobs http://blog.dc4k.org <![CDATA[More Tips For Dealing With Kids With Challenging Behavior]]> https://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2747 2018-03-02T17:08:52Z 2018-05-09T12:00:27Z As the adult it is imperative that you stay in control. Remember you are constantly modeling for the children in your groups and classes. Think about what you are modeling. When entering a confrontation are you remaining calm or are you exhibiting the very behaviors you’re trying to stop? Limit your responses Think about what to say before you approach the child. Tell the child you need time to think about what happened, buy yourself time. Use what I call “the peace maker form”. It’s a piece of paper with three columns on it. The child writes or draws what happened in the first column. In the second column they write or draw what they did. In the third column they put down what the other person did or how they reacted. This gives the child time to calm down. Sometimes I address the situation at the time. Other times I might wait to address the issues. Sometimes you can address the situation and the child role play what happened or you might talk them through the scenario. Take your cues from the child and the situation. Empower the child by giving choices Make sure the choice is possible. Choices empower a child who feels like he or she has no power in their life. Restate the problem Use positive terms to state the problem back to the child. Focus on a success Describe to the child a success they have had before and build upon that success. “Now Jimmy, remember several weeks ago when you got mad and you went over to the table and drew a picture? You were still mad but you were able to work through the anger by drawing. And know what I’ve still got that picture in my office.” Let the child “save face” Allow for face saving for the child, (does it really matter if the kindergarten age child picks up the blocks with a scowl on his face?) What’s the goal here? To get the blocks picked up or not? Use the following terms Oops Bummer Hmm I see What’s your plan here? Oh well Ask the child for their ideas In my child care one time one of our challenging behavior children was using the dinosaurs in the sand table. During his enthusiastic play he had placed the dinosaurs out in the walkway area. When the other children began to complain that they couldn’t get through the teacher entered the scene. Instead of accusing him or telling him he had to put all of the figures back in the sand table she said, “Hmm this is a problem. What’s your plan here?” He said, “What? What do you mean?” She explained that the figures belonged in the sand table but she just knew he had a plan. What was it? He thought for a minute and said, “I could take all of these dinosaurs to the block area where I’d have more room?” This child didn’t care about the sand he just wanted to play with the dinosaurs. By using the question “What’s your plan” the staff person was able to de-escalate what could have been a power struggle and potentially volatile situation. She complimented him on his great idea and asked if he needed her to help him move all of the dinosaurs over to the block area. Meet with the challenging behavior child and ask him what ideas he has. Brainstorm ideas. Sometimes the child will come up with some clever ideas and many times they will be harder on themselves than the adult. Meet with the child at a peaceful time – not when the child is in the throws of an outburst. At times we had the child write out what would take place the next time he or she got out of control. Sometimes we turned this into an agreement and had the child sign and date the agreement. Avoid always having to have the last word At times this is hard especially when you have had this argumentative child arguing with you all day. It’s important to remember that as the adult you are always modeling appropriate behaviors to every child. One parenting expert said that children learn 80 percent by example but only 20 percent of what is said to them. In my observations children will generally imitate the adults in their lives. Develop a plan for when a child loses control completely Keep other children safe – move others out of the way. Or as a last resort, move the child – know in advance where you’re going with him and who will remove the child. Arrange a system to alert other teachers, such as “code red” so they can be prepared to help or get other children out of the way. Be realistic For some of these children life is just plain hard. They get discouraged and even depressed. Then they come to church and we expect them to sit down and be quiet and listen. For many experiencing the divorce of their parents sitting down and listening is almost out of their realm. More Tips Avoid situations that will set the child up to fail Back off when you see a child getting frustrated Catch the child being cooperative Laugh and use a sense of humor Be firm, set boundaries and love them so much they can feel your love. This may sound strange but many times in a live conference I have said, “Children are a lot like dogs. They can smell danger. They can tell if you don’t like them. They know when they are loved. Like dogs they will reciprocate love. Once you win a child’s trust they will do almost anything you ask of them.” This is especially true of the child of divorce. For them on that one day, you may be the only adult that has been kind to them. You might be the only adult that emulates the love of Jesus Christ. I [...]

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Kids With Challenging BehaviorAs the adult it is imperative that you stay in control. Remember you are constantly modeling for the children in your groups and classes. Think about what you are modeling. When entering a confrontation are you remaining calm or are you exhibiting the very behaviors you’re trying to stop?

Limit your responses

Think about what to say before you approach the child. Tell the child you need time to think about what happened, buy yourself time. Use what I call “the peace maker form”. It’s a piece of paper with three columns on it. The child writes or draws what happened in the first column. In the second column they write or draw what they did. In the third column they put down what the other person did or how they reacted.

This gives the child time to calm down. Sometimes I address the situation at the time. Other times I might wait to address the issues. Sometimes you can address the situation and the child role play what happened or you might talk them through the scenario. Take your cues from the child and the situation.

Empower the child by giving choices

Make sure the choice is possible. Choices empower a child who feels like he or she has no power in their life.

Restate the problem

Use positive terms to state the problem back to the child.

Focus on a success

Describe to the child a success they have had before and build upon that success. “Now Jimmy, remember several weeks ago when you got mad and you went over to the table and drew a picture? You were still mad but you were able to work through the anger by drawing. And know what I’ve still got that picture in my office.”

Let the child “save face”

Allow for face saving for the child, (does it really matter if the kindergarten age child picks up the blocks with a scowl on his face?) What’s the goal here? To get the blocks picked up or not?

Use the following terms

  • Oops
  • Bummer
  • Hmm
  • I see
  • What’s your plan here?
  • Oh well

Ask the child for their ideas

In my child care one time one of our challenging behavior children was using the dinosaurs in the sand table. During his enthusiastic play he had placed the dinosaurs out in the walkway area. When the other children began to complain that they couldn’t get through the teacher entered the scene. Instead of accusing him or telling him he had to put all of the figures back in the sand table she said, “Hmm this is a problem. What’s your plan here?”

He said, “What? What do you mean?” She explained that the figures belonged in the sand table but she just knew he had a plan. What was it? He thought for a minute and said, “I could take all of these dinosaurs to the block area where I’d have more room?”

This child didn’t care about the sand he just wanted to play with the dinosaurs. By using the question “What’s your plan” the staff person was able to de-escalate what could have been a power struggle and potentially volatile situation. She complimented him on his great idea and asked if he needed her to help him move all of the dinosaurs over to the block area.

Meet with the challenging behavior child and ask him what ideas he has. Brainstorm ideas. Sometimes the child will come up with some clever ideas and many times they will be harder on themselves than the adult. Meet with the child at a peaceful time – not when the child is in the throws of an outburst. At times we had the child write out what would take place the next time he or she got out of control. Sometimes we turned this into an agreement and had the child sign and date the agreement.

Avoid always having to have the last word

At times this is hard especially when you have had this argumentative child arguing with you all day. It’s important to remember that as the adult you are always modeling appropriate behaviors to every child. One parenting expert said that children learn 80 percent by example but only 20 percent of what is said to them. In my observations children will generally imitate the adults in their lives.

Develop a plan for when a child loses control completely

  1. Keep other children safe – move others out of the way.
  2. Or as a last resort, move the child – know in advance where you’re going with him and who will remove the child.
  3. Arrange a system to alert other teachers, such as “code red” so they can be prepared to help or get other children out of the way.

Be realistic

For some of these children life is just plain hard. They get discouraged and even depressed. Then they come to church and we expect them to sit down and be quiet and listen. For many experiencing the divorce of their parents sitting down and listening is almost out of their realm.

More Tips

  • Avoid situations that will set the child up to fail
  • Back off when you see a child getting frustrated
  • Catch the child being cooperative
  • Laugh and use a sense of humor

Be firm, set boundaries and love them so much they can feel your love. This may sound strange but many times in a live conference I have said, “Children are a lot like dogs. They can smell danger. They can tell if you don’t like them. They know when they are loved. Like dogs they will reciprocate love. Once you win a child’s trust they will do almost anything you ask of them.” This is especially true of the child of divorce. For them on that one day, you may be the only adult that has been kind to them. You might be the only adult that emulates the love of Jesus Christ.

I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them. [Hosea 11:4]

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on April 27, 2012.

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Wayne Stocks <![CDATA[Why Your Church Should Minister to Children of Divorce]]> https://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2661 2018-03-05T17:11:12Z 2018-05-07T12:00:49Z In this article, we present a hypothetical speech to a pastor or congregation about why your church should minister to children of divorce.  In this speech, we are pitching the Divorce Care 4 Kids [DC4K] ministry. At Hope 4 Hurting Kids, one of our basic beliefs is that the church should be a place of support and healing for children of divorce, but what would you  say to the members of your church in an effort to get them behind a new ministry, and possibly even volunteer for a ministry, aimed at helping children of divorce to heal. The program envisioned in this speech is is Divorce Care 4 Kids (DC4K), but I believe the principles presented below can apply to any church pondering any sort of divorce support group for kids. I have localized some of the statistics and information presented below for my church in central Ohio, but I have tried to include references to the appropriate sources so that you can customize the information if necessary for your church and geographic area. I have also included extensive footnotes regarding the statistics presented in this report as I find there is a significant amount of misinformation when it comes to this issue. Here is the text of the speech that came to my mind. Thank you for this opportunity to talk to you today about an issue which has been heavy on my heart for the last couple of years and should be of urgent importance to us as the people of God and His ambassadors to this community and the world around us. It is an issue which has, in many respects, gone largely unnoticed and untended to by so many churches. The issue is one of ministering to children of divorce.   What Is the Issue With Children of Divorce? Recent government statistics tell us that roughly 60% of children live with their married biological (or adoptive) parents. That means that 2 in every 5 children live in a family comprised of something other than married biological parents. Of this 40% (nearly 30 million children), 14% live in stepfamilies and 67% live with a single or cohabiting parent[i]. Each year in this country, more than one million couples divorce[ii]. The church is not immune to this divorce wave. Recent studies indicate that the divorce rate among born again Christians is almost identical to that of non-Christians[iii]. Many times, children become the unwitting victims of these divorces. Since 1972, nearly 1,000,000 children each year have suffered through the divorce of their parents[iv]. Statistics tell us that nearly half of children who live through the divorce of their biological parents will also suffer through the dissolution of a parent’s second marriage[v], and ten percent will live through three or more divorces involving their parents[vi]. In fact, divorce has become so commonplace in our society that statistics show that the presence of children in a marriage no longer inhibits parents from getting a divorce[vii]. These divorces leave kids with emotionally detached parents at best and oftentimes with no contact at all with at least one parent. Ten to twenty-five percent of children of divorce have no contact with their non-custodial parent within 2-3 years of the divorce[viii]. How Does Divorce Impact Children? The impacts of divorce on children are significant and long lasting. Children of divorce routinely experience: Anger Fear and Anxiety Chaos Confusion Denial Depression Embarrassment Grief Guilt Hostility Insecurity Loneliness Powerlessness Rejection Sadness Stress A sense of being split between two worlds Loss of childhood Loss of friends Loss of parents The impacts are more than just emotional though. Studies show that children of divorce are: Less likely to attend church[ix]. Viewed by their peers as less pleasant to be around[x]. More likely to struggle at school[xi]. More likely to be aggressive[xii]. More likely to find themselves in a state of poverty following the divorce[xiii]. More likely to drop out of high school[xiv]. More likely to have children out of wedlock[xv]. More likely to engage in criminal behavior[xvi]. Less likely to match their parents educational and economic achievements[xvii]. More likely to need professional psychological help in any given year[xviii]. More likely to exhibit health problems and suffer injuries, asthma, headaches, and speech defects[xix]. Likely to reject the faith of their parents[xx]. More likely to engage in alcohol and drug abuse[xxi]. At an increased risk of committing suicide[xxii]. Studies have shown that there is a “sleeper effect” in many children of divorce. In those children who appear to adjust well at the time of the divorce, many will suffer impacts of the divorce 5, 10 or 15 years following the divorce. There are several documented long lasting impacts of divorce on children including: Adult children of divorce are more likely to be lonely, unhappy, anxious and insecure[xxiii]. Adult children of divorce are less likely to get married when they become adults (only 60% get married)[xxiv]. Adult children of divorce are more likely to get divorced if they do get married[xxv]. Adult children of divorce are less likely to have children than adults from intact families[xxvi]. Numerous studies have documented lasting effects of divorce up to ten or more years following the divorce of parents[xxvii]. Children of Divorce are more likely to develop worse relationship with parents and seek out psychological help later in life[xxviii]. Some studies show that, on average, children of divorce live shorter life spans than children from intact families[xxix]. Does the Church Need to Get Involved? Children of divorce are thrown into a torrent of change and overwhelming emotions. At a time in their lives when they need a support system the most, their natural support system – their family – is falling apart. Unlike the death of a parent where friends, family and the community rally behind children, children of divorce are left without any semblance of support. In her groundbreaking book Between Two Worlds, Elizabeth Marquardt conducted a study of hundreds of children of divorce. She found that, for children who were [...]

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Why Our Church Should Minister to Children of DivorceIn this article, we present a hypothetical speech to a pastor or congregation about why your church should minister to children of divorce.  In this speech, we are pitching the Divorce Care 4 Kids [DC4K] ministry.

At Hope 4 Hurting Kids, one of our basic beliefs is that the church should be a place of support and healing for children of divorce, but what would you  say to the members of your church in an effort to get them behind a new ministry, and possibly even volunteer for a ministry, aimed at helping children of divorce to heal. The program envisioned in this speech is is Divorce Care 4 Kids (DC4K), but I believe the principles presented below can apply to any church pondering any sort of divorce support group for kids.

I have localized some of the statistics and information presented below for my church in central Ohio, but I have tried to include references to the appropriate sources so that you can customize the information if necessary for your church and geographic area. I have also included extensive footnotes regarding the statistics presented in this report as I find there is a significant amount of misinformation when it comes to this issue. Here is the text of the speech that came to my mind.


Thank you for this opportunity to talk to you today about an issue which has been heavy on my heart for the last couple of years and should be of urgent importance to us as the people of God and His ambassadors to this community and the world around us. It is an issue which has, in many respects, gone largely unnoticed and untended to by so many churches. The issue is one of ministering to children of divorce.

 

What Is the Issue With Children of Divorce?

Recent government statistics tell us that roughly 60% of children live with their married biological (or adoptive) parents. That means that 2 in every 5 children live in a family comprised of something other than married biological parents. Of this 40% (nearly 30 million children), 14% live in stepfamilies and 67% live with a single or cohabiting parent[i].

Each year in this country, more than one million couples divorce[ii]. The church is not immune to this divorce wave. Recent studies indicate that the divorce rate among born again Christians is almost identical to that of non-Christians[iii].

Many times, children become the unwitting victims of these divorces. Since 1972, nearly 1,000,000 children each year have suffered through the divorce of their parents[iv]. Statistics tell us that nearly half of children who live through the divorce of their biological parents will also suffer through the dissolution of a parent’s second marriage[v], and ten percent will live through three or more divorces involving their parents[vi]. In fact, divorce has become so commonplace in our society that statistics show that the presence of children in a marriage no longer inhibits parents from getting a divorce[vii]. These divorces leave kids with emotionally detached parents at best and oftentimes with no contact at all with at least one parent. Ten to twenty-five percent of children of divorce have no contact with their non-custodial parent within 2-3 years of the divorce[viii].

How Does Divorce Impact Children?

The impacts of divorce on children are significant and long lasting. Children of divorce routinely experience:

  • Anger
  • Fear and Anxiety
  • Chaos
  • Confusion
  • Denial
  • Depression
  • Embarrassment
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Hostility
  • Insecurity
  • Loneliness
  • Powerlessness
  • Rejection
  • Sadness
  • Stress
  • A sense of being split between two worlds
  • Loss of childhood
  • Loss of friends
  • Loss of parents

The impacts are more than just emotional though. Studies show that children of divorce are:

  • Less likely to attend church[ix].
  • Viewed by their peers as less pleasant to be around[x].
  • More likely to struggle at school[xi].
  • More likely to be aggressive[xii].
  • More likely to find themselves in a state of poverty following the divorce[xiii].
  • More likely to drop out of high school[xiv].
  • More likely to have children out of wedlock[xv].
  • More likely to engage in criminal behavior[xvi].
  • Less likely to match their parents educational and economic achievements[xvii].
  • More likely to need professional psychological help in any given year[xviii].
  • More likely to exhibit health problems and suffer injuries, asthma, headaches, and speech defects[xix].
  • Likely to reject the faith of their parents[xx].
  • More likely to engage in alcohol and drug abuse[xxi].
  • At an increased risk of committing suicide[xxii].

Studies have shown that there is a “sleeper effect” in many children of divorce. In those children who appear to adjust well at the time of the divorce, many will suffer impacts of the divorce 5, 10 or 15 years following the divorce. There are several documented long lasting impacts of divorce on children including:

  • Adult children of divorce are more likely to be lonely, unhappy, anxious and insecure[xxiii].
  • Adult children of divorce are less likely to get married when they become adults (only 60% get married)[xxiv].
  • Adult children of divorce are more likely to get divorced if they do get married[xxv].
  • Adult children of divorce are less likely to have children than adults from intact families[xxvi].
  • Numerous studies have documented lasting effects of divorce up to ten or more years following the divorce of parents[xxvii].
  • Children of Divorce are more likely to develop worse relationship with parents and seek out psychological help later in life[xxviii].
  • Some studies show that, on average, children of divorce live shorter life spans than children from intact families[xxix].

Does the Church Need to Get Involved?

Children of divorce are thrown into a torrent of change and overwhelming emotions. At a time in their lives when they need a support system the most, their natural support system – their family – is falling apart. Unlike the death of a parent where friends, family and the community rally behind children, children of divorce are left without any semblance of support.

In her groundbreaking book Between Two Worlds, Elizabeth Marquardt conducted a study of hundreds of children of divorce. She found that, for children who were regularly attending a church or synagogue at the time of their parents’ divorce, two-thirds said that no-one from clergy or the congregation reached out to them during their parents’ divorce[xxx]. An older study found that less than 10% of children of divorce had any support from adults other than relatives during the acute phase of the divorce[xxxi].

Should the Church Get Involved?

There is a clear and pressing need for someone to stand in the gap for these children of divorce, but is the church the appropriate entity to do that? To the answer that question, we must turn to God’s Word. One of the best known scriptures when it comes to divorce is found in the book of Malachi. You may have heard it before:

“I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel… [Malachi 5:16a, NIV]

There is some disagreement about the correct translation of the verse from the original language, but regardless of how you translate this particular verse, I believe the fact is irrefutable – God does hate divorce. He does not, however, hate the divorcee. However, that is not the point today. I actually want to focus your attention on the verse preceding this one for some insight into one of the reasons why God hates divorce. Malachi 5:15 tells us:

Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. [Malachi 5:15, NIV]

God intended a man and woman to be married and become one in both flesh and spirit. We see this from the very beginning of the Book of Genesis. We know that one of the reasons God created marriage was as a model, albeit an imperfect one, of the relationship between Christ and the church. This verse tells us that another reason God created marriage was because He was “seeking Godly offspring” as the result of the marriage. The clear implication here, given the subsequent verse, is that divorce negatively impacts this goal. One of the reasons why God hates divorce is because it impedes the development of Godly children. When marriage falls apart as a means of creating such godly offspring, something or someone else must step up to fill this void. Of course, God is sovereign, and He could simply do it Himself, but like so many other things He chooses to work through human agents – you and me.

James, the brother of Jesus, makes the point very clear:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. [James 1:27, NIV]

Children of divorce are our modern day orphans, and it is time for the church to stand in the gap for them and step up to minister to their needs.

Listen to the word of Jesus:

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ [Matthew 25:34-40, NIV]

It is way past time for the church to step up and take care of the “least of these” when it comes to children of divorce.

The Need For A Local Program?

The idea of ministering to children of divorce is something that must be addressed by churches in general, but there is a very real, and very immediate, need for such a ministry in our own church and in our own community.

At a normal weekend at our church, we have about 250 kids in the nursery up through high school ministry. Based on the statistics presented earlier, that means that statistically 100 of those kids do not live with their married biological parents. 15 live in stepfamilies and 66 live with a single parent, and that’s just in our church. In Gahanna, Ohio (the city where our church is located), there are 8,899 kids (based on the 2010 U.S. Census data)[xxxii]. Given the national statistics, that means approximately 526 children in our community live in step-families and 2,365 live in single-parent homes. If we take that one step further to include our surrounding communities (excluding Columbus)[xxxiii], that’s a total of 2,200 kids living in step-families and 10,790 living in single-parent homes. Statistically, the city of Columbus has nearly 11,500 kids living in step families and over 51,000 living in single parent homes[xxxiv]. There are an overwhelming number of children in our church, in our community and in surrounding communities who need our help.

However, a quick search of Divorce Care 4 Kids online shows only 10 churches within 30 miles of Columbus that offer a DC4K support group for kids, and only one in the geographic region I gave you statistics for earlier (Gahanna and surrounding cities excluding Columbus). By contrast, 30 churches offer the adult equivalent known Divorce Care. A quick Google search reveals several more Divorce Recovery type ministries for adults throughout the city. A similar Google search did not reveal any additional similar ministries for kids.

The number of hurting children in our neighborhoods and surrounding neighborhoods is phenomenal, and vehicles for healing are beyond limited. This all points to the overwhelming need for ministry to children of divorce in our area.

What Can the Church Do?

The answer to the question, “What Can the Church Do?” is nothing. Nothing, that is, apart from the power of Christ. With Christ though, the church can offer these kids a means of lasting healing and hope, and that is a relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Psalm 34:18 reminds us:

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. [Psalms 34:18 ESV]

At Divorce Ministry 4 Kids, that is the verse that our entire mission is based on. The statistics and outcomes cited above can seem hopeless and lead to despair, but God reminds us that He is never far away from these kids. Out of the darkness of the most life-shattering event of their young lives, we can offer to them a Father who will never leave them, a Great Physician who can heal all their wounds and a Savior who can meet their eternal needs.

When the enemy whispers in their ear, and he will, that “this is all your fault,” we must be there to remind them that they are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do the works he has laid before us. When the enemy convinces the child of divorce that there is no hope and that all is lost, we must be there to remind them Jesus is a God of Hope and the source of our hope. When the child of divorce feels abandoned by their earthly parent(s), it is our job to remind them in our words and our actions that God has said, “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” When a child’s trust is dashed by a parent who has walked away, the church must be there to remind them that we have a Heavenly Father who is the same yesterday, today and forever. When a child of divorce feels overwhelmed and wonders if things will ever get better, we must be the hands and feet and Jesus Christ.

In order to adequately serve these kids, there are many things that the church must do ranging from supporting marriage and single parents to remembering these kids in our prayers and programming. All of these represent long term systemic changes both in attitude and practice. One of the immediate things we can do, though, is to begin a Divorce Care 4 Kids program to serve and support kids who are currently, or have recently, suffered through the divorce of their parents.

What is DC4K?

Divorce Care 4 Kids is a 13 week program to help children of divorce from ages 5 through 12 to heal from the pain caused by a separation or divorce. DC4K provides a safe place for children to process what they going through, learn techniques for dealing with the stress and emotions of divorce and learn that “God’s love strengthens them and helps them turn their sadness to hope and their anger to joy.”

Each session is filled with activities and experiences specifically designed for children of divorce. These activities include games, crafts, discussion times, role playing, journaling, music, videos and much more. Ultimately, DC4K focuses on the healing power of a relationship with Christ and includes bible verses and stories individually selected for their impact on children of divorce.

Weekly topics include:

  • What is happening to my family?
  • Facing my anger,
  • I am not alone,
  • Developing new relationships,
  • It’s not my fault,
  • Forgiveness,
  • Growing up and closer to God,
  • And many more.

The focus of DC4K is on building relationships that will help the child of divorce to heal. This includes, first and foremost, the child’s relationship with God, but it also includes the relationship between the leaders and children in the ministry and the relationships between the children themselves.

What Can You Do?

There are four groups of people who can help us as we launch this new DC4K ministry here at our church, and if you are willing to help in any of the following ways, you can let us know about that by [insert means of contact here]:

1. Parents who are divorcing or have divorced: Sign your children up for this program! We know that your schedules are busy, but this program will help both you and your child in the short and long run.

2. Friends, neighbors, co-workers, parents, brothers and sisters of parents who are divorcing or have divorced: Let your friends know about this program for their children. So many times, an adult going through a divorce can get caught up with their own emotional issues and lose sight of what is best for their children. They don’t do this intentionally or maliciously, but a friend or family member who can lovingly point them in the direction of something that can help their kids will be greatly appreciated.

3. Those who have a heart for helping children of divorce and have a gift for working with children: There is a need for volunteers to help in this ministry. If you are inclined to work with children, we have a need for “Safe Keepers” (the name for leaders in the DC4K program). These children are in desperate need of attention, and the more leaders we have, the more attention each child will get, and the more children we can help. We believe it is an honor and a calling to minister to children of divorce which comes with a great degree of responsibility. Accordingly, all potential Safe Keepers are carefully screened. Ideal volunteers may include:

a. Adult children of divorce who are emotionally and spiritually stable.

b. Single parents who have recovered from their own divorce (it is recommended that you be at least two to three years removed from your own divorce before serving in this program).

c. Senior adults who have children experiencing a divorce.

d. Grandparents who want to help other people’s grandchildren find comfort.

e. Schoolteachers and childcare staff.

f. Those gifted by God in teaching and working with children.

g. Married couples who have a heart for children of divorce.

h. Anyone who has a passion for helping children of divorce.

4. Those who have a heart for helping children of divorce and don’t have a gift for working with children: For those of you who recognize that this is a significant issue and want to help but aren’t so sure about working directly with kids, there are also roles for you in DC4K:

a. Ministry Helpers: We have a need for people to prepare snacks, coordinate crafts and create small gifts for the children who will be in the program.

b. Ministry Ambassadors: One of the struggles a ministry such as this frequently encounters is getting the word out about the ministry and making sure that children who need our support are actually served by the program. We have a need for people who will help to spread the word about this ministry in our community.

c. Prayer Warriors: Any success in ministry begins with, and is sustained by, prayer. We are putting together a team of prayer warriors who will commit to consistent prayer for our DC4K ministry generally and the leaders and the children in the ministry specifically. If you are a gifted prayer, we would love you to join our team as a DC4K prayer warrior.

We hope that you will prayerfully consider joining us as we launch this new Divorce Care 4 Kids ministry at our church.

There are thousands and thousands of hurting children in our community and surrounding communities. It is time that we, as the church, step up to help these children. A first step in doing that is creating a Divorce Care 4 Kids ministry at our church to minister to the needs of children of divorce. In doing so, we can point these kids to the healing power of a relationship with Christ and impact not only the rest of their lives, but their eternity. I hope that you will support us as we launch this new ministry.

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

(1) FAM1.B Family structure and children’s living arrangements: Detailed living arrangements of children by gender, race and Hispanic origin, age, parent’s education, and poverty status, 2010, from U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables/fam1b.asp

[ii] Based on ration of marriage rates to divorce rates and actual number of marriage from The Statistical Abstract of the United States.

[iii] Born Again Christians Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians, Barna Research, September 8, 2004 (http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/194-born-again-christians-just-as-likely-to-divorce-as-are-non-christians)

[iv] The Statistical Abstract of the United States shows that over 1,000,000 children were involved in divorce from 1974 through 1990. Those numbers were no longer reported subsequent to 1990. Calculated estimates based on information from the Statistical abstract of the United States regarding divorce rates and divorces and the Current Population Survey regarding number of children under 18 per family show that the number of children involved in divorce each year is likely around the same as it was pre 1990.

[v] 18 Shocking Statistics about Children and Divorce by Larry Bilotta (http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html) citing The Abolition of Marriage, Gallagher

[vi] 18 Shocking Statistics about Children and Divorce by Larry Bilotta (http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html) citing Wade, Horn and Busy, “Fathers, Marriage and Welfare Reform” Hudson Institute Executive Briefing, 1997

[vii] The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America in 2010 – When Marriage Disappears: The New Middle America, W. Bradford Wilcox, editor, Institute for American Values, University of Virginia: The National Marriage project, December 2010 (http://www.stateofourunions.org)

[viii] Children’s Adjustment Following Divorce: Risk and Resilience Perspectives, J.B. Kelley & R.E. Emery, 2003

[ix] The Effects of Divorce on America by Patrick Fagan, Ph.D. and Robert Rector (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2000/06/the-effects-of-divorce-on-america)

[x] 18 Shocking Statistics about Children and Divorce by Larry Bilotta (http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html) citing Andrew J. Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage –Harvard University Press 1981

[xi] 18 Shocking Statistics about Children and Divorce by Larry Bilotta (http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html) citing Andrew J. Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage –Harvard University Press 1981 and The Effects of Divorce on America by Patrick Fagan, Ph.D. and Robert Rector (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2000/06/the-effects-of-divorce-on-america)

[xii] 18 Shocking Statistics about Children and Divorce by Larry Bilotta (http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html) citing Robert E. Emery, Marriage, Divorce, and Children’s Adjustment (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1988), 94. For Emery’s summary of the literature comparing divorce and death, see pages 57 and 67 (cite information from http://www.divorcereform.org/psy.html)

[xiii] The Effects of Divorce on America by Patrick Fagan, Ph.D. and Robert Rector (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2000/06/the-effects-of-divorce-on-america)

[xiv] Children of Divorce: The Shocking Statistics by Elijah James (http://www.articlesbase.com/divorce-articles/children-of-divorce-the-shocking-statistics-833765.html) citing “Marriage: The Safest Place for Women and Children”, by Patrick F. Fagan and Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D. Backgrounder #1535

[xv] Lawton, L. E., & Bures, R. (2001). Parental Divorce and the “Switching” of Religious Identity. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 40, 99-111. Synopsis by Scott Stanley, on the Smart Marriages Archive 2/25/02, modified. As cited on http://www.divorcereform.org/health.html#anchor1407382.

[xvi] Children of Divorce: The Shocking Statistics by Elijah James (http://www.articlesbase.com/divorce-articles/children-of-divorce-the-shocking-statistics-833765.html) citing “Marriage: The Safest Place for Women and Children”, by Patrick F. Fagan and Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D. Backgrounder #1535

[xvii] Painful Legacy of Divorce Breakup’s Effect On Children Often Reaches Far into Adulthood by HealthyPlace.com Staff Writer, December 22, 2008 (http://www.healthyplace.com/relationships/main/painful-legacy-of-divorce-breakups-effect-on-children-often-reaches-far-into-adulthood/menu-id-63/) citing “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce,” by Marin County psychologist Judith Wallerstein, San Francisco State University psychology professor Julia M. Lewis and New York Times science correspondent Sandra Blakeslee

[xviii] 18 Shocking Statistics about Children and Divorce by Larry Bilotta (http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html) citing Peter Hill “Recent Advances in Selected Aspects of Adolescent Development” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 1993

[xix] 18 Shocking Statistics about Children and Divorce by Larry Bilotta (http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html) citing Dawson, “Family Structure and Children’s Health and Well Being” National Health Interview Survey on Child Health, Journal of Marriage and the Family and citing Angel, Worobey, “Single Motherhood and Children’s Health”

[xx] Bind Up the Broken Hearted and Set the Captives Free, Linda Ranson Jacobs (http://www.hlp4.com/?q=node/69)

[xxi] Painful Legacy of Divorce Breakup’s Effect On Children Often Reaches Far into Adulthood by HealthyPlace.com Staff Writer, December 22, 2008 (http://www.healthyplace.com/relationships/main/painful-legacy-of-divorce-breakups-effect-on-children-often-reaches-far-into-adulthood/menu-id-63/) citing “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce,” by Marin County psychologist Judith Wallerstein, San Francisco State University psychology professor Julia M. Lewis and New York Times science correspondent Sandra Blakeslee

[xxii] Children of Divorce: The Shocking Statistics by Elijah James (http://www.articlesbase.com/divorce-articles/children-of-divorce-the-shocking-statistics-833765.html) citing “Marriage: The Safest Place for Women and Children”, by Patrick F. Fagan and Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D. Backgrounder #1535 and Nelson, Farberow and Litman, Youth Suicide in California: A Comparative Study of Perceived Causes and Interventions, 24 COMM. MENTAL HEALTH J. 31-42 (1988); and John S. Wardarski and Pamela Harris, “Adolescent Suicide: A Review of the Influences and Means for Prevention. 32(6) Social Work 477-484 (1977). Cited in “No-Fault Divorce: Proposed Solutions to a National Tragedy,” 1993 Journal of Legal Studies 2, page 18 as cited on http://www.divorcereform.org/psy.html.

[xxiii] 18 Shocking Statistics about Children and Divorce by Larry Bilotta (http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html) citing Wallerstein “The Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1991.

[xxiv] Relationship Reasons for Divorce (http://www.psychpage.com/family/mod_couples_thx/divorce.html)

[xxv] Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum. citing N.D. Glenn and K.B. Kramer, “The marriages and divorces of the children of divorce,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 49, pp. 811-825. Cited in Judith Wallerstein, Ph.D., “The Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children: A Review,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, May 1991, p. 357. As cited on http://www.divorcereform.org/teenmoms.html. and Gallagher, M. (2002) Third Thoughts on Divorce. National Review v54 i5 p50. Retrieved June 9, 2004 from Expanded Academic ASAP as cited on http://www.divorcereform.org/psy.html.

[xxvi] Painful Legacy of Divorce Breakup’s Effect On Children Often Reaches Far into Adulthood by HealthyPlace.com Staff Writer, December 22, 2008 (http://www.healthyplace.com/relationships/main/painful-legacy-of-divorce-breakups-effect-on-children-often-reaches-far-into-adulthood/menu-id-63/) citing “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce,” by Marin County psychologist Judith Wallerstein, San Francisco State University psychology professor Julia M. Lewis and New York Times science correspondent Sandra Blakeslee

[xxvii] An Exploration of the Ramifications of Divorce on Children and Adolescents by Sara Eleoff, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, November 2003 (http://www.childadvocate.net/divorce_effects_on_children.htm) citing Wallerstein, JS. Corbin SB. The Child and the Vicissitudes of Divorce and The Effects of Divorce on Children by Robert Hughes, Jr., Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, April 10, 2009

[xxviii] Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum. citing Nicholas Zill, Donna Morrison, and Mary Jo Coiro, “Long-term Effects of Parental Divorce on Parent-Child Relationships, Adjustment, and Achievement in Young Adulthood,” Journal of Family Psychology, 7:1, p. 96. Cited in Glenn T. Stanton, M.A., The Social Significance of the Traditional Two-Parent Family: The Impact of Its Breakdown on the Lives of Children, Adults, and Societies (Colorado Springs, CO: Focus on the Family, 1995), p. 9. As cited on http://www.divorcereform.org/psy.html.

[xxix] Children After Divorce (http://www.childrenafterdivorce.com/)

[xxx] Marquardt, Elizabeth, Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce, Crown Publishers, 2005.

[xxxi] An Exploration of the Ramifications of Divorce on Children and Adolescents by Sara Eleoff, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, November 2003 (http://www.childadvocate.net/divorce_effects_on_children.htm) citing Wallerstein, JS. Corbin SB. The Child and the Vicissitudes of Divorce.

[xxxii] Based on 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data from the table “Single Years of Age and Sex: 2010” from American Fact Finder at http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml

[xxxiii] This statistic includes Mifflin Village, Blendon Township, Jefferson Village, Plain Township, New Albany Village, Whitehall, Reynoldsburg and Truro Township for a total of 40,597 kids (based on 2010 U.S. Census data – see note above).

[xxxiv] Columbus has a total of 193,750 kids from age 0-18 (based on 2010 U.S. Census data – see note above)

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

 

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids between May 30 and  June 04, 2012.

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Wayne Stocks <![CDATA[Advice for Stepparents on Dealing With Stepkids]]> https://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=3195 2018-03-09T16:43:22Z 2018-05-04T12:00:15Z “Advice for Stepparents on Dealing With Stepkids” from HuffPost asked several “experts” in the field for their advice on how stepparents can “create a healthy, unhurried relationship with their stepkids.” Divorce is hard on kids, and it takes time for children to adjust to the divorce of their parents.  The fact is, they may never fully adjust.  However, equally stressful to children of divorce can be when their parents begin to date and especially if they remarry.  Many stepparents have faced the battle of trying to relate to, and form a relationship with, their stepkids. The article explains: It’s a rare stepparent who hasn’t tried, in their own way, to win over their stepkids. Whether it was snapping up two Justin Bieber concert tickets or attempting to bond over hot wings during a stepsons-only guy’s night out, it’s hard to resist trying to fast-track a solid relationship. But as any member of a blended family can tell you, relationships can’t be forced. So how can you stop stressing over winning over your step-kids — and actually get them to like you? LINK: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/26/stepparent-advice-how-to_n_2951878.html For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

The post Advice for Stepparents on Dealing With Stepkids appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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“Advice for Stepparents on Dealing With Stepkids” from HuffPost asked several “experts” in the field for their advice on how stepparents can “create a healthy, unhurried relationship with their stepkids.”

Divorce is hard on kids, and it takes time for children to adjust to the divorce of their parents.  The fact is, they may never fully adjust.  However, equally stressful to children of divorce can be when their parents begin to date and especially if they remarry.  Many stepparents have faced the battle of trying to relate to, and form a relationship with, their stepkids.

The article explains:

It’s a rare stepparent who hasn’t tried, in their own way, to win over their stepkids. Whether it was snapping up two Justin Bieber concert tickets or attempting to bond over hot wings during a stepsons-only guy’s night out, it’s hard to resist trying to fast-track a solid relationship.

But as any member of a blended family can tell you, relationships can’t be forced. So how can you stop stressing over winning over your step-kids — and actually get them to like you?

LINK: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/26/stepparent-advice-how-to_n_2951878.html

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

The post Advice for Stepparents on Dealing With Stepkids appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Wayne Stocks <![CDATA[Inside Out Mood Board]]> https://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=1999 2018-03-30T14:16:44Z 2018-05-03T12:00:49Z The movie Inside Out has been great for those of us working to help kids better understand and deal with their emotions. In addition to being a great movie, it has sparked a litany of crafts and games to go along with it. These crafts and activities can help kids to better understand the emotions they are feeling. The Inside Out Mood Board is one of those activities and is a fun way for kids who like the movie to track their emotions. Supplies Needed for an Inside Out Mood Board We originally found this idea on the Eighteen 25 website. We love their mood board, but we made some minor modifications to the one we built. These changes were mainly due to the materials we had on hand and because we like the idea of using a white board. Here’s what we used: A magnetic white board purchased from a local dollar store. Construction paper (you’ll need red, yellow, purple, green and blue to match the characters from the movie). Circular cake boards purchased from a local hobby store to serve as the backing for the character. Glue. Adhesive magnets to attach to the back of the emotions. Making an Inside Out Mood Board Download and print the template from our friends at Eighteen 25 available here. Cut out the characters and title wording from the template. Glue the title to the white board. Cut circles out of the construction paper the same size as the cake boards and glue the construction paper to the cake boards. Glue the character faces to the construction paper. Attach the magnets or magnetic strips to the back of the cardboard cake boards. Hang the Mood Board somewhere where the child can reach it. Encourage them to use the Mood Board to show what emotion(s) they are feeling. For more awesome resources for learning about and dealing with emotions, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Emotions Help Center.

The post Inside Out Mood Board appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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Inside Out Mood BoardThe movie Inside Out has been great for those of us working to help kids better understand and deal with their emotions. In addition to being a great movie, it has sparked a litany of crafts and games to go along with it. These crafts and activities can help kids to better understand the emotions they are feeling. The Inside Out Mood Board is one of those activities and is a fun way for kids who like the movie to track their emotions.

Supplies Needed for an Inside Out Mood Board

We originally found this idea on the Eighteen 25 website. We love their mood board, but we made some minor modifications to the one we built. These changes were mainly due to the materials we had on hand and because we like the idea of using a white board. Here’s what we used:

  • A magnetic white board purchased from a local dollar store.
  • Construction paper (you’ll need red, yellow, purple, green and blue to match the characters from the movie).
  • Circular cake boards purchased from a local hobby store to serve as the backing for the character.
  • Glue.
  • Adhesive magnets to attach to the back of the emotions.

Making an Inside Out Mood Board

  • Download and print the template from our friends at Eighteen 25 available here.
  • Cut out the characters and title wording from the template.
  • Glue the title to the white board.
  • Cut circles out of the construction paper the same size as the cake boards and glue the construction paper to the cake boards.
  • Glue the character faces to the construction paper.
  • Attach the magnets or magnetic strips to the back of the cardboard cake boards.
  • Hang the Mood Board somewhere where the child can reach it.
  • Encourage them to use the Mood Board to show what emotion(s) they are feeling.
For more awesome resources for learning about and dealing with emotions, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Emotions Help Center.

The post Inside Out Mood Board appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

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