I have worked with and ministered to the children of divorce for more than 16 years and have seen the price they pay when their parents divorce. Beginning with kids our children knew back in the 80’s and 90’s, being camp mom in the 00’s, leading a large single parent family ministry, leading Divorce Care For Kids (DC4K) and The Big D…Divorce Thru the Eyes of a Teen and now releasing a study for the ADULT children of divorce, “Chained No More”, I have seen more devastation than I could possibly tell you about.
We have a teenage girl living in our home right now and it reminded me of the precarious world this generation is growing up in. The majority of our kids today come from shattered families, missing parents, parents with multiple relationships, and this all leads them to a lack of identity and worth. Today’s marriages have made a mockery of what God intended.
Kids are so busy just trying to survive their family crisis, that they are unable to concentrate on their schoolwork or dream about their future. Their grades drop, they get in trouble and many times they just give up.
If a father has left the home, there are huge abandonment issues, so a girl will try all of her life to fill that void for a daddy’s love. The statistics are about 40% of babies born are born to unwed mothers; many who are teens. Why? Many reasons, but I had one teen girl tell me through tears, “I want to have sex with a bunch of guys so I can have a baby. I want someone to love me!” My heart broke!!!
Parents going through divorce are so busy going through their own pain that the children are many times left to take care of themselves. Then, because of the variety of needs, their parents will go from relationship to relationship not realizing the effect this has on this child. If a kid begins to bond with their parent’s relationship and then they break up, then it is another loss and an abandonment for the child. “…and the beat goes on”.
The majority of children live in stressful situations and don’t have the capacity to maneuver through them well. Their brains haven’t fully developed yet, for heaven’s sake!
My suggestion for parents in chaos? Stop and evaluate your situation and how it is affecting your kids. Put your need for a relationship on the back burner and focus on helping your kids heal and turn out successful. Most of all, keep your children off the battlefield of your divorce. Don’t talk about their other parent badly in front of them or to them. Don’t make them choose. If you do, you are hurting them on many different levels. Don’t confide in your kids about your personal adult hurts or make them your best friend. Let them be kids!
My suggestion for people who work with kids? Keep your heart engaged, listen more than speak, make sure they don’t have to walk this alone and pray for wisdom and guidance from God to help the child in front of you.
Adult children of divorce? Look at www.robynbministries.com/chainednomore for help and healing through the issues that have chained you down for so many years.
My suggestion for hurting kids? Remember that your parents are hurting as much as you are right now and they might not do everything right. Let your parents know how you feel; not tell them what they are doing wrong. Calmly let them know what you need to survive through the family trauma.