What Children of Divorce Really Think and how you can help by Angela Elwell Hunt

 Some excerpts:

“I wonder if my mom or dad ever really loved each other. Isn’t love supposed to last forever?”

Go through old photo albums and dig out those wedding pictures. It’s important for kids of all ages to know they were wanted and enjoyed. Reassure the child there were happy times, that his or her father or mother both had strong and decent qualities the other loved.

 “Mom and Dad expect me to ‘adjust,’ but the home I once knew is gone. Why can’t they just cut me some slack?”

Kids, by definition, lack maturity. They don’t know how to “be angry and not sin” (Eph. 4:26, Psa. 4:4, NKJV). Many times they can’t even verbalize why or at whom they’re angry.

Let kids know anger is natural—we can’t control our feelings. But we can control our actions and talk about what’s hurt us and our reactions. Ask direct questions: “Are you angry because your father can’t see you this weekend? Are you angry because you think your mother’s spending too much time at work?” By analyzing what they’re feeling, children can begin to recognize and master that powerful emotion. 

“My parents divorced, so I’ll never get married. Love and marriage just don’t work.”

Sensitive to their maturity level, be honest with kids about why the divorce happened. Many parents shrug off their kids’ curiosity with “You’re too young to understand.”

But children of divorce need to know so they can keep from making those same mistakes and breaking those commitments. Be encouraging, hopeful, and strong when you talk to children about their future marriage partners. Tell them to wait and trust God’s timing, and reassure them that you’re praying now for the person they’ll one day marry.

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