Personal perspective and research about the child of divorce

Helping Kids Feel Successful

Just came across this bit of research today. It was in Kathy Nunley’s enews from

In order to increase both creativity and productivity in any work or task, the worker must feel they are making progress in meaningful work. Students who experience small wins more frequently, who have autonomy with clear meaningful goals, and who work in an environment without punishment, make the most progress. The least progress is made when a student feels the work is useless, meaningless and they are not sure why they are doing it. Amabile, T. (2012). “Creativity, Productivity and Commitment: Revelations From the Work Diaries.” Presentation given August 3, 2012, American Psychological Association Annual Conference, Orlando, FL.

I believe this can apply across all age groups including preschool age children. When a child experiences small wins in what they are doing and they survive in environments that are not punitive but nourishing they will make the most progress or have the most success.  Whether that be in playing, studying or getting along with peers.

Children need to feel independent. They need worthwhile goals even if it is committing to making their bed or helping a friend put the blocks away. Like the tip above says, the least progress is made when a child feels useless, meaningless and they aren’t sure why they are doing something.

This might lend itself to the child of divorce who is shifted from place to place. Many times they feel useless, life has no meaning and confusion reigns.

Give the child of divorce meaning. Help them set viable goals and give them the means to obtain their goals. Encourage them in their progress by describing their success.

Help them feel wanted. Give them a sense of independence, not put upon as many kids of divorce who have to care for younger siblings feel. Help them to understand they are part of a family unit whether it is at home, church or school.

Unhealthy Self Esteem in Children

Unhealthy self esteem in children is something I have been thinking about for quite some time. Dr. John Roseman in his book, “Parenting By the Book” is what got my mind to really thinking seriously about this subject. By unhealthy self esteem I am talking about a high self esteem. You know the kid that thinks they are so special they deserve everything they want.

“If you love me you will keep my commandments” John 4:15 Jesus doesn’t tell us that we have to obey him. He doesn’t threaten us or reward us into obeying him. God doesn’t force us to believe the Christ was His son. Goodness knows He makes a strong case about it and with all the prophecies in the Old Testament how could we not? But still it is each person’s individual choice to believe or not.

Oswald Chamber in his book, “My Utmost for His Highest” says on the devotion for November 2nd, “God never insists on obedience.” God also never forces His will upon us. It is always our decision and we should want to do His will because we love Him. Also I think because when we truly love God we respect God and who He is.

The high self esteem concept could be the reason kids are so out of control today. Think about this, in the Bible it talks about in the end times how children will turn away from their parents. “Children will rebel against their parents…..” Mark 13:12 NIV Well, we certainly have kids turning away from their parents in our world today. Kids today are disobedient to parents, teachers, church and government and to God. But then again why shouldn’t they be? We have raised children with this self esteem concept. Schools and day cares tout that we should not destroy a child’s self esteem. Therapist and counselors work with parents all the time to help raise a child’s self esteem. Even in some churches we are careful not to do anything that might affect a child’s self esteem.

In raising their self esteem and keeping their little psychic’s in tact we have turned them into little beings and then adult beings where everything is about “ME”! “But I WANT that toy” says to many parents that they have to purchase the toy. Think about the cheating in school; the addiction to drugs and alcohol – “but it makes me feel good”. All of these issues are ultimately about what I WANT and about ME. Curse anyone else’s feelings – the world revolves around me.

What have we done as a society? We have raised an entire generation with entitlement issues. “But I am entitled to feel this way; to have what I want; I deserve to be rewarded.” Don’t you imagine Bernie Madoff said these things to himself when he stole all that money. Even after his arrest and sentencing his wife still thought she deserved to live in her mansion and live in the life style she was accustomed to living.

(Sorry I digress!!!)

Self worth, self respect and a healthy self esteem are all good and needed in our kids today.

Living, breathing, trusting and loving God is foreign to many of our children and teens today. Because to believe, to respect, to trust and to love God would no longer be about “ME”!

Hello World Again

I posted this message under a different blog name. As an after thought I decided to make this more personal than professional. The professional blog will come later and I’ll let you know when it happens and where to find it. In the mean time enjoy my personal perspective about children of divorce and DC4K, DivorceCare for Kids.

So here we go. “A blogging we will go. A blogging we will go. Hi Ho the dairy-o a blogging we will go.”    

I’ve decided it is time to start blogging about children of divorce. I wrote and developed DC4K. It is important for the religious world to learn about how they can help the child of divorce.

Many churches use DC4K, DivorceCare for Kids. DC4K is a 13-week video based and Christ centered program to help children heal from the devastation of the break up of their family unit.

DC4K uses games, art and craft projects, read aloud story and videos each week. Different learning styles are accommodated through the varied projects.

Churches that run DC4K are amazed by the healing these kids experience in such a short time. School teachers have noticed a difference in kid’s behaviors in kids who have attended DC4K. Sunday School teachers notice how kids are more attuned to the scriptures and pay attention to the bible stories after DC4K.

I developed an wrote the DC4K curriculum. I poured into it everything I had learned over 30 years in working with children of divorce. Many of the stories are based on my own children’s experience of growing up in a divorced home. Other I stories are gleaned from children’s experiences in a therapeutic  child care that I ran for many years.

Stay tuned. I believe you will be blessed.

Divorce Hurts the Kids

Divorce hit the American culture with a Bang in the seventies after Ronald Reagan signed the first no fault divorce law. Approximately a million children a year have experienced the divorce of their parents.

Now children are experiencing the separation of their co-habitating parents. Either way, a divorce or the separation of co-habitating parents, to the child it is the break up of their family unit. With it comes hurt, feelings of betrayal and confusion. 

For 1 in 3 children today in order to say “Hello” to one parent, they have to say “Goodbye” to the to the other parent …. over and over again for the rest of their lives.

These children wonder if they will ever fell normal again. Their world is a world of confusion and frustration. 

Elizabeth MarquardtBetween Two Worlds, research shows that children of divorce learn to
  • Worry about their stuff, because it is often lost in the constant traveling. Children of divorce tend to attach to their things
  • Wonder about religion and God, owing to the mixed message they often receive from their parents’ starkly different worlds
  • Become “chameleons”, because they have to figure out how to act in the different worlds
  • Become vigilant about parental moods; they learn to read body language very well
  • How to handle a parent’s subsequent remarriage and/or divorce or significant others that tend to move in and out

The hope for these children is the church and a relationship with Christ. Yet many of them are being left out or ignored by the church. 

Be a children’s minister that reaches out to these children. The blessings are rich. The work is satisfying and the hugs are phenomenal. 

Learn more at

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