lindaransonjacobs

Personal perspective and research about the child of divorce

Tag: kidmin

A New Year and a New You

“My soul thirst for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:2

The New Year is upon us. Have you thought about 2013 and how it is going to be better than last year? Some of you have been so busy this past year that without realizing it at the time, you might have gotten discouraged. Now you face 2013 with a sense of dread.

It might be because a single parent life is busy, hectic and down right tiring. That alarm clock sounds too loud and too early each morning. You stumble out of bed in a daze and jump right into the day’s activity. You think, “Oh God, I know I need to spend some time with you but I’ll do it tonight.”

The evening comes and goes in a blur of activity. You fall into bed and you try to talk to God or you open your Bible and try to read His word but before you know it that crazy alarm clock is sounding again. It is the call to a new day. You start over vowing that today will be better, calmer and you’ll be more in control.

When are you going to meet with God?

When are you going to be fed?

When are your spiritual needs going to come first before the kids, the job, your extended family, church and other responsibilities?

When nothing quenches that aching in your soul and you thirst for God’s living word is when. You can go anytime to meet with God but you have to take the responsibility of doing it. That means purposely setting the time aside. It means making an appointment to meet with God. How about before you eat lunch? How about before you start the car in the parking lot of where you work?

Everyday can be better than yesterday when you live it through the living Word. Start today to create a new you that will be full of joy and one who experiences the mercies of the Lord each day. There will be days of frustration. There may be grief and trauma that comes into your life this next year. But there is nothing that can keep you from the mercies of the Lord except you.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22

Blessings in this new year.
Linda Ranson Jacobs

Ministering to Kids of Divorce at Christmas

Are you a children’s minister or know a children’s minister? Here is the link to a blog I wrote, “Ministering to Kids of Divorce at Christmas” on the Imagine Family Ministry site.

http://www.imaginefamilyministries.com/1/post/2012/12/ministering-to-kids-of-divorce-at-christmastime.html

Blessings as you minister to children of divorce all year long.

Exuberant Kids at Christmas

Linda Ranson Jacobs
http://www.dc4k.org

“Guess what? On Christmas Day my sister and me get to open our presents at mom’s house. Then I get to go to my dad’s house and he said he has a lot of presents for me. After we open presents at Dad’s then we are going to grandma’s house and I get to open more presents there. Presents, presents, presents. I must be the luckiest kid of all. I love Christmas!”

Whew! That sounds like an exciting and very busy day for a child. It also sounds like a day in which the baby Jesus gets left out. As a children’s minister don’t you worry about the true meaning of Christmas and this child? The birth of our Savior doesn’t seem to be amongst all the presents.

Down through the years as I’ve worked with children of divorce I’ve noticed that Christmas is either a very depressing time. Or it is one hyped up by the onslaught of gifts from guilty divorced parents trying to soothe their guilt. It is rare to find a single parent that has developed the ability to create normal holiday times for the children.

For some children holidays are painful reminders of how their family life used to be. Or they might be the children who have lived in two homes for years but something might have happened the past year to bring the hurts back to the forefront. This could be a new the announcement of a pending marriage of a parent or even the birth of a half sibling.

For these children church leaders need to pray for and with the child. It is a mistake to ignore the issues or to bury them. It is also a mistake to try and “happy up” a child just because it is Christmas. Saying something like,

            “Oh come on, cheer up. It’s Christmas”

will only serve to drive the child deeper into self-doubt and confusion.

Allow the child to have a safe place to express what is bothering him or her. Assure the child that no matter what is happening that there is a Savior who will walk beside them. From that you can talk about the baby Jesus and why we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Empathy and understanding will help the child get through the holidays.

Many children of divorce will use Christmas to manipulate their guilty and sometimes warring parents to get what they want. For the child that is into how many gifts they are going to get, join in the excitement. Use pointed questions to open the door to the real meaning of Christmas.

An example might be,

            “Oh my, you sure are excited about all those presents. What are you going to do             with all of them?”

Gradually turn the conversation toward the most important gift of all, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It might be that the child has never really heard or understood why we celebrate Christmas.

Some children may only come every other Sunday so it will be hard to get them involved in celebrating Christmas.

It might mean you

  • Send a special Christmas card addressed to each child in the family wishing them a Merry Christmas
  • Mail an invitation announcing any Christmas activities at church
  • Find a willing volunteer to give them a call and wish them a Merry Christmas
  • Find out if they have enough to eat during the holidays and take food in for a Christmas dinner. Include some special treats for the kids
  • Explore the family’s situation to see if the single parent they live with has any extra funds to purchase something for their children at Christmas. Perhaps special gifts could be donated and taken to the house for Christmas.
  • Provide a way for the children to purchase or make a special gift for the parent they live with or even for both parents.

Children in single parent homes don’t have the ability for one parent to take them shopping to buy a present for the other parent. And many won’t want to ask the parent they live with to give them money and take them shopping for the other parent.

Just a few extra things will help the child of divorce survive the holidays and learn about the true meaning of Christmas. If you are too busy then find someone who will take on ministering to the child of divorce at Christmas.

Written for Imagine Ministries, Jill Waltz www.imagineministries.org

Linda Ranson Jacobs ljacobs@hlp4.com
DC4K Ambassador www.dc4k.org
ljacobs@dc4k.org

© 2012 by the author

This publication is protected under U.S. Copyright laws [© Linda Ranson Jacobs, 2012]  However, it is also a ministry to those who need it. While you may pass along this article freely, please check before reprinting anything in another publication. In most cases, all she requires is proper credit.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Nothing in this or other emails or materials from Linda Ranson Jacobs should be considered as psychological or legal advice. Linda is not a psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, or lawyer. These suggestions are simply suggestions and not guaranteed solutions to your particular problems. Linda offers this information because she was a single mom for years and ran a child care where the majority of her children were from single parent families. She offers support, encouragement, and suggestions to help you succeed as a single parent.

Children of Divorce and Church Services

Recently my friend Tiffany Crawford posted something on her blog that got me to thinking yet again about a controversial subject. (http://tiffanycrawford.org/2012/11/06/charismatic-churches-use-military-tactics/)

Maybe this subject is not controversial to anyone but me but that is probably because I’m one of the few people in children’s ministry and church work that thinks often about the child of divorce. The controversy is children’s church versus keeping children in big church, grown up church or simply worship service whatever you want to call it.

I am opposed to all the separating we do in churches today. It seems as though when a family comes to church the minute they enter the door everyone goes a different direction. While this might not be that big of an issue for two-parent families it can be a HUGE issue for single parent families. And I suspect it could be a big deal for two-parent families if they stopped to think about it.

I understand parents wanting their kids to attend children’s church because they want their children to have biblical concepts presented to them on their developmental level. And I understand parents want to worship and hear what is going one without being pestered or bothered by the children. However, I think kids should be in the church service with the parents at least occasionally; say at least once a month.

When my daughter was deployed to Afghanistan and I was living in their house helping with the grandchildren the kids attended church with me and my husband. They could have opted to go to the children’s departments but they chose to stay with us.

During the church service they played. They whispered. They dug in my purse for gum. They wrote on any paper they could find. But they also watched. They watched us pray. They watched me take notes and agree and sometimes disagree with the pastor. They watched us sing and worship. They watched Papa Bruce shake hands with others while he had his Bible tucked under his arm.

Then we saw it. We saw the 3 yr. old tuck his little notebook under his arm and walk around sticking out his little hand to shake hands with others. He was imitating his Papa Bruce. It was a blessing to behold.

We saw the 8 year old taking notes. We saw the teen slumping and pretending to not pay attention but we heard his conversation later in the week at the dinner table and while we were riding in the car together. He was hearing and getting it.

Children in single parent families need to be attuned to what is happening with their single parent regarding church and religion. These kids are exposed to two different homes and sometimes different religions.

I suspect my grandchildren didn’t want to be separated from me because I was a primary care giver during a stressful time in their lives. I was a connection to mom. They depended on me for emotional stability; for nurturing and for a lot of hugs and kisses.

The same holds true for children living with one parent. They need the physical presence of their parent with them in this building called a church. They need those few minutes a week or a month where they can connect with that parent with something that is bigger than their problems; bigger than their family issues and just plain bigger than them. They need church family.

I realize there are many that will vehemently disagree with me. That’s cool. All I ask is that you think about the child of divorce and the stress you might be adding to their lives when you separate them once again from their parent and from their siblings.

“All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace.” Isaiah 54:13 (NIV)

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.

http://www.dc4k.org

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 http://www.dc4k.org

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