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A House Divided

Lori Haynes Niles

These stages of grief are normal. Children need the freedom to talk about their feelings and thoughts. Give them guidance in how to make good and healthy decisions even when their feelings are spinning out of control. Just as kids experiencing the death of a parent often ask some profoundly spiritual questions, children experiencing divorce also have questions. Many kids wonder "Where is God when I'm hurting?" and "If God can do anything, why didn't God stop this from happening?"

Support groups, such as Linda Sibley's Confident Kids groups, can help children ponder these questions in a non-threatening environment while learning valuable life skills that may be missing. Confident Kids groups require that as a child meets with others to share her experiences, at least one parent attends a separate adult group. That way kids and adults can learn skills to build healthy new family units. This also has two primary benefits for the parent. First, it offers parents the opportunity to feel as though they're focusing on something positive for their children's healing. And second, it gives caretaking parents a chance to find their bearings while adjusting to their new marital status.

A small group opportunity for children in the process of divorce recovery is best offered at a time that doesn't single out children from other ongoing ministries they might be involved in, such as Sunday school or midweek programs. Instead, make the opportunity available when other programs aren't competing for kids' attention.

Single-Parent Families' Needs

While not all single-parent families are born from divorce, most single-parent families experience similar needs. As kids are trying to find their balance in this new world, parents are trying to cope with a laundry list of day-to-day issues. These issues fall into four main categories: children, vehicles, households, and finances.

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