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How Important Is It for Kids of Divorce to Get Their Emotional Bucket Filled?

Issues Kids Deal With / Leadership //

Many of us in the children’s ministry have often worried about children of divorce and whether their emotional needs are being met. Often we ask,

  1. How do they cope living in two homes?
  2. How do they get their emotional needs met when their parents are stressed to the max or still fighting and warring over their “things”?

Children in divorced homes may need more help than children in other homes.

  • We know children need empathy during this time.
  • They need people outside the home or both homes that will understand what they are experiencing.
  • They need connections with important people in their lives. When the parent is under stress or their parents are still warring over the divorce, kids need other people like grandparents and children’s minister or volunteers at church to stand in the gap.
  • If the parents have been divorced for some time, they may have lapsed into getting their own emotional needs met. If the teachers at school aren’t calling on a regular basis to report unruly behavior, many parents think the kids are okay.
  • Children of divorce need strong Christian relationships that will mentor them and model emotionally healthy relationships.
  • They need caring people who will ask them questions; respond to their needs and shower them with positive attention.

For the child’s long-term survival they must have their emotional needs met. Their emotional buckets need to be filled and filled often with

  • Loving comments
  • Understanding
  • Compassionate connections
  • And God’s word

These children need to know that God loves them unconditionally. They need to understand a heavenly Father’s love for them and a Father who will forever love them and never forsake them. They need Christ as their personal Savior and as one little kid told me,

Jesus is my BFF.”

Another one said,

“I tell Jesus I love him everyday!”

Parents try to fill their emotional buckets with things

Unfortunately many of these children have parents that simply don’t understand their emotional needs. They tend to try and buy their children’s attention. Many try to out buy the other parent and thus ensues a war of materialistic inventory for each home. Children are smart and they will learn very quickly to play one parent against the other to get the material things they want. To these children the world is something to be bought. Unfortunately their emotional buckets stay empty.

If we want the children of divorce to have their emotional needs met

  • We need to help the single parent and those ministering to the children.
  • We need to help adults understand the importance of filling each child’s emotional bucket so these kids will grow into emotionally healthy and compassionate adults.

These are the children who will further the Kingdom because they will have experienced a family crisis early on and will have survived. They will understand family dysfunction and the need for Christ in every child’s life.

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About the Author

Linda has been a children’s ministry director, developed DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids, dc4k.org), operated a therapeutic child care, and has extensive experience at successfully accommodating challenging behaviors. She currently serves as the DC4K Ambassador and Professional blogger at http://blog.dc4k.org.