Because there is so much involved in teaching parents how to disciple their children in a divorce situation, I am breaking it up over 2 blog entries. This whole area is critical, and I believe it must be addressed by the church from a cross centered perspective that oozes with grace.
Experience showed me that for my kids losing their other parent through divorce was worse than losing him to death. With death there is finality and closure, but with divorce that wound is rubbed with sandpaper all the time. The kids develop two lives, two sets of friends, two sets of everything!
Kids of divorce don’t have to be troubled, disobedient, rebellious or depressed. Many are placed on psychotropic medications to help them deal with all the new issues in their lives, and I think that is a shame. Children who have divorced parents do face many challenges and difficulties but they are nothing that God is unaware of. 1 Cor. 10:13 still applies to situations of divorce.
What helps the children the most is parents who are equipped to minister to them. Sadly, our experience at Reigning Grace Counseling Ministries has been that most parents who want help of any kind for their children want to drop them off at the door and have us fix them. That does not fly with us. We believe that the parent is the best possible one to minister to their child, even in such a circumstance. This is beneficial on many fronts-
It helps the parent to focus on someone other than themselves during a devastating time in their own life. As they learn to respond biblically they are teaching and modeling it for their children.
The parent is the one the child spends the majority of their time with, and an equipped parent is able to address situations on an ongoing basis with their child where I would only meet with them for 1 hour a week. I also think that the child does not need another stranger in their life at this time, telling them what to do and how to act.
So our approach at RGCM is to teach the parent how to minister to their child. We would rather spend our time teaching the parent because we are essentially helping both at once. The parent learns biblical truth and how to apply it’s truths to their life and then they will disciple their child.
The goal of life is to glorify God. 2 Cor 5:9. In spite of the deep emotions running through the child at this time of their life, it is still possible and even expected that the child would respond in a way that glorifies God. This means the parent has to also live this way because the child will learn by example and watching the responses of his or her parent. I don’t want to give the illusion that emotions are discarded because they cannot be, however they can be run through the grid of the Holy Spirit and responded to biblically. As the child sees the parent living this way faith, trust and confidence in God are instilled.
The parent is taught how to show their child to handle fear in way that glorifies God. There are certainly many things to be fearful of when a family blows apart from a practical perspective. Instilling in the child the truth that God is the only One who will never leave them, and is always faithful to care for His own is crucial. The parent can remind their child of the principles of living without fear in the midst of fearful times much better than I as a counselor could once a week….
Labels: Divorce, Parenting