Do you have a kid from a single-parent home in a two-parent family?
Linda Ranson Jacobs
Linda Ranson Jacobs is a speaker and child care expert, who works with single parents, children, and teenagers. She has been both divorced and widowed. Linda is the creator and developer of DivorceCare for Kids, a weekly program helping children whose parents are separated or divorced. Websites: https://blog.dc4k.org, https://www.dc4k.org, https://www.GriefShare.org, https://www.DivorceCare.org, https://www.Singleandparenting.org
What…… huh…. did you read that correctly? A single-parent kid in a two-parent home? How can that be?
Most of us automatically assume a two-parent family is comprised of the original birth parents. No longer true. According to AECF.org thirty-four percent of all kids in the US are in a single parent home. However, that doesn’t count the single parent kids being raised in a two-parent blended family home. (In the nineties the US Census Bureau quit counting blended families and now incorporates them into two-parent homes.) However, the kid from a divorced home still has issues from the divorce even though the child is now in a two-parent home.
As children’s ministers many times the other two parents are forgotten people. These other people will still be an influence on the children. Sometimes it might not be a good influence and you may be left to deal with the consequences of explaining Christian principles as you read stories from the Bible.
A true picture of a blending family
One time I was interviewing five children from a blending family. It was dizzying to listen to them. I’d ask a question and there would be five different answers with each child trying to out talk the other child. Here is the schedule this family follows.
(Names have of children have been changed)
· Joey and Isabella visit their mom on the 1st and 3rd weekends and every other Wednesday
· Anna and Collin visit their dad 2nd and 4th weekend and every other Thursday on the weeks opposite of when Joey and Isabella go midweek.
· All 4 kids worry about their step-sibling Christopher while they are gone
· Isabella worries that Anna is going to “touch” her stuff
· Collin worries that Joey is going to ride his bike even though he has told him not to
· Joey gets very angry when he comes back and Collin has sat on his bed
· Anna has told the younger Isabella she cannot wear her make up but Isabella doesn’t listen
· They shouted out angry tirades about the foods they liked but the other kids didn’t like. They never got to eat what they liked
· They all loved their own parent but a couple of kids weren’t really sure they loved the “step”
· Joey and Isabella also had to deal with another stepparent since their mom had remarried
It will take years for each child to acclimate successfully into this family menagerie.
What you can do
· Help parents to understand while they are in love, the children are not
· Relate to parents that in the beginning kids seem to be excited about the new marriage
· Tell the parents not make their children “share” everything
· Encourage parents to let each child be their own person
· Help the parents create a safe home and encourage them to tell the children that they, the parents, are the safe keepers of this new home
Above all else, pray for these families. Use stories from the Bible about non-traditional homes so these kids can connect to people in the Bible. I mean really how many two-parent homes on the corner lot in the suburbs do you read about in the Bible?