Everyone is affected by divorce in some way…maybe your own parents, your own marriage, your children or others in your family. The emotions and grief that go along with a separation are deep and painful and are unique to every situation. My own story was affected by divorce when as an adult; my parents decided they would no longer be married. I was married myself with two little girls. It was so painful and confusing. What I soon discovered was that the implications from one divorce continued to have a ripple effect on the lives around the couple for a really long time. The effects of divorce are far reaching and have many layers. The effects of divorce on children show up in behavior, relationship and discipleship.
When my kids were 5, 7, and 9 I was asked to facilitate a course at our church called “Becoming a Love and Logic Parent.” I honestly felt like I had a parenting paradigm that worked for our family. I had read many, many books and attended seminars on parenting. I was content with how things were going in our family. In order to teach the class, I had to learn the techniques and tools. So, I went to a class offered at my kids’ school and listened to a bunch of CD’s and read the books. As I was learning the tools, I practiced using them on my own kids and it radically changed our family. My kids became more responsible, respectful and fun to be around. I became less stressed and had a great reduction in my anxiety level. And, in all honesty, I also became more fun to be around.
I have been facilitating Love and Logic groups and classes for the past 5 years. It has been so great to see families changed as they use the tools that they learn. On the first night of class I have the parents and educators share verbally and written what they are looking to gain from the information. One issue that is never stated out loud but shows up on more than half of the written forms is the issue of marriage and divorce. Parenting issues is one of the leading causes of divorce. Disagreements about what to do with the children are VERY common in a marriage. These disagreements grow in intensity through a divorce.
It has been requested many times for specific teaching on how to navigate parenting after a divorce. I have done what I can to apply the fundamentals of Love and Logic to specific situations. But I haven’t been able to holistically address the issue of helping kids cope with divorce. I had one divorced couple attend one of my classes together and each night went out to coffee to discuss how to apply the tools with their children. This was so good for those kids. However, I know that isn’t always possible…actually it rarely is. I recently came across a webinar from www.loveandlogic.com called “Love and Logic: Helping Kids Cope with Divorce.” It was a two hour teaching by Dr. Charles Fay with a workbook that went along with it. Honestly, it was so good. The teachings will help me help others as they navigate parenting through a divorce. It’s also a great resource that I can direct people towards.
One of the ripple effects that I see in kids who are walking through a divorce is that their discipleship is put on hold. I understand the feelings of needing to focus on survival through a hard time and things like discipline and discipleship take a back seat. However, the first point Dr. Fay makes is that kids need an anchor of loving discipline. I would add that they need the anchor of loving discipleship at the same time. I love the imagery of the word anchor that he uses. An anchor holds you steady and safe. An anchor is even more important during a storm!! Another statement he makes is “stay rooted in your core values.” Rooted is another great imagery. Trees need roots to grow big and strong. In a storm, the roots are even more important to keep a tree from blowing over.
If your family is experiencing the ripple effects of a divorce I urge you to keep your eyes on Jesus and focus on your relationship with God. Find support in your church community. Your relationship with God will give you strength, peace, discernment, love, understanding and joy as you walk through the hard times. Children can hold onto God to find all that he promises. I recommend prioritizing placing your children in environments (at home and at church) where they can grow in their love of Jesus. I also highly recommend this webinar. I really believe it will help in your situation. I know that it will help me as I walk alongside families as they discipline and disciple their children through rough situations.
** Love and Logic did not compensate me for this recommendation.