This article accompanies Tish’s story of becoming a single parent. Before looking at the ‘how to’ care for a single parent family it’s very important to consider how it might feel to be a single mum or dad. You can read Tish’s story HERE.
It’s worth acknowledging that some people find divorce difficult, but remember that God hates sin, NOT the sinner. He hates divorce because of the pain and emotional damage that it brings but He loves the people; the divorcees and the children in the broken home.
I have heard of some people being asked to leave their Church when they get divorced, this to me is shocking but it only indicates how fearful some are of it happening to them, and how much we need to pray for them to have a clearer understanding of what Jesus feels about the situation.
How to support – pointers for churches and individuals:
- Take the children out for a day so that the single parent gets some down time – they can easily go for months without a break.
- Demonstrate healthy relationships so the children can observe healthy family activity, what it means to disagree and still be OK together and how a loving healthy relationship functions.
- If there is more than one child, help the single parent to arrange quality time with each child individually by occupy the other siblings.
- Be a sounding board, it is a lonely thing to bring a family up alone. It is hard trying to discipline on your own. Or there are times when you feel as if you never get a proper conversation for months, you are always telling someone off or saying “no”. Organise to take the parent out for a treat and arrange baby sitters too – it is hard to ask for help again and again and again!
- Please don’t say things to any children like: “take good care of your mum (or dad). A child shouldn’t be responsible for or take care of the parent!
- Single parents often feel really guilty for being what they are and it is wonderful to know that God still loves them regardless of what they have done. Ask yourself: do my words and actions demonstrate God’s love?
- Offer to help do handy things / repairs on the house, hanging shelves etc.
- Invite them to be part of your Christmas, Easter or other holiday activities.
Tish L 2014