Parenting After a Divorce: 7 Christian Tips

by Derek Hill · Print Print · Email Email

Divorce feels just like a funeral.  You feel like a piece of your flesh is being ripped away and the wound cuts deep.  Parenting after a divorce is a very hard process because of all of the emotions tearing at you.  Unfortunately, as bad as you may hurt, it is always the children who are affected the most.  I am almost done going through a divorce that I, myself, did not want.  However, it is crucial that I do a good job as a dad to keep instilling God’s love and my own love onto my children.  Let me say that if you are reading this now, my heart goes out to you.  I know what you are dealing with.  I pray that this article will showcase God’s love and how to shine that love on your precious little ones.  Always remember Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Abide in the Father

This first tip actually doesn’t involve the kids directly, but it must be the foundation of your life in order to love your kids with a Christ-like love.  It is imperative that you keep connected with the Father.

  • Don’t stop reading your Bible. 

  • Don’t stop praying. 

  • Don’t stop worshiping Him. 

If you disconnect from God, you will disconnect from your children.  When you are connected with God, you are connected with an overflowing source of life.  God will lead you and I through these crazy times of life.  It is those times when I remember the overwhelming sense of love that God has for me that I can also show the overwhelming sense of love I have for my children.

Keep Being a Dad/Mom

I know that I have struggled with depression through this trial, but I am still the dad.  I cannot checkout.  If my children are misbehaving, I still have to give them the punishment that fits the crime.  Children learn their boundaries by how we raise them and guide them.  If we checkout, they will learn to live life with no consequences or boundaries.  Imagine their lives as adults.  They will not do well and may very well get into trouble.  Stay firm as a parent.  Your children will see they are loved because you care enough to punish them when they are wrong.  They will also see they are loved when you reward them when they do good things.

One on One Time

My dad/mom really loves me

I have found that one on one time with my kids has been a real blessing to me and to them.  There is something in a child that says, “My dad/mom really loves me,” when you spend quality time with just that one child.  Think about the things that your children love to do and do those things with them.  My boy loves video games and playing outside.  That is what we do when we enjoy one another’s time together.  My little girl likes to pretend she is a puppy and I am the guy who buys her at the pet shop.  What a great way to show love.  By me choosing her (even if she is a puppy), she feels a genuine love come from me.  God chose me and you too!  What a great lesson I have learned through this!

Be Thoughtful

Think of memorable things that you can do with your kids every year.  Because I love my kids dearly I bought myself a pair of onesie pajamas (blue camouflage)!  Every weekend that I have them during autumn/winter we will always put on onesie pajamas and watch a movie and eat cheesy popcorn.  This is such a great time for all of us.  Here in September when it is still 90 degrees, my daughter wants to wear her onesie pajamas already!  Find something that your kids can look forward too, whether it is every month or once every season like me.

Respect Your Ex

I know how you feel about your ex-spouse, but the children don’t think like you and I.  Your kids love both of you.  It is really important that when your kids talk about your ex that you always reassure them that they have a great daddy/mommy.  It sounds backwards, but it is about your children and not you or I when these things come up.  If my kids talk about something they did with their mommy, I always tell them, “You have a really good mommy.”  I know their mom loves them and no matter how I feel about her, my thoughts won’t change that.  Always speak truth.  I know their mom loves them so I must express that to them.

Stay in Church

This is so important.  I will always love God, but I want my kids to love God too.  No matter how you are feeling (depressed, sad, mad, bitter, enraged), don’t stop going to church.  Your kids need to see a strong Christian man/woman.  They need to see that no matter what happens in life that God’s house is a house of love and worship and that it is a priority for you.  Your kids need to see you committed to gathering with the body of believers in His house.  Whatever is important to you, may very well be what is important to your children when they grow up.  If you drop church to go hang out at the bar on Sundays, you will be setting an example that may never be shaken.

Talk With Your Kids

Your children will have questions through a divorce and afterwards.  They will want to know things.  It is extremely important that you and I give “age appropriate” answers to them.  If you experienced infidelity from your spouse, you should not talk about that with your children until they are adults or possibly never.  This is definitely the hardest part of parenting because I know that when questions come around I sometimes get frustrated easily over my own feelings.  I never want my kids to lose their innocence to things earlier than necessary.  Your children deserve to know answers (some of them), but you really need to decide if an answer should be given now, later, or never.  Keep their innocence as long as possible.  The children are the biggest victims here.  When you decide to talk about certain issues, be honest with your kids.  Let them know that above all, this tragedy has happened because the Devil, himself, brought it on.  Satan is to be blamed ultimately.  The only reason anyone sins is because of the temptations brought on by Satan and his demons.  Let your children know that Satan will be dealt with too, by Jesus Christ our Savior!  Your children need to know that this world of pain is temporary and life eternal is worth every blood, sweat and tear that comes.  Keep Christ as the centerpiece of your strength.  Tell your kids whenever you have them that you love Jesus and that you love them too.

Conclusion

Parenting after a divorce is one of the hardest things you will ever do. Regardless, you are still Dad or Mom and your kids deserve the best of you in not-so-best of times. Honor God by loving your children through the divorce, even when it hurts. Don’t ever forget that you are a child of God and everything you do is a reflection to others. Live like you know God loves you and teach your children the same. God will bless you for your commitment to your children. I would love to hear any ideas you may have regarding this issue.  I know I am still learning as I go too.  God Bless you!

Resources:

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV)

YouTube video “Live Like That” by Sidewalk Prophets

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

JIMMY September 21, 2012 at 9:05 am

Grace and Peace from the Holy Spirit…Read God miracles working today…Parables of the muster seeds…Parables of the injured Soldier on the way to Jerusalem…Parables of an old lady gives her last copper that she haves for supper…Miracles is generate by a person Heart because everyone look at a person from the outside but everyone miss that God is speaking from the inside. Today, If you see an individual that need help, Take your heart to help what’s right from your heart and use that last penny that you have to treat that person. AMEN!!!

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Derek Hill September 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Right on Jimmy! Only God knows your heart. We need to have hearts of compassion for others. God bless!

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jen September 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm

good read

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Derek Hill September 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Thank you Jen. Thank you for stopping by WCWTK. Always feel free to stop by and read our daily articles. All praise to our heavenly Father!

In His Name Always,
Derek

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Robert Miller September 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Derek,

Thank you for sharing this with us. Although I myself am not the target audience for this article (only engaged at the moment) I still found it a worthwhile read. While I hope that my marriage will last (and after an eight year dating period I hope that we’ve worked out most of our differences), I know that sometimes the worst happens. If that moment comes, I will at least have some solid advice for handling the situation. Pray for the best, plan for the worst.

That being said, I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through all of this. You definitely seem to have a solid handle on the situation, but I imagine it’s still taking it’s toll on you. Just remember: If God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it. It might not be easy, but you obviously have a solid plan in place, which is probably more than most can say. I pray that happier days are ahead for you and your family. May God bless you all.

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Derek Hill September 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Thank you for such kindness Robert. It is true that divorce is not easy and the price paid is painstaking. The time away from my children is sometimes unbearable and depression creeps in. However, knowing that I stayed true to God through it all, I can say that God has blessed me in many ways through it. I have grown so close to God through this. Looking back I see certain events where His hand was covering me. I thank you again Robert and blessings upon you and your fiance. May you both keep God as the center-piece of your relationship always.

In His Name Always,
Derek

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Jack Wellman September 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Derek my friend. You have such good and godly advice and the part I especially liked it that you spoke from the heart and the advice here goes so much toward the benefit of the children and I know you, you have a heart for children. What a precious work that comes as sincerly as I have seen you write here brother. You just have so much to help us all see more clearly and I am ever-learning from you.

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Derek Hill September 22, 2012 at 9:04 am

Thank you brother for such kindness. I hope any pray that people out there who are going through a divorce or have gone through one will really see that the kids need love from both parents more then ever. The kids should never have to share mom one day and then dad the next, but since that is always the case, it is important that we dads and moms step up and do the job right. Do it with God’s help. All the praise goes to God, for He can sustain anyone through any trial. He is awesome and I am learning to love Him more every day! God bless you brother!

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Myrna September 22, 2012 at 10:25 am

You are 100% correct I am still mom and I want the best for my boys, but what do you do when your children tell you they had good time with their dad and his girlfriend? I know God has a plan for my life and He wants the best for me and my children, but right now I don’t see it.

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Derek Hill September 22, 2012 at 10:54 am

Hello Myrna. That is a good question. When I have struggled with this, I always go to God in prayer and tell Him my concerns. What God has shown me is actually thankfulness. I am really thankful that my kids have fun with their mom and her boyfriend. I am thankful that he treats my children good and isn’t abusive to them. I know that my wife doesn’t want to be with me and I can’t change that. All I can do is be thankful for what I have. I love my kids and I am thankful for them. Allow God to heal your heart and help you learn to be as thankful as possible. Thank you for your thoughts on this and blessings on you and your children.

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'Keji Bickersteth October 14, 2012 at 1:06 am

Dear Derek,

Many thanks for this great piece, I am a seperated mother of one and feel the worst for my ex, but I have learnt something new and life saving this day and I will hold on to it, and also put it into practice, I just realised when I speak ill of my ex to our son, am only hurting him( our son)because he does not share the same view and relationship we have.

God bless you greatly and increase your faith.

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Derek Hill October 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Thank you Keji. I agree that is hard to separate how you feel towards your ex and still promote how good of a father/mother your ex is to your children. You are absolutely right that the children don’t share the views that we do and it is so important not to hinder their relationship with their father/mother. Blessings upon you Keji.

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Ms Micah 6:8 April 5, 2013 at 11:52 am

Derek – thank you for your articles. They are an inspiration. I am particularly interested in your recommendations for handling the depression that as you said, “creeps” in when your children are away. My ex husband divorced me and my 3 toddlers but remains very heavily involved in their lives. When they are with him, I feel so alone, rejected and depressed and can’t see the good in having these tiny children being shuttled back and forth every other weekend. Where is God’s plan in that?? How can I stay true to God during such painful times?

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Derek Hill April 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Ms Micah, thank you for your comment. My heart truly goes out to you. Depression is something that sometimes we can’t shake on our own. Even when we pray and search the Bible, depression may linger. The important thing when dealing with depression is to know that it doesn’t last forever and that God will always bring you through it. When you don’t have your children I recommend you spending time with God in prayer and in the Word. Spend some time with some of your girlfriends too. I am indebted to one of my dear brothers-in-Christ. He has let me vent hundreds of times and he has been like Christ to me the entire time. I also recommend counseling. I went through some counseling and it was great. Just make sure it is a Christian counselor, as they have a much different foundation then most secular ones. Stay strong Ms. Micah. I know it is hard, but the trips every weekend are worth it because your kids love their dad too. I know my kids love their mom and I have come to terms with that. I always encourage them to have a great time with her when they leave. I hope this helps. Please feel free to keep asking questions. I will keep answering them. God bless you!

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Ms. D January 14, 2016 at 5:53 pm

I appreciate you for writing these helpful tips, and being courageous and willing to share divorce transition support in this way. You have encouraged me by sharing these tips. Thank you and God bless you.

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Gary Hughes January 22, 2016 at 8:32 pm

Derek,

I too, have gone thru a divorce that I did not want. I have hung to verses such as Romans 8:28, 1 Peter 1:6,7, an many more. You are right, God must remain central in your life and also in the life of your children. I must ask, did you ever ask God to change your ex-wife’s heart? I ask that everyday. We still need to show the love that the Bible describes in 1 Corinthians 13. Thank you for sharing your insight and love with us.

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Elaine Crowder May 21, 2016 at 4:30 am

My heart and prayers go out to you and your family.I am a Christian mother to my 38 year old married son,who was having arguments right through his 4 year marriage, and they lived together on and off for 10 years before marrying.He as a non believer plays in a worldly band and has fallen??in love with one of the female singers.His wife has thrown him out and because of finances he is living in his car.He sees his two year old son several times through the week. All my praying friends are praying for God’s miracle that both my son and his wife,(from a new age back ground) will firstly come to know Our Heavenly Father,and that their marriage and family would be restored after repenting and forgiveness.I do not feel warm feelings towards the single female singer who knew my son was married and had a two year old son, but still encouraged my son, whom I have been extremely hurt and angry with and I have need to pray for God’s forgiveness, and try to be as loving as possible when my son and grandson visit, as I try to make it fun for them. I have also been praying that the singer(mountain) be cast into the sea, and as far away from my son, and that my son would have his eyes opened to what he is doing, .please advise me?

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Jack Wellman May 21, 2016 at 11:09 am

Thank you Elaine. All you can do is pray for his eyes to be opened. That’s all you can do. I will join you in this. Yes, this is a great prayer for God to open his eyes.

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Innocent September 4, 2016 at 4:47 am

Hi Derek!
I’m really uplifted with this writing and advises of yours. I just separated with my wife about 3 months ago, and she’s with our daughter who’s a year and one month now. Unfortunately, the circumstances in which we separated, I can’t even see my baby for now. My heart bleeds because of her absence.
Three months after our wedding, my wife was found to be HIV positive at her first antenatal visit. I was confused, scared and speechless. Had to screen myself severally thinking I’m the one that infected her, incidentally I’m negative. I tried encouraging her to see how we could manage the situation, because I felt that blame game wouldn’t be of any use. Few months afterwards, she begun making life miserable for me. She wanted us to be making love as nothing happened, which I don’t yield to because of the fear. So, every time I go out, it’s all about I’m with other ladies. It was such frustrating period of marriage. I tried enduring because of my baby, but the mother was getting more unreasonable and aggressive. I had wanted us to separate amicably because of the baby, but she refused, saying “if she can’t have me, no other woman would”. She took me to the state social welfare department, who agreed for us to go home and settle traditionally. When we got home, she absconded with the baby, in connivance with her family members as I learnt later. Because they didn’t want people to come hear of her HIV status.
At the moment, I’m contemplating on going to report to the traditional ruler of her community and may proceed to the court, if it’s not resolved at that level. I don’t need her back, just that I need access to my baby so as to play own role in her life.
Please I need advice. Thank you and God bless you.

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