Saturday, January 12, 2013

Kids Often Lose Their Church Network in the Divorce

The Institute for American Values will soon release an excellent report, "Does the Shape of Families Shape Faith?" by Elizabeth Marquardt, Amy Zeitlow, and Charles E. Stokes.

This study of the religious effects of divorce on kids suggested to me a connection to another effect of divorce on kids.

Researchers have long noted that many divorced kids not only lose all connection with their fathers, but also with their father’s whole side of the family.  The keenest loss is of their paternal grandparents, who are usually a huge part of a child’s support network.   

In the same way, if children lose their religious community in the divorce, they lose one of the richest sources of general support that our society offers.  They not only lose the small number of people in the church they might have had close personal ties to; divorced kids often lose the much larger network of weak ties that a congregation gives them, the adults who take some interest in their lives and connect them to many other networks of information and support.


ceemac said...

I recall a DCE explaining about 20 years ago that at the church she served the Wednesday evening "Logos" program was especially important for children of divorce. They could be there consistently on Wednesday evening but at best only 50% of Sunday mornings.

gruntled said...

One of the strong findings of this report, which Marquardt has pressed before, is that most divorced kids who grew up in a church reported that no one from the church talked to them about how they were handling the divorce.

Alex said...

One of the most amazing experiences I've had in the church was a divorced family who ALL stayed in the church. Mom, mom's new husband, dad and dad's new wife all sat in the same pew with the kids. It must have been awkward for the adults, but it was much, much better for the kids.

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