The infamous day of “love” is coming up. You know the one I’m talking about: Valentine’s Day. How Valentine’s Day affects kids and divorced parents is an interesting question.
A lot of how it affects kids and parents depends on where the parents are in the divorce process.
If the parents are recently divorced, still healing and not involved in another relationship, then Valentine’s Day can be hurtful. It can remind them about what they used to have or what they lost recently. Their minds might go back to previous Valentine’s Days when they were in love and received special cards, chocolates and flowers.
When the parents are hurting, the children know it. They might be inclined to creep around quietly that day. They might try to take the parent’s mind off the day or try to fill the void by creating Valentine’s Day cards—not just one card but several cards. The children may do extra things, such as fixing dinner, washing the dishes or just sitting by the parents.
If the parents are involved in a new relationship, they may be extra giddy and exhibiting “being in love.” In other words, they might be acting like teenagers. This also affects the children because they don’t know how to handle their parent being in love with someone other than their other parent.
What to do and not do
- Provide opportunities and supplies for children to make Valentine’s Day cards for both parents.
- Host a dine-out evening for single parents and their children at a local restaurant.
- Host a “Single Parents’ Night Out” and provide free babysitting on Valentine’s Day night.
- Provide the special Valentine’s Day Father’s Love Letter to each single parent. (There is now beautiful video of this special love letter.)
- Send Valentine’s Day cards from the church staff to all the single parents.
- Send Valentine’s Day cards to the children in single-parent homes.
- Do not ask the single parents in your church to serve the meal at the annual church Valentine’s Day dinner. (This actually happened at one church where I was a member.)
- Do not ask the single parents to serve in the nursery on Valentine’s Day night. Just because they are single doesn’t mean they don’t have plans (or a person to celebrate with).
At one church I went to several years ago, we started a tradition of inviting all of our single parents and children to dinner at a local restaurant on Valentine’s Day. The first time we did this, we had 28 people attend. I figured we’d eat, visit a bi, and maybe spend an hour at the restaurant. Oh my, these people were so hungry for fellowship that after two and half hours, I had to ask them to leave.
The single dads stepped up and took care of the little ones, so the single moms could eat. The teens visited with the other parents. I got to hold a teeny, tiny baby the entire evening. One single dad secretly paid for any single mom who couldn’t afford to eat out with her kids. One mom said she had been very depressed thinking about Valentine’s Day coming up, but when she heard about our dinner, she actually found herself getting excited about this special event.
Get creative. Even if you do something the Sunday after Valentine’s Day, it will be OK because you will be telling the children and parents that you remember them. Above all, remind them of God’s love for them. He loves all of us so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for us.
This article originally appeared here.