Perhaps if those of us in the religious realm could buy into adverse childhood experiences, we could develop “trauma-informed churches.” We could provide church families to support children while their own families are falling apart.
- Make punitive discipline policies loving and positive. When a child is out of control, some churches request the child not come back for two weeks. The thinking behind this is that the parents need to help the child get under control. Trouble is, many are single parents, and they are out of control themselves. How can they help the child?
- Develop relationships with children. Each child should have at least one person on the child’s team on whom the child can rely on to be there. In large churches that house a hundred kids in one group, this may be a challenge, but I hope you understand the importance of relationship building. If a child comes to church and doesn’t connect with at least one adult on a regular basis, how can we ever expect the child to come to a loving relationship with Jesus Christ?
- Grandparent-like people can step up and support the children through tough times. In my own church, my husband and I have adopted a couple of little girls as our grandkids. Their grandmother passed away a couple of years ago, and some of our grandkids live far away in another state. It is a win-win for all of us.
Set up support groups that can help children become resilient. Children can only be resilient when they have a support system.
“Resilience is attained and maintained through a community of caring adults that can provide at-risk children and their parents with safe, stable and nurturing relationships. It is through attunement with a safe adult that children become resilient.”
This is only the start of developing trauma-informed churches. A start that unfortunately is necessary in our world today.
This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on September 18, 2014.
DC4K blog posts are great for training children’s leaders and volunteers, and they are free. Subscribe now.
Want to learn more about how to start a DivorceCare for Kids group for the hurting children in your community?
Did you know DC4K blog articles are on Pinterest? Divorce & Kids, Children’s Pastors, Single Parents, they’re all there.
Follow dc4kLinda on Twitter.
This article originally appeared here.