Home Children's Ministry Leaders Articles for Children's Ministry Leaders Today’s Kids Are Experiencing a World Full of Trauma. Is Your Church...

Today’s Kids Are Experiencing a World Full of Trauma. Is Your Church Trauma-Informed?

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.

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Linda Ranson Jacobs is one of the forefront leaders in the areas of children and divorce and single-parent family needs. Having been both divorced and widowed, Linda was a single mom who learned firsthand the emotional and support needs of broken families, and she developed a passion to help hurting families. As a children’s ministry director, children’s program developer, speaker, author, trainer, and therapeutic child care center owner, Linda has assisted countless single-parent families and their children. In 2004, Linda created and developed the DivorceCare for Kids program, a biblically based, Christ-centered ministry tool designed to bring healing, comfort, and coping and communication skills to children of divorce. Local churches use this lay-led, 13-week program to launch a children’s divorce recovery ministry in their church and community.