Preacher’s Kids Have Issues

Charity M. Walker-Byers wrote an article titled, “How to Help a Preacher’s Kid” (ChristianStandard). After talking to numerous ministry kids, the following emerged as their biggest issues:

“I don’t measure up to what’s expected of me.” Most preacher’s kids feel pressure to meet a very high standard and have concluded they will never achieve it. The assumption is that their parents are unbelievably holy. PKs are acutely aware of their own imperfections and often become discouraged and suffer from an internalized sense of low self-esteem.

“I’m not sure it’s real.” The children of ministry families often struggle to find their own faith. They know their parents’ faith is real, but are often afraid to voice their doubts and uncertainty about the reality of God. These unspoken doubts are driven inward, and consequently are rarely explored and understood. Doubting PKs struggle with their identities, fearing they aren’t really believers.

“I don’t fit in.” Acceptance is a primary issue for any child or adolescent, yet it is often more acute for PKs. They desire to fit into their family and their peer group, but often believe the two are incompatible. They try desperately to be fully accepted at school and in the family, but often feel they aren’t accepted in either setting.

“I think God is disappointed in me.” Guilt and shame plague many preacher’s kids. They have a strong performance base to their self-understanding and haven’t learned grace personally. They assume their misbehavior, sin, or shortcomings put a frown on God’s face. Insecurity sneaks into their lives, and they assign way too many human characteristics to God and suffer for it.

“I don’t think my parents care as much about me as they do the church.” Children of ministry parents often feel neglected, whether neglect is taking place or not. They see their parents extending themselves for others and believe others to be more important and more deserving of attention. A lot of assumptions are internalized, and the child feels insignificant.

Visit the article to learn more about “How to Help a Preacher’s Kid.”

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About Kat

Kat Collins is a wine professional and freelance writer with a focus on wine and food, based in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. Kat believes in living life authentically, handwritten recipes passed from generations, food, wine, art, culture, music, and technology. She was born in Pennsylvania but raised in New Jersey, is a Bibliophile at heart, cooks from the heart for the soul, and lives with an array of books, wine, cookbooks, two cats, and a very patient wife. LEGAL NOTE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Do not copy or quote anything without express permission. All rights are reserved and I retain ownership rights over all intellectual property published here under 'Kat Collins and Karen Dixon' - 2011 © Kat Collins Karen Dixon View all posts by Kat

2 responses to “Preacher’s Kids Have Issues

  • creativityorcrazy

    My sister has two young children and know she will have a challenge on her hands. Her husband is a pastor.

    • Kat

      It’s a difficult path being a Pastor’s family. There are many blessings, but there are also hardships that most other people don’t experience because they are unique to being a ministry family. I pray all the best for your sister and her family’s journey!

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