PKs and pastors kids

Preachers’ kids: debunking “PK” stereotypes

Myths vs reality about Preachers Kids

Now, you know as well as I do the dubious perceptions about our children. The nickname alone raises eyebrows and inspire a head shake or two.

“PKs” or preacher’s kids have long been known for being rowdy, wild and disobedient. At least that has been my perception. 

In reality, now days, when I hear someone is/was a preacher’s kid, my first emotion is pity. It’s not easy sharing your family in such a public way – especially if your parents have mixed up or confused priorities. I know some adults still scarred by their parents’ mishandling of ministry priorities.

First myth, all preachers’ kids are not hellions. Secondly, the reason just might be their fault. It may be ours.

Did you know some “PK’s” leave the church or the faith?

It often confused me, until my children matriculated (and one still is in matriculation) through preacher’s kid life.

Before I met my husband, I was almost offended so many PK’s “acted up” in church, wreaked havoc in Sunday school classes and ultimately leave the faith. Again, that’s until my life became mom of a preacher’s kid.

I have some theories about why preachers kids get the heck out of “Dodge” once they are able to make such a decision.

Fact: the role of parents in the lives of children is unquestionably significant. This is especially true during the formative years.

Even before kids can verbalize it, they crave, long for and earnestly desire their parents’ attention, praise and time. That’s a no-brainer, right?

Now, look at it this way – from a PK’s perspective.  Say both parents spend all or most of their time at the church and that renders the family structure (your child’s primary nucleus) unstable and neglected. That would make me hate church too! 

This instability and lack of attention can cause a child to act up or try to get parents’ attention in undesirable ways (i.e. acting badly).

In all fairness, it’s true that each child must one day choose whom he/she will serve. Similarly, they must make good choices for their lives – even as children – but this ministry could be a problem – not and in the future.

Point: Kids need parents. However, some barriers come between parents and kids. Two of them may begin in your child’s mind.

Myth: Preachers kids feel entitled.

I think more often than not, preachers’ kids feel ignored by parents and judge by the congregation. People for some stupid reason assume preachers’ kids should behave “perfectly.” They believe they should dress “perfectly”.  Ugh! That’s too much pressure! It breaks my hear to think kids may feel this pressure and respond by “acting out” as a  cry for help or attention.

“Dad loves other people more than me”

If you’re a kid and you feel like a “show piece” or that your parents love others more than you, you’d likely behave poorly too. I know I would. I’d do it just to get some sort them to notice me. In fact, I did do it as a teen and I wasn’t even a PK.

Anyway, I believe that even if moms stay close, boys need their dads. They need their time, attention and support. If they don’t get it they could process it as rejection.

You know, kids have a way of “personalizing” everything. Ever noticed when parents divorce how kids usually find a way to blame themselves. I think they could easily assume your absence is their fault. What do you think?

Myth: Preachers kids don’t know how to behave properly.

“Church before family”

Again, if I wasn’t getting what I needed behind closed doors, it’s not feasible to think you’d get what you need out in the open. I think kids may feel that way too.

As their parents labor and labor for God’s Kingdom, they allow theirs to go unattended.

Look. Church work is not as important as caring for your children. Again, this is my opinion.

If you are a church member, relax your expectations of that pastor and his family. Don’t expect the children to look, behave or act a specific way – let them do what they do.

Stop pulling on your pastor. Send him home sometimes. Insist on it. Finally, give the kids a break.
Be part of the solution; not the problem.

Back to my subject. Service takes many forms and varies by life season.

For instance, for some service may look one way in one life season and another when children are older or grown. If you have children, your service needs to be to them.

That’s the way I see it as a pastor’s wife. 

In the end, God will hold me accountable for how I handled these little human beings who didn’t ask to be born. I will stand before God and be judged – not the church, not the community …ME. I don’t take that lightly. They are my priority.

My mantra is that my church will never get a “no” when I’m able to serve.

That means, when needed, I will always do my best to “show up” and serve the Body. It also means I find ways to serve that don’t require copious amounts of time away from my preschooler. Praise God I have skills to do just that.

Hey, my husband works seven days a week; well over ten hours each day. That’s his call and much of it, his choice.

He is building lives and legacy. He feeds people spiritually, emotionally and sometimes physically.

In the meantime, I “feed” home so my children don’t feel utterly ignored. I protect home and they feel  feel rooted, safe and have a reasonable amount of predictability in their home and family life.

Likewise, my husband has an anchor (our home) in which to come home to and decompress.

He does what he does and I do what I do.

My heart’s prayer for preachers’ kids:

My prayer is that my children never resent service but can see it clearly and for what it is, in part, because they had a balanced family structure.  I pray the myths don’t inhibit them and that I guard them from the people with warped expectations of them.

I pray that God graces our kids to debunk the “pk” stereotypes and mature into healthy, secure adults as my husband and I each embrace our roles, ministry and call.

In the meantime, pastor’s wife:
You can’t control your husband and his ambition. If he’s neglecting family, you can only tell him and pray. What you can control is yourself. If you have children, don’t drag them to church all the time and, please, don’t work so hard and so much you don’t spend solid, consistent time with them.

Maybe as we incorporate balance and keep the kids a priority, some of the ‘myths’ about preachers kids will diminish.

Take the pressure off the pastors kids.


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