The pressure can be intended and it can be unintended, but it is not uncommon for children to feel the need to break the mold as they individuate. Pastor’s kids (PK’s) are a good example.
How do you church leaders deal with this?
Beneath the stereotypes of preacher’s kids as either goody two-shoes or devilish hellions lies a tense and sometimes taxing reality, the children of clergy say. Studies show that many PK’s, as the lingo goes, struggle with issues of identity, privacy and morality. There’s even a support group, Preacher’s Kids International, dedicated to the “celebration and recovery of those who grew up in the parsonage.”
It’s unclear how the pressures of life as a prominent pastor’s child affected Matthew Warren, who took his own life on April 5. Warren was the son of megachurch pastor Rick Warren.
Warren and leaders of his Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., declined to comment on Matthew, who was 27 when he died. After his son’s death, Warren said in a statement that Matthew had “struggled from birth from mental illness, dark holes of depression.”
If Matthew Warren also battled with his role as the son of a world famous pastor and bestselling author, Rick Warren did not mention it in his brief statement.
Still, after Matthew Warren’s death, several pastors and children of clergy stepped forward to offer empathy.