Best Books to Help Your Child Cope With Divorce
Divorce is hard on everyone in a household, whether you're a 35-year-old parent or a two-year-old child. And while each situation is unique, divorce effects on children are overwhelmingly about the loss of safety and security. Because of this, children become a top priority for parents as they navigate through the divorce process.
Emotional Impact of Divorce
Divorce creates turmoil for the entire family, but children struggle with different issues and emotions depending on their ages.
- Babies and toddlers will not remember this difficult time.
- Young children often worry that if parents can stop loving one another, they can also stop loving them.
- Grade school children add on the fear that the divorce is somehow their fault.
- Teenagers can react with anger over the changes a divorce brings about. They are also old enough to take sides.
Why a Book Helps
The good news is that, when handled with patience and love, kids do rebound from the emotional upset of divorce.
First and foremost, divorcing parents need to speak honestly and directly to their children about the divorce in an age-appropriate way. How you speak with them will help alleviate their fears and the feeling of loss they may experience.
Once children are aware of the situation, divorce books for children can be a wonderful source of information and solace for children. The information within can help validate their feelings and let them know they are not alone.
Books also serve several other important functions. When read together, a book can serve as an effective conversation starter, as many children might not be completely aware of or articulate enough to express their concerns and feelings.
A book can also be internalized over time, providing children with a way to contemplate upon and sort through their feelings. Purchasing a book that is specific to the child's circumstance can help shape a child's outlook on their changing home life. A story in which a child has positive experiences about his or her new two homes might develop a more optimistic approach than a story in which there's a not-so-nice stepparent in the picture.
Books on Divorce
- “My Family's Changing” by Pat Thomas is a picture book for parents and young children to read together. The language is simple and direct, and it was written by a psychotherapist.
- “Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families” by Marc Brown and Laurie Krasny Brown covers many aspects of divorce, including why parents divorce, celebrating holidays and special occasions, telling friends, and living with stepparents.
- “My Family Is Changing: A Drawing and Activity Book for Kids of Divorce” by Tracy McConaghie LCSW has short stories that include a diverse group of children. Each story has activities and drawing pages where readers aged 5 to 7 can explore their feelings.
- “A Smart Girl's Guide to Her Parents' Divorce: How to Land on Your Feet When Your World Turns Upside Down” by Nancy Holyoke is a good choice for girls aged 8 to 12. The short chapters with cartoon drawings make this an easy read. There are callouts with advice from girls who have been through a divorcing family, tips, and quizzes.
- “Divorce Is Not The End of The World: Zoe and Evan's Coping Guide for Kids” by Zoe and Evan Stern with Ellen Sue Stern is written by teen siblings about their parents' divorce. It covers a range of topics, from practical issues to difficult emotions.
Helping Your Children Through Divorce
One of the best actions you can take to help your children through divorce proceedings and discussions on custody or visitations is to choose mediation instead of litigation. Even amid litigation, it is not too late to transition into divorce and custody mediation. When children see their parents using a positive conflict resolution method that employs good communication and cooperation to resolve issues, they can begin to feel that things will work out. And they will learn good problem-solving skills from your example.
Many parents worry that divorce will cause their children irreparable damage. But when changes in your family's structure are well handled, the temporary disruption children feel can turn into long-term resiliency. By working out issues through mediation and providing a home environment where communication is welcome and feelings can be expressed, the whole family will come out of the divorce process with a better footing for everyone's future.
If you are a parent contemplating a divorce or separation and need assistance, contact us at (630) 891-2478. We can guide you to the best plan for you and your children.
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