7 great books to help you discuss divorce and separation with your children.
Updated: Oct 24
Navigating Divorce and Separation: Recommending Seven Books for Conversations with Children
The decision to separate or divorce can bring a whirlwind of change and uncertainty into your life, particularly when it comes to discussing these matters with your children. While your love for them remains unwavering, it's essential to communicate with children appropriately about the upcoming shifts in their lives. Fortunately, numerous well-crafted books offer valuable insights and guidance to support both parents and children during this challenging time. As a family mediator with Adelaide Family Mediation, I've reviewed seven of my preferred resources to assist you in understanding the complexities of divorce and separation and how to navigate them with your children.
Book 1: "Two Homes" by Claire Masurel
"Two Homes" by Claire Masurel is tailored to help young children comprehend the different living arrangements that follow separation or divorce. This book introduces us to a young boy named Alex and illustrates the diverse types of homes people live in, including situations where people live in two different places. It also emphasises that, despite living separately, parents continue to love their children just as much. The inclusion of images featuring children with their parents in their respective homes and thought-provoking questions at the end of each page facilitate meaningful conversations between parents and children. What sets this book apart is its acknowledgment of both parents' emotions; it recognises that one parent may feel sad but still loves their child, while another might feel angry but holds the same love for their child.
Book 2: "Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families" by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
"Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families" by Laurie Krasny Brown is an endearing children's book that eloquently discusses the impact of divorce on not just parents but also on children. Through engaging illustrations that resonate with kids, the book acknowledges the multitude of emotions that accompany divorce and offers valuable insights on handling these emotions. Striking a delicate balance between realism and reassurance, this book is an excellent resource for young children grappling with the notion of divorce.
Book 3: "Living with Mum and Living with Dad: My Two Homes" by Melanie Walsh
"Living with Mum and Living with Dad: My Two Homes" by Melanie Walsh is designed for very young children. Like "Two Homes," this book highlights that having two homes can be equally wonderful. Two bedrooms and two sets of toys, but she takes her favourite toys with her wherever she goes. Through Melanie Walsh's friendly illustrations and straightforward language, the book effectively communicates that life continues after a separation, providing both reassurance and hope.
Book 4: "Getting Through My Parents' Divorce: A Workbook for Children Coping with Divorce, Parental Alienation, and Loyalty Conflicts" by Amy J. L. Baker PhD and Katherine C. Andre PhD
"Getting Through My Parents' Divorce" is a workbook tailored for tweens navigating their parents' divorce. Written by psychologists, it helps tweens comprehend the reasons behind their parents' divorce and equips them with strategies to cope with challenging situations. The workbook targets kids aged 7-11 and is thoughtfully structured with clear, age-appropriate content. It incorporates sections for jotting down thoughts and feelings and includes exercises at the end of each chapter to help children understand themselves better during turbulent times.
Book 5: "My Parents Are Divorced Too: A Book for Kids by Kids"
"My Parents Are Divorced Too" is co-authored by Melanie Ford, Steven Ford, Annie Ford, and Jann Blackstone-Ford.
This book empowers children to express their feelings and offers guidance on discussing their experiences with other kids who have divorced parents. The text is accessible for young readers while addressing common questions children may have when they learn about their parent's separation or divorce. It serves as a valuable resource for families, therapists, counsellors, teachers, or grandparents striving to facilitate difficult conversations with children.
Book 6: "Two Adventures with Mom and Dad: Explaining Divorce to Young Children" by Kelly Chang Rickert
"Two Adventures with Mom and Dad" by Kelly Chang Rickert is an engaging book to read with children. This story follows two siblings and their mother on two separate days. One day, they visit their grandparents' house, filled with joy, and on another day, they grapple with sadness because Mum stayed at home. This book addresses the challenge children face in understanding why their parents can't live together anymore. It also emphasises that life continues with moments of happiness, even when one parent has moved out.
Book 7: "The Suitcase Kid" by Jacqueline Wilson, Illustrated by Nick Sharratt
Jacqueline Wilson's "The Suitcase Kid" narrates the story of a girl named Andy as she experiences the impact of divorce, witnesses the conflict between her parents, and navigates decisions about her living arrangements. The book introduces the concept of child-inclusive mediation, highlighting how children are considered when determining where they will live. It delves into the complexities of adapting to stepfamilies and the challenges that arise, all narrated by a ten-year-old, providing insights into the emotional journey of children facing the new dynamics of separated parents.
In conclusion, it's important to remember that you are not alone during this challenging time. These resources can be invaluable in supporting you and your children through separation and divorce. Consider exploring these books to determine their suitability for your unique situation. However, above all, your presence and understanding are the most precious gifts you can offer your children. Be there for them, provide the time and space they need, and together, you can navigate this journey with love and resilience.
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