One of the most difficult aspects of divorce for many people is the effect that it may have on the children. Can children’s books about divorce help to explain the situation to young ones and help them to process their feelings?
How do you talk to children about divorce? For some people, the prospect of causing harm to their children may be enough to stay together. For others, when it is clear that a divorce is necessary, it is important to understand that the divorce will affect the children, for better or worse, and that they will need to talk about what is happening so they can understand and process their feelings.
Below, I’ll discuss some of the top children’s books about divorce and some research-based tips for how to talk to children about divorce.
One way to help your children understand divorce, to lessen their fear of the great unknown, and to dispel some common myths that children have about divorce is to share children’s books about divorce with them.
Below, I’ve included recommended children’s books about divorce from Barnes and Noble bookstores:
It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear, by Vicki Lansky and Jane Prince, tackles one of the biggest challenges facing children of divorced parents – feeling that the divorce is somehow their fault.
Whether it is rational or not, young children often blame themselves because they don’t understand why the divorce is happening and what may be years of difficulties that led to their parents’ separation. The most important thing divorcing parents can do for the children may be to reassure them that it is not their fault and that they will always be loved even when mom and dad aren’t together.
Was it the Chocolate Pudding? A Story for Little Kids About Divorce, by Sandra Levins and Bryan Langdo, also tackles the difficult misconception that divorce is somehow a child’s fault. “The little boy in this heartfelt story thinks that a messy disaster with chocolate pudding on the walls was the last straw in his parents’ marriage. This book reassures him, and the reader, that it’s not your fault.”
Two Homes, by Claire Masurel and Kady MacDonald Denton, focuses on another aspect of divorce that is difficult for many children – Where is home? Mom’s, dad’s, or am I going to have two homes now?
Children may need to hear that they have two homes now – “two beds, two toothbrushes, and two sets of friends,” and that they are loved and at home no matter which parent they are with.
Living with Mom and Living with Dad is another wonderful book for younger children that explores what it may be like living in two different homes, with “two houses, two bedrooms, and two sets of toys.”
It’s a “clever lift-the-flap book” that may help to reassure children that “they are loved in both homes, and that’s what matters most.”
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Her Parent’s Divorce, by Nancy Holyoke, is a 120-page “guidebook” that anticipates and answers your child’s questions about divorce. It includes “quizzes, tips, advice from real-life kids, and even a ‘Girl’s Bill of Rights’ to cut out and hang on the wall,” and may be the perfect resource for a young girl with divorcing parents.