When co-parents decide to end their relationship, it is not always easy to know how to tell the children. For families, the divorce process involves an ongoing conversation. The adjustment period for adults and children is uncharted territory and won’t be without bumps along the way.
Several authors have tried to make the transition easier with guides to talking to your kids about divorce. Suitable for a variety of ages, these volumes give you and your children some ways to deal with the emotions that come with a change to their way of life. You can read many of these with your kids. Or offer them as a resource to your children while they begin to make sense of these changes.
“Dinosaurs Divorce” by Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (1988)
It can be tough for preschoolers and very young children to understand divorce, especially if they don’t know anyone else who’s going through it. In “Dinosaurs Divorce,” the prehistoric character is navigating the same territory as the child. The young dinosaur talks about some things that may happen after divorce, such as around the holidays and when living arrangements change.
“Two Homes” by Claire Masurel (2003)
The concept behind “Two Homes” is pretty simple: a seven-year-old boy figures that, with his parents living separately, he will have more of everything he loves. Two places to call home, two bedrooms, two kitchens and with family always nearby. This takes a positive approach to new living arrangements in order for kids to gain a different perspective on what can be a difficult period of time.
“Divorce Is Not the End of the World” by Zoe and Evan Stern (2008)
This book, aimed at older children over the age of about eight, was written by teenagers who have experienced divorce. It is practical as well as sensitive, addressing common emotions kids go through during transition. It talks about how day-to-day life might change, with the introduction of step-siblings and stepparents, and homes with different rules.
“A Smart Girl’s Guide to Her Parents’ Divorce” by Nancy Holyoke (2009)
Laid out a bit like a workbook, the “Smart Girl’s Guide” acknowledges that life can change many times for the child of divorce. There is often the initial separation, then remarriage. Packed with advice from other preteens, the book also makes learning fun with quizzes and easy-to-understand tips. Check out the “Girl’s Bill of Rights” that’s included as a handy cut-out.
“It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear” by Vicki Lansky (1997)
As is evidenced by the title, “Koko Bear” is about dealing with the emotions of divorce. Written for three to seven-year-olds who may not yet be used to expressing how they feel. The book is as much a guide for parents as children. With this volume, you can help pinpoint what your child is feeling and help them to recognize and address those emotions in themselves.
Divorce is often a challenging transition for parents and children. It’s an uncertain time that comes with many unknowns. For children who desire a sense of security and predictability, it may be particularly stressful. These books are designed to help open the lines of communication so children know that no matter what happens, their parents have their well-being as their top priority.