As someone who is going through divorce, you probably have many concerns about your financial, housing and custody situations. However, as a parent, you probably have other concerns vying for your attention as well.
Most divorcing parents are concerned about how their divorce may negatively affect their children. What some parents do not expect is that each child may react differently to news of his or her parents’ divorce. These reactions can depend on the child’s personality, life experiences and developmental stage.
A child‘s negative reactions are often temporary
Although each child’s reaction can be unique, some trends have been identified among different age groups. For example, school-aged children may fantasize about their parents getting back together, accuse parents of being selfish, assign blame, lash out, withdraw from the world or become anxious.
Children may initially experience difficulties like these. However, research has shown that most children bounce back from their parents’ divorce within about two years.
Although most children adjust in time, there are actions parents can take to help a child cope more easily with the changes that can come with divorce. One way parents can do this is by reading age-appropriate books about divorce with their child.
Reading with your child can be a way to spend quality time together during your divorce. It can also help your child understand and talk about his or her feelings.
Three books specifically address a child‘s feelings during divorce
Some books about divorce that specifically address a child’s feelings include:
- “My Family’s Changing” by Pat Thomas
- “Divorce Is Not the End of the World” by Zoe and Evan Stern
- “Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids” by Isolina Ricci
“My Family’s Changing” is a picture book geared toward kids ages 4 and older. It helps kids understand what divorce is and how it affects each family member. It also invites kids to explore their own feelings about how divorce affects them.
“Divorce Is Not the End of the World” is written by two kids who experienced divorce in their own family. It a guide for kids ages 8 and older that addresses some of the difficulties a child may face, such as managing emotions and getting used to having two homes.
“Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids” is a guidebook written by a family therapist for kids ages 10 and older. It addresses how kids may choose to manage their emotions, how to juggle new routines and how to stay neutral when parents do not agree. This book also includes other kid-friendly tools like lists and worksheets.
It can be difficult to predict how your divorce may affect your child. However, age-appropriate books about divorce may help your child make sense of the changes that are happening in your family and may even facilitate important conversations between you and your child.