Books for kids about divorce
July 13, 2013 12:19 PM   Subscribe

My friend is getting a divorce, and doesn't know how to talk to her two young daughters (3 and 4) about it. Are there any books that have helped others in a similar situation?

Their father is not in their lives at all (and hasn't been for approximately a year), and my friend and her kids are living in a town several hours away from him. Right now she's telling the kids that their dad is "at work," (he often traveled for work before the divorce, so that's something they're used to). The kids occasionally talk to him on the phone, although her younger daughter usually refuses to speak to him when he calls. Her older daughter has been asking why her dad is at work so much, and my friend wants to be able to talk to her about it in a healthy way, but doesn't know how. I told her that it would be best to be honest with them, in an age appropriate way, but she said that she isn't sure how to do it, or what to say. Does anyone have any books to recommend that might help her with this? Either books for parents on how to have these conversations, or books for young kids that might spark conversations would be welcome!
posted by odayoday to Human Relations (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Also, it is very unlikely that their dad will be in their lives in any meaningful way in the future, so books that have less of a focus on parents working things out might be best.
posted by odayoday at 12:22 PM on July 13, 2013

Not books, but if you can find them, there are some Mr Rogers episodes that deal with divorce. It looks like the first half of series 11 is what I remember. Some are on the PBS website. It seems like knowing those episodes exist might be useful if her kids watch Mr Rogers, as they presumably trust what he says.
posted by hoyland at 1:20 PM on July 13, 2013

I am not trying to fob you off, but most books I am familiar with for young children around the topic of divorce are very focused on the two-household aspect which does not seem like a good fit for your friend. So, I would actually consult your local library and flip through books in person, maybe making a shortlist to gift your friends. I would look for a mix of books, including books about single parent families that are vague on where the absent parent might be.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:29 PM on July 13, 2013

DarlingBri is right about the books aimed at kids. I wouldn't bother with those; they almost all go beyond the situation at hand and give kids even more to potentially worry about or compare themselves to.

This situation is also unusual because they are so young and their father has already been gone so long. If this were me and my kids, I would honestly be considering getting a professional consultation about how to break it to them.
posted by BibiRose at 1:47 PM on July 13, 2013

Thanks for the input, guys, and yes, I looked over several books on amazon, and it seems like most of them are geared to dual-parent families. There was one that seemed like it might work (apparently in the story the father has custody and the mother rarely sees the kids) because it mainly focuses on helping kids understand that what happened was between the adults, and was not their fault.

On another track, are there any books for parents that might help her talk to the kids? A lot of the ones I've seen similarly try to help parents work out a decent relationship for the sake of the kids, but in her case the father isn't really safe for the kids to be around (serious drug and alcohol issues), so I don't think that would be helpful to her either.
posted by odayoday at 1:55 PM on July 13, 2013

Also, it looks like YouTube has the Mr. Rogers divorce episode, so thanks for that rec!
posted by odayoday at 1:58 PM on July 13, 2013

I found that therapy for my kids helped a lot. Also, I went to the library and talked to the children's librarian. She went through all the books in their system, found separation/divorce books that related to our particular circumstances, and brought them in for me. That was very helpful too. But therapy was important and helped me to find the words.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 3:05 PM on July 13, 2013

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