Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Helping them understand

A single parent's best outlet has to be the local library. So many wonderful books, entertaining videos and music, interactive play areas and computer stations ... and best of all, it's free! It's open year round ... a great outlet on a rainy day. Our's even has a nice, cozy spot by the fireplace on a cold, winter afternoon. Can't wait to snuggle up with the kids there (if Little Dude will sit still on my lap!!) sometime this winter.

Little Diva, Little Dude and I are pretty settled in our new place and our new routine ... but it has taken some time. I know that I was thrown for a loop with the lack of day-to-day routine and time away from them. Being relocated to another neighborhood and sharing walls with neighbors has been an adjustment, but I've surived. I'm sure that they've struggled with the same changes and modifications to our schedule -- Even though they haven't expressed it in such words.

I decided to visit our local library's online catalog recently and reserved several books on separation and divorce to read with the kids. Little Diva really enjoyed looking through them and I know that she (and I) related to several of the points made in the stories. Little Dude sat down with us and listened and understood the basic concepts, but was not old enough to understand some of the points made.

The books helped the kids understand that separation and divorce is not there fault. As much as we have reinforced this with the kids, these books helped get that point across.

"Feelings Only I Know; Mom and Dad Are Getting Divorced" by Susan McKenna was filled with beautiful illustrations. This was Little Diva's favorite story that we read. She enjoyed looking at the drawings that got their point across, as I read the words to her. It also includes a parental guide.

The book touches on how the parents will no longer have to SHARE the child during their time together ... that the time with each parent will be intimate, special and unique. It also mentioned how living in two households just maximizes the opportunities for neighbors, friends and family members. There are just that many more people to love you! And, I couldn't agree more.

"Cosmos' Mom and Dad are Moving Apart" by Annie Thiel was a cute story that Little Diva read word-for-word. The quirky, cartoonistic illustrations were funny, but filled with emotion. The story touched on the parents' emotions quite a bit and how that made little Cosmos feel. The book also touched on Cosmos relating to friends on the playground who had divorced parents. Little Diva appreciated that, as she developed her own "support system" at school (her words, not mine!).

The book was a really good "visual aid" for Little Diva. The pictures really helped her identify and relate. There was a map of Cosmos' neighborhood with his Dad's house marked -- with mom's apartment spotted right around the corner. It discussed how the child would go back and forth between two residences and showed the bedrooms in both homes. Similar set-ups, similar things -- yet different. Toys, clothing, LOVE ... in BOTH homes! It also showed how Cosmos sat down with mom and dad and went over a month calendar and parental schedule -- when he would be with both parents.

She really enjoyed the family photos at the end of the story ... reassuring the child that their parents would always be there parents forever and ever. The child grows and the family grows with it ... forever and ever.

"You and Your Parents' Divorce" by Katherine Krohn was not of too much interest by Little Diva (almost age 8). This book would be better geared toward a pre-teen. I think it would be a great resource for a middle-schooler, as it is lengthy and detailed.

There are five chapters:
1 - What Exactly is Divorce?
2 - It's Not Your Fault
3 - Finding Friends Who Understand
4 - Please Don't Put Me in the Middle
5 - Adjusting to Change

Even though Little Diva and Little Dude aren't currently old enough to appreciate this book, I did. It was good for me to review the information on my own and remind myself why I'm doing what I'm doing and what other changes I need to make ... for them, for me, and my relationship with their father.

It's all a learning process.

We're learning.

We're growing.

We're changing.



  1. Wow kudos to you for taking the time to really work through all this with your kids! That's an awesome diva mama right there.

  2. what an AWESOME idea! thanks for the titles! I see more and more kids from divorced or separated homes in my class and these books would be great to have in our classroom library. thanks for the reviews!

  3. Awesome post! I wish my parents cared to help me through their divorce. I was 12 and it was very difficult. You're an awesome mom!

  4. Kudos to you for making this process as smooth as possible for your kids. They'll thank you later.

  5. Wow, I had to comment on this post. You are absolutely amazing!

  6. Great post. I love reading to my kiddos and LOVE my library card.

  7. This is great. My parents (mother) created the divorce as this fantastic thing. "Yay, Daddy will live at Grandma's and you will see him 2 times a month. isn't that great?" Then I was put in a support group where I was made to feel something was wrong with me and I should always be thinking about how sad the divorce is.
    We never will know how children as individuals will respond to a separation but i'm sure these books are a little more reasonable than the methods used by my Mom 25 years go. good luck in your continued transition. I'm sure you are doing a great job.

  8. How awesome of you to take the time to find such lovely books to read with your kids. You are an amazing woman and your darlings are so lucky to have you as their mom.

    I just recently checked out the library in our neighborhood too and love it! Mine isn't as fancy with a cozy, snuggly place but it has lots of books and has opened my darling daughter's eyes to a wonderful world --- and the free is a huge plus even for a two-income family that pays child support.

    Keep up the great work!

  9. I have crazy respect for you!!
    I love your outlook on life and every word you write shows what an amazing mother you are!

  10. What a great idea - so glad you found some books the kids could relate to and understand.

  11. the book market is finally starting to catch up a little, but it still has a long way to go for those of us that don't share custody. Thanks for finding me! I've added you to my Reader and look forward to getting to know you!