Arts & Culture

Helping children understand divorce

It is not news to most people that divorce rates have been steadily on the rise. According to the American Psychological Association, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples will separate and ultimately divorce. While the end of a marriage certainly is not easy to deal with for any party involved, it can be especially traumatic for children whose parents are filing for divorce.

Many leading psychologists give the same advice regarding children and divorce: be honest. It is important for parents not to hide the separation from their children. It is also suggested that both parents be involved in the conversations, so kids continue to feel part of a family unit, and that they are not losing a parent. It is also imperative not to overshare and discuss each other’s flaws.

Maintaining a family unit through positive communication is key. Although these tips may be helpful, they are not guaranteed. Signs that a child is not coping with divorce can be behavior that becomes aggressive, rebellious and uncooperative. They may also withdraw and seemingly lose interest in activities that were once pleasurable. In short, they become depressed.

Fortunately, the Manatee County Public Library has resources available for parents navigating through a divorce to make the process more understandable and less stressful for their children.

“Divorce: Let’s Talk About It” by Fred Rogers, the former children’s TV host, calmly explains divorce to children and provides examples as to how kids can manage the difficult transition.

“It’s Not Your Fault, KoKo Bear: a Read-Together Book for Parents & Young Children during Divorce” by Vicki Lansky is, as the title explains, a book for parents and children to read together during a divorce.

Another helpful title “When My Parents Forgot How to Be Friends” by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos reassures children that divorce is not their fault and that their parents still love them.

Aimed mostly at a tween readership, “Divorce is Not the End of the World: Zoe’s and Evan’s Coping Guide for Kids” by Zoe and Evan Stern (with help from their mom, Ellen Sue Stern) is a practical, interactive guide on how kids can learn to understand and cope with feelings of guilt, fear, and anger, adjusting to different rules in different houses, adapting to stepparents and blended families and much more.

All of these titles and more are available for checkout at the local library. The library also subscribes to various health and wellness databases, which can be accessed with a working library card barcode and pin number.

Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Kimberly Barbour is a youth services librarian at the Rocky Bluff Library.