Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Addressing a Child's Feelings of Guilt

Artwork copyright 2000 by Albert Whitman
On the Day His Daddy Left
By Eric J. Adams and Kathleen Adams, LCSW
Albert Whitman & Co., Chicago, 2000

Reviewed by Laura Harting

A day in the life of an elementary school child, this books shares what it is like for Danny on the day his father moves out.  Danny writes a big question in purple marker and puts the paper in his pocket.  He shares the question with his teacher, his father, a friend, and his mother over the course of one day.  All these people answer Danny's question, “Is it my fault?” with a "No," adding their own ideas about the question and about divorce.  Danny’s mom writes “NO” in purple marker on the back of the question and gives it back to Danny to hold onto for as long as he needs to. The paper finally crumbles into tiny pieces and blows away in the wind.  

Realistically illustrated, with Danny looking about 8 years old, this book deals primarily with the feelings of guilt that children of this age can often feel.  They wonder what they did to cause the divorce and what they should do to fix it.

This would be a good book to read along with your children, because it might  open a discussion about divorce and allow you to address any feelings of guilt.

Laura Harting, LCSW, is a child and family therapist in Paoli, Pennsylvania.

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