Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Answering Kids' Questions

Cover art copyright 1999 by Steck-Vaughn
Talking About Family Breakup

By Jillian Powell

Raintree Steck-Vaughn
Austin, Texas, 1999

Reviewed by Laura Harting

Photographs provide the illustrations for this book written for the elementary school age child.  Powell uses the text to provide answers to the most common questions this age group has about divorce. With every page turn there is a new question, starting with “What is a family?” Other, even bigger questions include “Why do families break up?”  “Who can you talk to?” “How will things change?” and “What is a stepfamily?”

Brief vignettes sprinkled throughout the book include Tom’s parents shouting, Leah’s mother scolding her, and Holly living with her mom and visiting her dad on weekends.

Published in 1999, this book is dated and the photographs make that quite obvious. In addition, some of the guidance may no longer apply. For example, the author writes “….you will probably live with one parent.” Though this was more likely to be true in the 1980s and 90s, in my practice today, more children split their time between two homes.  Though I like how this book is arranged, with the questions on each page to be answered, the dated photos and information make it hard for me to recommend.

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

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