I Don't Want to Talk About It: A Story About Divorce for Young Children
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
When a child's parents tell her they have decided to divorce, the last thing she wants to do is talk about it. Instead, she wants to roar as loud as a lion so she can't hear their painful words, or turn into a fish and hide her tears in the sea, or even become a bird and fly away. But with her mother and father's help, she starts to consider what life will be like after divorce and learns that although some things will change, many other things will remain the same. Most importantly, she realizes that although her parents may not agree about much, one thing they do agree on is that they both love her very much and will always be her mom and dad.
I Don't Want To Talk About It features a comprehensive afterword that describes children's common reactions to divorce and offers parents suggestions for helping their own children adjust and thrive.
Excerpt from the Note to Parents
Because young children often don't know exactly what they are feeling or why, it can be difficult for them to talk about the sadness, fear, anger, and confusion that most children of divorcing parents experience. In addition, children may not want to talk about their feelings, because they fear they will further destabilize an already unsteady situation. This is especially so when they are feeling angry. Children may fear that talking will release the anger, which will rage out of control and blow up what remains of their world. Finally, many young children fear that merely thinking or talking about a bad thing can make a bad thing come true.
Despite these challenges, parents can help their children recognize and deal with their feelings in ways that are comforting and effective. The parents in this story are good role models in terms of showing what to tell a child and how to say it. For example, whenever possible, it is best that both parents begin by talking to their children together about the decision to divorce. Appearing together is reassuring, in that it demonstrates that you will continue to work together on their behalf, even though your marriage is ending. Also, it is helpful for your child to hear that most kids in this situation have lots of feelings, and by naming the feelings you validate them for your child. You can use I Don't Want to Talk About It to introduce some of the feelings — including the desire not to talk about them!