Guest Article by Solicitor James Maguire.
‘Mum and Dad Glue’ by Kes Gray is a book I came across recently, written for young children whose parents are separating or divorcing. As a family Lawyer, advising parents tackling such issues every day, I found this book rather moving, and a good reminder of the wider impact of divorce on every member of the family.
This particular book is about a little boy who tries to find a pot of ‘parent glue’ to stick his mum and dad back together; in his eyes, his parents have ‘come undone’ and he wants ‘to mend their marriage, stick their smiles back on and make them better’. Heart-wrenching stuff, I think you’ll agree.
Nowadays, separation and divorce are sadly familiar concepts even to children, and there is a growing range of children’s literature aimed at helping children of separating parents to understand, and come to terms with, their own situation. After all, these are still adult concepts, often difficult for children to understand.
Research suggests that children often blame themselves when their parents separate, and may find it hard to adjust to such changes as having two homes (and generally two of everything), the sale of their family home, and possibly even moving away from the friends they have grown up with.
Reading story books with your children which are gently themed about separation can be an important means of communicating on these difficult issues, and of helping them to adjust.
In Mum and Dad Glue, the overriding message is that, whilst the little boy’s parents may appear ‘broken’ to him (in that they are no longer together), their love for him is solid, secure and above all, ‘unbroken’. It is so easy to forget, especially when in the midst of a painful break-up, that for children, stability, reassurance and honesty are key. If you are struggling to manage your own emotions, books such as this may help you to re-focus your attention on the children.
Visit our website for further advice on dealing with divorce www.family-law.co.uk.
Ultimately, children will usually feel happy and settled if their parents are similarly happy, whether or not they are living apart. It is essential therefore to focus every effort on ensuring a divorce or separation divorce is resolved in a conciliatory and amicable way, to stand the best chance of a positive outcome for your children.