Explaining divorce to a child is often a daunting, seemingly impossible task.  As a divorcing parent, not only do you have your own feelings, emotions and heartbreak to deal with, but also those of your child(ren) and sometimes even extended family members and in-laws..  My husband and I divorced when our son was only 4 years old.  He was exposed to many unpleasant, tense situations, all while his entire world was crumbling beneath him.  There are so, so many things I would do differently, if I could only go back in time.  But one of the most positive things I did do was try to explain things to him in a way he could understand them.  I was fortunate enough to come across a book, It’s Not Your Fault Koko Bear, by Vicki Lansky, that  gave me critical insight on how to do just that, and even though my ex-husband and I weren’t ready to work together in establishing a positive co-parenting relationship, I was able to use the book not only as a as a guide to talking with our son, but also as a model, a goal, in defining my new relationship with his dad.

At first, I would read the book with our son and then put it away so as to be sure we could explore the issues together. I felt he wasn’t ready to go it alone.  Sometime later, I would leave the book out after reading it together, so he could have a chance to look at the pictures on his own.  I would find him with book in hand from time to time, and would take the opportunity to talk about things that may have otherwise seemed out of the blue.  It became an icebreaker of sorts when either one of us wanted to talk.  It eventually landed in the bookshelf in his room, and years later, it got lost among his chapter books and comics.  But, not long ago, when my son was nearing the end of elementary school, he came across it and asked me to read the book with him again and we did.