Separation-anxiety and divorce in young children is not uncommon, as a stressful life changing event can trigger anxiety and worries in children. I have reviewed a helpful children’s book, The Kissing Hand, on Littlest Bookshelf that could serve as an effective tool for adults to use with children struggling with separation anxiety during and after a divorce.
The multiple transitions, changes, and unknowns during separation and divorce can sometimes make children feel more vulnerable than usual, lending themselves to anxiety and worries that may not have been previously present. In the divorce process, children may become anxious during separations or absences, and worry that they may never see their parent again or that something terrible may happen to their parents or themselves. These negative thoughts could make the child worried about being ‘abandoned and alone’; hence, going to school may suddenly become a trigger for separation-anxiety.
The Kissing Hand is an exceptional book that helps young children cope with anxiety about leaving their parental figure to go to school. Although this book is frequently used for school anxiety, I have often read it with children of divorce and separation anxiety, and it works beautifully. In a warm and reassuring story, the book explains to children how parents are always with their child, in their heart and minds, so that children don’t have to worry about the separation.
The story also creatively provides the child with a mechanism to stay connected to the parent and to feel loved by the parent throughout the day. Hence, The Kissing Hand addresses the critical emotional message of ‘permanence and consistency’ for young children. A beautiful story with lovely illustrations that can move the child from a place of worry and distress to feeling loved and secure. To read my full review of The Kissing Hand, and other reviews of children’s and parenting books, please visit Littlest Bookshelf.
It is important for us to remember that children’s picture and story books can be an incredibly powerful way for parents and significant adults to stay connected with children, to assist children through difficult moments and stressors, and to explain complicated and charged life events in safe and reassuring ways.