There is a special shelf at our local library devoted to books about particular or difficult topics for children – death, illness, adoption, new siblings and so forth. In many instances, it is easier for parents to begin talking to their children about sensitive issues with a story book in hand. Two Birthday Cakes deals with the issue of parents separating.
Written by family law expert Danielle Jaku-Greenfield, Two Birthday Cakes is an illustrated self-help book for children experiencing separation and divorce.
The story examines a range of family situations in a realistic and straightforward way. From the practical – two homes means two toy boxes, two toothbrushes and two birthday cakes, to the subtle – “Even though our two homes are different, the rules are the same.”
It also covers parents meeting new partners, mediation and highlights amicable and not-so-happy arrangements – “My friend Alex hasn’t seen much of his Daddy since his parents moved into two homes“.
The ‘tell it like it is’ tone of the book will hit the right note for children. The text is not judgemental in any way and it does not imply that one situation is better than another but it does validate feelings of sadness and in fact happiness – “When I do ballet on Saturday morning, Mummy and Daddy both come to watch. They didn’t do that when we had one home.”
Jaku-Greenfield is a lecturer in Applied Family Law at the Australian College of Law and co-founder of the Sydney Mediation Partnership, where she specialises in family dispute resolution, helping parents to resolve the difficulties they face when parenting from two homes. She wrote the book because of the apparent lack of literature about separation for young children –
“Although there is an abundance of literature for parents dealing with separation and divorce, I didn’t come across anything for children – and certainly not written from the child’s point of view. For that reason, I firmly believe this children’s self-help book is filling a hole in the market that will help children of separated families to find their way to deal with the new dynamics in their lives.”
Andrew Greenfield, Child & Educational Psychologist says “‘Two Birthday Cakes is a beautifully illustrated, self-help colouring in book that would certainly be a valuable resource for parents, teachers and allied health professionals in informing children about separation and divorce. The book is written in clear, easy to understand language and is based on real stories from real families that have had to deal with the sometimes confronting issue of separation”.
Two Birthday Cakes is the first in a series of books. It is available from the Sydney Mediation Partnership and costs $19.99.
We attended the launch yesterday in Sydney, and we’re sure it’s going to be a terrific resource for parents and children dealing with divorce. We look forward to reading the next book in the series.