IntroductionThis year I celebrated my 28th birthday. Although I have been an 'adult' for many years, I still feel and remember the sensation of being eleven years old and looking into my parents' eyes as they mouthed the numbing word … "divorce." I still remember feeling the chills down my back and my stomach churning with the sickening news. It was news that changed my life forever.
Today, as I am soon to start my life as a husband, and later as a father, I look back on my childhood and those feelings with a strong sense of understanding and compassion. Being a child of divorce, I know first hand just how terrifying and devastating that news can be for a child. From their perspective, nothing worse could happen in the world than learning that your parents are going to separate permanently. It is almost as if their life support is being pulled from them, and they are being left out in the cold. As an eleven year old I "knew" that both of my parents were wrong in divorcing. How could my mom and dad not love each other any more? How could they break up my family? How could my parents ever consider being with other partners? And most frightening of all … Was I to blame?
Because divorce is such an emotional issue for both parents and children, it can seem near impossible to get a child to understand why this horrible thing is happening to their family. In their eyes, no good can come from this situation. Presenting such a sensitive subject to a child must be done with much thought and creativity, emphasizing key points and answering questions that each child has - the kind of questions I asked all those years ago. The most important point is for parents to see the situation from their child's eyes - to be able to relate to the child's needs, insecurities and concerns from their perspective. I was very fortunate to have two parents who were able to do just that.
More than a decade ago, my mother created a special storybook for me. It was like no other book I had read. My mom, dad and I read it together. This was a story book about my life, complete with photos of me and my parents. It was filled with memories, love and praise. It told a simple tale of how my mom and dad met, the love that they had for each other, and how, over time, it had changed. It ended with talk of divorce, what it meant to me, and why it was the beginning of change - not the end of my family.
While divorce changed my life forever, this book changed my outlook about divorce forever. It reminded me that I was not at fault, will always be loved by my parents and that things will work out okay. It opened my eyes to the value of parents telling their children about an impending divorce in just the way my parents presented it to me.
I enjoy a very close relationship with my mother and father today and now can see that divorce was the best solution for them. Both have remarried and are leading happy lives. I am grateful that the innovative storybook concept offered in "How Do I Tell the Kids … about the DIVORCE?" enabled my parents to address my fears and insecurities back then in a loving and reassuring manner. I am confident that the message of this book - which once so deeply touched my life - will deeply touch the lives of you and your children, paving the way for the best possible future for you all.
Sincere best wishes,
Cassidy Daniel Sedacca, DVM