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Author: Beth Andrews
Illustrator: Nicole Wong
Publisher: American Psychological Association
How this book might help: This book is written especially for a child who has a parent suffering from depression.
The book explains how depression is a problem with the way you feel, and that mums and dads don’t feel bad on purpose (in exactly the same way as when someone gets a cold or flu). Depression can’t be caught or seen. It explains that depressed people sometimes don’t sleep well or eat properly, may forget things and have a lack of energy. They may shout and get cranky, cry or be sad. Some parents may put on a brave face and act happy, but still be unhappy inside. The book goes on to explain that there are things that can be done to help parents feel better, such as therapy or counselling. A doctor may prescribe medicine. When depression gets bad, the parent may need to stay in hospital. A few questions that children might ask are: who will take care of them, can they visit, when will they come home. There is a page in the book with drawings of faces of how a child may feel: angry, scared, sad, worried, etc. Children may be confused and worried that depression is somehow their fault. The book reassure the child that it is not caused by anything they have done, and they are still loved by their depressed parent (even if they have trouble showing it). It also emphasises that a child still loves the parent even if they feel angry. A child can’t fix depression, and it’s not their job to do so. They are also not alone, and there are lots of adults around to talk to ask for help from. The book recommends that the child talks things through with friends or a responsible adult. It also includes advice on how to manage feelings of anger.
Reviewed by: Rosemary Griffith
Age Range: 3+
As a very young child thoughts about my parents were often confused. I did not feel loved most of the time. I thought there was something wrong with me. This feeling and perception carried forward well into adult life until age 64 as my awareness of moral injury and PTSD finally surfaced as a result of extensive research and writing my book. My mother rarely read books to us. She was mostly preoccupied with her own sadness and depression. My bet is that if she had known more about her own condition and that of my father, she could have taken action early to educate our family. We carried the baggage forward and suffered the secondary effects of PTSD ourselves. Start early with your kids. Help them understand depression and anxiety. By not doing so you and your children will struggle with emotional challenges connected with the symptoms of PTSD. Kids become isolated and feel insecure living in a toxic home culture. Don’t hesitate, start your journey of healing now with your very young children and make a lifetime difference for your family. This early awareness of the world around them and the emotional challenges we endure will make them stronger and more equipped as they grow up as well as helping others along the way… The journey of healing can be far more effective and rewarding as a family experience. Don’t let your kids go with this burden alone…
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story