These books address tough issues such as children dealing with divorce, alcoholism, abuse, parental unemployment and death. this series looks at the troubles kids face from the perspective of a child in that situation.
Cindy Croft Director of Center for Inclusive Child Care
"...volumes open with fictional vignettes followed by honest discussions of the facts in order to inform and reassure kids in tough situations, as well as help children not undergoing these troubles empathize with those who are." "This series will be well placed in a school media center, as well as in any institution that serves high-risk children."
"...with the guidance of a counselor, education professional, or parent, the second half of each book may really aid in understanding why things happen, realizing that each child is not alone in his or her challenge, and using the coping mechanism of discussion."
"This is sensitively written to encourage not only good behavior but also caring and forgiveness." Review
Sometimes, parents aren't able to look after their own kids, for a variety of reasons. When this happens, the kids might live with relatives, or they might enter the foster care system. Kids in the foster care system face a number of unique challenges, and their lives aren't always very easy. Sometimes they are separated from their brothers and sisters, and sometimes they move through many foster homes in a short amount of time. The foster care system tries to minimize these problems and provide kids with a safe and loving house between homes.
Death is scary for everyone, and not just kids. When someone you love dies, you are likely to have a whole lot of different feelings and reactions. You might not believe it's true, you might be really angry, or you might want to cry all the time. All those reactions are normal. It's never easy to deal with death, and it's not easy to know how to talk to someone else who's dealing with it. Some reactions are more helpful than others, though, and talking to someone about what you are feeling can help you better handle the situation.
Some secrets are good and some are bad. When somebody asks you to keep a secret about something that makes you feel uncomfortable, you might not know what to do. Should you keep the secret because the person is your friend, or a member of your family, or someone older than you that you like and respect? Or should you tell someone like a parent or teacher? You might feel like you are betraying a person if you tell his secret, or maybe you are afraid to tell, but some secrets shouldn't be kept. Some secrets cause a lot more trouble when they stay secret and the best thing you can do is talk about them with someone you trust.
How do you feel about yourself? It's natural to have doubts and fears, and to worry that you aren't doing perfectly, but it's also important to really like who you are. Sometimes, people feel badly about themselves because they think they aren't as pretty or as smart or as talented as another person. But nobody is going to be perfect. Nobody is going to be the best and the best looking all the time. Looking deep down and finding those things you really do like about yourself, and then building on those things, will help you feel happier and more relaxed and will also help you do better in life.
Divorce and remarriage are fairly common today, but for the kids whose family structure is changing around them it is never easy. Kids adjusting to their parents divorcing or remarrying sometimes feel like they are the only ones who have ever felt the things they are feeling. It can be very hard for kids to adjust to having their parents live in separate houses or to getting used to a new stepparent or stepsibling. Despite the challenges, many kids discover that these changes have benefits and bring good things they did not expect.
Feelings and emotions can be confusing. Sometimes it can be hard to understand exactly what it is you are feeling, and that can be hard to deal with. For kids, feelings can be especially overwhelming. It is easy to just react without taking the time to think about what's going on and what you're really feeling. Understanding your feelings can help you figure out what to do about them and will keep them from being in control of you.
A parent drinking too much alcohol can be really scary. Your mom starts acting differently and you don't know what to expect anymore. You might worry that your mom is going to do something dangerous while she is drinking, that she might hurt somebody or herself accidentally. You might not know who you can talk to about how you feel. Even though the situation is scary, there are people who can help you and your mom get through it, so don't feel you are alone.
Everybody makes mistakes and sometimes we make bad choices that get us in trouble. But what about when those mistakes are really serious and the bad choices were very bad? Kids who have been arrested and find themselves in the juvenile court system are often scared and worried about what will happen to them. They are suddenly pulled out of their familiar world and knowing they are responsible for that doesn't make things any easier. Fortunately, the juvenile court system is set up to do everything it can to help kids start making better choices and succeed in life.
When parents fight, it can be very scary for kids, especially if one parent is hitting or hurting the other. Kids in this situation often don't know what to do, whether to tell someone or keep the abuse a secret. It is especially confusing because the child usually loves both parents and then has conflicting and confusing feelings about what is going on in their home. Kids living in an abusive home need to feel safe and loved, and they need to know they are not alone.
Life doesn't always go the way you want it to. You mess up, people let you down, and things don't work out. Anger is a normal response, but it's not always the best one. When you get angry, sometimes you lose control, and that doesn't help anything--in fact, a lot of times it makes things worse. Learning how to stay calm when you are angry can help you stay in control of the situation. You won't ever be able to control everything (like weather and other people, for example), but figuring out how to take charge of your own reactions and emotions goes a long way.
For kids who have family members in prison, the emotions can be confusing and overwhelming. A person whose brother or sister--or parent--is in prison might be angry or sad or ashamed, or all these things at the same time. She might want to visit her family member, or she might be so angry she doesn't want to see him at all. Often, kids who have a relative in prison don't want to tell anybody what's going on because they are embarrassed, and other people don't usually understand what they must be feeling. Families all handle this experience differently, but each member faces a big adjustment, needing love and support from each other and from friends.
If your dad loses his job (or your mom loses hers), it might not mean much to you at first. Parents have jobs, and kids don't always think a lot about them. But having a parent lose a job can bring changes you weren't expecting. Suddenly, your family is trying to save money and you can't afford everything you'd been used to. Maybe your family has to move to a smaller house, or get a cheaper car. And, on top of that, your parents are probably worried and stressed. The situation can be scary for everyone, but it is one that many people have faced and one that you can definitely survive.
When a child becomes seriously ill, everybody in the family deals with the situation differently, and the challenges are different for each person. If you have sister or brother who is sick, you might feel left out, angry, scared, helpless, and abandoned. These feelings are all to be expected, and they don't make you a bad person. Having your brother or sister get sick is hard on your whole family, and you are part of that family too.
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