One of the hardest things you’ll ever do as a parent is help your kids work through your divorce. Children have very strong feelings about pretty much everything in life, and when they’re faced with something as challenging as a divorce, it can be very difficult for them to process. However, sometimes what they need is simply to feel heard and understood. As adults, we tend to want to “fix” things for our kids, but sometimes what they really need is just to know that their feelings are normal, and that they’re not alone. And that’s where Amber Brown can help.
Amber’s parents get separated before the first book begins…
Amber Brown is a fictional character dreamed up by children’s author Paula Danziger, and before the first book in the series even begins, Amber’s parents have already separated. Amber’s dad takes a job in another country, which means her mom has primary physical custody and she only gets to see her dad on vacation. Although you never find out what the reason is for the divorce, what you do discover is how angry Amber’s mom is at her dad. They can’t seem to stand each other, and they can’t have a conversation without fighting. It drives Amber crazy, and makes her very sad.
Amber deals with having one parent live far away…
Amber’s dad lives in Paris, France, while she lives in the U.S. While he does eventually move back and live nearby, there is a period of time during which Amber relies on her “dad book” – a collection of photos of her dad – to feel closer to her father. Because despite the distance, she loves her dad very much.
My mother walks back into the room and hands me the phone. “It’s your father.”
My father’s first words to me are, “What’s SHE saying about me?”
I decide to ignore that question and say, “Hi Dad. Do you miss me? When are we going to see each other? Do you know yet?”
He smiles. I can’t see him on the telephone, but I can hear from his voice that he’s smiling.
“I’ll be back for a visit next week…”
- Amber Brown Sees Red, by Paula Danziger
Amber navigates her mom’s new relationship…
Shortly after the series starts, Amber’s mom starts seeing a man named Max. At first Amber refuses to meet him because she doesn’t want to accept that her mom has a boyfriend. She still hopes desperately that her parents will get back together. Then, when she finally meets him, she’s determined not to like him.
“If I meet Max I’ll have to actually know he’s a real person… a real person who’s going out with my mom… and if my mom is going out with him, that really means there’s less chance that she and my dad will get back together.
And what if I meet Max and actually like him? That wouldn’t be fair to my dad who’s in Paris, France, which is so far away. So I’m not ready to meet Max, and I may never be ready.”
- Amber Brown Wants Extra Credit, by Paula Danziger
Amber deals with changing custody arrangements…
When Amber’s dad gives up his distant job and moves back in order to have a closer relationship with his daughter, the custody arrangement changes. Amber’s mom is very upset, and Amber has to work through all the many changes this will bring to her life. Suddenly she has two homes instead of one. Suddenly she will have to go back and forth between houses, instead of simply spending vacations with her dad. It’s a lot to take in, and she’s not very happy about all of the unexpected changes.
“Home sweet home,” my father says.
I look at him.
Then I try to look at the house.
It’s dark outside, but I can see that it’s a real house. There are lights on upstairs.
I look at my father. “Whose home sweet home?”
My dad says, “Ours…”
- I, Amber Brown, by Paula Danziger
Amber Brown books help kids by normalizing their feelings…
Although the stories are funny and touching, they also dig deep into real issues that children face in today’s world, like loss and grief and dealing with major life changes. Amber Brown misses her dad while he’s gone, loves both of her parents very much, and sometimes resents the way they make life decisions that affect her, but don’t ask how she feels about it. She sometimes gets angry, sometimes acts out, and sometimes doesn’t know how to talk to her parents about her feelings. For parents who are getting divorced, the Amber Brown series can provide a very relatable way to approach challenging subjects surrounding divorce, and also help children feel heard and seen when it comes to navigating their complex feelings on the subject.
Divorce is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone…
Helping your children navigate your divorce is hard, but it’s part of being a parent, and one of the many ways you show your children you love them and care about their well-being. But who helps you navigate your divorce? We do! Here at The Kronzek Firm, our experienced family law attorneys have been helping parents all over mid-Michigan with their divorces for decades. And we can help you too. So if you’re considering ending your marriage, and you need help navigating child custody, visitation, asset division, and alimony, we’re here to assist you. Call 866 766 5245 today and talk to one of our skilled and helpful divorce attorneys. We’re available 24/7 to answer your questions.