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When Parents Divorce or Separate

by Lynn Cassella-Kapusinki

Give your child the tools and Catholic faith to discover a path toward healing and growth.

Divorce and separation are painful experiences, particularly for children. Children may not fully understand what is happening between their parents. They may think that they are at fault, or feel like they are caught in the middle. As the divorce or separation unfolds and major changes in family structure and dynamics start to take place, children may become overwhelmed by their reactions.

Author Lynn Cassella-Kapusinki-a child of divorce who is a National Certified Counselor with a background in pastoral counseling and experience in Catholic-based ministry programs for children of divorce or separation-knows these realities all too well. Writing from both a personal and professional perspective, she comfortingly embraces children into the community of children of divorce and separation, and also into the community of God's children and God's family: the Church.

Formed by the truths of the Catholic faith and by what professionals in family counseling have found helpful, this guide through parental divorce and separation designed for children ages 8-12 blends faith with interactive elements. Whether you are a parent, guardian, caretaker, counselor, therapist, support group leader, or ministry program coordinator, with this resource, you can provide your child with a safe space for coping, healing, and growing.

Chapters cover the entire experience of divorce or separation-its development, onset, duration, and aftermath-and acknowledge a child's emotional, mental, and physical responses amidst these stages. Children can address their feelings through:

  • Realistic vignettes 
  • Journaling spaces 
  • Writing prompts 
  • Drawing and coloring 
  • Helpful tips and practical information 
  • Reflection Questions 
  • Prayer

In this approach, children can discover a path toward moving forward.

Features & Benefits:

  • Contains a comforting "Note to Reader" 
  • Contains a "Note to Parents and Other Family Members" 
  • Draws upon teachings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • Activities suit varying personalities 
  • Helps children develop foundational communication, problem solving, anger management, and empathy skills 
  • Defines terms that children may be unfamiliar with 
  • Includes a glossary of terms not previously defined in the text 
  • Offers a list of additional resources

"This book provides a Catholic approach for children coping with the aftermath of divorce. Engaging stories and interactive reflection create an inviting framework for young people to pray, process, and better understand how divorce and separation impacts the whole family. From addressing feelings, to learning empathy, to practicing forgiveness, Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski offers realistic, heartening, and spiritually uplifting reflections in a manner that speaks to children about their identity, their integrity, and their relationship to God."
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, DC

"When Parents Divorce or Separate is a resource for any family, school or program that wants to help children of divorced or separated parents understand the role of God and faith in their lives after the pain. The author gives children and parents a good roadmap that allows the beauty of Catholic teaching to inform the recovery and rebuilding process."
Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago

"A must for parents and all therapists who work with Christian children in the aftermath of divorce. This sensitive, useful, and practical Catholic guide is an invaluable tool for preventing the generational wound of divorce from being carried forward."
Ana Maria Anastasiades, M.D.; Member, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

"I can't think of a better book to put into the hands of a child suffering because of their parents' divorce. This book is full of hope!"
Lisa Duffy, Author of Divorced. Catholic: Now What?, Co-founder of, Managing Editor of's divorced Catholics portal

"The best book I have ever seen for helping children deal with divorce or separation. This book provides practical, meaningful advice kids can apply to their lived experience, within the framework of Catholic teaching."
Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, EWTN Host of Made in His Image: Family Life Today , Author of The Mass in Sacred Scripture

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