If you’re solo mumming without dad in the picture, it is likely you will have been asked the question:
“Where is my Dad?”
Even if you have your answer all prepared, kid’s can still struggle with the fact that dad’s not on the scene. They might see their friends dad’s or watch TV show or commercials where dad’s a normal part of family life. It could make them feel different, possibly lacking.
To help normalise being a child of a single parent family, I’ve hunted down some great children’s books to make them feel less alone, whilst coming to terms and finding peace with their own family circumstances.
For further support on this topic see: Where is Dad? Explaining an absent father.
Books to help kids deal with an absent dad
Why don’t I have a daddy? by George Anne Clay
I have a few friends who have conceived from an anonymous donor, their experiences have been wonderful but it can be difficult to explain the situation especially to young kids. This charming book can help. The story is about a lion cub who is curious about his absent daddy. His lion mum shows how he came to be through a donor lion, and how special their little family is because of this.
Recommended for: Parents who want to explain how donor conception works to young children.
Love makes a family by Sophie Beer
Love Makes a Family is a must-read for any atypical family. Love is baking a cake, love is finding puddles and love is in the everyday. The fun and colourful illustrations perfectly reinforce the simple but powerful message: No matter the situation (an absent dad, one parent/grandparent or two mums), each family is special and unique. Because when it’s all said and done, it is love that makes a family … I never let my kids forget that.
Recommended for: Parents who want to teach their kids that all types of families are special.
Is Daddy coming back in a minute? by Alex Barber
Having lost my own mother at age seven, I understand that the sudden passing of a parent is a life-changing event that can be challenging to understand for children at any age. This book manages to provide honest answers to tough questions while assuring readers that it’s okay to feel intense emotions like sadness and eventually, happiness as well. The beautiful illustrations show the importance of a support system to kids dealing with the loss of a parent. We need more books like this.
Recommended for: Families dealing with parental death and loss.
Books to help kid’s deal with dad not being around (cont.)
Why do families change? by Jillian Roberts
Separation and divorce are explored in this handy and empowering book by child psychologist Dr. Roberts. It’s the perfect first book to explain the concept of changing families to kids ages 3-5 years. Kids will learn the invaluable lesson that it is never their fault when parents decide to go their separate ways and that each parent’s love for them will never change.
Recommended for: Younger kids with parents going through a divorce or separation.
A family is a family is a family by Sara O’Leary
Here’s another brilliant book that celebrates family diversity and inclusivity. The story is filled with short vignettes about different kinds of families, one with two mums, another with a foster mom, etc., all of them similar in one way that matters most: the families are made with love and caring. Kids will adore the fun watercolour illustrations and the simple, straightforward storytelling. My girls and I adored this book when they were young and I was pleased to be able to pass it onto another single mum.
Recommended for: Parents who want to show their kids that every family is unique.
Where’s my daddy? by Zoe Jones
If you are a single mum who left an abusive relationship, this book can help your child understand why his or her dad is no longer in the picture. Based on the author’s personal experience and consultations with mental health practitioners, the story is simple, heartfelt and carries the message that it is not your child’s fault that dad is absent, and that they are safe and loved no matter what.
Recommend for: Single mums who left an emotionally abusive relationship.