Child Psychologist, Rachel Brace, Shares Her Inspiration For 'Harriet's Expanding Heart'

October 18th, 2020

As with my first children’s book, Max’s Divorce Earthquake, inspiration for Harriet’s Expanding Heart came though my work as a psychologist and the support I provide children and parents as they reorganise their family post separation and divorce.

Divorce, remarriage, and the formation of a stepfamily can be stressful, emotionally challenging and, in some instances, even a traumatic event for children – partly because in a majority of situations, stepfamilies are founded in loss.  Death, divorce, or the ending of one relationship happens before a new relationship begins and a stepfamily comes to fruition.  Feelings of loss are often rekindled in children when a parent finds love (again) and moves on and for the children at least, transitions, grief and loss can be inextricably intertwined.

With Harriet’s Expanding Heart, I wanted to create a book that could be used as a resource by parents, teachers and counsellors to help young children and their carers identify, understand and name the multitude of big, sometimes uncomfortable but strong feelings children can experience in response to being in a stepfamily. To show children that feelings come and go, that the way they feel about their situation today might not be how they feel about it tomorrow, to improve their capacity to talk about what they are experiencing and build resilience. I also wanted this book to normalise a child’s experiences of stepfamily formation and reduce any sense they might feel of isolation or of being different.

'Max's Divorce Earthquake' and 'Harriet's Expanding Heart' are available now.
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Tags: author, divorce, mental health, parenting, psychology

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