Meet Grace. At nine years old she has a big secret. Grace knows first-hand that life can be difficult. Her parents aren't very happy. Their arguing is giving her a stomach ache. She spends a lot of time alone, worrying. Are her parents problems her fault? Had she done something wrong? Grace pretends everything is fine, but it's not. She feels helpless and has learned that making things up is easier than telling the truth.
One big question haunts her every day. Will her family ever be happy again?
This book is perfect for a child with a difficult home life. Divorce, addiction, mental health issues and more can cause children to feel alone, anxious and afraid. Gracie's Secret addresses this by showing kids they aren't alone, and that they can feel better. With a workbook section for kids to understand their own issues and a message that talking to a safe person will help, Gracie's story can help kids cope.
Writing about Difficult Issues for Children
As a child who grew up in a difficult family situation - an alcoholic home - I know first-hand the importance of healthy families.
The pain of my childhood experiences impacted me greatly, and followed me throughout my adult years. My parents wanted to spare me the details of their difficulties. However, children don't learn from what is being said, they learn from what is being done. When children can't make sense of the problems in their families, they often feel responsible for them. It can be confusing for the child as what they are seeing, and what they are being told, may not match up. Kids who can't talk about their feelings, will act them out. Some children will internalize their emotions, becoming quiet and isolated, while others will externalize behaving in an angry, needy and/or aggressive manner.
Children who don't feel safe in discussing their emotions become 'others focused.' They have an underdeveloped sense of self and look to other people to validate their worth. They become hyper vigilant, on high alert at all times. They may experience psychosomatic illness, such as tummy aches, headaches, night terrors and a general overall feeling of being unwell.
Families experiencing difficult situations are often stressed and tense. There may be long drawn out periods of silence, or angry outbursts. Children learn to walk on egg shells and try to take care of adults. This behaviour can develop into codependency and people pleasing down the road.
I wrote this book for two reasons.
One, so that the children reading it will understand that the problems happening in their families are not their fault.
Two, so that our children can begin to identify and describe their emotions. When our kids can identify and talk about feelings they are much less likely to grow up and repeat the cycle.
Who knows? Had I known Gracie's Secret as a child, things might have been different. One thing I do know. Our kids need support too and that in a nutshell, is why I wrote this book.
Excerpt:"Grace wished she could take Cameron and run far away. She held him close and hummed, hoping to cover the noise of their parent's yelling so he could fall asleep.
Her stomach was hurting again.
The raised voices below them were joined by a crash. She plugged her ears.
Her bedroom was so dark she thought it might swallow her up.
Grace closed her eyes, trying to stay calm as she imagined what was going downstairs. Her eyes blinked back open, not able to stay closed. She remained upright in bed for most the night."
About the author:
My name is Lorelie Rozzano and I'm a recovering addict. Seventeen years ago I took the most difficult walk of my life – through the doors of a local treatment centre. I found in recovery, what I’d been looking for in alcohol and drugs. Finally, my skin fit! I'm an author, mother, wife, grandmother, foster parent, sister, family counsellor and daughter. Growing up in an alcoholic home I understand first-hand, the importance of a healthy family. I began working at the Edgewood Treatment Centre for addiction in 1998 and have had the privilege of working with both patients and their families. I'm passionate about helping others whose lives like mine, have been affected by addiction. In the past few years I've created a blog, Jagged Little Edges – living in a world of hope, and written three fiction books: Gracie’s Secret, Jagged Little Edges, and Jagged Little Lies. My hope is that the honesty found in my books and and on my blog, will help those dealing with unhealthy behaviours and addiction. After all, I truly believe if I can get clean, anyone can. I'm currently working on book three in the Jagged series