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Where Is My Mommy?
by Mary Kilgore, MSW and Mitchell Kilgore, MSW
Mary Kilgore

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Mitchell Kilgore
Where Is My Mommy?

Parenting Press books are extensively tested with professionals and parents. Here is what they said about Where Is My Mommy?

"The book explains well the fear of abandonment experienced by a child.. . . An abandoned child will be able to identify with Zackie and the book will definitely help him understand and express his feelings better. [Helps parents] understand the muddle of feelings in a child. Introduction and Afterword are quite informative."
"A sensitive treatment of a youngster's feelings of loss and confusion."
"Good to use with children who lose a parent to divorce, then never or rarely get visited by that parent."
"An alarmingly common issue."
"Will help children who have been abandoned feel like they aren't alone and help them to process feelings of abandonment."
"Good content. This hits on an issue that troubles many children in foster care. Many feel it is somehow their fault."
"I deal mostly with kids from divorced homes—could be really relevant to their situations."
"This book helps [children who have experienced a loss] come to grip with the loss and to realize that although there will always be some unanswered questions, there are techniques to deal with that part of their life. It does not leave false hopes, but realistic coping skills."
"Could use this in counseling sessions to normalize feelings and open the conversation."
"The use of a variety of feeling words will be a good springboard for further discussion of emotions."
"Story line shows sensitivity to a young child's feelings. Glad the father is shown in a positive way."
"It's real, authentic; made my heart break a little."
"No happy ending (sooo realistic)."
"Provides a creative vehicle with which to discuss a painful experience."
"The book's strength is that it names all the feelings that come from mommy leaving."
"It is very hard for a child to understand why he/she was abandoned by parents. It is very difficult for us to understand the depth of this fear and realize that it keeps seeping out in their daily lives again and again and for a very long time. This book opens up these uncomfortable issues and helps us approach the pain of abandonment experienced by a child with better understanding and I do hope, patience."

What Reviewers Say about Where Is My Mommy?

"Census Bureau statistics reveal that more than a quarter of America's children now live in households with one parent, relative, or forster parent. . .Mary Kilgore and Mitchell Kilgore are clinical social workers who wrote Where Is My Mommy?, a children's book for those who have children, or work with children, struggling because of a loss of a caretaker, whether it is because of a removal from home, divorce, incarceration, deployment, death, or desertion.
"The authors remind us that children do not have the cognitive ability to understand the loss of a parent until around age 6, so young children tend to suffer greatly from confusion, frustration, anxieties, without knowing how to communicate these emotions. The book is written for children between the ages of 4 and 10, who may have questions about the absence or loss of a parent. . .
"One emotion that is emphasized is the fear of abandonment. Abandonment by a parent is devastating for a youngster of any age, but especially for a young child because it ruptures the bond of basic trust and the caretaker is most likely being constantly tested because of the child's fear: You will leave me, too. The book addresses this by teaching the caretaker how to preserve trust, in a language the child will understand.
"Where Is My Mommy? offers easy-to-understand and follow, practical methods for a family in a time where everyone, involving the caretakers themselves, are confused, grieving, and maybe at a loss for answers. You can really see Mary Kilgore and Mitchell Kilgore's hands-on experience as clinical social workers shine through."
Raising Boys World

Media Coverage of Where Is My Mommy?

Here are excerpts from a radio interview in late 2010, when the Kilgores were guests of Raising Boys World host Renee Martinez:

The issue of loss will recur repeatedly, reminded the authors, who warned it will often be demonstrated with behavior problems.

"All behavior has a cause," explained Mary Kilgore. "There's always a triggering event such as an anniversary, Christmas, even a new child moving into the neighborhood."

She also pointed out that a child who fears abandonment will test every new relationship: every new teacher, camp counselor, friend. "After all," she said, "the child assumes that if his own mother didn't like him enough to stay around, how can he expect other people to?"

When Martinez asked for advice for parents and caregivers who are dealing with a child who feels abandoned or fears that, Mitchell Kilgore suggested:

  • Provide a structured, predictable environment, and warn the child well in advance of any changes in the routine

  • Build on the child's interests and talents with hands-on activities (perhaps art, perhaps a sport) that are therapeutic and involve the remaining parent

  • Avoid physical discipline

  • Introduce new romantic partners very gradually, only if you believe this relationship may become long-term, and be prepared for acting out and testing, even if the abandonment occurred years before

What Readers Tell Us:

"Great for foster parents to share with foster children. . .Written by mother and son MSWs, this team really knows how to speak to a child's fears in its language!"
"Can be used [with] foster care, parent incarcerated long-term and so forth. Good read for adults who help children and for the children themselves. . .Interventions are cleverly integrated into the book—can be used as bibliotherapy."
"I would recommend this little book in half a second to any parent/grandparent/caregiver who is struggling to explain why a parent left. Good information for the parent on what to expect in terms of behavior from the child."
For more information, contact the Parenting Press publicity department at (800) 992-6657, ext. 105 or (206) 364-2900, ext. 105, or email our Publicity Coordinator.