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Still a Family: A Guide to Good Parenting Through Divorce
     

Still a Family: A Guide to Good Parenting Through Divorce

by Lisa Rene Reynolds
 

Divorce can have a devastating effect on children. Yet for families who carefully consider and manage the intricacies associated with this difficult and upsetting time, the family, as seen from the child’s perspective, can remain strong, healthy, and as loving and supportive as it ever was.

Still a Family clearly and concisely lays out the specific

Overview

Divorce can have a devastating effect on children. Yet for families who carefully consider and manage the intricacies associated with this difficult and upsetting time, the family, as seen from the child’s perspective, can remain strong, healthy, and as loving and supportive as it ever was.

Still a Family clearly and concisely lays out the specific emotions and reactions parents need to anticipate from their children while going through separation, divorce, and its aftermath. Rather than weighing parents down with complicated plans, confusing information, and legal terminology, this book takes a common-sense approach, providing readers in a state of emotional distress with the practical, down-to-earth advice they need to sensibly and comfortingly guide their children through this often painful process. The book covers the most common mistakes divorcing parents tend to make, as well as addressing special issues that come up for kids of different age groups. This is a much-needed repository of wisdom and practical counsel for any family going through a time of height­ened feelings and fragile relationships.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…a much-needed repository of wisdom and practical counsel for any family going through divorce. Covering the most common mistakes divorcing parents tend to make, this book helps you retain a strong, healthy, and loving environment for your child, even in the midst of change.”

Staten Island Parent Magzine

"I appreciated so much her warmth and concern that you feel in her book…I doubt that there is a question or concern regarding divorce that is not covered in this book.”

— www.happyhealthyfamilies.com

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814412961
Publisher:
AMACOM
Publication date:
02/28/2009
Pages:
270
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

It is 8:45 a.m. on a rainy Saturday morning. Twenty-five new

faces stare at me from around a large conference table. Some

expressions are hard and resentful, others are sad and anxious.

There are more than a few people suffering from the pernicious

blend of too much crying and too little sleep. Many look curious,

wondering what will happen in this room over the next six

hours.

This is how the Parent Education Program (PEP) begins each

week. I teach this six-hour mandatory class for Connecticut parents

who are seeking a divorce (or separation if the parents were

never legally married). My experience in these classes is why I

decided to write this book.

Although more states are instituting these mandatory programs

for divorcing parents, the six-hour class is never quite adequate

for addressing all the struggles the participants present to

me. Divorcing parents have so many questions and such a wealth

of stories and experience among them; this book focuses on the

areas that divorcing parents grapple with most. I address the questions

that people ask over and over again in each class. The details

may change from family to family, but the core issues are almost

always the same among families experiencing a divorce.

Most people use the old axiom, “About half of all marriages

don’t make it,” as their reference for divorce rates. Indeed, the

divorce rate in the United States is most often cited as about 50

percent for first marriages, 67 percent for second marriages, and

74 percent for third marriages. These numbers not only are difficult

to accurately gauge, but are probably quite understated. They

do not take into account the divorces that occur in states that

do not track such statistics (e.g., California, Colorado, Indiana,

and Louisiana do not gather or report rates of divorce). Additionally,

the divorce rate is based solely on legal, registered marital

unions but doesn’t count gay relationships or unmarried, cohabitating

couples that produce offspring. In fact, the Children’s Fund

reports that one in three American children is born to unmarried

parents (2004 Key Facts About American Children).

In 2007, 4,710,010 adult Americans divorced. Divorce knows

no borders. Couples from various ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic

backgrounds go through the ordeal of relationship dissolution.

In each of these cases, the littlest victims are the children,

and much of the research on children of divorce supports

the belief that the process often negatively affects them. There are

over one million American children involved in new divorces each

year who need their parents to do the right thing.

The changes a divorce brings to a family will be an adjustment

for all children. Divorce can be devastating for them, but there are

many things parents can do to make the experience less traumatic

and painful. That’s one reason why this book focuses on how the

child and the parents experience divorce at the child’s various ages

and developmental stages. Additionally, the book offers parents

practical suggestions as to how to handle common situations with

the child and ideas for what to do and how to do it in order to ease

the pain of divorce for a child.

When I shared the title of this book with a trusted and

respected mentor and expert in the field, she revealed to me that

her own parents divorced when she was a child. She said that the

title—Still a Family—was very upsetting to her because this was,

in fact, not the case in her family; after the divorce, her family unit

disintegrated. So for all parents reading this book who are going

through a divorce, please remember that there is nothing worse

for a child than feeling as if he or she has lost a family—on top of

the normal adjustment and grief that comes along with the family

changes following a divorce. Although your relationship with the

other parent will significantly change through the divorce process,

you will both remain parents forever. Although divorce will

alter your family system, you as parents must work hard to rebuild

some sort of new relationship network for the child, and this will

be your new “family.”

No two divorces are the same, and alas, no two families are the

same either. For this reason, no step-by-step recipe exists for how

to divorce so that children do not suffer. Still, my goal is that this

book will help you through each step of your divorce. The stories

are real, although I have changed identifying data and specifics in

order to protect the identity of the people involved. The suggestions

are well-researched, and they are tested in tried-and-true

cases by real parents. I hope you will read this book with great care

and hold its message closely; your efforts will go far in helping support

your child through this very difficult time.

Meet the Author

Dr. Lisa René Reynolds is a marriage and family therapist who teaches a mandatory class for all divorcing parents offered through the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies, Inc.

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