What About the Kids?: Raising Your Children Before, During, and After Divorce


Now in paperback—a groundbreaking guide that tells parents how to help their children at the time of the breakup and in the many years that follow within the post-divorce and remarried family—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce.

In the tradition of the best parenting guidebooks comes a new work by the renowned child psychologist Judith Wallerstein on a subject that vexes millions of American moms and dads: How can you genuinely protect ...

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Now in paperback—a groundbreaking guide that tells parents how to help their children at the time of the breakup and in the many years that follow within the post-divorce and remarried family—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce.

In the tradition of the best parenting guidebooks comes a new work by the renowned child psychologist Judith Wallerstein on a subject that vexes millions of American moms and dads: How can you genuinely protect your children during and after divorce? Wallerstein answers this important question based on 30 years of in-depth interviews with children of divorce and their parents.

Divorce is not a single event but a lifelong trajectory of changed circumstances that demand a different kind of parenting than we have ever known. In What About the Kids? Wallerstein shows parents how to create a new family with compassion and wisdom. It covers issues that arise at the time of divorce as well as suggestions for talking to your children months and years after the event.

Eminent psychologist Judith S. Wallerstein shares her unique insight and advice in What About the Kids?—the first comprehensive guide to easing the impact of divorce on your children—including:

  • The best and worst ages for children to experience their parents' divorce
  • Right and wrong ways to explain divorce to your children
  • Choosing a custody arrangement that's best for your child
  • How to involve the grandparents—a major resource?
  • Getting the children on your side when you form new relationships
  • The positive effects of divorce on children (believe it or not)
  • How divorce can actually make you a better parent
  • Raising children who grow up able to form lasting relationships
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The founder and executive director for the Center for the Family in Transition, Wallerstein taught at UC Berkeley for more than 25 years, but is best known as the author of The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, which taught adult children of divorce how to recognize reactive divorce-based behavior patterns. Here with New York Times science writer Blakeslee, Wallerstein explicitly hopes to complement Dr. Spock and Dr. T. Berry Brazelton's child rearing how-tos by showing parents how to guide children through the dissolution of a marriage. She does an excellent job. After a chapter that advises parents to get their own heads straight before dealing with the kids ("I wish I could tell you that it's ok to lie down and pull the covers over your head, but that's not possible"), Wallerstein addresses the developmental problems that infants and toddlers might face and ways of easing them into differing options for care. She's forthright in talking about the reactions of older children ("Teenagers can be excellent manipulators. All of them do it, but children of divorce have much more to work with"), and talks about their needs with empathy, insight and rigor, but never loses sight of what parents need and feel, too. Chapters cover "The Breakup," "Parent to Parent" advice on custody and avoiding disputes, "The Post-Divorce Family," "Second Marriage" and "Conversations for a Lifetime," or talks that help kids not to be afraid of love and commitment. Addressing everything from parent-to-parent blame to the many forms of child-to-parent resentment, Wallerstein offers firm honesty and supportive encouragement. Divorcing parents will be grateful for it. (Mar. 12) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In these books, the authors counsel adults about effective ways to help children deal with change and grief. Marta, founder of RAINBOWS, an international grief support organization for children, applies her techniques to kids who are dealing with several types of loss-the death of a parent, sibling, or friend; divorce; abandonment or placement in foster care; and local or national crisis. Drawing on her work with small groups, she aids her readers in understanding how children experience grief and sadness and offers suggestions for helping them deal with loss and build hope for the future. Also included are guidelines for talking to children and games to help them voice their emotions. Wallerstein (sociology, emerita, Berkeley) has been studying and writing about the effects of divorce on children for more than 25 years. Here, with the help of science writer Blakeslee, she distills her groundbreaking research from The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce (2000) into digestible guidelines for parents. Divided into five parts, the book addresses handling the breakup, dealing with the coparent, examining the family several years after divorce, learning to cope with second families and dating parents, and, finally, assisting children in learning from the parents' divorce so that they may seek healthy relationships as they become young adults. Wallerstein emphasizes the need for continuous dialog with children appropriate to their age; she also stresses that parents must acknowledge the divorce throughout the child's lifetime, making changes in conversation and habits as the children age. Though their subjects and intended audiences are somewhat different, both guides offer complementary advice on helping children deal with the ongoing emotional impact of a loss. Both are recommended for all public libraries, though those owning The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce need not purchase Wallerstein's unless they have strong parenting collections.-Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786887514
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 410,144
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.87 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith S. Wallerstein is the founder and executive director of the Center for the Family in Transition. She is senior lecturer emerita at the School of Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley, where she has taught for twenty-six years. She has spoken with more divorced families than anyone in the nation, and lectured to thousands of family court judges, attorneys, mental health professionals, mediators, and educators. She has appeared on Oprah, the Today show, and Good Morning America, among others. She is the author, with Sandra Blakeslee, of the national bestsellers The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts and Second Chances: Men, Women, and Children a Decade After Divorce; with Blakeslee and Julia M. Lewis of the bestseller The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25-Year Landmark Study; and, with Dr. Joan Berlin Kelly, of Surviving the Breakup: How Children and Parents Cope with Divorce. She lives in Belvedere, California.

Sandra Blakeslee is an award-winning science writer who contributes regularly to the New York Times. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Table of Contents

Introduction XI
Part 1 The Breakup 1
Chapter 1 Take Care of Yourself 3
Chapter 2 Telling the Children 19
Chapter 3 The Developmental Ladder 31
Chapter 4 Zero to Three 43
Chapter 5 Three-, Four-, and Five-Year-Olds 51
Chapter 6 Six-, Seven-, and Eight-Year-Olds 63
Chapter 7 Nine- and Ten-Year-Olds 73
Chapter 8 Eleven-, Twelve-, and Thirteen-Year-Olds 87
Chapter 9 Fourteen-, Fifteen-, Sixteen-, and Seventeen-Year-Olds 99
Chapter 10 College-Age Children 113
Chapter 11 Vulnerable Children 121
Chapter 12 What Is the "Best" Time to Divorce? 127
Chapter 13 Setting Routines and Structure 133
Chapter 14 Supporting the New Family 141
Part 2 Parent-to-Parent 155
Chapter 15 A New Kind of Parent 157
Chapter 16 You and the Law 163
Chapter 17 Laying the Foundation for Custody and Coparenting 175
Chapter 18 Custody 185
Chapter 19 High-Conflict Divorce 203
Chapter 20 How to Choose the Right Custody for Your Child 215
Part 3 The Post-Divorce Family 221
Chapter 21 Take Another Close Look at Your Children and at Yourself 223
Chapter 22 The Overburdened Child 231
Chapter 23 Parent-Child Alignments 239
Chapter 24 A New Kind of Teenager 247
Chapter 25 A New Kind of Father 259
Chapter 26 A New Kind of Mother 269
Part 4 Second Marriage 275
Chapter 27 Dating and Sex 277
Chapter 28 Remarriage 289
Chapter 29 Insiders and the Remarried Family 299
Chapter 30 Stepparents 311
Chapter 31 Blending Two Families 323
Chapter 32 Holidays and Special Occasions 333
Part 5 Conversations for a Lifetime 339
Chapter 33 How to Protect Children of Divorce in Young Adulthood 341
Epilogue 363
Index 365
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2011

    Very informative

    Informative and well written

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 20, 2009

    A Must for Divorcing Parents

    Many, many children would be able to survive their parents's divorce with minimal stress if parent's had read this book before or during their divorce.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2005

    Same Old Story

    I ordered this book from BN.com in hopes that it would help me, as a soon to be fully divorced father of a 6 month old, find a way to approach a contested custody battle. While there is a LOT of advice in the book about custody in regards to children of all ages, the book is still geared towards mothers. This is very frustrating for me. The author does note that fathers are up and coming as equal and interested parents but then undermines that statement by continuing to refer to contact with the father as 'visits' and discuss sole custody almost entirely as being with the mother. I am not going to deny that this is the age old traditional case but I do deny that this is how it should be. I was hoping, from a book published so recently, for a fresh look at the subject but disappointingly found yet another, albiet less obvious, declaration of the close minded over important role of the mother in a child's life. For child to be healthy and happy, they require the attention, parenting and love of both parents equally. It is the imperative of the Family Court System here in Vermont and should be of anyone who loves their children. If you are looking for another arguement for the power of women over men in child's life, look no further. If you were hoping, like me, to find a balanced discussion on the importance of both parents in such a hard time, you're knocking at the wrong door.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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