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.
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About 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.
Read an Excerpt
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 a 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 a 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 a and Louisiana do not gather or report rates of divorce). Additionally a 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 a 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 a 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 a 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.
Table of Contents
Foreword . xiii
Chapter • The Bad News and the Good News . . . and
How to Make More of the Good News. 5
Chapter • Reducing the Risk of Traumatizing Your
Chapter • Taking Care of Yourself . . . for Your Kids. 47
Chapter • Managing Parenting Time with Your
Children and Ex-Spouse. 77
Chapter • Questions That Divorcing Parents Ask. 107
Chapter • The Biggest Mistakes Divorcing Parents
Make (and How Not to Make Them). 129
Chapter • Special Issues for Infants, Toddlers a and Preschoolers . 151
Chapter • Special Issues for School-Age Children. 181
Chapter • Special Issues for Adolescents. 207
Chapter • From the Mouths of Babes. 235
Afterword . 253
Appendix A: Resources for Divorcing Parents. . . . . . . 255
Appendix B: Common Mistakes Divorcing
Parents Make. 261
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Still a Family has all the important information you will need to make a difficult situation less stressful for your kids. I appreciated Dr. Reynolds' straightforward answers to frequently-asked questions and especially enjoyed reading the inspirational real-life stories she shares. This is a must-read for all divorcing parents.