The groundbreaking handbook that helps parents guide their children through divorce and co-parenting -- including the introduction of step-parents -- from a New York Times bestselling author and child psychologist.
This is the definitive work from the renowned child psychologist Judith Wallerstein on a subject that concerns millions of American moms and dads: How can you protect your children during and after divorce?
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 draws on thirty years of in-depth interviews with children of divorce and their parents to show 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
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.