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

Judith S. Wallerstein, Author, Sandra Blakeslee, Author, Sandra Blakeslee, Joint Author Hyperion Books $23.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6865-0
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.
Reviewed on: 03/10/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-7868-8751-4
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