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

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

by Sandra Blakeslee


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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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786887514
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 03/17/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 609,431
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.12(h) x 1.12(d)
Age Range: 1 - 18 Years

About 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.

Table of Contents

Part 1The Breakup1
Chapter 1Take Care of Yourself3
Chapter 2Telling the Children19
Chapter 3The Developmental Ladder31
Chapter 4Zero to Three43
Chapter 5Three-, Four-, and Five-Year-Olds51
Chapter 6Six-, Seven-, and Eight-Year-Olds63
Chapter 7Nine- and Ten-Year-Olds73
Chapter 8Eleven-, Twelve-, and Thirteen-Year-Olds87
Chapter 9Fourteen-, Fifteen-, Sixteen-, and Seventeen-Year-Olds99
Chapter 10College-Age Children113
Chapter 11Vulnerable Children121
Chapter 12What Is the "Best" Time to Divorce?127
Chapter 13Setting Routines and Structure133
Chapter 14Supporting the New Family141
Part 2Parent-to-Parent155
Chapter 15A New Kind of Parent157
Chapter 16You and the Law163
Chapter 17Laying the Foundation for Custody and Coparenting175
Chapter 18Custody185
Chapter 19High-Conflict Divorce203
Chapter 20How to Choose the Right Custody for Your Child215
Part 3The Post-Divorce Family221
Chapter 21Take Another Close Look at Your Children and at Yourself223
Chapter 22The Overburdened Child231
Chapter 23Parent-Child Alignments239
Chapter 24A New Kind of Teenager247
Chapter 25A New Kind of Father259
Chapter 26A New Kind of Mother269
Part 4Second Marriage275
Chapter 27Dating and Sex277
Chapter 28Remarriage289
Chapter 29Insiders and the Remarried Family299
Chapter 30Stepparents311
Chapter 31Blending Two Families323
Chapter 32Holidays and Special Occasions333
Part 5Conversations for a Lifetime339
Chapter 33How to Protect Children of Divorce in Young Adulthood341

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What About the Kids?: Raising Your Children Before, During and After Divorce 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Informative and well written
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MomLCSW More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
harstan More than 1 year ago
When it comes to the children (including adults) of divorce parents, Judith S. Wallerstein is considered the self-help guru based on the insightful THE UNEXPECTED LEGACY OF DIVORCE. Her newest effort to help families is a discerning collaboration with Sandra Blakeslee that provides a how to guide book to assist divorcing or divorced parents with helping their children survive the break up of the marriage. The authors insist that the former spouses must straighten themselves out rather quickly so that they can be there for the children (think airline oxygen mask instructions). Infants and toddlers need immediate assistance while adapting to changes in care and nurturing. Preadolescents require empathy and the knowledge the parents will be there as they struggle with the emotional bombs of change. Teens will manipulate the guilt of the parents better than Machiavelli so provide empathy and understanding, but also remember the parent has feelings too. Even adults have issues that their splitting parents must not ignore. Other topics provide insight into the before during, after, and second marriages with a thorough index to further assist the reader. This is a well-written complete guidebook encouraging the divorcees that with integrity they can handle the grenades their resentful, often angry children and perhaps their former partner toss at them. Harriet Klausner