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127 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to survive the agonies of separation with children
This book is a new, revised and updated edition of the book of the same name originally published in 1980. Dr. Ricci heads the Statewide Office of Family Court Services for California'as 82 family courts and has been a licensed marriage and family therapist for 22 years. The material for Mom's House, Dad's House came out of her experience as a therapist and mediator,...
Published on December 16, 1997

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96 of 108 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, but I'll continue to research more...
I bought this book in the midst of a custody case for my husband's daughter. The description of the book, chapter titles, etc., made it sound like exactly the information I was looking for to help us through a very rough time and give us some ideas on how to improve communication and ease tension.
However, I finished this book feeling a little let down and confused...
Published on October 28, 2003 by Angela Potter


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127 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to survive the agonies of separation with children, December 16, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child (Paperback)
This book is a new, revised and updated edition of the book of the same name originally published in 1980. Dr. Ricci heads the Statewide Office of Family Court Services for California'as 82 family courts and has been a licensed marriage and family therapist for 22 years. The material for Mom's House, Dad's House came out of her experience as a therapist and mediator, teaching seminars and classes for divorcing parents. From her students and clients she learned how difficult and complex it could be for divorcing parents to pull away from their former intimate relationships and reorganize their lives. The present volume is a distillation of all that Dr. Ricci learned in those early and in subsequent years. Its goal is to inform divorcing, separated, or remarried parents on how to constructively heal the wounds of separation and establish a healthy new life for their children. Dr. Ricci argues that, contrary to traditionally accepted beliefs that divorce means destruction of the family, a new kind of really workable and satisfying family life can be created for a child while parents maintain separate residences. Reaching this state is, however, not easy. It involves an understanding by both parents of their mutual goals, and much hard work at "pre-separation boot camp" to actualize these goals. This is a painful process where former intimacy is replaced by a business-like approach with the needs of the child rather than those of the parents being paramount. The rewards to all parties are, however, enormous. Fortunately, as difficult as the process of separation may be, Dr. Ricci leads us through it in great detail, dissolving commonly held myths, describing the various stages of separation and the problems inherent in each, how to set up separate residences and still maintain a "family," and the path out of our irrational negative intimacy to a rational relationship. Her points are well-illustrated throug the felicitous and ample use of quotes from clients. Also included are sections on the all-important legal side of separation and divorce and how to make it work for you, the divorcing parent, rather than for attorneys. The basic elements of parenting plans and agreements "the most important legal document when it is filed" are well-described in great detail and are alone worth the price of the book. Post-separation problems include those of the parent who fades out of the picture and their possible re-entry into the family relationship are well-described as are the wherefores of developing an extended family and acquaintance network, long-distance parenting, and difficulties involved in moving on. remarriage, dealing with "flashbacks" to the original relationship and former family life, and all the other problems one is likely to encounter even years after a divorce. Finally, for the layman who wishes to know more and for the professional, there are sections of detailed chapter notes, further reading, and appendices on information for your child's school, how to find a knowledgeable attorney, the costs of raising children, ideas for customized private clauses for private contracts, a mediation confidentiality agreement,and a guide for choosing child care. An index completes this exceptionally well-written and edited book. I have no hesitation in highly recommending Mom's House, Dad's House to anyone contemplating or involved in separation from a marriage. Indeed, I would even consider it must reading for anyone thinking of having children, to educate them as to the seriousness of bringing a child into the world. After all, you may be the one in two couples whose relationship will end in separation. My only regret is that this book was not yet in print when I separated from a former wife years ago when we had two children. Much emotional trauma all around could have been avoided or ameliorated if we had had Dr. Ricci's wisdom and practical suggestions then. Separation and divorce will never be a pleasure for anyone with children, but armed with MOM'S HOUSE, DAD'S HOUSE, it no longer has to take its vicious emotional toll. In both my professional life as a psychiatrist and in my personal life, I recommend this book to everyone. Richard A. Blasband, M.D.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An indispensible guide, October 23, 1999
By A Customer
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This review is from: Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child (Paperback)
In the process of my divorce, I checked every resource I could find - in libraries, at the book store, publications from organizations...
Most of them I skimmed and saved references to the useful information. This was about the only book that made me stop and read it from cover to cover.
It's incredibly complete, with realistic advice on how to approach each situation that arises.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Downright Educational and Awakening!, July 19, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child (Paperback)
I have to say that I am currently in the process and almost finished reading the original Mom's House, Dad's House - Making Shared Custody Work and I cannot emphasize enough how much it has changed my belief system on shared placement (responsibilities). The very first page of Chap. 1 made me cry. My main concern was that our son (4 1/2) feel as though he had a place HE could call HOME. I felt that flip flopping back and forth on the current 5,5,2,2 day schedule was unstable for him. I feel as though an angel touched me on the shoulder and brought this book into my life. My view instantly changed about shared placement when the little girl from Chap. 1 responds to the businessman on the airplane that she has two "real" homes. I tear up thinking about each time. I no longer feel that our son should be placed primarily with me - that he will have 2 homes - 2 families and that is wonderful for him. I especially love the use of "rose" words and changing ! such terms of "visiting" to "living with" each parent. I have already implemented the use of these terms. The surveys are also wonderful self examinations that (if answered truthfully) will be so educational for you. The use of a "Parent Agreement" is also something I think is wonderful. I have already typed the initial draft and I plan to approach my child's father with it and get his input. It was great to see the different stages literally mapped out for you. I also enjoyed the chapter on changing your once intimate relationship into a business relationship and avoiding the negative intimacy that can be so prevalent in these situations and how to avoid "hot spots".
I cannot emphasize how inspirational this book has been for me!! I would and do strongly recommend this book to anyone thinking about, in the process of, or in a post-divorce situation. I believe you are guaranteed to learn more than you could possibly expect to - but you! will. Just sit back - open your mind - and the education w! ill be unlimited!!! God bless all of you who are facing any part of a separation or divorce in your lives. My prayers are with all of you and your children.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for some, maybe not for others, September 18, 2006
This review is from: Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child (Paperback)
When my wife told me she wanted a divorce, I almost immediately grabbed every book I could find on resurrecting a marriage and handling a breakup with kids. I had plenty of time to read suddenly, after all. I found this book to be not only the most effective in handling kidds, but probably contained the best advice on keeping the marriage together. Alas, it was not meant to be.

A key thing: my children's mother and I have always wanted to be civil with one another. I recognize that many relationships do not end this way, and many parents are abusive or neglectful. There are other books that are better for handling those types of situations. For example, "Where's Daddy?" by Jill Curtis is likely to be helpful for a mother dealing with an absent or abusive father; for me it was not very helpful.

This book can be key in helping a couple that doesn't want their divorce to turn so sour that they can't stand each other's sight. It is helpful in handling each parent's relationship with their children, and their relationship with each other.

If you are already hunkered down in the middle of a war, this book may not be right for you; if you are trying to avoid getting into that situation in the first place, this book should be at the top of your list.
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96 of 108 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, but I'll continue to research more..., October 28, 2003
This review is from: Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child (Paperback)
I bought this book in the midst of a custody case for my husband's daughter. The description of the book, chapter titles, etc., made it sound like exactly the information I was looking for to help us through a very rough time and give us some ideas on how to improve communication and ease tension.
However, I finished this book feeling a little let down and confused. As another reviewer pointed out, if the people in the book were able to work so well together while getting divorced, why did they not attempt to remain together and seek counseling/structure for their marriage? The ultimate dream of any small child with divorcing parents is for them to remain together.
Also, it seemed like 90% of the examples of families/home structures in this book had the children living with their mother, and the father as the non-custodial parent. Although my husband did not ultimately get custody of his daughter, he is a wonderful father, and we know many dads who have physical custody. A few more examples of kids living primarily with their father would have been nice. As a parent, I can definitely say that I don't believe a mother loves a child any more than a father does. There is a special bond for a woman and her children to be sure, but there is just as special and loving bond between father and child.
While the real-life examples conveyed the anger and frustration of divorce, there wasn't much about custody cases. This was a topic that was supposed to be covered in this book, and it was only lightly touched upon. Dr. Ricci would have done more of a service to the readers of the book if she had touched on any and all scenarios of divorce/custody/visitation.
I believe there is always room to grow as a person and as a family. This is not a bad resource, but check it out from the library rather than buy it, and look into other materials as I am.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Usefulness Depends on Your Situation, May 20, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child (Paperback)
I am going through a divorce that is a little sticky but not horrible. We have one child, and I looked to this book to help me and my wife devise a great dual-home for our child. I actually found the book did not help me at all because the perspective is from a much harsher divorce. So, if you are in the middle of a slightly ugly divorce, this might be helpful, but otherwise, I'm not sure. Let's put it this way--the title makes it sound like a slam-dunk, but unless your situation is just like the one(s) presented, you may find it just a waste of money. I'm looking for another book on single-fatherhood and saw this title, and thought I should write this note so that lots more people don't have the same experience. Good luck.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Change your ideas about "winning custody.", April 9, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child (Paperback)
I cringed when I heard a divorced friend of mine complain that his wife was unfairly accusing him of taking all the best stuff when they divorced, because she "got" the kids. How awful for children to be things to be won. Kids need homes and parents, and this book will help parents caught up in the current culture of "winning custody" to understand that "reasonable visitation" is a rotten way for kids to relate to their parents.
This book effectively explains what parents can do to help their kids feel loved and important and continue meaningful relationships with both parents. I highly recommend it to any divorced or divorcing parent who is committed to minimizing the divorce's negative effects on their children. The author's ideal of "two homes with no fighting" is right on track.
I also highly recommend Dr. Richard Warshak's "The Custody Revolution: the Father Factor and the Motherhood Mystique."
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Handbook, June 16, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child (Paperback)
I think this is an extraordinarily valuable book. This was my guide through a very painful process, perhaps the single most difficult thing I've ever experienced.
I think the book correctly takes the high road, and focuses on the right things. This book won't heal your hurts, it's not supposed to do that. It can help you get on with life. And, my circumstances were very, very painful - involving addiction, infidelity and deceit. I chose to be an adult, and keep my kids out of the process. Thanks to this book, I was able to avoid a lot of the "battling tops" games that typically arise in these situations. I got down to business, put my emotions in check, and got it done. And, I'm a MUCH happier person today.
And, the proof is in the pudding: my kids about got STRAIGHT A's, DURING the divorce process. Their lives continued, while Mom and Dad figured it out, as adults, away from them. That's how it should be, they're the innocent victims. There were no games, no using the kids, no yelling. My ex and I crafted a very unique parenting plan, that was applauded by our attorneys AND the Judge.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars #1 reference for parents going through divorce, December 14, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child (Paperback)
Not only did I read this as I was going through separation and divorce, I have picked it up numerous times since to refresh my memory and keep my priorities straight and my head & heart in the right place. Dr. Ricci's advice is just as useful as your needs change and your kids grow, too. If you have kids and are separating/divorcing, this book will walk you through every step, as well as give you immediately applicable information on setting up two homes for your children in the best possible way for them, and for you.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We formed a new relationship with the help of the book, July 15, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child (Paperback)
Mom's House, Dad's House is an island of rational ideas and support in a sea of self help books. Dr. Ricci presents concepts and advice that supported us in re-building our relationship while going through a divorce with three children. Almost every issue we struggled with (and we did struggle) was covered in the book. Her input regarding 'emotional' divorce paved the way to our new and very constructive 'business' relationship. We are now actually communicating better that when married. The children are the true beneficiaries of our using this book.
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Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child
Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child by Isolina Ricci Ph.D. (Paperback - November 18, 1997)
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