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We're Still Family: What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents' Divorce Hardcover – June 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060193050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060193058
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1979, sociologist Ahrons randomly selected 98 pairs of divorced parents in Wisconsin for a five-year study. As she reported in 1994's The Good Divorce, while everyone handles the divorce process differently, "divorce doesn't destroy families," even if it rearranges and expands them to embrace new members. This reassuring viewpoint has been attacked by researchers like Judith Wallerstein, who argue that divorce's damage may not appear for a decade or more, when ACODs (adult children of divorce) struggle unsuccessfully to bond with partners. In response, Ahrons went back to her original research panel to learn how their children fared. Her team managed to interview an astounding 90% of the original cohort's children. Approximately three-fourths of these 173 "children" (now 30-somethings) thought their parents' divorces were a good idea, and that parents and children were better off than if they'd stayed together. Their comments on what made a difference to them when their parents were divorcing are instructive. Kids are very tuned into-and upset by-parental warfare, so "how parents relate to each other" is key. Parents battle over joint custody schedules, oblivious to how stressful the transitioning between parents can be. Ahrons reminds parents it's not the quantity of time they spend with their child, but the quality of relationship they establish: reliability, consistency and genuine interest in their lives are what matter most to children. More prescriptive than descriptive, Ahrons's supportive guidebook should aid anyone trying to make a "good divorce" better.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“A more nuanced picture of divorce, one that defies sound-bite conclusions.... Constance Ahrons is generous, wise and pragmatic.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Here is the REAL story of divorce for today’s rearranged families.” (Vicki Lansky, author of Divorce Book for Parents and It's Not Your Fault, KoKo Bear)

“With clarity and compassion, Dr. Ahrons presents solid research that gives us answers to the questions plaguing families and clinicians!” (Lois Braverman, President, American Family Therapy Academy and author of Women, Feminism, and Family Therapy)

“An astounding accomplishment! Filled with insights and advice....If you want the best for your children, read this book.” (Richard A. Warshak, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and author of Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond From a Vindictive Ex)

“Engaging, eminently readable...an important piece of social history that will be consulted by scholars for many years to come.” (Stephanie Coontz, author, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap)

“Ahrons, one of this country’s foremost authorities, offers sound advice about how divorcing couples can promote their children’s well-being.” (Steven Mintz, John and Rebecca Moores Professor of History, University of Houston and author of Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life)

“With her long-term unbiased research, Ahrons shows that children can grow up secure and loved by both parents.” (Mary Catherine Bateson, author of Full Circles, Overlapping Lives)

“Required reading for those contemplating or recently or long-divorced; adult children; clergy, mental health practitioners, teachers and policy-makers.” (Evan Imber-Black, Ph.D. , Editor, Family Process and Director of the Center for Families and Health, Ackerman Institute for the Family)

”Insightful, wise and honest, this longitudinal study is an important addition to our understanding the family after divorce.” (Warren Farrell, Ph.D., author of Father and Child Reunion and Why Men Are the Way They Are)

“The voices of grown children are compelling,! Filled with practical advice for helping two household families tap into unanticipated strengths. (Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of The Dance of Anger)

“Without the usual stereotypes or biases, Ahrons documents the complexities of divorced families...and tells what works and what doesn’t.” (Pauline Boss, Professor, University of Minnesota and author of Ambiguous Loss)

“This book should be required reading for all divorcing and divorced parents and the professionals who work with them.” (Isolina Ricci, Ph.D., author, Mom's House, Dad's House)

“More prescriptive than descriptive, Ahrons’s supportive guidebook should aid anyone trying to make a ‘good divorce’ better.” (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Highly recommended to anyone remotely involved in a divorce--even relatives.
Jennifer Corcoran
It gives a balanced view of the effect of divorce on children and directly addresses the very negative view that Judith Wallerstein's books portray.
Michele Diamond
Sociologists are normally very meticulous about how they design and conduct surveys and interviews.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By ettie on July 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Ahrons offers solid direction in ways to improve binuclear family harmony, yet there is no cookie cutter approach, for her recognition of the unique circumstances that exist from one person or family situation to another is crystal clear. If you wish to feel both informed and optimistic about gaining strength as part of a binuclear family, or you want a deeper understanding of the myths surrounding the lives of families, maybe yours, postdivorce, read this book.
It is fitting that the final chaper is Advise From The Front Lines: How to script a good divorce. Here you can see clearly what her research unveiled giving the 173 adults interviewed, the opportunity to express what does and does not really matter when you are a child living in a divorced family. What advice would you give to parents who are divorcing, what advice would you give to other kids whose parents are divorcing? This illuminating chapter is an opportunity to learn from the kids who have lived it, now with 20 years of experience under their belt.

Dr. Ahrons believes in family. The results from her interviews coupled with the wisdom and experience that her impressive background provide, give me hope for the connectedness possible in binuclear families.
This book is readable, not at all dry, which is an accomplishment when it comes to revealing results from interviews. See for yourselves.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Corcoran on July 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This was a great book, well-researched and living proof kids can survive and thrive after divorce! It's great to hear what the kids have to say about things 20 yrs later. Good read before, during and after the divorce. Highly recommended to anyone remotely involved in a divorce--even relatives.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jon Henshaw on July 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
For me, the best insights in the book came in the last chapter. Dr. Ahrons posits two questions to her research participants:
1. From your experience growing up in a divorced family, what advice would you give to parents who are divorcing?
2. What advice would you give to other kids whose parents are divorcing?
The answers that follow are tremendously valuable to anyone (including children) who are experiencing, or have experienced, divorce.
I highly recommend this book to parents who are concerned about the impact that their divorce may have on their children, and to adult children of divorce who are struggling to understand how their parents' divorce has impacted their lives.
(Full Review at FamilyResource.com)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Justin Tyme on December 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sorry, but when the author begins the preface by attempting to discredit another researcher and author rather than explain their own survey instrument, I can't take the rest of the literature seriously.

I do think there is some value in this book, however, I am not willing to believe any of the statistical analysis. Anecdotally, there may be some personal use in the interviews, but I'm afraid that any conclusions offered by this author just don't seem to have validity.

I would encourage parents in the midst of a divorce to skip to the interviews only, and don't read too much into the research.
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