From Publishers Weekly
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 Brazeltons 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 its ok to lie down and pull the covers over your head, but thats not possible"), Wallerstein addresses the developmental problems that infants and toddlers might face and ways of easing them into differing options for care. Shes 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, and a confirmed Today show appearance and satellite TV tour should help spread the word.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Wallerstein, author of The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce
(2000), and Blakeslee, a science writer, draw on more than 30 years of research to provide advice and assistance to parents who are either facing divorce or coping with its aftermath. First they define the major challenges: getting the parent's life under control, preparing children for the breakup, and creating new relationships with the ex-partner. They emphasize that divorce is not a single event but a process with many stages. The book is organized around the steps of a divorce and its aftermath: the immediate breakup of the family, when reactions are at their rawest and most emotional; the first few years, when the new family routine is being established; a period of assessment 5 or 10 years after the breakup; the reconstituted family after remarriage; and communicating with children in young adulthood to help them develop and sustain strong relationships. The authors offer advice that runs the gamut, from answering questions children ask about divorce to choosing the best custody arrangement. This is a very valuable resource for families at any stage of breakup. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved