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Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce Paperback – May 4, 2010
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"I am proud to recommend Dr. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll's new book, Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce. It is very readable, but incorporates a vast amount of research as well as the author's own extensive clinical experience. Today, when so many children suffer the problems created by their parent's divorce, parents and the professionals who work with them during the transitions relating to divorce will find this book a great guide to helping their children cope more successfully."
-Robert J. Haggerty, M.D. former president of The W. T. Grant Foundation and The American Academy of Pediatrics
"Putting Children First provides an abundance of useful information for parents who are divorced, thinking about divorce, or in the process of divorcing. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll is a highly respected psychologist, researcher, and developer of programs for children. She draws on scientific research as well as her own clinical experience to provide clear guidelines for parents based on the best available evidence about what works. I strongly recommend this book to parents as well as mental health and legal professionals who work with children from divorced families."
-Paul R. Amato, Arnold and Bette Hoffman Professor of Family Sociology and Demography, Pennsylvania State University
"This book provides tremendously valuable insight and information about a child's thoughts and feelings and practical advice to parents, counselors and therapists dealing with the trauma accompanying divorce proceedings. Dr. Pedro- Carroll describes the fears and concerns of children and clearly articulates a sensitive way for parents to approach these issues so that families can move forward with their lives in a healthy way."
-Judge Sondra Miller, Director, NYS Unified Court System Office of Matrimonial and Family Law, and former Justice, Appellate Division of the NYS Supreme Court.
"By listening to children and combining a quarter-century of experience with the results of extensive research, Dr. Pedro-Carroll shares invaluable insights into the thoughts and feelings of children who experience what they often call "my divorce."...The guidance offered by this book is unique because it is based on an exceptional knowledge of what goes on in the minds of children and because of the blended sensitivity and pragmatism of the author."
-Lawrence F. Nazarian, MD, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
"I have known JoAnne Pedro-Carroll personally and professionally for over 20 years. She clearly is one of the country's top divorce experts. She stands alone in her combination of ground breaking research, keen clinical insights, and unmatched sensitivity to children's struggles through divorce. Her reputation alone will garner great interest in the book. Her knowledge and emotional understanding will surely keep this book on the shelves of divorced parents, therapists, lawyers, and bookstores for years to come."
-Robert E. Emery, Professor of Psychology
About the Author
JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, is a clinical psychologist, researcher, consultant, and therapist. For twenty-five years, she was a senior researcher at the University of Rochester’s Children’s Institute and a member of the psychology and clinical psychiatry faculties. Dr. Pedro-Carroll founded and directed the Children of Divorce Intervention Program, and her work has earned numerous awards. Dr. Pedro-Carroll is an adviser to the Sesame Street Resilience Project’s Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce and Separation. She has been married for thirty years, and is the mother of seven children and stepchildren.
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Intended Audience: This book is intended for parents who are going through a divorce where children are involved. Much of this book talks about the initial steps to getting divorced, such as telling your children, and making custody decisions, so it will be most helpful for parents who are just beginning the divorce process. However, some of the information would be helpful even well after the divorce is over, such as the chapters on emotionally intelligent parenting and remarriage.
Author: Dr. Pedro-Carroll is a clinical psychologist who is recognized internationally as an authority in the field of children and divorce. She can make that claim because, among other accolades, she is an advisor to Sesame Street on the topic of divorce. Her website is pretty good, so if you’re interested in learning more about her and her work, check it out here.
Summary: This book has nine chapters that are roughly chronological when going through the process of divorce. The first few chapters talk about how children think and feel about divorce, and the potential impact it can have on them over time. The next few chapters are more pragmatic, discussing how to tell your children about the divorce and how to create a parenting plan and make decisions regarding your children during the divorce. It then moves into how to take care of yourself and your children during your divorce. This includes ways to control conflict with your ex-partner, helping your children build resiliency, and ways to have a healthier relationship with your children during and after a divorce. Finally, the last part discusses how to handle new relationships around your kids, and examples showing it is possible to have a “successful” divorce.
Helpfulness: This book is so helpful! My favorite thing about it was that it gives really useful sample wording for how to talk to your kids about certain subjects related to divorce. Of course you’re not going to memorize the paragraphs, but sometimes having sample words and phrases can be really helpful when you’re struggling with what to say. Even better, these samples are broken down by age, so there are different suggestions for several age groups. There are also a lot of ideas, suggestions, and activities that can easily be implemented by parents. Overall, I think this is a really helpful book.
Readability: This is just like reading a “regular” book, it’s not clinical or dry at all. The author uses a lot of stories and examples to keep the reader engaged. I had no trouble reading through this in a few days.
Critiques: If I were creating my ideal book about parenting and divorce, I think I would include a few more chapters about parenting after the divorce is over and the dust has settled. It’s included in here, but not as extensively as it could have been.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.