Three Good Books for Divorcing Parents
By Robert Emery, Ph.D.
Books on kids and divorce tends to fall into two categories: those striving to reassure you that your kids will be fine, and those gravely warning of the dangerous effects of divorce on kids. Often, these books rely on research conducted by the author that, not surprisingly, supports his or her particular point of view.
Emery has taken a different tack in studying the effects of divorce on kids. While he has conducted his own body of research, he relies mostly on meta studies that collect and synthesize the totality of divorce research over the last few decades. His viewpoint, as a result, is free from the usual politics that inform so many divorce-and-kids books. Rather than focus on the debate about whether or not divorce is bad for kids – this is the argument that incites the passions and generates the news that sells divorce books – Emery emphasizes how kids get hurt when their parents divorce, and what you can do to minimize the risks. This is a no nonsense book for parents who just want the bottom line – the truth – about children and divorce.
The Good Divorce
By Constance Ahrons, Ph.D.
Ahrons was an early adopter of the perspective that divorce can be accomplished with limited damage to a family. She has done much to popularize this notion, and to make distinctions and provide strategies to help families survive divorce “just fine”. Critics sometimes say that Ahrons writing provides a glossy “feel good” cover for what is truly a disastrous social trend – the increasing lack of moral disapproval from our society toward parents who abandon the family structure, leaving children in the lurch. You don’t have to agree with Ahrons’ live-and-let-live philosophy to benefit from reading her book. It’s very easy reading, and gives excellent guidance to parents confronting the vicissitudes of life after divorce. Ahrons identifies five emotional environments of post-divorce family, from “perfect pals” to “fiery foes,” and provides strategies for each of them to create and maintain the happiest, healthiest possible life for the family. Though a bit long in the tooth by now (it was first published 20 years ago) Ahrons’ views on divorce and families are still invaluable for parents trying to navigate these difficult waters.
Putting Children First
By JoAnne Pedro-Carrol, Ph.D.
While Emery and Ahrons are experts on the effects of divorce on kids, Pedro-Carrol has spent her career researching and designing programs for these kids. Her views and advice are informed by years of working closely with children generally, and children of divorce specifically. Along with her moving, ground-level narratives of the struggles experienced by these children, the author catalogues the assembled wisdom of the last 25 years of divorce research, as any must-read divorce book must (and, by the way, as we too have done on our website). Pedro-Carrol’s writing is eloquent, yet easy to digest; her advice is detailed and extensive, filled with practical suggestions for parents who want to dig in and prepare for the day-to-work of raising children after divorce.