By Isolina Ricci, Ph.D.
Simon & Schuster, New York
Reviewed by Laura Harting
Dr. Ricci wrote the book Mom’s House, Dad’s House: Making Two Homes for Your Child for parents first and then came out with this book filled with ideas and advice for kids. The publisher states that it was written for children between the ages of 10 and 14, but the 10-year-old would need to be an excellent reader to tackle this book. I think it is most appropriate for 12- to 15-year-olds.
Dr. Ricci writes with a kid-friendly, positive tone and gives a lot of information on all aspects of parental separation and divorce. She places a special focus on teaching coping skills for the different experiences divorce presents to a child. She emphasizes coping with feelings and managing the stress that divorce causes for children. Dr. Ricci uses terms that I have used over and over in my practice with kids, like “the miserable middle,” “train your brain,” “solution finder,” and "big questions.” She offers tips for how to talk with your parents about difficult topics, and even gives ideas for how and what to write to parents when kids are too afraid to ask a question in person.
I enjoyed this book and recommend it to the kids I see who are good readers. At almost 250 pages, with lots of words on each page, this book can appear overwhelming to kids. As one middle schooler asked me incredulously, “I have to read all those words about divorce?”
This book may be easiest to digest in small doses. Perhaps photocopying a few pages at a time to give to your child to read may be the best way to convey this helpful information.
Laura Harting, LCSW, is a child and family therapist in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.