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For my clients who are experiencing a divorce or break up of relationship involving children, it is always nice to give them a recommendation for resources. This is one of my favorites when starting the separation and divorce process and focuses on getting the smoothest transition for the kids.

Title: Mom’s House, Dad’s House: Making Two Homes for Your Child

Author: Isolina Ricci, Ph.D.

Things I liked:

  • Great practical advice and the author touches on many of the issues separating families face, from ground rules to legal issues to long-distance parenting
  • Feels like a great “how to”- including lots of bullet points and information in boxes which makes it great to skim and find what relates to your situation or at that point in the divorce
  • It feels honest and normalizes so much of the experience of creating two homes for children
  • “Watch your Language,”  and “Retreat from Intimacy” are two of my favorite chapters, if both parents read only those two chapters I think it could make a difference.
  • I also really appreciated the idea of the “second wave” of emotions (she calls them flashbacks) in the chapter “Moving On.” It really normalizes that even when you think all the work is done, new situations and stages can bring up old or new feelings.

Things I didn’t like:

  • There’s not much I didn’t like, some of the  suggestions were  outdated, for example writing things down in a letter would obviously be handled via email and the author doesn’t address text messaging —  let’s all be honest, text messaging creates headaches and misunderstandings in even the best relationships so it can cause problems when communicating about charged issues.

Best takeaway:

I share with many of my parents the idea that there needs to be a shift from intimacy to a business-like relationship and I think her recommendations on achieving that are great. When you apply those parameters, especially in the early stages, it can be protective and help you set clear boundaries. While we have this idealistic view of co-parenting, the practical advice in this book is one I truly appreciate because separating and creating two homes for a child is hard and emotional work.

Note: there is a children’s version of this book that I have not read yet.111405