Why Did You Have to Get a Divorce? And When Can I Get a Hamster?: A Guide to Parenting Through Divorce


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Definitive advice from the author of the bestselling “Get out of my life”.

Divorce, argues Anthony E. Wolf, does not have to do long-term damage to a child. In his groundbreaking new book, he shows parents how to steer children through the pain and the complex feelings engendered by divorce, feelings that, if not resolved, can create continuing problems for a child. Wolf also explains how to deal with the difficult issues that so frequently accompany a divorce. How do you tell your child about the divorce? How do you keep your children from being caught between you and your ex-partner? What do you do if that other parent gradually fades out of their lives? Or, how do you maintain strong ties with your children if you are not the primary custodial parent? How do you help them cope with new living arrangements, as well as stepparents or stepsiblings?

“Why did you have to get a divorce?” is filled with stories that parents will recognize with relief. Positive, at times even funny, and, above all, effective, this guide will speak directly to divorcing and divorced parents.

Divorce does not have to inflict long-term damage on a child, writes Anthony E. Wolf in this hands-on, helpful guide for parenting through divorce. A practicing psychologist who has worked with children and adolescents for almost 30 years, Wolf is the author of the popular book Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall?: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager. Here he tackles one of the most difficult aspects of divorce–talking about it. Caught unawares in a difficult emotional state, it’s often hard for parents to know what to say. How do you break the news to your kids? How should you communicate, and what kind of reactions can you expect? And then what?

Through sample conversations, Wolf presents strategies for opening communication, keeping children out of the middle, and dealing with both the day-to-day complications and long-term effects of divorce. Wolf is taking a presumptive risk in scripting family encounters, but because he gives so many examples and because the advice is sensible, compassionate, and well-explained, he never seems didactic. Wolf’s advice covers everything from helping your kids figure out what to tell their friends about the divorce to what to say when your ex-spouse is uncooperative. He is a strong proponent of “quality time” (and his example of a two-minute “quality time” conversation is stunning in its simplicity and effectiveness). While every situation and conversation may not match your own, most divorced or divorcing parents will learn a great deal. –Ericka Lutz