Reviews

 

When going through tough times it can be helpful to gain perspective. Below we've reviewed a few books about issues related to divorce.

Adults

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The Divorce Mediation Handbook


The Divorce Mediation Handbook: Everything You Need to Know

By Paula James

 Through her work as an attorney and divorce mediator, Paula Jones gives an insightful look into the divorce mediation process from the perspective of an advocate and a mediator. As someone who has been involved in numerous divorce mediations, I found this book to be helpful, clear, and full of practical information about mediation. The book discusses deciding whether a case should be mediated, choosing the right mediator, preparing for mediation, negotiating techniques, and reaching agreements. It also highlights mediating specific issues about children and finances. Ms. Jones uses short examples to illustrate good and bad mediation techniques in an engaging, and sometimes entertaining, way.

 The Divorce Mediation Handbook is an extremely useful resource for parties involved in divorce. It would be especially helpful for those who are involved in the mediation process, without the benefit of an attorney. Even those represented by attorneys can benefit from Ms. Jones insight into successful mediation. Many of the negotiation techniques discussed in this book can be applied when dealing with an ex-spouse or others in your everyday life. While this book may not contain "everything you need to know" about mediation, it certainly is an excellent start to understanding and improving a mediation experience.

 



The Courage To Be Rich

By Suze Orman

This book captured my attention from page one. Suze provides a wealth of financial information for all levels of understanding. Examples are given throughout the book demonstrating how an important point made is placed in practical circumstances and allows the reader to relate to the personal stories of Suze's clients.

The Courage To Be Rich identifies internal and emotional obstacles of investing your money and helps you to overcome them. It associates how shame, fear, and anger can take away your power over your money. Suze shows you how to have the courage to respect money and create the financial position you desire by thinking beyond today and into tomorrow. Demonstrating tomorrow's dollars when calculating what you want today.

The book addresses topics focusing on: pre-nuptial agreements, transcending the pain of divorce, death, starting over, buying a home, debt, types of investments, starting points, the spirit of giving, and many helpful savings tips.

Suze stresses that who you are is important, not how much you have. And what you make is less important than what you do with what you make. Remember, every fortune begins with a zero balance and great fortunes can be created from very little. Value people above all and that you will come to value money itself over other things.

Suze has written other books and many articles. She writes a monthly column for Oprah and Self magazines. You will find her book, 9 Steps To Financial Freedom just as helpful and this one



In The Name of the Child

By Janet R. Johnston, Ph.D and Vivienne Roseby, Ph.D

The authors of In the Name of the Child conducted several case studies about the effects of abusive relationships on children. The studies cover infants through adolescents and also families as a whole. I believe that they cover just about every abusive situation a family could be in. A person in a situation like any of the ones the authors cover will hopefully gain insight and also see how the families in the book successfully received the appropriate counseling and overcame their pain.

The book also touches on how parents can come together, even through a painful divorce, and do what is right for the children. So often children get overlooked or become a pawn in a divorce and the parents may not even realize the damage that they are doing. In the Name of the Child is a very clinical study and is sometimes hard to read, but I hope if you keep reading, you will be rewarded with discovering a book that will touch families you might know in similar situations. However painful, this book is a good tool to help families that need to reach out for help



When the Vow Breaks: A Survival and Recovery Guide for Christians Facing Divorce

By Joseph Warren Kniskern

When the Vow Breaks is written by a real estate attorney who is also a divorced Christian who has first hand struggled with the reality of a failed marriage and the Biblical considerations of divorce. Kniskern, using both Biblical references and a common sense approach explains that although divorce is not God's ideal, a divorce from your spouse is not a divorce from Christianity. Knisern addresses Biblical references to divorce and marriage, and shows that there is a place for the divorced person in the Church. Furthermore, argues Kniskern, a Christian can and should rely upon God as their rock in the storm of a divorce.

In addition to dealing with the larger religious question of the morality of divorce, Kniskern also addresses practical issues like reconciliation, marriage counseling, finding an attorney and negotiating with your spouse during the divorce. Kniskern addresses several Biblical references as to how Christian can navigate the often ugly process of divorce while adhering to Christian principles. Since the book is based largely on Kniskern's own experience with his divorce and his struggle with the moral and religious implications of the divorce, the book has a slightly more male perspective, but readers of both sexes struggling with religion and divorce can benefit through his insight.



Making Your Second Marriage A First-Class Success

By Doug and Naomi Mosley

The authors Doug and Naomi Mosley wrote this guide to entering and maintaining second (or more) marriages from both a professional and personal perspective. The authors are both marriage counselors who are in their second marriage. The first half of the book deals with general principles inherent in any successful marriage: commitment, communication and expression of feelings. The implicit presumption being that the first marriage failed to a deficit in one or more of these areas. The second half addresses specific problems such as step parenting, financial issues and dealing with ex spouses.

The material reflects the authors' occupation in that the information is for the most part very practical, especially in the latter part of the book. The advice on communication, self analysis and expression of feelings is standard fare in any marriage manual, but also necessary as a foundation for understanding the authors advice on solving more tangible day to day issues.

The book is well worth reading in it's entirety, however, certain chapters stand on their own as useful advice on specific problems. In fact, when I initially pursued the book I couldn't resist reading some of the later chapters before starting the first. Nevertheless, I recommend reading the entire book. In fact, I would highly recommend the book to those who are newly divorced so that they can understand what may lie ahead.



Mars and Venus Starting Over: A Practical Guide for Finding Love Again After a Painful Breakup, Divorce, or the Loss of a Loved One

By John Gray

Mars and Venus Starting Over is a inspirational book, giving hope to those who have or who currently are experiencing a breakup, divorce or loss of a loved one. The book is knowledgeable and offers personal experiences of the author during his career as a counselor. It offers comfort and advise for those coping with the loss of love and moving toward a rewarding life.

The book is based upon a three step process in healing a broken heart; getting help, grieving the loss and becoming whole before getting involved in a new relationship. These steps encourage you to address the issues in your life, rather than continuing to ignore them and pretending everything is fine. The book is broken into three parts; starting over, staring over on Venus (for women) and starting over on Mars (for men).

I found the book informational and useful. It enables a person to put their feelings into perspective and be open to the feelings of others. When issues of abandonment, loss and anger are discussed, it may bring out unresolved issues you thought were past or it may reinforce the positive steps you are taking in moving forward. Starting over is tough, but you can rise to the challenge of finding fulfillment again.



Positive Discipline for Single Parents; Nuturing Cooperation, Respect and Joy in Your Single Parent Family

By Jane Nelsen, Ed. D., Cheryl Erwin, M.A., and Carol Delzer, M.A., J.D.

Positive Discipline for Single Parents is written by three women who raised their children as single parents. Their approach is positive and offers encouragement by letting a parent know that no one is perfect and mistakes are made along the way. The authors give parents hope; by showing readers how it is possible to raise responsible, respectful, resourceful children as a single parent and to watch them mature into capable, happy adults.

The book addresses a variety of topics including the perception of being a single parent, parenting tips, balancing a life for your children and yourself, taking care of yourself, creating a respectful co-parenting relationship and beginning a social life.

As a single parent, I strongly recommend this book. Parenting may be one of the most confusing and overwhelming jobs a person may encounter, yet it is an accomplishment that will last a lifetime.



The Child with Special Needs

By Stanley I. Greenspan, M.d. and Serena Weider, Ph.D.

The Child with Special Needs, co-authored by Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D. and Serena Wieder, Ph.D., helps parents to better understand and nurture their developmentally challenged child. Divided into three easy-to-follow sections, this book teaches parents to recognize their child's unique abilities, limitations, and learning patterns so that they can develop their own comprehensive plan to encourage emotional and intellectual growth. Each section's structure is straightforward, presenting information accompanied by case examples that guide the reader through a sensible and constructive progression. The authors list methods of engagement to help even the most inwardly-focused child begin to relate first to parents, then peers, as well as provide examples that anticipate potential problems and suggest solutions. The sections progression leads parents along the child's developmental path, offering suggestions that will help their child succeed throughout their teenage years in relationships and school.

This book also helps parents to cope with their own feelings and anxieties concerning their child's delayed development and describes how parenting a special needs child can wreak havoc upon a marriage as each partner struggles to understand and assist the child. This well-written and engaging book provides an excellent starting point for parents who are grappling with the difficulties of raising a developmentally challenged child. It will enable them to keep their sanity, feel grounded and help their child blossom to his or her fullest potential.



365 Positive Strategies for Single Parenting

By Susan B. Brown and Monica Simmons The authors address common challenges faced in single parenthood today and offer 365 suggestions and advice on many topics. They touch on the everyday challenges of single parenthood, from infancy to adolescence. The subject matter is broken down into sections based upon age groups and the developmental stages of a child. Visitation, Abandonment, and Parenting for the Future are topics that are addressed as well.

365 Positive Strategies for Single Parenting is presented in a Question and Answer format. I found the book to be well written and followed the natural flow of a child's development stages. The strategies are short and do not go into a great amount of detail.

Good tips and suggestions are offered, however, these are not presented in great length. If you are searching for information on a particular issue, it may be best to select a book that focuses entirely on that subject matter.

I would recommend this book, it offers simple and basic answers that most every single parent may encounter one way or another. Read all the sections even if the age group does not currently apply to your child. The information can offer insight as what you may be challenged with in the future years to come.



Annulment: The Wedding That Was: How the Church Can Declare a Marriage Null

By Michael Smith Foster

This book was written in Question and Answer form and under the guidance of the Archbishop of Boston. It not only answers the questions Catholics have about the process for declaring a Catholic marriage null, but also dispels some of the myths about the inability of a Catholic to ever become single after a Sacramental union. It in no way indicates that a simple way out of a marriage is available or sanctioned. It explains the Church's eagerness to allow a person to continue a full Catholic experience after a broken marriage. It is a good source of information for all Catholics.



The 9 Steps To Financial Freedom

By Suze Orman

Most people today have one thing in common when it comes to investing money and building a portfolio, and that is fear. We know there should be something we should be doing with our money, but don't do it. This book provides you with knowledge of how to face those fears and create new truths in handling money.

Suze explains this knowledge in 9 steps by helping you identify what you want from your money. The 9 Steps To Financial Freedom explores the psychological, spiritual and power money has in our lives. Information about investments, credit, insurance, estate and retirement planning, and choosing a financial planner are included.

These 9 steps include: seeing how your past holds the key to your financial future, facing your fears and creating new truths, being honest with yourself, being responsible to those you love, being respectful of yourself and your money, trusting yourself more than you trust others, being open to receive all that you are meant to have, understanding the lessons of the money cycle, and recognizing true wealth.

The format of the book is easy to follow. Examples of former and current clients of Suze and her family are used throughout the book to further explain an important point she is trying to get across. This is a book you will find hard to put down because it answers so many questions you probably have had for sometime, and you just want to keep reading.

Suze has written other book and many articles. She writes a monthly column for Oprah and Self magazines. You will find her book, The Courage To Be Rich just as helpful as this one.



The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce

By Judith S. Wallerstein 

In her book entitled The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, Judith S. Wallerstein provides parents with a twenty five year case study of the children of divorce. Wallerstein forces anyone contemplating divorce to take a compelling look at both the long term and short term effects of such a decision. This study tracks the effects of divorce on children over a twenty five year period and compares their experiences with those of children who grew up in intact families. Wallerstein makes no value judgments as to what any one family's correct decision might be. Instead she lays out, in a manner which is both tough minded and compassionate, the difficulties, concerns, achievements and effects which such a decision has on children. Her insights are remarkable and enlightening not only to those contemplating divorce but also to married parents as well as to people everywhere in search of a partner. Wallerstein's study challenges adult myths and expectations regarding the effects of divorce on children and coaches parents, judges and professionals everywhere how best to be their advocates.



The Grieving Child: A Parent's Guide

By Helen Fitzgerald

In this book, Helen Fitzgerald offers a practical, insightful guide to helping a child deal with the death of a loved one. Although she focuses mostly on the death of a parent, she also touches briefly on deaths of others, including grandparents, siblings, friends, and pets.

The book is organized in numbered sections, which are cross-referenced throughout. This is done so that a parent, in the midst of his or her own grief, need not read the book in its entirety. He or she can flip to the relevant section, be directed to other sections which might be helpful, and then be free to deal with the issue at hand

Ms. Fitzgerald's aim is to deal with children directly and honestly. She begins with a discussion of how children view and react to death, emphasizing that they are often more aware than adults may think. In this section, she spends some time explaining how to deal with especially difficult types of death, including murder and suicide. Then she moves on to provide practical techniques to help a child deal with death. She covers visits to the hospital, the funeral, and the cemetery. She also discusses typical emotional reactions (denial, anger, guilt, depression, fear, and stress) and offers coping techniques, as well as tips for when to be concerned. Next, she offers a chapter on adjusting to life without the deceased, including going back to school and surviving holidays. Finally, there are two chapters how to heal wounds stemming from deaths in the past.

This is a hopeful book. It leaves one feeling confident that children, with help from their parents, can get through the death experience and lead happy lives after a loved one has died.



Night Falls Fast

By Kay Redfield Jamison

Kay Redfield Jamison's Night Falls Fast explores the history and science of suicide eloquently and passionately. The author, a manic-depressive who once attempted suicide, negotiates scientific queries and data - statistics, drugs for treatment, genetic factors - with the help of interwoven romantic narratives ‡ la Sylvia Plath. This complex intermingling of fact and dramatic narrative - in the form of suicide notes, accounts of attempts, and tales of depression, madness, and unstable artistic temperament - creates a multi-layered and beautiful portrait of the suicidal mind.

The author's research reveals psychiatric and biological factors, that help the reader to begin to understand why an individual would take his or her own life. This will be informative and comforting to survivors who have lost a loved one to suicide.

 Jaimison seems captivated by romanticized suicides. She references writers, artists, poets, and students who suffer from depression that eventually causes them to kill themselves. But, she does so in a way that evokes compassion and respect for an affliction that is - in contemporary society - highly stigmatized.

 Her narratives describe lives filled with achievement, but clouded by despair. Individuals†leave grieving families and friends who are left†to grapple with overwhelming loss. In addition, she uses words, poems, and journal entries crafted by suicidal people as a structural basis for her writing. Her choice to do so furthers her compassionate portrayal of the depressed and enlightens readers curious about the mechanics of suicidal thought.

  The entire book is imbued with an ethereal aura. This technique is effective in emphasizing the myth of suicides'†romanticized suffering and tragic demise that was a prevalent notion in 19th and 20th century literature. This book is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to better understand suicide.

 

Children

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Help! A Girl's Guide to Divorce and Stepfamilies

By Nancy Holyoke

Being a child of divorce myself, it was encouraging to find a self-help type book that actually touched on the topics and emotions that I remember going through as a young child. I know that when I was going through my parents divorce, it was a subject that was uncommon, so I didn't have the ability to relate to my friends because they had no idea what was going on.

This book was a great read and aimed at a child the same age I was when I was going through my parents divorce. I know first hand what it was like to have a strange new male figure come into your life and begin treating you like their child.

Nancy Holyoke does a wonderful job of making it perfectly clear that going through all the emotions is normal and if you didn't there is something wrong. Holyoke seems to know first hand about the mixed emotions, changes in life styles and the important questions which some kids are too scared to ask.

This was a great find in divorce self-help books and all children going through divorce should read. It's amazing how someone else can put everything you are feeling into words and make you feel so much better.



What in the World Do You Do When Your Parents Divorce: A Survival Guide For Kids

By Kent Winchester and Roberta Beyer

I recommend this book very much for kids whose parents are going through divorce. It is about common questions, concerns and fears kids have as their parents go through divorce. It is a very good resource for kids who have a lot of questions about divorce and don't know what to think about it.

The book is written in a simple easy to read form. It includes quotes from kids on all sorts of issues throughout the book, It also includes ways to tell or ask your parents difficult questions about divorce. It describes different resources you can use if you have more questions about divorce or if you have problems about divorce and need help with them. I recommend th