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For kids on divorce, stepfamilies,
and staying strong

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Mom’s House, Dad’s House
for Kids

By Isolina Ricci, Ph.D

For Older Children, Teens, and Their Parents

Kids can’t get their parents back together, but they
can help themselves, stay strong, and succeed in life.

“…and give your children a copy of “Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids”
by Isolina Ricci, even if they’re living only at your house.”
—Marguerite Kelly, Washington Post

“Ricci has a gentle touch that kids are sure to respond to.
She earns their trust by treating with respect the issues that loom large for children but might escape a preoccupied adult’s notice…”
—The “How To Book of the Week—NEWSDAY

Kids Comments
“It’s not like other books, it helps a lot” —Katlyn
“It helped me connect with other people’s feelings” —Billy
“I’m going to make my older brother read it” —Girl
“I use the Feel Good list all the time” —Boy


   Look Inside        Read Full Reviews


This important books is a quick but profound read for parents, a lifesaving handbook for kids. It speaks directly to older children and teens in their own language. Along practical ways to cope with big family changes, the author offers key resiliency tools that kids can use now and the rest of their lives.

Alive with examples, stories, practical tips, ways to manage feelings, and easy to use lists, there are also “train your brain” ideas, worksheets and things to try when kids can’t express themselves or are hesitant to do so.

Many children will be relieved to read this book because it can affirm and express their experiences. If you also read this book and read at least parts of it with your child, your child can take comfort in knowing that you will have read about things they feel or worry about but do not know how to express or are afraid to say—especially with delicate subjects like anger, panic, and feeling disloyal or in the middle.


  • Better understand why parents live apart, schedules, and dueling house rules
  • Avoid the “miserable middle”
  • Manage guilt, fear, panic, anger, confusion, and other feelings
  • Stay connected with parents, relatives and friends
  • Appreciate the gifts and deal with the complaints of family life now
  • Learn different ways to solve or manage problems and make choices
  • Use time-tested ways to feel better FAST!
  • Become more resilient and an “Ace” problem solver—skills for life
  • Appreciate their parents and grow closer to their parents


First, read A Message for Parents in the very front of this book..  It’s an easy read that will reinforce you as a parent and as your child’s first and most important teacher and mentor.  Even more  important, if you read the rest of the book, this can be a bonus for your child. 

Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids  was designed for children ten or eleven and older to read alone or with their parents. But parents also report that, with some children as young as 6 or 7,  they have selected small sections of the first 13 pages to read together, returning to those pages as one returns to a happy story. If you choose to do this with these youngest children, only read a few pages at one sitting, for example “What’s True” and “What’s Not True”, or the map that has the hopeful destination. You know your child.  As the child matures, a parent can add other sections, but always together with you.

Please do not pressure your child to read certain passages.  Children have their own internal wisdom that tells them when they are ready to deal with their feelings and when to share them with others, including their parents.  Some younger children will not verbalize their feelings but are more comfortable drawing, writing in a private journal, engaging in fantasy play or through physical activity.  You know what’s “normal” for your child.  If you feel uneasy about his or her behavior, do discuss your concerns with a trained counselor or your pediatrician. 

For tweens and teens,  let them see you reading it.  While some children want to read passages with a parent or are encouraged to ask questions, older teens and teens may not want to be seen reading a book like this or even talk about it with a parent.  BUT, they want the information.  Just leave it out.  Let them see you continuing to read a few pages and ask no questions. 


  • Child therapists have reported using the topics and material in this book as part of a treatment plan.
  • The different conflict resolution approaches can be used by different age groups. They are on pages 103-112, 151-155, 233-242.  While these were designed for older children, adults have told me they found them helpful as well. 
  • Use selected sections in the book as part of a treatment plan.  Example, “The Miserable Middle”, “Feeling Soup”, or the three maps

20 Chapters, 271 Pages

Part I-Separation-Divorce.   Part II-Stepfamilies.  Part III Believe in Yourself
3 Maps:  Divorce Territory, Stepfamily Territory, “Believe in Yourself”
Illustrations:   “Feeling Soup”, Stepsibling Soup”