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Mom’s House, Dad’s House
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
“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
UPBEAT, PRACTICAL, WISE, A MUST-READ FOR PARENTS
“Isolina Ricci has done it again! With the same insight, compassion and wisdom she provides to parents, Dr. Ricci now offers children hopeful solutions to living life in a dual-household family. A timely book that teaches children how to be resilient as they cope with difficult emotions after a parental divorce.”
—Constance Ahrons, Ph.D., author, The Good Divorce and We’re Still Family
“When I was 7, my parents got divorced. I am now 18, and looking back I realize how confused I was about the breakup. Recently, my dad gave me an advanced copy of Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids, and asked for my opinion on the book. With the intention of only skimming a few pages, I found myself unable to put it down, and read the book in its entirety. I was amazed at the clear, simple, and compassionate way Dr. Ricci answered questions about divorce that baffled me in the past. The thing that impressed me most about Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids was the consistent positive message it conveyed. Without preaching, the book encourages children to make and fulfill positive goals, respect themselves and others, and above all come to acceptance about their parent’s divorce. I know this book would have helped me in the past, and I would highly recommend it to any child going through divorce.”
“This straightforward book manages to speak to kids, in their language, in a way kids can understand. Issues are presented in a clear, concise manner, and in segments simple and easy to understand, yet the messages contained in the book are powerful, profound, and wise. The book is organized so it is easy for the reader to flip to a section of interest and find immediate, concrete and practical solutions…What I love most of all is the book empowers kids of all ages to play an active role in managing their own lives and emotions following their parent’s divorce…it gives children a sense of control and mastery over the confusion and chaos they often experience when the family structure changes. Isolina Ricci’s many years of working with children and families shines through with her wisdom and knowledge, giving children a beacon of light to help them navigate and normalize the confusing issues that occur when one’s parent’s divorce. Hurray for a book like this whose time is long overdue!”
—Jane Ellen Shatz, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, Child Custody Evaluator, Parent Educator
“With decades of seasoned experience with divorcing families behind her, Isa reveals deep understanding and profound compassion for what children actually experience when their parents split up…It is challenging to try, in one book, to address a range of ages, developmental stages and the countless circumstances involved in the complex arena of divorce. Isa Ricci was clearly up to the task, and in the end covered a wide territory and covered it well. This book will stand the test of time, giving hope and help to the next generation of children of divorce. I strongly recommend this book to all of your child clients whose parents have parted ways.”
—Family Mediation News, Don Saposnek, Ph.D.
“Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids is a wonderful book, full of common sense, practical advice, and above all, love. It will help every child troubled by a divorce, separation, or other family problem. This is a much-needed tool to support and guide children as well as parents.”
—Riane Eisler author of “The Chalice and The Blade” and “The Real Wealth of Nations”
“Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids is outstanding. In clear, non-condescending and understandable language Dr. Ricci gives children of divorce the tools to navigate the complications arising from their parents’ divorce. Her common sense and practical approach to stepfamilies, moving between parents, managing friends and school and the myriad of issues children of divorce face is refreshing. Her teaching guides children to avoid shame and blame around their parents’ divorce and provides tools to help them live a life driven by positive values, self-respect, service and the mission of developing their talents. Dr. Ricci’s wisdom will inspire all who read this wonderful book.”
—William J. Howe, III, Family Law Attorney, Former Chair, Oregon Task Force on Family Law
“This book is not simply another “how to” for kids, it is a door to another realm where the world of tweens and teens is center stage; where the best that law, psychology and wisdom have to offer is translated into their terms; and where the tragedy of parental divorce can become a transformation of understanding, growth and maturity for the older child.”
—John Kydd, MSW, JD, Past President, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
“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 book includes several great tools, like “Words to Try” feature-suggested phrases to help kids articulate their feelings.”
—The “HOW-TO BOOK OF THE WEEK”, Newsday, May 22, 2006
“…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, “Stick with Counseling for Children of Divorce” The Washington Post, June 9, 2006
“I’m bringing this home so my Dad and I can read it together”
“It will warn you about those dangerous surprises” —Rosalind
“It helped me understand things I didn’t understand before.” —Tina
“It’ll help you through divorce if you’re unsure” —Khal
“Great for kids who are in a horrible divorce” —Loony
“It really helps you understand” —Crystal
“A great book. I understand things more” —Louie
“It’s a good book for parents and kids” —Chris
FIND IMMEDIATE AND PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS
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.
HOW MOM’S HOUSE, DAD’S HOUSE for KIDS CAN HELP
- 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
A NOTE TO PARENTS FROM THE AUTHOR
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
MOM’S HOUSE, DAD’S HOUSE FOR KIDS
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”