Lesson Plan – currently in revision
Divorce Groups for Kids
Read a School Counselor’s Evaluation
“As a school counselor for almost 25 years, I was very happy to be introduced to the book, Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids, by Isolina Ricci. Right away, I knew I wanted to use it as the resource and guide for the 4th and 5th grade divorce groups that I was planning to initiate. She was very helpful and encouraging in getting me started by allowing me to download lesson plans, creating a questionnaire to get an idea of the children’s concerns and helping me get a 10% discount on the 20+ books that I ordered.
The groups ran once a week (during the school day) for half of the school year and lasted for 40 minutes. We would take turns reading and discussing many of the different topics and sections of the book that were most relevant to them. They especially liked the part of the “feelings soup” and became excited about coming up with some feeling words of their own to add to her list. From the feedback I received from both the kids and their parents, some salient points were: they felt empowered with the knowledge, they didn’t feel so alone anymore and that being part of the group helped normalize their experience.
I would highly recommend Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids to anyone going through divorce or separation and to anyone working with kids that are going through divorce or separation. Whether it’s in a school/group setting, a family reading it together, or individual kids reading it on their own —this is a very helpful and hopeful book.”
Esteban Montaño, M.S., School Counselor, Winters School District, Winters, CA.
How this Book Works with Groups
It has three major parts: I. Separation-Divorce; II Stepfamilies; and III Believe in Yourself (health, safety, setting goals, following dreams, and life truths).The book is fully supportive of parents and upholds a child’s respect for them. Each part emphasizes how to manage change, resiliency skills (“train your brain”), deal with feelings, and self-mastery. There are exercises for problem solving, expressing needs and concerns (including “words to try”), emotion management, self-esteem and ways to build self-confidence. All sections in the book are simply written and 1-3 pages long.
Any class or group can design their own modules based on book sections they choose. For example, a class might want to focus on how to handle feelings and talk about the “Feeling Soup” that often accompanies major changes. Or the class might want to discuss the “Miserable Middle” and what to do when they observe or are part of difficulties between the parents or the extended family.
What Some Kids said about Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids
The following comments are from a middle grade divorce group that had been meeting under the guidance of their school counselor. Their text was, Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids. They used the books during their meetings but were not allowed to take them home. At their last meeting of the year, the Counselor, much to their delight, gifted each of them a book. Some of their comments:
- “It’s not like other books, it helps a lot” -Katlyn
- “It will warn you about those dangerous surprises” -Rosalind
- “It helped me connect with other people’s feelings” -Billy
- “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
- “I’m going to make my older brother read it” -Girl
- “I’m bringing this home so my Dad and I can read it together” -Boy
- “It really helps you understand” -Crystal
- “A great book. I understand things more” -Louie
- “It’s a good book for parents and kids” -Chris
- “I think this will help parents if they read it.” -Boy
- “I use the “Feel Good” list all the time” -Boy