/ Program Resources: A Guide for Divorcing Parents

Divorcing parents are frequently caught in a dilemma: While they know their children need them more than ever, they often find themselves less emotionally available. Instead, their thoughts are centered primarily on how to deal with their own personal problems. For a time, that is natural. However, an inability to quickly regain a reasonable and effective focus on parenting often results in increased stress levels for everyone — and insures that the impact of the divorce on children will be more harmful than it needs to be.

In the 56-page booklet, In Your Child's Best Interest: A Guide for Divorcing Parents, editors Anne K. Soderman, Thomas S. Eveland, and Mona J. Ellard encourage concerned and loving parents experiencing divorce to rebuild both themselves and their family relationships in a new and healthy way — in the best interest of their children. In full color, with illustrations by children in a divorce peer counseling program, the booklet has been designed specifically for use by professionals coordinating court-mandated divorce education programs, divorce mediators, clergy, and a variety of family practitioners servig as guides for separating or divorcing families. Intended to be given to parents, it can be used:

  • As a resource for information about the various and specific ways children react to divorce
  • As a guide to help parents make effective decisions about custody and visitation matters
  • As a reminder about the pitfalls of post-divorce behaviors that can hamper healthy adaptation to family transition
  • As a reference that will direct parents toward additional sources of support and renewal.

In addition to information about how children experience their parents' divorce, common post-divorce quagmires for both children and adults ar described. Answers to common questions parents ask are answered in a straight-forward manner, and coping strategies are suggested for adults and children. A comprehensive listing of helpful books for chidlren and adults is included.

There are two well-known truths about divorce: 1) while a marriage may end, the family does not; 2) it is not the event of the divorce itself that harms children, but the continued conflict between parents that can result in childhood problems such as anger, depression, poor grades, fear, alcohol and drug abuse, and delinquency. To the extent that parents can learn to set aside their own conflicts, increase their awareness about how divorce can affect children, and restructure famiy relationships in a new and healthy way, the future for their children can be happier and more secure. This new resource is intended to facilitate that process.

Ordering information is as follows:

To order copies at $1.50 per copy (All orders under $100 must be prepaid), send check payable to Michigan State University. Shipping and postage are included in the price. Request Extension Bulletin E-2723, In Your Child's Best Interest: A Guide for Divorcing Parents. Mail to: MSU Bulletin Office, 10-B Agriculture Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1039.