This is my first so I hope I do a good job! I haven't talked much about it on this blog but I am a big time reader. I used to have more time for reading. I could always be found with a book. I typically used to read a book a day, sometimes two a day, depending on what was going on in my life at the time (more free time, more reading time!) I have books all over the house so I feel like I am well prepared for this review! :)
What is this book about?
The book is about being child-centered, not pulling our children into grown up fights and putting them in the middle of our issues. We are the adults, they are the children.
Who is this book for?
This book is for all parents (and that includes step parents)! While it is geared more towards parents that are separated or divorcing, it has a lot of great tips for all parents. Every one with kids or a big part of a child's life should read it.
What I thought:
This book was about two to three years too late for my divorce and much of the information is not completely relevant to me anymore (such as the parts about how to set up the custody agreement.) However, that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it or that I didn't get anything out of it. I realized that many of the things that I thought I was doing was right were actually wrong! Wow, eye openers all through the book. I do wish this would have been around 3-4 years ago so I could avoid those mistakes.
Anyway, throughout the book, Dr. Garber gives examples of what to say to the kids when they have questions. He uses a grading scale of A - F, just like from school days. He would give different scenarios and then gives you various responses, saying things like if you say this, then you get an F, say this and you get a B, etc. He also had some interactive sections with quizzes. Always a plus with self-help style books (and yes I have read my fair share of them!)
As I read through, I highlighted lots of things! Many of it were mistakes I felt I made or things I had done right! Some of it was statements that left questions in my mind. Like how to explain to the kids about why the divorce happened (is happening). In the book, on page 110, he writes about the various responses to give for why did you get a divorce. Here is what the A answer was: The A answer? "What do you think?" opening the door to "We stopped loving each other," followed up with reassurance: "But your daddy will always love you, and I will always love you, no matter what."
I have a bit of a problem with this answer. This is exactly what I did with my kids but they immediately asked me "But if you can stop loving daddy, that means you can stop loving me." They believe that love ends. I have tried to explain that it is a different kind of love. Parent to child but they don't seem to buy it completely.
Then when they fight with their each other, they have asked if they can get a "divorce" or why can I divorce their dad and they can't divorce their sibling. I have explained that too but not sure if it fell on deaf ears or not. If you know me, you know that I complain a lot about the fighting between my kiddos and it is getting worse. So Dr. Garber, what do I say them?
There was also a section about when the child wants to go live with the other parent and how to handle it. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know I have dealt with this. According to Dr. Garber, we did the right thing. Since I am the POD (parent on duty), I was the initial contact to this news. It caught me off guard so I basically tabled it until I could discuss with her dad. Then we agreed together that she was doing it for the wrong reasons. On pages 121 and 122, there is a highlighted section that talks about "Can some children choose." Dr. Garber gives 5 "if this, then yes" type of statements. We were spot on with our reasons for not letting her go. I think that if she were to make this choice now, it would be for the right reasons. We shall see what the future holds.
I guess the other thing that caught me off with the book but not because it was bad or wrong but because it was a hard thing to hear. There are rarely any true single parents. Basically it said if you have any support, you are not a single parent. He says if you are a single parent (no support) find it, even online. So for me, I have my parents, aunts and uncles, two grandmothers, friends and co-workers, as well as online friends. And while these people don't really help me with the care of the kids (my parents do some), they help me because I can vent and get advice from them. But really the parenting is all mine to do. I work, I come home to feed them, I do all the running around.... All of it. So I just don't know what to think about Dr. Garber's statement but I don't think I disagree.
Overall, I really liked his writing style. I really thought it was a well written and thought out book. It flowed well (and that is very important to me in a book!) While I didn't think much of it was useful for me, I still did find things that I can use and things I can change.
I do recommend this book to anyone who is conflicted in a marriage, going through separation or starting the divorce process. Even if you are happily married, I do think there are a lot of things in the book that you can use.