Psychological Self-Help

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Mental health professionals recommend for 10-year-olds or older,
The Boys and Girls Book about Divorce (Gardner, 1983), for younger
children, Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families (Brown &
Brown, 1986), for older children and adolescents, How it Feels When
Parents Divorce (Krementz, 1984). For kids 4 to 9 missing their dad,
try Weninger (1992). For children 5 to 12 upset by divorce, try
Blakeslee, Fassler & Lash (1993). Also, it is recommended that
divorcing parents try to help their children avoid the school,
behavioral, social, and emotional problems that tend to follow a
divorce; a good source of this advice is by a respected psychologist,
Neil Kalter (1989), in his book, Growing Up with Divorce (Santrock,
Minnett & Campbell, 1994). In the mid-1990's there are several new
books (for parents) dealing with this current "hot topic," such as
Ahrons (1994), Benedek (1995), and Stahl (2000). I recommend all
three but especially the latter one because it focused more explicitly
on resolving conflicts after the divorce. Other helpful books include
Banks (1990b), Francke (1983), Gardner (1971, 1977, 1991, 1992),
Teyber (1991) and Jewett (1982). Adult children of divorce with
problems should see Beal and Hochman (1991). A catalog of books
and material for children in many troublesome situations is available
from 1-215-277-4177. Two therapists have written a book for
protecting the interests of children undergoing nasty divorces (Garrity
& Baris, 1994); it is for therapists and judges and bitter ex's. 
To keep things in perspective, we have to realize that many
children, say a third or so, within a few months are able to cope with
divorce very well. Therefore, divorcing parents should take heart and
realize that if they learn about the children's problems and develop
their own skills and self-control, they can help their children though
this crisis without serious harm. Some children (maybe 10%) are
much relieved when their parents get divorced; a few are delighted
and thrive. 
Remarriage and Step-Parenting
About 75% of divorced women and 85% of divorced men get
remarried. Half are remarried within three years (some got a "head
start"). As a result, only 4 out of 10 adults in America are married to
their first spouse. The remaining 6 out of 10 are remarried, cohabiting,
or single. Second marriages have an even higher divorce rate--
perhaps 60%. Of course, none of these peoples' first marriages lasted,
so it isn't surprising that 88% say (while still in their second marriage)
that it is better than their first one (Albrecht, 1979). As we will see,
second (and later) marriages are much stronger, happier, more
beneficial, and richer than the myths about step-parents imply. Step-
families usually (70%) have a step-father, 20% of the time a step-
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