Additional Resources For Florida Families

We believe the following information will help you be a better parent, help explain the divorce process and help you understand how breaking up affects a child. These materials will help you determine what is in your child's best interests.

Courses/Workshops Focusing On Our Children
"Why are we getting a divorce?"

by Vicki Block, Legal Assistant

"Why are we getting a divorce?" is a question asked by children in most households of separated and divorcing parents. Many parents have a practiced response to this or similar questions, but that response barely begins to help children understand and cope with their new life patterns.

During the period of separation and divorce, couples are working through one of the most difficult times in their lives, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. Yet, they are often asked to work through their personal concerns, or put them aside, to explain and, more importantly, to show their children ways to strengthen the family despite the physical changes the family is undergoing.

Lee County, which is part of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, provides an economical, educational opportunity for couples who are facing these challenges. Parents, Children & Divorce is a one-time, four-hour course that is required for each parent of minor children to complete prior to their divorce being granted. Despite a parent's best intentions and kindest explanations, the reality of divorce is that parents are separated from their children for various time periods. How the children react and adapt is a critically important part of divorce. How it will shape their lives is, in great part, determined by their parents' fundamental behavior and ability to cooperate with one another.

Although divorce marks the end of the marital commitment, it is the beginning of an energetic re-commitment to the well-being of the children. Parents, Children & Divorce, an interactive class, does not "tell" parents how to raise their children. This court-ordered class addresses four goals:

  • Focusing on the children and the feelings of loss
  • Improving effective communication
  • Identifying warning signs of depression and anger
  • Handling the unique trauma children face during and after the family unit changes

It is offered at several convenient locations, evenings and Saturdays, and the course fee is $25, which includes the workbook. To register, call 693-8893. To register for a course taught in Spanish, call 693-0823. Couples may attend together, if they both agree, or call separately to register. Step-parents, grandparents, and significant others are encouraged to register and attend; however, children are NOT permitted in the class. A correspondence course is also offered for those parents who live outside the Twentieth Judicial Circuit or the State of Florida. For further information, call 800-767-8193.

Books On Communicating More Effectively

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray.

One of the best books recently written on how men and women interact with each other and why there seem to be so many difficulties communicating with each other. A bestseller for many years and with good reason. (Reviewed by JTS)

How to Avoid the Divorce from Hell by M. Sue Talia.

An easy to read book full of practical advice on avoiding the most common pitfalls during divorce. Practical advice on keeping open communications and civility during the divorce process.

Books About Parenting — Generally

Finding Time For Fathering by Mitch Golant, Ph.D. and Susan Golant, M.A.

New York: Ballentine Books (1992). How fathers can share more of their lives with their children — in work, chores and play. Offers valuable insights into every father's unique influence on the social, intellectual and emotional development of his children.

Between Father and Child by Dr. Ronald LeVant and John Kelly.

New York: Penguin Books (1989). How to become the kind of father you want to be, including how to communicate (talk and listen) with your child, four reasons kids don't talk to dads, how to say no (nicely) and how to settle arguments, as well as information child development and reconstituted families.

Active Parenting Handbook by Michael H. Popkin, Ph.D.

Atlanta: Active Parenting, Inc. (1983). You will learn to sharpen your skills as a parent and learn ways to better handle some of the typical problems that you will face as a parent. (Reviewed by SDT)

The Baby Book by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N.

William Sears is considered by many to be the Dr. Spock of the 1990s. He writes a monthly column in Parenting Magazine, and appears regularly on morning news shows. His book is an excellent source of information and advice for parents of newborns and children. (Reviewed by JTS)

Your ___ Year Old series by Louise Bates Ames.

Individual books cover children age 1 to age 9, and then one book covers ages 10 through 14. This series is highly recommended by psychologists and gives good advice about how your child is developing mentally and physically through each of the first 10 years of life. (Reviewed by JTS)

Books About Explaining Your Breakup

Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide For Changing Families by Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Brown

Joy Street Books, Little Brown and Company (1986). This is an excellent picture book to use with children who are preschool children to third grade. It provides a structured way to explain the divorce and answer a child's inevitable questions about why. It is designed to be read together by the parent and child. The parent inevitably learns something as well. (Reviewed by SDT)

Books About Shared Parenting

Custody Chaos, Personal Peace Sharing Custody with an Ex Who Drives You Crazy by Jeffrey P. Wittmann, Ph.D.,

New York: Berkley Publishing Group a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc. (2001).

For the Sake of the Children by Kris Kline and Stephen Pew, Ph. D.,

Lincoln, NE: toExcel Press an imprint of iUniverse.com, Inc. (2000).

Divorce Poison by Dr. Richard A. Warshak

New York: Regan Books an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Inc. (2001).

Joint Custody with a Jerk: Raising a Child with an Uncooperative Ex by Julie A. Ross, M.A. and Judy Corcoran

New York: St. Martin's Press (1996).

Ex-Etiquette For Parents by Jann Blackstone-Ford, M.A. and Sharyl Jupe

Chicago Review Press (2004). This is the best book I have reviewed on how you should act as a parent after a divorce, separation or breakup of a relationship. It tells you what is expected of you from your children, the courts and from society. It is full of practical, in-the-trenches advice on how to deal with difficult situations and a difficult former partner. It contains answers to everyday, common challenges that face parents and co-parents during and after the divorce or breakup. While you can read it from beginning to end, I found it was also useful as a reference book that you could use to look up a current problem or situation. Your children have a lot to gain if you follow the advice in this book! (Reviewed by SDT)

Sharing The Children by Robert E. Adler, Ph.D.

Adler & Adler, Publishers, Inc. (1988). A book on how to resolve custody problems and get on with your life. This book discusses life after divorce, moving from conflict to cooperation, the facts and myths of children and divorce, what to expect from the legal system, how everyone can and indeed must win for there to be peace, the task of separating, understanding your child's needs in the divorce process, win-win negotiating, rebuilding after the divorce, coping with the change of remarriage, and helping your children to grow up winners. This is an excellent book for a concerned parent to read when going through a divorce. It coordinates most of the research and understanding gained from Mom's House, Dad's House and Wallerstein & Kelly's books on the effects of divorce on children. (Reviewed by SDT)

Mom's House, Dad's House: Making Shared Custody Work by Isolina Ricci, M.A., L.M.F.C., Ph.D.

New York: Macmillian (1980). This is an excellent workbook on why and how to make joint custody work. This book consistently gives constructive guidance and practical help to parents going through a divorce. The book discusses the emotions of ending a marriage; how to take the first steps towards a new working relationship, how to relate to the other parent after the divorce process has begun; how to make two homes for the children; how to give your children security and continuity; extending parenting to include relatives and friends, long distance parenting, bottlenecks and breakthroughs; re-involving the dropout parent or how to become re-involved; and some suggested variations on time sharing between homes. (Reviewed by SDT)

Joint Custody and Co-Parenting - A Source Book for Separated or Divorced Family by Miriam Galper,

Philadelphia, Running Press (1980).

What Every Child Would Like Parents to Know About Divorce by Dr. Lee Salk.

New York: Harper & Row (1978)

Books About Long Distance Parenting

101 Ways To Be A Long Distance Super-Dad . . . Or Mom, Too! by George Newman.

This book offers help for the parent who lives or works distant from his or her children but wants to remain an important part of their lives. Communicating via the Internet, watching TV programs together and helping with homework by telephone are some of the helpful suggestions. This is an excellent idea book to help overcome the problems in maintaining a meaningful relationship with your child created by distance from that child.

This book is available from Blossom Valley Press, P.O. Box 13378, Tucson, Arizona 85732-3370. Their telephone number is 520-325-1224. Their e-mail address is argonne@azstarnet.com. The website also has links to a single mom's Web ring, a single dad's Web ring and a divorced parents' Web ring. The cost is $9.95 plus $2.50 shipping and handling. Quantity discounts are available. (Reviewed by SDT)

Long Distance Parenting: A Guide for Parents by Mirum Cohen.

New American Library (1989). How to structure parenting contact when one parent lives a long distance away from the child. Recommended by Dr. Robert Silver. If you have difficulty finding it in a bookstore, look online at amazon.com or other Internet book provider. (Reviewed by BTS)

Parenting for Dummies , by Sandra Hardin Gookin (The For Dummies series)

A simple and clever book from the "...For Dummies" series is full of practical tips and common sense advise for dealing with common parenting issues. (Reviewed by JTS)

Magazines

Parenting Magazine

One of the best magazines for parents. Available everywhere or on the web at http://www.parenting.com. (Reviewed by JTS)

Websites Providing Information/Advice For Parents

Thompson Family Lawhttp://www.familylawfla.com Our website has up-to-date information on these and many more resources.

Parent Time — a website filled with advice. You can enter chat rooms, read columns and post questions to many doctors, nurses and other experts. http://www.parenttime.com

Family Wizard — a website with tools for parents in divorced and separated households to communicate and organize their lives. http://www.ourfamilywizard.com

Websites for Kids

Disney — games, pictures and fun for kids of all ages. http://www.disney.com

PBS — information, game and activities related to PBS television shows like Sesame Street, Barney, Arthur and Teletubbies. http://www.pbs.org