Occasionally I am asked for good books to recommend on Co-Parenting, or I have read a great book that I know my clients would benefit from reading. Reading is not for everyone, but if it is something that you enjoy, there are some fantastic books on Co-Parenting that provide valuable information and concrete strategies to help you. Here is a list of my favorites:
Mom’s House, Dad’s House by Isolina Ricci, Ph.D.
I bought the first version of this comprehensive book years ago, and just purchased the updated revision and read it again from cover to cover. Even though they should have taken out some of the outdated lingo (sending faxes and using beepers), the information in this book takes you on a journey from dealing with the emotional trauma of the end of your marriage into creating two loving homes. It covers all types of situations from the absent parent, to the long-distance parent, to creating memorable milestone events together for your children. The author knows that people cannot Co-Parent effectively if they are too busy with grief, anger and playing the “blame game”. She provides specific ways that one can work through some of these issues to get to the next step. The Co-Parenting information and detailed chapters on how to deal with some of the challenges adults and children face during the family transitioning into two homes hits every possible scenario. There is a supplemental book called The CoParenting Toolkit that is worth purchasing as well. It has some great worksheets that will get you thinking about how to make Co-Parenting work well for your family.
Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way by M. Gary Neuman with Patricia Romanowski and The Sandcastles Program Workbooks
This book for parents and the supplemental workbooks for children are part of a specific program to work with your children on how they can grieve and accept your separation/divorce. The main book for parents has wonderful information on Co-Parenting but is unique because there are also chapters on how to support your children through the break-up categorized into developmentally appropriate approaches depending on the age of your children. The Workbooks are also offered in four different versions depending on the age of your children. This is a tried and true program that is mandated in several family courts throughout the country and will provide families with structured guidance to providing much needed emotional support to children impacted by changes in the family unit.
Self-Centered Co-Parenting: Managing an Uncooperative Parent by Kathleen Bird, JD
This is my favorite book I suggest to people who really want to Co-Parent but find they do not have a partner to work with that recognizes the importance of working together for the sake of the children. The book centers around five strategies to help the parent focus on what is in the parent’s own control to raise a child, engage in problem-solving and have productive interactions with the other Co-Parent. Even if you have a great Co-Parenting relationship with your former partner, the specific suggestions offered in the book can help you enhance your communication with one another. This is a quick read and well worth it!
The Co-Parents’ Handbook: Raising Well-Adjusted, Resilient, and Resourceful Kids in a Two-Home Family from Little Ones to Young Adults by Karen Bonnell with Kristin Little
This is another great book that offers very concrete ideas! I particularly enjoyed their idea of creating a list of Co-Parenting Goals to develop with your former partner (they provide a sample list), ways to anticipate expenses and decision-making together especially during the teen years when life gets significantly more complicated. In the back of the book, they have tons of resources for other books and websites, along with simple sets of Co-Parenting communication guidelines, Transition Communication guidelines, suggested chores for children in each house, agendas for “business meetings” with the Co-Parent and many other ideas and answers to questions you may be facing. This is a true resource! Karen also has a book written with Felicia Malsby Soleil, JD called The Parenting Plan Handbook that is helpful if you have not yet gone through the process of writing a Parenting Time Agreement.
Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households after Divorce by Deesha Philyaw and Michael D. Thomas
This thorough guide has information on everything you need to survive creating two households. All of the books I have mentioned have similar information, but this one has two chapters that are direct for parents that I felt were very impactful (and a quick read!)—Chapter 5’s Fifteen Things You May Want to Do (But Must Not Do) as a Co-Parent and Chapter 6’s Fifteen Things You Must Do (But May Not Want to Do) as a Co-Parent. Whenever you are tempted to do the wrong thing, pick this up to remind yourself of the importance for your children of “taking the high road”!
Well, I already know you are quite the reader because you just finished reading one of my longest blogs! Happy reading and be sure to read my next blog on the best children’s books on separation and divorce.