Author(s): Penelope Leach
From the acclaimed, best-selling author of "Your Baby & Child" and one of the world s leading experts on child development and parenting, apractical, comprehensively researched guide to doing the bestfor your child during and after separation or divorce. Recent research clarifies why parents fathers as much as mothers are so crucial to children of all ages and how their separation can turn children s lives upside down. Drawing on the latest scientific findings, as well as on hermany years of professional and personal work with children, Penelope Leach describes how parentscan minimize the impact of separation and divorce on children through the six stages of a child s life, from infancy to adulthood. She helps parents find ways to continue being fathers and mothers when they are no longer husbands and wives. She explains recent studies that overturn numerous common assumptions, revealing, for example, that many standard custody arrangements can undermine young children s attachment to parents and in the case of infants even negatively affect their brain development; that unless infants and toddlers are already closely attached to both parents, regular overnights with the noncustodial parent may be damaging; and that dividing a child s time equally between the parents may be fair to them but seldom is best for the child.And, throughout, Leach grounds her approach with anecdotal evidence presented in the voices of children and parents themselves. Leach s child-centered advice, profoundly thoughtful and thorough, tackles the issues from every angle emotional, scientific, psychological, practical, legal covering everything from access, custody, and financialconsiderations to managing separate sets of technology in two houses. Above all she is insistent that for the sake of their future development, the needs of children must be put first. She is persuasively clear that mutual parenting, while seldom easy, is the best way forward for both the parents and the children."
The recommendations in "When Parents Part" are wide-ranging, incisive, and candid . . . Lots of sound practical advice . . . Should command the attention of adults touched by separation and divorce . . . Leach has made a compelling case that when the family unit is broken, separated partners must do everything in their power to attend to the needs of their children, treat them like people rather than possessions, and commit to mutual (but not necessarily equal) parenting. Glenn C. Altschuler, "Psychology Today" Important . . . Leach thoughtfully structures the book, beginning with a breakdown of how children perceive, and are affected by, their parents separation at various ages, from baby to young adult. This structure allows the parents to jump right in and begin finding answers. Other, less-immediate family members receive the same consideration, and Leach provides an overview of legal and practical considerations before turning to the second part of the book, Separating Better or Worse. The author makes sure to maintain a child-centered approach, and she explores how to reinforce that approach in the face of alienation, partner conflict, and the processes of making a parenting plan and putting it into action. She also explores post-divorce difficulties and the constantly changing dynamics between parents and their children. Leach strikes the right balance between a hard-nosed examination of the data and a compassionate, let s-make-this-work pragmatism. This will allow parents to shore up their children s stability when it may feel like everything else is crumbling down. "Kirkus Reviews" Leach encourages couples considering divorce to employ a child-centeredness approach and consider each child as an individual. Her advice addresses a wide array of topics . . . The ample information offered here serves as a solid foundation for the steps Leach recommends. "Publishers Weekly""
PENELOPE LEACH is a research psychologist, a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a visiting professor at Winchester University, and a Senior Research Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London, and at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust. She has been president of the Child Minding Association, vice president of the Health Visitors Association, and president and chair of the Child Development Society. She has also been a consulting editor at "Child "magazine; a member of the Professional Advisory Council of the American Institute for Child, Adolescent, and Family Studies; and a member of the Curricula Board of "Sesame Street.""