Divorce Groups for Kids ~ Read a School Counselor's Evaluation
"As a school counselor for almost 25 years, I was very happy to be introduced to the book, Mom's House, Dad's House for Kids, by Isolina Ricci. Right away, I knew I wanted to use it as the resource and guide for the 4th and 5th grade divorce groups that I was planning to initiate. She was very helpful and encouraging in getting me started by allowing me to download lesson plans, creating a questionnaire to get an idea of the children's concerns and helping me get a 10% discount on the 20+ books that I ordered.
The groups ran once a week (during the school day) for half of the school year and lasted for 40 minutes. We would take turns reading and discussing many of the different topics and sections of the book that were most relevant to them. They especially liked the part of the "feelings soup" and became excited about coming up with some feeling words of their own to add to her list. From the feedback I received from both the kids and their parents, some salient points were: they felt empowered with the knowledge, they didn't feel so alone anymore and that being part of the group helped normalize their experience.
I would highly recommend Mom's House, Dad's House for Kids to anyone going through divorce or separation and to anyone working with kids that are going through divorce or separation. Whether it's in a school/group setting, a family reading it together, or individual kids reading it on their own ---this is a very helpful and hopeful book."
Esteban Montaño, M.S., School Counselor, Winters School District, Winters, CA.
This lesson plan is for 6-8th Graders on separation, divorce, stepfamilies, and life skills that promote self-mastery and resiliency. The lesson plan is focused on separation and divorce. It consists of 6 periods of 60-75 minutes each, but you can alter the plan, number of meetings and length as you see fit. The course outline in the current Lesson Plan includes Ground Rules, What's True and Not True, Divorce and Separation Territory, Stress, Feelings (including "Feeling Soup" and "How to Feel Better Fast") Parents and Siblings, Train Your Brain tips including Words to Try, One Home or Two, Staying Connected with Parents, the "Miserable Middle", The 6-Step Solution finder; Dreams, Goals, Parents Dating, the Family Team, and A New Kind of Normal.
This lesson plan is suitable for use in either specialized groups or for general family life education purposes in a classroom. The text is Mom's House, Dad's House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or Two.
It has three major parts: I. Separation-Divorce; II Stepfamilies; and III Believe in Yourself (health, safety, setting goals, following dreams, and life truths).The book is fully supportive of parents and upholds a child's respect for them. Each part emphasizes how to manage change, resiliency skills ("train your brain"), deal with feelings, and self-mastery. There are exercises for problem solving, expressing needs and concerns (including "words to try"), emotion management, self-esteem and ways to build self-confidence. All sections in the book are simply written and 1-3 pages long.
Any class or group can design their own modules based on book sections they choose. For example, a class might want to focus on how to handle feelings and talk about the "Feeling Soup" that often accompanies major changes. Or the class might want to discuss the "Miserable Middle" and what to do when they observe or are part of difficulties between the parents or the extended family.
The following comments are from a 5th grade divorce group that has been meeting for two years under the guidance of their school counselor. These comments are about their text, Mom's House, Dad's House for Kids.
"It's not like other books, it helps a lot" -Katlyn
"It will warn you about those dangerous surprises" -Rosalind
"It helped me connect with other people's feelings" -Billy
"It helped me understand things I didn't understand before." -Tina
"It'll help you through divorce if you're unsure" -Khal
"Great for kids who are in a horrible divorce" -Loony
"I'm going to make my older brother read it" -Girl
"I'm bringing this home so my Dad and I can read it together" -Boy
"It really helps you understand" -Crystal
"A great book. I understand things more" -Louie
"It's a good book for parents and kids" -Chris
"I think this will help parents if they read it." -Boy
"I use the "Feel Good" list all the time" -Boy