Psychiatrist Say Children Of Divorce Need More Parent Involvement
One in every two marriages ends in divorce, making life more difficult for the children caught in the middle. Now psychiatrists are reemphasizing the need for both parents to stay involved in the lives of their children.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children of divorce do best if they know that their parents will still be involved in their lives even though the marriage is ending and the parents aren’t going to be living together.
The academy’s findings are being borne out in the real world. Divorced parents are looking for ways to stay involved in the lives of their children—a need fulfilled partly by the work of other divorced parents.
Tara Amaral and Chris Frie are both divorced parents. Their struggles with scheduling, along with a desire to know more about their children’s thoughts and feelings following divorce, led them to write a book called Our Great Kids, a tool for parents like them.
“Staying involved in the lives of children who are being raised in two households is really crucial to the well-being of both the children and the parents,” says Ms. Amaral. “Even if the parents aren’t on great terms, the book allows them to see what their children are thinking, what important dates they have coming up and more.”
Mr. Frie and Ms. Amaral’s efforts are in ever-increasing demand, according to researchers who have found the following:
• The National Marriage Project at Rutgers University found that only sixty-three percent of American children grow up with both biological parents—the lowest figure in the Western world according to their report, The State of Our Unions 2005.
• As of 2003, 43.7 percent of custodial mothers and 56.2 percent of custodial fathers were either separated or divorced.
• In 2002, 7.8 million Americans paid about $40 billion in child and/or spousal support.
“We made this book because we found that as parents, we wanted more involvement,” says Mr. Frie. “Our system has worked for us, and there are millions of other parents who can also benefit.”
The authors have created the Web site www.OurGreatKids.com to go along with their new book. The site allows divorced parents to log into their child’s account to communicate important dates, daily activities and special things that their child did. Parents can also exchange photos and receive e-mail alerts to remind them of scheduled activities.
(Our Great Kids by Tara Amaral and Chris Frie; ISBN: 978-0-9821091-0-6; $23.95; 104 pages; 8½” x 11”; softcover; spiral bound; TML Publishing)
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