Getting Through My Parents Divorce

by Amy J. L. Baker PhD and

Author Amy J L Baker PhD and Katherine C Andre PhD Isbn 1626251363 File size 4MB Year 2015 Pages 128 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Is your child stuck in the middle of a high conflict divorce In Getting Through My Parents Divorce two psychologists and experts in parental alienation offer a fun and engaging workbook to help kids work through stressful or confusing emotions and feel safe and loved no matter what Divorce is never easy But for kids who ha

Publisher :

Author : Amy J. L. Baker PhD and Katherine C. Andre PhD

ISBN : 1626251363

Year : 2015

Language: English

File Size : 4MB

Category : Family and Friendship

“Amy J. L. Baker and Katherine C. Andre have written this practical and child-­
friendly book to help children learn resilience for coping with divorce and other
difficult interpersonal situations. They focus on the real experiences of divorce from
the standpoint of the child. Through brief, structured written activities and a tone of
kindness and support, they offer your child a chance to work through their experiences
with self-­awareness and a sense of competence.”
—­Jeffrey Zimmerman, PhD, ABPP, psychologist who specializes in working
with families of divorce, mediator and collaborative divorce professional, and
coauthor of The Co-­parenting Survival Guide and Adult Children of Divorce
“Getting Through My Parents’ Divorce is a very important and timely book. Written by
two experts in the field, this book provides detailed, hands-­on guidance for children
struggling to make sense of the often chaotic and overwhelming feelings that can result
from divorce. I highly recommend it.”
—­Joshua Coleman, PhD, psychologist and author of When Parents Hurt:
Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don’t Get Along
“This is an excellent workbook for children whose parents are separated or divorced. As
I read Getting Through My Parents’ Divorce, I wondered how this book will come into the
hands of youngsters who will benefit from it. Perhaps therapists or school counselors
will give this book to children from divorced families. The authors, Amy J. L. Baker and
Katherine C. Andre, suggest that a parent could give this workbook to his or her child
and perhaps help the child with some of the activities. Even better, let’s hope that in
some families, the divorcing parents will join together in providing this book to their
child—­and all of them will find valuable lessons in its pages.”
—­William Bernet, MD, Professor Emeritus in the department of psychiatry at
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN
“Divorce is a family crisis. Getting Through My Parents’ Divorce is a series of lessons for
children to strengthen their resolve, learn effective coping skills, and avoid the pitfalls of
self-­blame and divided loyalties.”
—­Douglas Darnell, PhD, CEO of PsyCare, Inc., and author of Divorce Casualties
“Baker and Andre have created a workbook that speaks to children who are
experiencing the sadness, anger, and confusion of divorce. Oftentimes a child’s voice
is silenced through the divorce process. Getting Through My Parents’ Divorce allows
their voices to be heard loud and clear. This workbook should be in the hands of every
child of divorce in hopes that it will contribute to healing, which will produce mature,
responsible adults. This workbook will fill children with confidence, trust, and self-­
esteem. This would be a priceless gift for any child who could benefit from the character-­
building skills offered by the authors. [This book] will change a life today so that we all
have a better tomorrow!”
—­Mayor Jill Egizii, president of the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization

Getting
Through My
Parents’ Divorce
A Workbook for Children Coping
with Divorce, Parental Alienation,
and Loyalty Conflicts

AMY J. L. BAKER, PhD
KATHERINE C. ANDRE, PhD

Instant Help Books
An Imprint of New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Publisher’s Note
This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold
with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering psychological, financial, legal, or other professional
services. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books
Copyright © 2015 by Amy J. L. Baker and Katherine Andre
Instant Help Books
An Imprint of New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
5674 Shattuck Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609
www.newharbinger.com
Cover design by Amy Shoup
Acquired by Melissa Kirk
Edited by James Lainsbury

All Rights Reserved

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Baker, Amy J. L.
Getting through my parents’ divorce : a workbook for children coping with divorce, parental alienation, and loyalty
conflicts / Amy J.L. Baker and Katherine Andre.
pages cm
ISBN 978-1-62625-136-6 (paperback) -- ISBN 978-1-62625-137-3 (pdf e-book) -- ISBN 978-1-62625-138-0 (epub)
1. Children of divorced parents--Juvenile literature. 2. Divorce--Psychological aspects--Juvenile literature. I. Andre,
Katherine. II. Title.
HQ777.5.B344 2015
306.89--dc23
2015005423

Contents
Note to Caring Adults

v

Note to Parents

vi

Welcome to Your Workbook!

vii

Part 1
When Your Parents Fight
You Are Not Alone

1

Activity 1: Think of a Workbook Buddy

4

Activity 2: Things Parents Fight About

5

Feelings, Feelings, Feelings

6

Activity 3: Feelings Kids Have When Parents Fight

6

Activity 4: Start a Feeling Journal

8

Activity 5: Feelings About Divorce

8

Activity 6: Situations and Feelings

10

Activity 7: Expressing Feelings

11

Part 2
Coping Tools
Thinking for Yourself

13

Activity 8: Knowing Your Own Thoughts and Feelings

15

Considering Your Options

17

Unfreezing the Brain: The STEP Solution

17

Activity 9: Explore Options and Picture and Practice in Your Mind

19

Activity 10: Saying What You Want

23

Living Your Values

24

Activity 11: Finding Your Core Values

25

Activity 12: Knowing Your Core Values

26

Activity 13: Living Your Core Values

28

Acting with Courage

30

Activity 14: You Were Courageous When…

31

Activity 15: Inspiring Courage Within Yourself

32

Encouraging Yourself

33

Activity 16: Is Your Self-­Talk Helpful?

34

Activity 17: Practicing Self-­Talk

35

De-­stressing Your Mind and Body

38

Activity 18: What Ways Do You Feel Stress?

39

Activity 19: Where Do You Feel Stress in Your Body When Your Parents Fight?

40

Activity 20: Letting Go of Stress

41

Activity 21: More Ways to Let Go of Stress

42

Asking for Help from Others

44

Activity 22: Helpful Qualities

46

Activity 23: Who Would You Ask for Help?

47

Activity 24: Finding Helpful People

48

Part 3
Using the Coping Tools

iv

Getting Started

52

Activity 25: Which Situations Are Yours?

52

Sadness

55

Activity 26: What Does Sadness Feel Like?

57

Worry

63

Activity 27: What Does Worry Feel Like?

65

Anger

71

Activity 28: What Does Anger Feel Like?

73

Hurt

79

Activity 29: What Does Hurt Feel Like?

80

Confusion

87

Activity 30: What Does Confusion Feel Like?

89

Fear

95

Activity 31: What Does Fear Feel Like?

97

Guilt

103

Activity 32: What Does Guilt Feel Like?

105

Activity 33: Guilty Words

106

To Help You Remember

113

Getting Through My Parents’ Divorce

Note to Caring Adults
If you are reading this book, it is probably because you care about a child whose family
is splitting up or is in conflict. Divorce and conflict are stressful experiences for everyone
involved. Children experience strong feelings that can overwhelm them and interfere
with their social and emotional well-­being.
In most circumstances, parents are able to help their children cope with day-­to-­day
challenges. When parents split up, however, their own struggles can interfere with their
ability to help their children.
Some children of divorce feel angry, hurt, worried, confused, guilty, sad, or afraid.
Often these children feel responsible for their parents’ breakup. They may keep their
feelings inside, and they may think they are bad kids. We created this workbook to
teach children how to manage and cope with the strong feelings that arise when parents
divorce. The rules and tools they learn in this workbook will help them love and feel
loved by both parents. They will become more resilient and will develop skills for facing
challenges throughout their lives.
As a caring adult, you can help not only by giving a child this workbook but by
lending an ear. A caring conversation might start with asking about the activities in the
workbook, or asking to help with some of them. The most important thing is to show
that you care and are available to listen and talk about thoughts and feelings.
By offering to listen and guide, you can make a difference in a child’s life. You can help
the child love and feel loved by both parents. Thank you for wanting to help.

A Workbook for Children Coping with Divorce, Parental Alienation, and Loyalty Conflicts

v

Note to Parents
Divorce is not an easy process for a parent. You are going through a lot of changes,
and your stress level may be higher than ever. Conversations with the other parent
can escalate into shouting and fighting, responsibilities increase, time seems in shorter
supply, emotional resources become limited, and conflict abounds. Parents can be
overwhelmed, and kids sometimes receive the fallout of all of the tension and conflict.
Children often blame themselves and think they are somehow responsible. Children
of divorce can experience a range of strong emotions, including anger, confusion, fear,
sadness, guilt, hurt, and worry.
It’s best if parents can be role models to resolve conflict without fighting, but sometimes
that’s not possible. Unfortunately, kids start to wonder, If my parents can’t solve their
problems, how can I solve mine? If my parents are fighting, maybe I am to blame. When kids
don’t receive help during a divorce, they may carry these feelings and thoughts with
them for years.
We created this workbook to help kids manage all the strong feelings that get stirred up
when parents don’t get along. This book can help you help your child when you may
not be at your parenting best. Little mistakes can loom large for parents going through
divorce. (For parenting advice see Co-­parenting with a Toxic Ex by Baker and Fine, 2014.)
Kids can work through the activities alone or with a caring adult, such as a counselor or
you. If you do the workbook with your child, make sure you allow the child to set the
pace without any pressure, expectation, or judgment. There is no rule or goal for how
many activities the child should do in any one sitting. We want the workbook to be fun
and engaging, not a chore to get through. Please be sure to allow your child to answer
the questions and do the exercises; your child will gain the most from the workbook that
way. Your suggestions or ideas can influence the way your child processes feelings.
Divorce and family conflict are hard on everyone, but the rules and tools children learn
in this workbook will help them become resilient and will provide skills they can use to
handle difficult situations later in life. Remember, the most important thing is that your
child knows you are there for him or her. This workbook is one way to show that you
care.

vi

Getting Through My Parents’ Divorce

Welcome to Your Workbook!
This workbook is about what can happen inside you when your parents are getting
divorced. It can be hard when parents fight, and you may have lots of feelings about that.
These feelings may be stressing you out in a big way.
The upset you feel inside when your parents fight has different names. This workbook
will help you name and cope with these feelings. When you notice and name a feeling,
you start to feel better. It is easier to be okay with a feeling when you know what it is
and trust that you can deal with it.
This workbook will also help you know yourself and think for yourself. You cannot
control what your parents do. But you can control how you react. You can learn to be
strong and think for yourself. Then, with new tools, you can choose to cope in a new and
better way. When you think for yourself, you can stay out of parent problems and avoid
doing things that aren’t right for you. Not only will this workbook help you deal with
your parents’ divorce, it will help you with other problems you may face now and later
in life.
It is not easy to have parents fighting and getting divorced, but you can get through this.
You will learn rules and tools in this workbook that help, and you can find caring adults
to talk to about your feelings. You have a right to be happy. You have a right to love and
feel loved by both parents.
In this workbook you will learn:
1. How to identify and understand your feelings
2. Rules for loving and feeling loved by both parents
3. Coping tools to help you follow the rules

A Workbook for Children Coping with Divorce, Parental Alienation, and Loyalty Conflicts

vii

When
UsingYour
the Parents
CopingFight
Tools

Part 1
3

You Are Not Alone
Jenny is a ten-­year-­old girl. She has a younger brother and an older sister. Her
parents used to fight a lot, and then last year they divorced. Her father moved out
and she only sees him on weekends and Wednesday nights. Every time her dad
picks her up her parents have an argument about money or the schedule. Jenny
thought the yelling would stop after her dad moved out, but it hasn’t.
Mike is ten. His mom lives in an apartment with her mother. His dad lives in an
apartment with his new girlfriend. Mike has two older brothers. The three boys
spend about half their time with each parent. Mike’s parents act like they hate each
other and argue all of the time about schedules, especially now that Mike takes
karate three times a week and joined the swim team.
Maria and Miguel are eleven-­year-­old twins who live with their dad. Any time
their mom shows up at school or basketball practice, the two parents have a big
fight. When both parents are at school games, Maria and Miguel feel like they can’t
go over to their mom because their dad gets mad. The last time that happened,
their dad told them it was time for them to choose. He wanted them to tell the
judge that they don’t like and don’t feel safe with their mom anymore.
These kids are all dealing with parents who divorced and don’t get along. It can be hard
for kids when their parents fight. It can be hard staying out of parent problems. We
know from experience that kids whose parents fight sometimes have a hard time loving
and feeling loved by both parents. We want to help you with that by sharing some rules.
• Remember the truth about both parents
• Make good choices
• Make yourself proud
• Be brave
• Keep trying
• Get the help you need
• Take care of your mind and body

Part 1

When Your Parents Fight

Having divorcing and fighting parents can be tough! It can be hard to follow the rules.
That’s why we are going to give you the tools that will help you love and feel loved by
both parents.

Remember the Truth About Both Parents
Have you ever thought that one parent doesn’t care about you? Is it hard to remember
the good times you have had with each parent? Does it seem like one parent is all good
and the other is all bad? This can happen to kids whose parents are getting divorced.
You might start to believe that one of your parents isn’t a safe and loving parent when it
isn’t true. If this happens, you have forgotten the truth. If you forget the truth, it is easy
to be mad at a parent for the hurt you feel. Remembering the truth about each parent is
one of the most important things you can do. That way you can love and feel loved by
both parents.

Make Good Choices
Does one parent ask you to do things that may hurt or upset the other parent? Examples
include spying on a parent, keeping a secret from a parent, or calling a stepparent
“mom” or “dad.” Do you agree to these things because you don’t know what else to
do? Do your choices cause problems in your relationship with one of your parents?
Sometimes kids get confused about how to make good choices. They can hurt
themselves or a parent when they don’t mean to. If you think about your options and try
to choose the best one for you, you will be making good choices. Then you will be able
to love and feel loved by both parents.

Make Yourself Proud
Have you done or said things to a parent that don’t feel right? When parents are
divorcing, sometimes kids do things that make it hard for them to feel proud. They may
be rude or hurtful to one parent just to make the other parent happy. If you know your
values, such as honesty and kindness, you can live by them. Then you will be proud of
yourself, and you will be able to love and feel loved by both parents.

2

Getting Through My Parents’ Divorce

When Your Parents Fight

Part 1

Be Brave
Have you ever chosen to not do the right thing because it was hard? For example, have
you found it hard to tell one parent that you don’t want to hurt the other parent’s feelings?
Sometimes kids whose parents are getting divorced can be afraid to do the right thing.
It can be hard to be brave. It can be hard to act in ways that don’t hurt a parent. If you act
with courage and are brave, you will feel better and make better choices, even when they
are hard. Then you will be able to love and feel loved by both parents.

Keep Trying
Have you felt discouraged and thought that nothing will get better? Do you feel like your
parents will always fight? Do you feel like giving up one parent just to please the other? If
you can remember to say encouraging things to yourself, you will be able to keep trying
to do the things you need to do so you can love and feel loved by both parents.

Get the Help You Need
Do you ever feel like you are dealing with your parents’ problems all alone? Do you feel
like you aren’t getting enough help from other people? Sometimes kids whose parents are
getting divorced need help dealing with their feelings. Sometimes they need a friend or
a grown-­up to help them figure out how to deal with their parents’ problems. When you
figure out who to ask for help, you can find the help you need. With help it will be easier
to love and feel loved by both parents.

Take Care of Your Mind and Body
Is your parents’ divorce and fighting making you feel tired or achy? Is it hard focusing
and keeping your mind on school stuff? Sometimes kids whose parents are getting
divorced carry a lot of stress in their mind and body. That doesn’t feel good. If you can
remember to de-­stress, you will be able to take care of yourself and have the strength and
energy you need to love and feel loved by both parents.
Being a kid with parents who are getting divorced can be tough! Sometimes it can be
hard to follow the rules. That’s why we are going to teach you different ways to follow
them so you can love and feel loved by both parents. But first, you are going to think of a
workbook buddy.
A Workbook for Children Coping with Divorce, Parental Alienation, and Loyalty Conflicts

3

Part 1

When Your Parents Fight

Activity 1: Think of a Workbook Buddy
Think of a workbook buddy who can be with you in your mind and heart as you go
through this workbook. That way you won’t have to go through it alone. Your buddy
should be loyal and wise and help you feel safe even when you have strong feelings.
Your buddy will help you find strength and courage when you need it.
Sit back and close your eyes. Who helps you feel calm and safe? Is it a person or an
animal? In the space below, draw your buddy. Don’t forget to give him or her a name.
We will remind you to think of your buddy as you go through the workbook. We will
show you pictures of a friendly animal who will remind you that you are not alone. Your
buddy is watching out for you!

Your buddy says, “I am always here to help you. You are not
alone. I will take this journey with you.”

4

Getting Through My Parents’ Divorce

When Your Parents Fight

Part 1

Activity 2: Things Parents Fight About
This workbook is about you and how you are dealing with your parents’ divorce. Every
family is the same in some ways and different in other ways. But most kids have a hard
time when their parents fight. Divorcing parents can fight about a lot of different things.
Circle the things below that your parents fight about. Put a star next to the ones that
bother you the most. You can use your answers as you go through the workbook.

What clothes you wear

What hobbies you have

What you eat

Time you spend with each
parent

What music you listen to

Your chores

What movies you see

What your hair looks like

Your name

Where the pets live

What video games you
play

Child support

Who your doctors are

Who your friends are

Holidays

Your homework

What school you go to

School vacations

A Workbook for Children Coping with Divorce, Parental Alienation, and Loyalty Conflicts

5

When Your Parents Fight

Part 1

Feelings, Feelings, Feelings
Did you know that most kids have strong feelings when their parents fight? Strong
feelings can be hard to manage until you know how to name them and cope with them.
They can get in the way of following the rules for loving and feeling loved by both
parents.

Activity 3: Feelings Kids Have When Parents Fight
Circle the feelings you think kids have when their parents don’t get along. Put a star by
the feelings you had this past week.

sad

angry

afraid

worried

confused

hurt

guilty

Did you circle and put a star next to all of the feelings? You probably did. That’s because
when parents fight, kids have all sorts of feelings.

6

Getting Through My Parents’ Divorce

When Your Parents Fight

Part 1

It helps to name your feelings.
Did you know that naming a feeling can make you feel better? The next time you have
a strong feeling, think about what you are feeling and give it a name. Try saying, “I am
feeling         right now.”

It is important to allow yourself to have feelings.
Did you know that accepting your feelings makes you feel better? By accepting them,
you know it is okay to have them. Feelings are not right or wrong. You don’t have to
ignore them or push them away because they hurt. It can help to say out loud, “I accept
all of my feelings. They are part of me.” Try making up a little song to help you accept
your feelings.
My feelings might be sad.
My feelings might be mad.
Sometimes it’s hard
When I’m in between
Mom and Dad.

Feelings do not last forever!
When you have have a strong feeling, it may feel like the feeling will always be there.
But feelings come and go. They don’t last. The next time you have a strong feeling, try
saying, “I am feeling        right now, but I will feel better and different soon.”

A Workbook for Children Coping with Divorce, Parental Alienation, and Loyalty Conflicts

7

Part 1

When Your Parents Fight

Activity 4: Start a Feeling Journal
In a notebook or journal, write down what you are feeling. Choose a few times a day to
write in your journal. It could be after breakfast, before dinner, or before bedtime. After
you write in your journal for a few days you will probably see that your feelings change
during the day and from day to day. Was it hard to be okay with any of your feelings?
Did you think any of your feelings were good or bad?
You know that feelings don’t last forever, and that it’s okay to have them. But it doesn’t
feel good when you have a strong feeling, and it is okay to tell yourself that. You might
say to yourself, Gee, I am feeling kind of sad right now. I wish I weren’t. I wouldn’t want my
friend to feel this way, but it’s okay.

Activity 5: Feelings About Divorce
Read the story and then answer the questions below.
Brandy and Justin are ten-­year-­old twins. They live with their mom and dad.
Brandy and Justin are doing homework when their mom calls them into the living
room. They think they did something wrong and quietly sit down on the couch, as
their mother asks them to. Instead of getting scolded, she tells them that their dad
is moving out of the home because they are getting a divorce. Brandy starts to cry.
“Doesn’t Daddy love us anymore?” Brandy asks her mom.
“Of course he does, honey,” Mom explains. “It is just that we have been fighting
a lot. I think you know that because you hear us yelling. We want to have more
peace in our lives, and we think we can have that if our family lives in two homes.”
Justin feels like he is boiling inside. “You are both stupid,” he calls out as he throws
his book on the floor. He races to his bedroom and slams the door.

8

Getting Through My Parents’ Divorce

When Your Parents Fight

Part 1

What are Brandy and Justin probably feeling when they go into the living room?

What do you think it was like for Brandy and Justin to hear their parents yelling at each
other?

Do you think Brandy and Justin wish their parents would stay together even though
they fight?

Why does Brandy cry? 
What is Justin feeling when he is “boiling” inside? 
How are you like Brandy? 

How are you like Justin? 


A Workbook for Children Coping with Divorce, Parental Alienation, and Loyalty Conflicts

9

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