THE KIDS' BOOK ABOUT SINGLE-PARENT FAMILIES by Paul & Alexa Shih--Eds. Dolmetsch
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THE KIDS' BOOK ABOUT SINGLE-PARENT FAMILIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A bunch of Bennington, Vt. teenagers, deftly but unobtrusively guided (Dolmetsch is a psychiatric social worker, Shih directs the local Big Brother/Big Sister program), have some good news about single-parent families--no one family setup is ideal for everyone, ""as long as you can get love and security from your family, that will be enough""--along with lots of specifics on adjusting and coping. ""In most cases, getting into a single-parent family can be very hard on a kid. And it can take a long time to get used to the life-style."" But the remaining parent does pull herself or himself together, with ""comfort from us""; kids, in turn, need to know they're not to blame, and especially that they're not being abandoned. (This is definitely directed to adults and kids.) ""A lot of us got closer to our grandparents""; ""kids are asked to participate more in making family decisions""; ""one thing that we realized is that the parent we lived with was really a human being and wasn't capable of doing everything."" A major result: ""For almost every kid we know, the change to living in a single-parent family meant taking on responsibilities."" The negative aspects are squarely faced too: from money problems (""kids are usually willing to help out. . . once they understand"") to the rigors of visiting (""commuting can get to be a hassle. . . It can be hard going to a new environment"") to parental alcoholism and child suicide. The youngsters look ahead to adulthood too--expecting to be stronger for the experience, to be supportive of the single parent, even to ""give up the anger."" Their reflectiveness, and insightfulness, might be a spur: with the kids' book reviews (librarians will be interested), as fine an approach to the problem as we have, at any level.

Pub Date: April 12th, 1985
Publisher: Doubleday