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Second Chances: Men, Women and Children a Decade After Divorce [Paperback]

Judith S. Wallerstein , Sandra Blakeslee
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 329 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH); Reprint edition (13 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618446893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618446896
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 14.1 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,268,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

Examines the results of a ten-year study of the long term effects of divorce on American families, parents, children, courtship, marriage, and society. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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DIVORCE IS A MAJOR turning point for men and women. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A fine if not sobering study a decade after divorce of sons, daughters, husbands and wives, highly recommended though not easy to read due to reminders of what pains could have been avoided if not for a marriage that failed.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST read for all parents considering divorce 9 Sep 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found this book in a second hand shop during the time that my husband and I were considering seperating after an 18 year marriage. I found the book amazenly insightful. I saw the truth in what really happens to children after a divorce and not what the public portrays and "something they will get over." This book made me cry on nearly ever page. I was able to identify with many things, myself as a child of divorce. I did go ahead and get a divorce but this book absolutely changed my life and my actions. My ex husband read the book and we attended classes on how to behave and raise children in THEIR best interests. It has been three years now and even through there have been struggles, I feel I have done the best that a parent can in this situation. My exhusband and I are very amicable and cordial to each other. His child support is never a day late. He calls several times a week because we live in another state. He flies to see the children on spring break and they spend Christmas vacation and summers with him. We never bicker or fight or ever use the children. This book helped us see how parents can fall into patterns of destruction. We are both parents of our two children, and we feel that even though we are divorced we still need to co-parent. We discuss their future and make plans together for them. We owe this to our children. Our children have the right to two loving parents. Because of this book, we have been able to see better ways to raise our children with as little trauma as possible and give them a brighter future. I HIGHLY recommend this book to any couple considering divorce. You OWE it to your children.
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful &the predictions often bear out.... 15 Jan 2000
By --corinne-- - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I first read this book in a Sociology class when I was a senior in college. I was particularly interested because my parents had divorced a couple of years earlier. The ten year look at the effect of divorce on all persons involved is very insightful and rigorously researched. Second Chances presented several scenarios of what can occur after divorce. I found one of those scenarios for how children cope after divorce to be true for me. This book will open your eyes about the effects of divorce on both parents and children. If you are or have been involved in a divorce, this book supplies worthwhile and meaningful information that makes the process of divorce and its effects clearer. Kudos to Judith Wallerstein et al for bringing all the data together to present this information.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening 10 Jun 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book reports the results of several research projects conducted by Wallerstein to investigate recovery from divorce. As divorce statistics were mounting in the 1960s and 1970s, conventional wisdom held that divorce was rough on spouses and children, but after one or two years, most people got over it and moved on. Wallerstein and her team decided to see how true this was. They interviewed spouses and children who happened to live near their offices in California during the early 1970s and who were going through a divorce at the time. Then they found the same people a year later and interviewed them again to see how many had recovered from the divorce, and to what extent. At the time of the second interview, they were surprised to find out how many people hadn't recovered yet, so they checked back again with the same people after five years to see when the recovery happened. They were quite surprised to find that most people still hadn't recovered after five years, so they found the people again at ten years, and some of them even after fifteen years, and were dismayed to find that most people never really do recover completely from divorce. Some of the spouses, often who originally sought the divorce, came out ahead, but most of the children were devastated by the divorce and hadn't recovered even by the fifteen year mark, when many were already young adults and forming families of their own.
Important results from Wallerstein's research include:
--Women who are older (40+) when they divorce are much less likely to ever remarry than men who divorce at a comparable age. Women who are younger at the time of divorce often remarry.
--The age of the children plays a very important role in how well they adjust to the new family structure. Boys are especially vulnerable if they are between the ages of five and seven when their parents divorce. Girls who are young when their parents split up may suddenly need stronger connections with their fathers when they become teenagers.
--Joint custody didn't seem to be any better for the eventual development of the children than traditional single-parent custody arrangements- -but some parents enjoyed the regular time away from the kids.
My husband's parents divorced when he was three. We've been together twenty years, but until reading this book, I never was truly aware of how devastated he was by the divorce. I knew that the divorce still disturbed him, but I never understood how much or why, or why it was still so sad for him forty years later. The book also got me thinking back to my best friend in middle school, whose parents got divorced. I knew she was very upset about the divorce at the time, but I couldn't understand what she was going through. Her family decided on joint custody, and for a while, it seemed every time I would call her house to ask her to come over, her mother would tell me that she was staying at her father's. Since neither of us were old enough to drive, we stopped getting together as often as before, and eventually, I stopped calling. We found that we couldn't maintain our closeness with all of her bouncing from house to house, and we drifted apart just at a time when she needed close friends the most. After reading this book, I began to understand that to a child, divorce seems to be like amputating a limb- -if someone loses an arm or leg, they generally learn to compensate within a year or two, but they are never completely whole again.
The information and depth of research represented in this book is very good, but the story is not quite complete. In order to determine whether the continuing problems that the children had were due to the divorce or to chance, the study would have much better if Wallerstein had included a control group of similar families who did not divorce. It also would have been good to compare the children of divorced families with children who have lost a parent through death, and adopted children, and children who are raised in single parent families from birth. Designing a study to include all of these groups would be unwieldy, but it would have been nice to at least see for comparison results from other published studies that covered these groups. Overall, though, the book is quite well done, and extremely thought-provoking.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was a revelation for a child of divorced parents. 4 Feb 1999
By paulajeanne@infoave.net Paula Masso Carnes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Every person who has experienced divorce as a child should read this book. I found myself, my parents, and my siblings on every page, and I cried on most pages. This book has changed my life, because I now understand so many of the hurts I experienced growing up. And I understand how hard it must have been for my parents as well. I don't blame them anymore, but I think that if all divorcing fathers were to read this book they would make a greater effort to maintain the parental ties to their children after divorce.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I devoured this book!! 31 Oct 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The case studies presented are poignantly eye-opening and powerful. Unlike many books which attempt to "sugar coat" divorce as a life transition that one works through (and with time, "gets over and moves on"), this one focuses on the realities--both good and bad.
Reading this book, I rode the emotional roller coaster between hope and despair, anger and compassion, guilt and indignation.
Anyone who truly loves their children needs to read this book and contemplate the possible impact of divorce on THEIR lives before severing a marriage bond--for too long we've dined on rationalizations fed to us by friends, therapists, attorneys, and the media that parents who are unfulfilled in their marriages actually help their kids by divorcing.
This book leaves enough room for readers to draw their own conclusions as it relates to their circumstances, but at the same time, it certainly debunks some of the myths!!!
I would certainly recommend this book as "preventive maintenance" for any marriage--sadly, I didn't find it soon enough to save my own.
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