I have selected these books or games because I’ve either read or owned them myself, or on recommendation from clients and friends. Some are written with the traditional family in mind but have good information for stepfamilies. Some are my personal favorites because they inspired or helped me on my journey.

Book & Game Recommendations

These recommendations are suggestions and are by no means meant to replace professional or expert advice. Each person and family is unique and therefore getting help should be sought after with that in mind.

If you have a favorite book that you would like to see on my list, send me an email at Claudette@stepmomcoach.com and tell me why this book should be here. — Thanks, Claudette

> For (Step)Mothers
> For (Step)Fathers
> For (Step)Families
> For Building Relationships
> For Children
> For Teens
> Games for the Family

For (Step)Mothers

The Package Deal: My (not-so) Glamorous Transition from Single Gal to Instant Mom
by Izzy RoseA delightful book that makes you both cry and laugh out loud. Izzy Rose shares her journey from independent career woman to taking on an instant family with two teenage boys. It’s a honest look at what you give up, and what you gain. But most of all, I treasure it for being a reminder that you’re going to be ok.Also available in Kindle Edition.
The Enlightened Stepmother
by Perdita K. Norwood and Teri WingenderThis book is the result of a five year study that observed, interviewed
and surveyed 200 stepmothers.Covers all phases, relationship types and roles of a stepfamily structure. Talks about how support groups can help and includes essentials needed for a successful stepfamily, such as portraying
a united front, taking care of finances and getting outside support.
The Ex Etiquette: The Etiquette of Separation, Divorce and Remarriage
by Audrey GrantThis was the very first book I purchased when I became a stepmom. I read it with my husband so that we could both start to understand how things were going to evolve. Although I was still not prepared for all the changes, it was helpful in realizing that I wasn’t the only one going through these changes. No longer in print but you can purchase New or Used copies from Amazon Sellers.

The Secrets to Stepfamily Success: Revolutionary Tools to Create a Blended Family of Support and Respect
By Gloria LintermansGloria’s book provides the tools and skills to make stepfamilies more succesful. She approaches the issues with a lot of open and positive insights that make changes possible, even in challenging relationships. The information in the book is a great resource for all who seek help at different stages of their steprelationship.Also available in Kindle Edition
Mom’s House, Dad’s House: Making Two Homes for Your Child
by Isolina Ricci, Ph.DSeparation and divorce is difficult for adults but can really be devastating for kids when the adults don’t handle the situation well. A great book that show how to have two homes with no fighting, how to make tough times work for you, creating

 

For (Step)Fathers

Understanding Men’s Passages

by Gail SheehyWhen I met my husband, I had a hard time understand some of the things he was going though. Neither my dad nor my ex-partner were very communicative men. How were men different from us women? I was also raising a son and needed to understand what he would face as a teen. Plus, I really wanted both the men in my life to get along.This book was helpful in seeing some of the patterns men go through— to understand what was normal or at least acceptable and what wasn’t. It also helped me to look for some of the danger signs as men get older.

 

For (Step)Families

Stepfamilies: The Step by Step Model of Brief Therapy
by Mala S. Burt & Roger B. BurtA look at the problems stepfamilies face, stages they go through, examples of assessment guidelines and other strategies. Includes stories of real families and ways they were helped. This technique most effective for stepfamilies who need help understanding roles and expectations and not for seriously problematic cases such as domestic violence and abuse.
Stepparenting: Everything You Need to Know to Make it Work
by Jeannette Lofas The founder of Stepfamily Foundation talks about the difficulties stepparents face in regards to raising stepchildren and having unrealistic expectations. She encourages couples to focus on strengthening their relationship and explains the steps to creating a stronger relationship in order to build a strong and loving stepfamily. Includes house rules, how and why children should have chores, the importance of rituals, ex-spouses, money issues and legal rights.
Grandparenting Today
by Eleanor Berman We become grandparents, we do not choose it. This period in an older adult’s life can be the most rewarding and yet the most confusing. How do young people raise their kids today? What do you do with all the technology that exist? How can we as grandparents stay connected with our grandchildren who may not live close by? When is it a good time to intervene or should we? Creating special moments for special occasions.
Good basic resource for any person in the role of grandparent, whether they are from your biological children or your stepchildren.
For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered
by E. M. Hetherington & J. Kelly An exploration on the effect of divorce in America today based on three longitudinal studies on marriage, divorce and remarriage. The first study looked at 144 families over the span of twenty years with families divided into two groups: one of non-divorced middle class white families, and the other half, also middle class white families, who were divorced with a “target” child of age 4. The second study, based on adaptation in stepfamilies with a young adolescent child, examined the families at different intervals and compared with non-divorced families with teenagers of the same age. The third study was based on genetics, shared environment and non-shared environment and observed 720 two-parent families with same-sex adolescent siblings.
Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way
by M. Gary Neuman Divorce is often the byproduct of today’s stepfamilies. One of the reasons many stepfamilies don’t last past the 7th anniversary is that there is a lot of anger and grief left over from the divorce. Often the children are in the middle of this “fight” and retaliate by acting up or by being withdrawn. Neuman shares great stories and great ideas on how to raise children after a divorce and when a parent remarries. Deals with all age groups. Great resource.
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss what Matters Most
by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, Roger Fisher Offers advice for handling unpleasant exchanges in a manner that accomplishes your objective and diminishes the possibility that anyone is needlessly hurt. If you’re interested in elevating your communication skills, this book walks you through both mistakes and remedies in a way that boosts your confidence in handling unavoidable clashes. Available in Kindle Edition.

 

For Building Relationships


The 5 Love Languages
by Gary Chapman We all want to be loved but in our own way. Do you know want that looks like? Understanding what your own love language is as well as your partner’s can make a huge difference in the quality and depth of your relationship. A must read for all couples serious about keeping a loving and lasting relationship.

A Couple’s Guide to Communication
by John Gottman A study on 250 couples examines how couples communicate and ways to resolve problems. Written for couples, it includes easy-to-do exercises and simple terminology to effectively communicate what you want in your relationship. Very down-to-earth and practical.

101 Nights of Grrreat Romance
by Laura Corn This book offers for both men and women secret (Yes! The pages are sealed so no peaking) romantic ways to be romantic with your partner. Inside the pages are tips for Romantic Seductions, Kisses, Passion Coupon and Intimate Conversations. Some “eeevent” require a little prep work while others need a lot more. But the little symbols on the front of the pages will give you plenty of hint. What better way to spice up your relationship than keep the romance strong.

Intimate Connections
by David Burns David Burns, author of Feeling Good book, shares ways that negative thinking is creating the kinds of relationships you DON’T want to have. Using his Cognitive Therapy techniques, David helps you understand ways to improve your intimate relationship by changing your thought process. Areas he writes about is Self-Love Comes First, Making Connections, Getting Close, and Making Love.

The 7 habits of Highly Effective Families
by Stephen R Covey Covey uses the same principals he uses for the business world and it works very well. Some of the great tips that he shares is moving from “me” to “we”, disciplining without punishing, ways of creating family time, the power of being a positive influence on your children, helping kids to be a part of the family and yet have some autonomy. He also addresses issues about children at all stages of life, which is great for any parent.

New Passages
by Gail Sheehy When I first read her book (Understand Men’s Passages), I was so excited because I was finally going to be able to understand the men in my life. This book talks about our developmental stages and why it is that today, we take longer to “grow up”. Sheehy takes every decade after the teens and shares what typically goes on for both men and women. A great way to gain insight as to why we are so different and yet similar to one another.

You’re Wearing That?
by Deborah Tannen Deborah shares academic and research based studies on how mothers and daughters relate to each other in a way that most of us can relate to without being lost in linguistic lingo. Funny and sad, Deborah provides great insights to help improve this relationship no matter your age.

Marriage Rules
by Harriet Lerner Author of the series “Dance With …” Harriet brings simply yet effective rule to any relationship whether you are living together, just married or in a stepfamily. No long theory behind the rules, just lots of action steps. Great gift to those entering marriage or even dating.


The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work 
by John M. Gottman, Ph.D. Gottman is the leading expert in marriage and this book shows exactly what you can do to improve your relationship.

Divorce Busting 
by Michele Weiner-Davis A book I read many years ago when I was contemplating divorcing my husband because I couldn’t take the chaos of stepfamily life. Luckily, after reading this book, I realized there were alternative ways to dealing with our issues.

 

For Children


Two Homes
by Claire Masurel(Baby-Preschool)A great little book for young ones that feel the stress of having to go from one house to the next. When children start to go to school and realize that not all children need to share a mommy and a daddy, they start to ask themselves if they are normal? This is a nice little book to read as a bed time story or whenever the child seems anxious about going from one house to the next.
Do You Sing Twinkle?: A Story About Remarriage and New Family
by Sandra Levins(Ages 4-8)Mom has a new family! She has a new husband who is not my dad, and worst of all, new kids. Girls! Just as it feels for the young child in Do You Sing Twinkle? living apart from a parent can be a hard adjustment for kids. And, when that parent remarries and has stepchildren, things can get really confusing for kids! Told from a young boy s point of view, the book sensitively addresses many questions that children may have while adjusting to remarriage and joint-custody situations.
The Preschooler’s Busy Book
by Trish Kuffner(Ages 3-6)Great little book to help any parent find things to keep their little ones busy. This is often an issue with new parents (and more experienced ones as well). There are 365 creative ideas that will keep your 3 to 6 year old happy for a long time. Great for single fathers and grandfathers too.
>My Fairy Stepmotherby Marni and Jason PrinceLooking for a positive book to read to your child about being in a stepfamily? This delightful yet insightful book will sure become a favorite in your family.

Countdown til Daddy Comes Home by Balan and Kristin AyyarHow do you help a child when Daddy leaves for a long period of time? What are some of the things you can do together to make time go by? Great children’s book with good resources at the end.
The Bully Vaccine by Jennifer HancockAt some point, your child will be faced to deal with a bully. Is s/he equipped to handle it? What if it’s your child who is the bully? Do you know how to help him/her? A great book with simple yet powerful tools to help your child learn to inoculate themselves against bullies.

 

For Teens

Understanding Myself: A Kid’s Guide to Intense Emotions and Strong Feelings
by Mary C. Lamia, PhD(Ages 9-12)Strong feelings and intense emotions are part of every pre-teens life. So why does something so common feel so overwhelming or embarrassing?Understanding Myself is written especially for kids with intense emotions. Chock-full of current and relevant psychological research on emotions as well as real-life stories, useful quizzes and fun-fact boxes, Understanding Myself will encourage kids to notice just what their emotions are telling them about themselves, their friends and family.This informative and practical guide helps kids know what do when their emotions get to be too much!
Closing The Gap: A Strategy for Bringing Parents and Teens Together
by Jay McGraw (son of another bestselling author, Phillip C. McGraw, a.k.a. Dr. Phil)(Ages 13+)I’ve given this book to my 16 year old nephews and nieces who have had a hard time dealing with their parents and stepparents. I could just see the frustration and anger in them and this book help to get them on the path of discussion.Parents, do you know the names of your teen’s three closest friends? And teens, do you know what your parents are putting most of their energy into right now? Twenty-two-year-old Jay McGraw wants parents and teens to find the answers to these questions and begin to bridge the familial gap. He dispels myths, finds antidotes to “parent poisons,” defuses “teenage land mines,” and offers a refresher course in teen and parent dos and don’ts. Teens–as well as their parents–will appreciate his empathic straight talk and reality checks as they begin to find common ground again.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
by Sean Covey(Young Adult)I truly enjoy The 7 habits series and have included this one. Gave it to a nephew to help him in making wise life decisions. He is doing well. Teens want to fit in and know that what they are doing get approval from parents. The principals here are similar to the Teen Survival Guide to Dating and Relating by Annie Fox.

 

Games for the Family

Table Topics
Choose from the following editions Original, Family (For couples), Romance, Teen and Family Gatherings.
These games are one of the best tools that I have recommended and used for a long time. I have given away so many of these that I have stopped counting. Each topic has a set of over 100 questions that gets conversations going. They are a great way to get to know others, whether you are long time friends or newly acquainted. Give them as gifts for the Holidays, Birthdays, Hostess Gifts or just for the fun of it.

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