Stepparenting the Grieving Child

Stepparenting the Grieving Child

Cultivating Past and Present Connections with Children Who Have Lost a Parent

Non-Fiction - Parenting
280 Pages
Reviewed on 04/27/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Stepparenting the Grieving Child: Cultivating Past and Present Connections with Children Who Have Lost a Parent by Diane Ingram Fromme is a comprehensive and informative guide for step parents facing one of the most heartbreaking of challenges. The book begins with Fromme's own experience with her now-husband's children, Brittany and Ian, six months after the loss of their mother to cancer, along with a personal back story of losses in her own history. Through three parts and twelve chapters, Fromme guides readers through the struggles she faced and creates a realistic, attainable, and intimate manual for others in similar situations. From the intricacies of understanding and coping, to communication recommendations, family meetings, and working through various stages and ages, Fromme helps lay the foundation for step parents who find themselves confronted with such a distressing dynamic.

What makes Diane Ingram Fromme's Stepparenting the Grieving Child: Cultivating Past and Present Connections with Children Who Have Lost a Parent particularly poignant is in her own story, and the stories of others. I myself lost my mother and, in turn, had a step mother enter the picture—and as a young woman on the grieving side I can absolutely see how advice like Fromme's would have been life (and relationship) saving. Fortunately for today's families, the experience and expertise that Fromme delivers in the most personal and friendly of manners could make all the difference in the world. I would recommend this book to anyone in the situation of having to fill the role of step parent to a grieving child, and hope it will be sought out by psychologists, social workers, counsellors, and anyone else who enters the professional realm of helping children and families through their grief.

Benjamin Ookami

In her non-fiction book, Stepparenting the Grieving Child: Cultivating Past and Present Connections with Children Who Have Lost a Parent, Diane Ingram Fromme explores what it means to be a parent of a child who has lost a biological parent. When she married Brian, she became stepmother to her husband's daughter and son. Brittany and Ian lost their mother to cancer when they were both under the age of seven. In the years to come, Diane would have to take up a unique challenge. She would have to assume a motherly role to her stepchildren while treading carefully so as not to hamper and dishonor the memory of their deceased mother. This guide teaches stepparents what "sustainable stepparenting" is all about.

From the moment that the author introduces Brittany and Ian, we know that they handle their mother's death in different ways. Using intuitive knowledge and years of research, the author takes readers through each component of the "sustainable stepparenting" formula. Progressing through this book means seeing two kids grow up that had lost so much, and the author's addition to the family was certainly not to make them forget what they had lost. Short snippets of other stepfamilies' experiences and the different pieces of advice the author had gotten from professionals add to readers' learning experience. I can see many a stepparent reading this book with their writing tools handy. The stepparenting advice that the author gives warrants an almost immediate meeting of pen and paper. A wonderful book about stepparenting that I'll easily recommend to readers in the future.


Christian Sia

Stepparenting the Grieving Child: Cultivating Past and Present Connections with Children Who Have Lost a Parent by Diane Ingram Fromme is a groundbreaking book that offers insights and advice on parenting a child who has lost a parent. Loss of any kind is always a tough experience and no two losses are the same. Quite often, it is easy to think that we can come in with our empathetic speeches and sweet-talk kids into believing that we can replace a parent they have just lost. It’s an illusion and the author spells it out very clearly. However, we can develop an appropriate approach to parenting which can help grieving children feel less pain in their loss, learn to connect genuinely with others and with themselves, and to accept their reality.

In this book, Diane Ingram Fromme combines her personal experience with research to offer tips and advice which create the path towards successful parenting for grieving children. I found the idea of “honoring the gap” to be very insightful and new. The book is well-written and laced with numerous personal experiences, real life examples, and strong references; it is packed with the wisdom any stepparent needs to successfully help a child who has lost a parent. In this book, readers will find the support they need and a more relaxed approach to parenting, the courage to empathize with themselves when life gets tougher and more challenging, the tools to easily connect with stepfamily members experiencing loss, and what they need to move ahead when they are stuck. Stepparenting the Grieving Child: Cultivating Past and Present Connections with Children Who Have Lost a Parent by Diane Ingram Fromme is a gift that will alter the way we connect with grieving children, a book filled with light that must be shared.