Getting Effective Therapist or Counseling Help For Your Child

“Getting Effective Therapist or Counseling Help For Your Child”

By Bill Schacht, MS, LCSW

Family separation and divorce create many complex challenges for children. The two most common experiences children report are…

  • Scary thoughts and feelings.
  • Being distracted (i.e. in school, etc.) because of uncertainty of the future of family life structure.

Children experiencing such fears and worries will begin to show symptoms both physical (i.e. headaches, insomnia, stomach aches, etc.) and psychological (i.e depression, anxiety, short temper, lack of participation or finding pleasure in activities which they previously enjoyed.

When children show theses signs of distress, parents, other relatives, and professionals with whom they are in contact (i.e. teachers, school counselors, clergy, pediatricians, etc.) will come to a conclusion that they need help from someone who has professional expertise in such cases (i.e. a psychologist or psychotherapist,etc.).

Let us all be clear that bad therapy is worse than no therapy just like a bad back surgery is much worse than no back surgery.

Psychotherapy is a service provided for people who have a clearly diagnosable mental health disorder. Most children showing symptoms from family change and divorce are have well within normal range of response to complex and massive family and residence changes. They are not “mentally ill” (see posted article on POD, “RED ALERT”).

Determining if they have a diagnosable condition or not is critical.

If you are going to seek an evaluation and possible treatment from a licensed mental health professional use the guide below to ensure that you child will be getting appropriate, safe and effective treatment.

Guide for Parents and Guardians Seeking Psychological Services For Children

Copyright 2006 -William D. Schacht, MS, LCSW

Your child may have been referred or recommended for psychological evaluation or counseling to an agency outside of your school system by a school psychologist, school social worker, counselor, or teacher. The following information can be used as a guide to assist you in helping your son or daughter secure psychological services that are useful and meet his or her needs. For further support, call Performance Enhancement Behavioral Health & Counseling Services at (414) 427-7347.

Question: Do you know for what reasons and services your child is being referred?

Points:

Ask what reasons the referral source is suggesting your child requires additional evaluation and/or service. Attention deficit, depression, anxiety, family situation adjustment are examples of such conditions.   The agency or mental health professional will ask you why you are seeking services for your child. This gives the therapist a starting point with your child. If you describe in writing a set of symptoms or behavior observations and how long your child has been experiencing these problems will be helpful to the therapist.

Your child could be referred for the following services…

Psychiatric Evaluation

Psychological Evaluation

AODA Assessment

Individual Psychotherapy

Family Counseling

Psychological Testing

Drug/Alcohol Counseling

What agency and mental health professional you choose should be skilled in the area assessed as the problem for your child. For example, if your child is being referred for adjustment issues due to a divorce, ask the therapist about his/her experience in dealing with marriage, family, and divorce adjustment issues. How many cases of this type have been seen?

Question: How do I know which therapist will be best for my child?

Points:

Word of mouth referral is a good process. School professionals, your primary care physician, your attorney (in divorce situations), and friends can be a good place to start. If you hear one agency or therapist name come up consistently, that is meaningful.

Make sure the therapist and agency are properly licensed. When choosing an agency (or clinic) ask if it is “State Mandated.”   This means it is accredited by the State of Wisconsin.

Ask the therapist if they are “licensed.”

Ask the therapist to tell you what his/her definitions are for…

“Psychological Evaluation” (Answer should include “accurate diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan with concrete measurable treatment objectives and measures of success and failure for each objective”).

“Psychotherapy”   (Answer should include “your child will learn how to make changes in his/her thinking patterns, emotional responses, and behaviors consistent with his/her treatment objectives”).

Therapist should communicate his/her philosophy on using psychotropic medications as part of treatment (medication masks symptoms, but many times does not address the underlying cause of the child’s problem).

Ask therapist how he/she will communicate with school personnel and the child’s primary care physician in regards to your child’s diagnosis and treatment. Good therapists see treatment as a team approach with other professionals who provide care and support for you child.

Question: How does treatment begin?

Points:

All treatment must begin with an effective evaluation. A good therapist should inform you of evaluation findings including…

  • Diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment plan with concrete measurable treatment objectives and a projected number of sessions for each objective.
  • Measures of treatment success and failure and what adjustments to treatment will occur if treatment fails.

If the therapist cannot tell you these things, consider finding a different therapist.

Good therapy and medicinal treatment can only occur with accurate diagnosis. Inaccurate diagnosis can lead to improper treatment.   For example, if a child is diagnosed with ADHD when, in fact, the child is experiencing anxiety from a potential divorce situation, treatment can be detrimental, rather than useful. If a child is diagnosed with depression when, in fact, they are smoking pot twice a day and this is not known, treatment will not be useful.

Question: What is a “concrete, measurable treatment objective?”

Points:

For example, if your child is referred for social or performance anxiety, a vague, useless treatment goal would read’ “Reduce anxiety symptoms.” Of course! That is obvious!

A concrete measurable goal would read like these…

“Will attend speech class on every day he is scheduled to give a speech.”

“Will initiate social conversations with two other children in school she does not know within 6 weeks.”

“Will identify and eliminate obsessing about negative self thoughts in 4 weeks.”

These are real, meaningful type of objectives that are of immediate value to your child and you.

If treatment goals are not being met on projected timelines, ask the therapist for an explanation.   If you are not satisfied, seek a second opinion.

Question: What should I be willing to pay for my child’s treatment? What is good value?

Points:

Insurance benefits in mental health are rapidly decreasing for most health insurance plans.   Deductibles and co-pays are increasing.   Some quality providers choose not to be part of insurance panels that have low reimbursements. So, getting quality care at good cost value can requires good therapist selection and savvy consumerism.

Bad therapy is worse than no therapy.   Make sure your child has an effective therapist for his/her problem(s).

Consumers are trained that treatment cost should be assessed by fee per visit. This is not an accurate measure of true cost or consumer value.

Cost should be calculated by the therapist’s projected cost for your child’s entire treatment, rather than the cost of an evaluation or a therapy session.

For example, a $30 co-pay for 25 sessions is more than a $60 co-pay for 8 sessions if the resulting therapy outcome is the same.

Also consider how expensive it may be for you child not to receive effective treatment for his and her problem.   Marriage counseling that may cost you $3,000 out of pocket is less than $6,000 of attorney fees and family turmoil of a divorce.

For more information on selecting good psychological services for your child, call Performance Enhancement Behavioral Health & Counseling Services at…

(414) 858-1014

 

 

 

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What To Do About the Mental Health of an Ex?

“What To Do About the Mental Health of an Ex?”

By Bill Schacht, MS, LCSW

 A POD member asked for information about his ex-spouse having a substantial and sudden change in mental condition.

It is obvious that whether we are considering a commitment in a pre-marriage situation, a current marriage relationship, or in divorce situations in which minor children are involved, the mental health of both partners is essential to the health and joy of relationship interaction.

A relationship can only be as good and satisfying as what the individuals bring into it.  In my clinical practice, over 85% of the couples who come to me for marriage/relationship counseling involve mental illness in one or both of the partners.  What is most shocking is that over 50% of those who present with such disorder report that they have never been psychologically evaluated, diagnosed, or treated!  And, a vast majority of these folks are in significant denial that there is anything wrong with them.

When these couples come for counseling, they tell the therapist that the relationship is “the problem.” What emerges in the therapy is that the problems are caused by the mental disorder existing in one or both of the partners.

Psychologically unhealthy humans rarely create healthy relationships over time.  Undiagnosed and untreated physical illness can also lead to relationship breakdown.

Any psychological disorder can and will negatively impact relationship.  The relationship killer in people with psychological disorders is FEAR.  Fear negates the experience of LOVE.  It is impossible to allow one’s self to be vulnerable in a relationship when frightened.

The most frequent diagnoses that I observe people in couples’ counseling present with…

  • Undiagnosed and untreated or ineffectively treated post traumatic stress.  This usually manifests from  sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse, in soldiers with battle experience, in police and other law enforcement personnel and firefighters who witness trauma and/or have near-death experiences,  and in EMT’s, Emergency Room and other health care professionals who are exposed to patient trauma.  These individuals find it very difficult to feel safe in relationship and have trouble being emotionally present/available in relationship because their pattern of suppressing the painful emotion of the unresolved trauma will present as either emotional avoidance or instability/volatility.
  • Addictions.  Alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex/porn, food, shopping – whatever.  These patterns consume time and resources and cause people to be inattentive in relationship.  The addiction is presented as more valuable than relationships.  Remember, many addictions, especially drugs and alcohol, are self-medication efforts for other conditions.
  • Anxiety of any type.  People who suffer from anxiety make choices based on what worries and frightens them.   Social anxiety, which makes it impossible for a person to enjoy interactions with people who are unfamiliar, will quickly breakdown a relationship in which their partner enjoys social interaction and meeting new people.
  • Chronic Pain/Pain Disorders.  Enjoying anything is hard when a person is in pain.  To the extent a person is consumed by pain, they cannot be present in relationship.  When pain increases during sexual activity, it is difficult for people to fully engage and enjoy a sexual encounter.

Psychological health can deteriorate quickly as our associate has noticed in his ex-spouse.  Trauma, grief (over the loss of a loved one, job, etc.), financial problems, post-partum depression, and physical conditions including pain, thyroid dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, and many other situations can cause sudden psychological distress which results in change in relating.

As POD’s, our first concern of mental health should be our own.  If I know I am psychologically struggling, I must have the courage to be evaluated by a qualified and competent mental health provider, ensure accurate diagnosis, and get effective treatment.  It is irresponsible to try establish and maintain a pleasurable love relationship if we are not psychologically healthy.

When dating, it is imperative that we are certain of our potential partner’s psychological health.  I meet too many people who enter committed relationships knowing that their partner has a psychological disorder not under control.  Many engage with the false hope that the relationship itself will make their partner better, only to learn later that the responsibility of performing well in the relationship causes them to get worse.

If you are in a relationship in which you know your partner is suffering from a diagnosable mental disorder, do not choose the path of relationship counseling first.  Focusing the problem on the relationship will distract your partner from what is their primary responsibility – to get themselves healthy.  Their pathology that shows up in the relationship counseling, if not individually treated, will cause the relationship counseling to fail.

In a divorce situation, an ex-spouses mental health deterioration, especially when that results in abusive, inattentive, negligent, or unhealthy parenting of minor children, must be addressed.  May times the healthy spouse will balk at addressing the issue with the ex to avoid generating increased conflict.  But, this is a situation in which the well-being of the children must be priority.

A progressive process of getting your ex’s attention to their psychological condition can be followed:

  • A direct attempt to get our ex’s attention to address the issue is the best first move.  A private, face-to-face disclosure of your concerns is optimal.   A letter that defines your concerns can be effective also.  Remember to be empathic and compassionate – not blaming or accusatory.  Do not speak or write about psychological diagnoses.  It is best to communicate actual observations of behavior and/or mood (i.e. excessive anger, etc.) and the negative impact that was observed on others (i.e. the children, etc.).
  • If a direct communication fails, securing the attention and support of ex-in-laws can be an effective next step.  It can be much easier to “hear it” from loving family members.
  • Securing the support of clergy that has a good relationship with an ex is another option.
  • If an ex refuses to address unhealthy behavior and mood and children are being negatively impacted, the involvement of a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) through the family court system may be necessary.  Communicating the situation to your family law attorney to get advice on how to proceed or contacting a recommended GAL in your county is recommended.

In such a situation, the only thing that is not recommended is doing nothing.  It may take several attempts and much effort and expense, but having the children and your ex at increasing risk due to mental illness in not acceptable.

We will have many conversations and discussions about mental health as we support one another in our goal of…

Never Again!

What To Do With an Angry COD (Child of Divorce)

What To Do With an Angry COD (Child of Divorce)

by Bill Schacht, MS, LSCW

On our free monthly pod cast this week for members who have taken our KIDS-IN-A-BREAK: Providing the Necessary Support for Your Child of Divorce seminar,  POD member Tara shared that her 10 year old son is exhibiting an intermittent pattern of anger and tantrum in a variety of situations including when he wants something, when he does not want to do what is asked of him, when he does not get what he wants, and in certain performance situations.  She asked, “What can I do, Bill?”

Any useful answer requires careful consideration of the many factors that are causing her son’s angry mood and correlated behavior.

Anger issues are present in many families that divorce.  Tara shared that she and her ex engaged in many anger-fueled arguments that her son witnessed.  So, knowing something about anger is a good starting point.

Anger is an emotion.  But, it is not a primary response.  Anger is usually either fear turned outward, misdirected passion, caused by hormonal change, or a combination of these.

When a dog becomes frightened, it will do one of two things.  It may cower or roll on its back in a submissive position.  It is communicating to the attacker, “Don’t hurt me.”  Or, the dog will convert its fear to anger and growl and show its teeth in an attempt to keep the threat at a distance.

Humans, when frightened, will many times do the same.  They will non-consciously convert their fear to anger and express that to the scary person or situation.  An example of this is when a person gets cut off on the expressway by another driver in a way that an accident in barely avoided.  A knee-jerk reaction of rage response is a quick conversion of high level fear into an anger response.

COD’s have many fears in family separation situations.  And, many suppress their fears.  Then, it squirts out as anger.

So, one way to effectively respond to child’s or adult’s anger is to ask, “Is there something that is frightening you?”  This simple question will many times deflect the anger and cause the person who is angry to get to the primary cause – something that is frightening.

Anger as “misdirected passion” is when people are not experiencing enough positive stimulation.  They are just not having enough fun.  All humans require stimulation; we need to be aroused.  What we get from arousal is releases of dopamine, adrenaline, and endorphins – all neuro-chemicals that get us to feel good.  When we do not generate enough arousal through healthy and fun activity, the human system can begin to seek arousal through creating mischief.  And, getting angry is one way to get a significant shot of adrenaline up our spine.

When a couple in relationship counseling begins by telling me that they “fight all the time,” I immediately ask, “Can you tell what the two of you have done together in the past two months for fun and pleasure?”   In 90% of the couples the response is, “Not much,” and many declare little or no sexual activity.

So, with an angry son or a battling spouse, it is good to ask if that person is having enough fun – getting the positive arousal they need.  I see many COD’s expressing anger when their parents are not playing with them enough or just not doing enough fun stuff with them.

The hormonal factor of anger can be a rapid fluctuation of estrogen (menstrual cycle related in women) or a build-up of testosterone in a male (not enough sexual release).  We’ll eliminate this in Tara’s son’s case.

If Tara’s son did observe many episodes of his parents fighting with dad or both parents in a high anger state, we can hypothesize that his behavior is simply learned.  If children see that adults respond to not getting what they want, trying to get what they want, or to avoid responsibility or natural consequences by becoming very angry, they will come to believe that anger is the appropriate response in those situations.

Next time you are feeling angry, ask yourself…

Is there something frightening me?

Am I not having enough fun?

Is it my cycle or not having sexual release?

If your child is angry, check the first two and ponder how much anger and fighting your child may have been exposed to in your family.  Please share your wisdom and experiences with the rest of the Association.

Adult POD Children, Holiday Complexity

“Adult POD Children,  Holiday Complexity”

Family separation and divorce bestows upon the involved children unforeseen, complex, life challenges for most of their remaining lives.  These inevitable situations many times get dumped into the laps of the kids with the divorced parents oblivious to the negative impact on the children’s lives and relationships.

There is no manual for these situations; no protocols, no “right way” to go about it.  Even as adults, these children are afraid to seriously discuss such situations with their parents.  And, when they marry, their spouses often adopt that fear and avoid addressing the issues, even when they cause serious problems within their marriage.

As members of PEOPLE OF DIVORCE – The Association, our value to each other is to report and discuss these complex situations.  This allows the membership to share what remedies they have tried that have succeeded or failed.

Consider the current situation of Elisha and James.  This married, 30ish couple has two young children.

James’ parents divorced when he was 8 years old.  But, the family was always very close and spent much time together.  Even after his mother and father remarried, gatherings in both new households continue to host weekly family interactions. Elisha will say that there is so much socializing within James’ family that, if unchecked, every weekend and some week nights would be spent in the company of his mother’s or father’s extended families.

Elisha’s parents married young and have a solid marriage of 40 years. Her family gets together, but not nearly as much as her husband’s.   Elisha’s family members enjoy their interactions, but are they are not as close and interdependent as James’ family.

James’ wants to spend as much time with his family as possible.  Elisha says she fights all the time with James for time to spend with him alone, together with their kids, and with her family.  The amount of time they spend with James’ family also has reduced their socialization with other couples and friends to almost zilch.

So, where is the real complexity?  Christmas.

James asserts that, because his mom and dad have different families, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day time should be split 1/3 – 1/3 – 1/3.  Elisha demands that this time be a 50-50 time divide between her family and his two.  Elisha asks James why her parents should be penalized by losing time with their grandchildren at Christmas for maintaining a happy marriage. She asks James to consider if her parents were also divorced and remarried, would he not be agreeable to splitting the holiday 25-25-25-25 across the four parent households?

Neither will budge on the issue.  Lack of resolution has resulted in other aspects of their relationship to break down.  The problem extends to children’s birthdays and other holidays.

Because  James and Elisha refuse to discuss the issue with their parents, they are clueless to the impact of it on their kids’ marriage.

Elisha is to the point of believing that, if James’ cannot “let go” of his family a little bit and they don’t crack this nut, it could cause them to divorce.

Imagine that two more kids could end up becoming children of divorce because their parents could not agree on with whom they will spend Christmas!

Sounds silly, doesn’t it?  But, it is a real example of the unintended consequences and natural complexity of POD children.

If you have had a similar experience, post a comment.  Share what you have done to remedy such situations.  What do you think should be the protocol in this circumstance?  Let’s talk about it in the POD community and help Elisha and James work it out!

Co-Parenting & having “the talk” with your kids

Parenting collaboratively from two household is difficult and complex.  This story illuminates that reality.

When Tomas, a divorced dad of a 12 year-old daughter, Anna, had Saturday placement, his daughter had her first period.  She chose not to tell her father – not a peep.

The next day, dad rode with the mom to drop Anna off at camp for a week.   When they were alone on the drive home, mom shared with dad what had occurred at his home the day before.  Suddenly, the blood stains on Anna’s bed sheet made sense to Tomas.

Dad chose not to ask mom why she did not call him on Saturday with a heads-up after Anna called her with the announcement.  Mom suggested to the dad that Anna may have been too embarrassed to tell him or talk about it with him.  Tomas asked mom what “product” Anna was using so that he could make that available in his home.  Mom said that Anna was given product and not to worry, suggesting again that Anna may be hesitant to discuss the topic with Tomas.

Tomas pondered the events and process that just occurred for his POD family.  Tomas knew this was a big deal in Anna’s maturing process and, somehow, he felt on the outside looking in.  He was not being viewed as a valuable resource to Anna in the situation and, without notice, was not included.

This is sad.

Not that it is always so, but within an intact family, there is more opportunity for mom to immediately inform dad of Anna’s development and to collaborate how to discuss the issue with her from numerous perspectives.

Parents tend not to discuss sexual issues with their “of-age” children nearly enough.  Being in two households makes it even easier to avoid the discomfort and work of deciding what to say, what to teach, and when.

To Tomas’ credit, he wrote mom a letter declaring that he wanted to be more involved with Anna about her physical maturity.  He wrote that he would share with Anna that now he knew and to inquire with Anna into what she had learned about the actual physiological purpose of a woman’s menstrual cycle and, even more importantly, what having her period now meant to her sense of self.

In the actual conversation, Anna shared that she knew her body was going through a “monthly cleansing” and Tomas was able to add more facts about how her body prepares itself for egg fertilization and regroups through the menstrual cycle when no pregnancy occurs.  Anna was not shy or uncomfortable in the conversation and told Tomas that her period signals that she is “growing up” and is now capable of becoming pregnant.

Tomas asked Anna to consider that the arrival of her period should have her reflect upon the ability that God has given her to grow one of her fertilized eggs into a baby.  And, that she should always honor and respect her body within that miracle potential.

Anna seemed to welcome her dad’s interest and appreciated his insights. Anna and dad agreed that, within the coming years, they would have many conversations about her growing up, sexuality, and dating.

Effective collaborative parenting requires awareness and the willingness to collaborate on a level with parents and children who reside in one home.

Please share your collaborative parenting successes and failures on the POD community social network.  We can learn so much from one another!

Guiding Your Child of Divorce in Relationship Building

Guiding Your Child of Divorce in Relationship Building
By Bill Schacht, MS, LCSW

My 11 ½ year old daughter of divorce, Hunter Rose, is with me for 50% placement. Last night, I asked her to whom she was considering bestowing a valentine card. She said that was not going to be a formal activity at her school. So, making one for each of her classmates was not on her mind. She’s not into boys yet. So, she was having no hormonally driven ideas either.

I asked her if she thought her mother would appreciate getting a valentine from her. She paused and asked, “Do you think she would like that?” I suggested that anytime and any way she expressed her love for her mother would warm her mother’s heart and brighten her day. She agreed and decided a card for mom would happen.

To deepen my parenting and her learning opportunity, I then asked her if she should consider giving a card to her mom’s boyfriend, Dan. Hunter Rose’s mom, Amy, and Dan have been in relationship for well beyond a year. Dan is a good guy, a good match for Amy, and Hunter Rose enjoys him. Amy has shared with Hunter Rose and me that marriage is likely in their near future. They have actively involved Hunter Rose in looking for a new home that would blend them into one residence.

We discussed that when children live with their dad and mom, it is normal and natural that the family talk about and act on continuous development of their loving, give and take relationships. We noted this time and energy investment is what keeps family members feeling “we are there for one another” and bonded.

We pondered that, paradoxically, families who get splintered by time and space of divorce, do not work as consciously, consistently, and naturally to develop bond and relationship. We concluded that, beyond logistics, this dynamic occurs because of no cultural protocols or handbook for families progressing toward blending into one. We also agreed that it is caused by a subconscious protection about the possibility of the relationship suddenly ending and a split occurring. We sensed that both children and adults of divorce experience a fear of getting too close and getting hurt again if the blending of families fails.

This combination of POD’s not having the time, taking the time, and guiding our children in the importance and value of ongoing relationship building and development and fear of possible future breakup or abandonment with those whom we consider “family” is the very notion that keeps us from developing interdependence and commitment in relationship that will keep us together and loving one another, even in the most difficult times.

No matter what our present family structure, it is essential that we teach our children to grow our love for and build relationship with existing and future family members.

Is this blog relevant to your life experience as a person of divorce? LEAVE A REPLY below and tell us more. Does this blog provide information that will help you achieve your goal of never divorcing again? Will you post further comments or ask questions about this blog on The POD social network? Did this blog provide information that will cause you to take action? Let us know, below…

Providing Effective and Appropriate Support For Our Children of Divorce

Providing Effective and Appropriate Support For Our Children of Divorce
By Bill Schacht, MS, LCSW

There are few resources for parents who see their children struggling through family separation and divorce.

Some school systems provide after school support groups and individual access to school counselors, social workers , and school psychologists. The availability and effectiveness of these services vary.

Some churches provide excellent support from clergy and church outreach. Some do not.

The resource most visible to parents to get help for their children is outpatient psychological services. A parent will be told by a child’s teacher, school counselor, pediatrician, or clergy, “Maybe your child should see a therapist.” Many parents come to this conclusion themselves. Sometimes kids ask for such support.

I am mental health professional licensed to provide such service to adults and children.

Even with understanding the scarcity of effective support resources for our children in many American communities, please be informed that, psychotherapy, as you imagine it, is not a good choice for the majority of the children. This may be hard to understand.

I have posted “Red Alert” (click here) to further educate you on the subject.

Our responsibility as PEOPLE OF DIVORCE – The Association is to ensure that effective education and support is available to children of all ages facing the challenges of family separation in a structure consistent with the child’s condition and circumstances.

Being Responsible to Our Children of Divorce

Being Responsible to Our Children of Divorce
By Bill Schacht, MS, LCSW

When you were preparing for the birth of your first child, you and your spouse may have read the book What To Expect When You Are Expecting. Over 21 million of us bought the book and who knows how many of us passed it along.

Why did we read it? Because we realized an event that would change our lives forever was quickly upon us. Never having gone through it before, even though we had observed countless others go through it, we wanted to be as prepared as possible. So, we did our due diligence to give us the best chance for success.

Allow me to suggest that going through family separation is a much longer and painful journey for a child than being born.

In a related story, I recently spoke to a group of City Health Department Directors about the impact of family separation and divorce on children. I got their attention by asking them to imagine that a new disease had come into their communities to which 50% of the children would be exposed. I told them that children exposed to this disease were observed as follows:

• 50% more health problems than children not exposed.
• Teens are 3 times more apt to be diagnosed with a psychological disorder.
• Six years after being exposed to the disease these children reported being significantly more lonely, unhappy, anxious, and insecure as their unexposed peers.
• Twice as apt not to graduate from high school.
• Three times as apt to have a baby out of wedlock.
• 10 times more apt to be sexually abused.
• 12 times as likely to end up in prison.

I told the Directors there was more bad news, but we did not have the time to go through it all.

I asked them, if their communities were exposed, would they declare this disease a major health risk and develop programs for prevention, early detection, and effective treatment of it. They assured me that all of their communities would do so. When I told them these were statistics on kids of divorce, I asked them if their City Health Departments would consider creating a community divorce prevention program. Soft chuckles and looks of stark reality were their responses.

As adults, some of us chose divorce; for others it was thrust upon us. For all of the children involved, divorce is not a choice. All experience the consequences.

I do not believe I have ever met a child who was not in some way negatively affected by divorce. A child’s age is not a factor. Our children ages 2 through 42 take a hit – the range of negative impact is wide.

Allow me to assert that, as PEOPLE OF DIVORCE and as an Association, we have a fundamental responsibility to thoroughly understand the potential negative impact of divorce on our kids. We must age appropriately educate them as to the risks. We must create and engage each of them in a plan which minimizes the negative impact of divorce and provides them with the support and resources they need to continue to function to their potential and enjoy life on a daily basis in the face of the many challenges of family separation.

To not do so is simply irresponsible.

Most of us read these statistics and believe they are true. We are appalled by them. However, too many of us will also have an ego preservation thought like, “Yeah, but it won’t happen to my kid.” In 34 years of clinical experience, I have learned that which kids will be hit hardest is not predictable.

PEOPLE OF DIVORCE – The Association membership will educate itself on the negative impact of divorce on children. We will provide a seminars and ongoing education that supports members to help their kids reduce the impact. We will provide support and resources to parents and children on achieving our goal of never going through it again!

There is no quick fix. This takes dedicated time, concentrated learning, and ongoing effort. Learning how to provide and deliver effective co-parenting from two households is a monumental task in-and-of-itself.

Our kids are counting on us. Their quality of life is at stake.

Is this blog relevant to your life experience as a person of divorce? LEAVE A REPLY below and tell us more. Does this blog provide information that will help you achieve your goal of never divorcing again? Will you post further comments or ask questions about this blog on The POD social network? Did this blog provide information that will cause you to take action? Let us know, below…