Dr. Amy Stark
Child Psychologist, Author & Speaker
Teaching Families How to Live Divorced
and Self-Esteem for Girls and Boys
Food For Thought
Its Not Me
Very often parents come in, amidst court difficulties and immediately state that its really not THEIR fault. They point out they have done everything they have been asked to do, and IF ONLY their ex would cooperate, things could get better. Now granted, every once in a while, this actually turns out to be the case and then their child’s exposure to the other parent is limited until that parents gets the help that has been ordered. Most often however, it turns out that they are also playing a role in this family drama. By the time your family ends up in endless litigation, with special masters or case managers, court ordered reunification and co-parenting, you should realize that you are not the exception. The court sees that the family has a problem that requires a hands-on approach and is trying to stop the runaway train that is your family. So, where do you start? Probably with yourself…the only person in this situation that you can actually control. Begin by looking at the role you play in the drama. What do you do that keeps this going? Are you always upset about what your ex does? Are you trying to keep one step ahead? Do you get upset as your kids describe what is happening while the kids are with your ex? Do you find yourself asking questions about your ex, instead of how the kids are doing? These are signs that you need to shift the focus back on to what is going on in the time you are with your kids…after all, this is the time where you do have the control. Stop getting upset…and make the time you have with them healthy. Don’t feel the need to defend yourself to offset what you feel your ex might be saying. That just makes things worse. Let the professionals handle this and just focus on you and your time. If you become the calm in the storm, being consistant, predictable and stable, you can create a safe haven for your kids. Over the long run, this make a big difference to your kids. That needs to be what you think about at night when you can’t sleep.
Dr. Stark's Web site is not intended to take the place of a court-ordered advice or the advice of another professional. Although you may use the input found here to your best advantage, we recommend that you do so in conjunction with the work that you are doing with your individual therapist. Remember: this Web site is not therapy; it's knowledge and support.
Psychologist License PSY7828, California213 E City Place Drive
Santa Ana, CA 92705