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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 5170
Experience:  Dr.Mark is a psychologist in private practice who works with parents and children in resolving family issues.
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I started dating a young lady that is divorced with a 5 year

Resolved Question:

I started dating a young lady that is divorced with a 5 year old boy. I have no children of my own but have been around plenty of kids of all ages. Her 5 year old son tells her he loves her at least 5-100 times a day, without exaggerating. I have never experienced anything like it. Her and her Ex had a bad divorce and do not get along. The Ex-husband has told the kid that Mommy will leave him and that he will live with Daddy and so forth. This obviously has giving him separation anxiety. He also has a "binky" and "blanky" that he carry almost constantly, except at school. What steps should she be taken and shoudl she be concerned? I know I am.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Mark :

Hi! I'll be glad to help you with this issue.

Dr. Mark :

It really does seem that he has an excessive amount of anxiety, you're right.

Dr. Mark :

But you also seem to have a good understanding of what the cause of this anxiety is.

Dr. Mark :

How has he adjusted to the no binky and blanky rule she's trying?

Dr. Mark :

Do you need more time to reply?

Customer:

yes

Dr. Mark :

That's fine, I'm here.

Customer:

Well, he seems to be doing it for the most part. However, let's face it, most of the time he is in a car or in a house. When he visits his Father house, he is not allowed to have it at all. Although this makes him very upset, he seems to survive. I would venture to say the source of the anxiety would be the divorce, the fact his Father didn't actually see him for almost 3 year sand recently came back into his life, and the fact the Father seems to tell him a lot of nonsense that upsets him. I am concerned that she doesn't realize this is very abnormal behavior or she is simply enabling him to be this way. She also refers to him as "The Baby" almost always. I rarely here her use his name and constantly calls him the "Baby". Could she be having separation issues and not want him growing up?

Dr. Mark :

I see. It seems that this boy is getting a double whammy:

Dr. Mark :

First, he's got a father who expects him to be a little man, disappears, and suddenly reappears without any softness toward his son. On the other hand,

Dr. Mark :

the boy's mom is going to the other extreme.

Dr. Mark :

You are right, this is not a good situation.

Dr. Mark :

Would she be willing to let him see a child psychologist/therapist so that he can get help with his anxiety and she can get help with her tools and techniques?

Customer:

Actually, she has been taking him to a Play Therapist at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. Although I have never visit the therapist with her, she acts like the therapist thinks he is a perfectly normal little boy. I can't imagine the therapist would see a lot of warning signs. I am not sure if she in in denial or afraid to bring it up with me. Since you agree that the behavior is a bit alarming, should I say something?

Dr. Mark :

Would she let you attend a session with the therapist and share your point of view?

Dr. Mark :

I mean without the boy, you and her with the therapist to discuss?

Customer:

Perhaps. I could always ask her that. I guess the first thing would be for me to discuss it with her and share with her how I feel and what I see as strange.

Dr. Mark :

I think so. But she is clearly hypersensitive about her son.

Dr. Mark :

Many parents of divorce are.

Dr. Mark :

And she has good reason to be so sensitive:

Dr. Mark :

her boy's father is not helping things stabilize for his son.

Dr. Mark :

So, it might be worthwhile to discuss with her in general terms and reassure her you're on her side and see if she'd agree to a meeting between the two of you and the therapist as a way to learn skills as well as discuss.

Dr. Mark :

What do you think?

Customer:

Absolutely! I also took the Vanderbilt test for ADHD ands he has 10 out of 12 symptoms. Again, these action are VERY obvious to everyone else accept her. Since you tend to agree everything is NOT normal, how do you suggest as the best way to approach her?

Dr. Mark :

I think the way I've been setting it up above:

Dr. Mark :

gently and in a reassuring way, that you are on her side in this,

Dr. Mark :

that you understand how the boy's father is making things very tough and producing a lot of anxiety

Dr. Mark :

that you respect her for trying so hard

Dr. Mark :

and that you'd like to help by meeting with her and the therapist to gain for the two of you more skills and tools and to discuss what the boy is going through and how these tools might help.

Dr. Mark :

Do you agree with this approach?

Customer:

I do. I just wanted someone with your kind of qualifications to agree with what I have described as not 100% normal. I will sit down with her and try exactly what you suggest and I thank you for your help.

Customer:

One last thing......

Dr. Mark :

Go ahead.

Customer:

what do you suggest I do if she gets upset and starts telling me I am crazy or that she doesn't feel anything is wrong with him? Do I challange her to visit the therapist together? point to the dozens of articles on the net? show her this discussion? all the above?

Dr. Mark :

If she takes that stance, then she has a problem, correct. You've been pretty levelheaded in your assessments so far:

Dr. Mark :

Do you think she really doesn't see that the boy needs help?

Dr. Mark :

Because if she does see, then I would not expect that reaction from her. Agreed?

Customer:

Agreed. I guess I will find out. I am a bit scared she doesn't see it or doesn't want to. Maybe she just hasn't been comfortable to bring up the subject with me. I think your advice is good and will follow it.

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX been very helpful

Dr. Mark :

Give her a chance and give yourself a chance to help gently. Because she needs that gentleness like her son.


Okay, I wish you the very best!


 


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Customer:

Goodnight, thanks. You will receive a rating of Excellent and deserve it.

Dr. Mark :

All the best to you!

Dr. Mark :

Dr. Mark

Dr. Mark, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 5170
Experience: Dr.Mark is a psychologist in private practice who works with parents and children in resolving family issues.
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Dr. Mark
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Dr.Mark is a psychologist in private practice who works with parents and children in resolving family issues.