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“Tucker wasn’t sure how they should have done it, but he knew they’d got it wrong. Why had Cat decided that the den was the right place? None of them ever used it and it smelled musty. They might just as well have woken him up in the middle of the night and yelled, ‘Something weird and upsetting is going to happen!’ at him through a megaphone.” – excerpt from the novel “Juliet, Naked” by Nick Hornby
Whether you do it in the musty den no one ever uses or the most perfect spot ever, telling your kids you’re getting divorced is going to be weird and upsetting. Divorce is about huge changes, emotions, loss, stress and grief. When telling your children, the goal is to make it the least possible amount of weird and upsetting. And, yes, that can be done.
“Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true, because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce,” said comedian Louis CK, one of the great philosophers of our time.
So yes, divorce is not all bad. At least you finally, finally get to get away from that spouse who’s been plaguing you. Unless, of course you have kids, in which case, you still have to see said plaguer. All the dang time. Not only that, but you have to be civil, calm, grown-up and all sorts of things that don’t especially come naturally when you’re still reeling from one of the more bruising events you’ll face as an adult.
My daughter was at the district science fair when a hubbub erupted at a neighboring student’s project. A dad was arguing with one of the judges about her critique of the entry. It became pretty clear that Dad was the one who’d done the project – especially when in his outrage he started mixing pronouns, shouting, “When I attached these wires ...,” instead of, “When he attached ... .”
This, my friends, is overparenting.
“While many parents are familiar with the obvious symptoms of ADHD — such as hyperactivity, impulsive, disorganization and forgetfulness — the subtle symptoms are less familiar to most parents and may go unnoticed or not be associated with ADHD by parents,” said Dr. Montgomery. “For example, as a function of impulsivity associated with ADHD, many kids also struggle with poor emotion regulation skills, which result in angry outbursts, bouts of tearfulness and difficulty learning to manage these feelings on their own.”
What you say now can make a huge difference in how your kids handle this life-changing event...
Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Aaron Montgomery.
Dr. Montgomery, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Well, as a teenager I had been interested in psychological subjects like motivation, behavior, perception and the unconscious. Growing up I was aware of psychology as a profession as I have family members in the field. I still remember my first undergraduate course in psychology. The professor was a young and enthusiastic research psychologist. He was short, bearded and had a twinkle in his eye when explaining psychological experiments (He reminded of what a young Sigmund Freud may have looked like). His lectures and demonstrations in class were engaging and his passion for understanding the life of the mind was infectious…It was in this class that I caught the psychology bug!
Q [School-Aged]: “Now that my son is in middle school, I am heading back to work. There is a two hour lag between school and when I get home. How old do kids need to be to stay at home alone?”
A: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 11 or 12 should not be left home alone without supervision, as children under this age are often not ready to effectively manage emergencies on their own. So, this is a good place to start when determining if your child is capable of being left home alone safely.
Dr. Montgomery is a Clinical Psychologist and Child/Adolescent Specialist providing therapy and psychological testing services for children and teens with ADHD, anxiety, or depression from Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Hills and surrounding Orange County cities. Get in touch with Dr. Montgomery.