Loss Of Custody- Not The End of Parenthood

by Dr. Karen Ruskin on March 26, 2016

In my 20+ years as a Family Therapist, I have seen many parents hurting from the challenge of custody battles. Celebrity Madonna has been in the news as of lately, as the custody battle between her and Guy Ritchie regarding their 15 year old son Rocco Ritchie is public knowledge. With that, Star Magazine reached out to me for my perspective. My insights and tips were written up in the April 4th 2016 issue, on page 38-39.

Madonna is not the first parent nor the last of whom the topic of custody will be in their life. Although I do not know Madonna nor have ever treated her, I find that the very topic of custody offers an opportunity for Family Therapists such as myself to touch the lives of others by considering this topic and offering tips for those who may be in a similar circumstance. In this brief blog I address the following:

  • Custody Battle- Traumatic
  • Make Healthy Choices
  • Build The Parent-Child Relationship

Custody Battle – Traumatic

Celebrity or not, whether a mother or a father, the loss of custody of a child is traumatic. It can have an emotional impact on a person. For an example, through the years I have seen men and women alike experience symptoms that display as depression or anxiety. If you are going through a custody battle, or have been through one, know that your emotional experience is not abnormal for it’s a loss, and not unlike a death.

Make Healthy Choices

Painfully it’s not uncommon for some parents to turn to unhealthy acts of escapism such as drugs or alcohol. I advise clientele that I work with to be mindful of making healthy choices each day. For there are things that are out of one’s control and things that are in one’s control. One’s mental and physical health and wellness can be greatly affected by the choices one makes, thus make healthy ones.

Build The Parent-Child Relationship

A piece of advice that I was quoted in Star Magazine includes: “remain in contact with your child, keep building the relationship… in order to stay connected”. This is a very important point that I help men and women with. It is important as a parent that you remain connected with your child/children, in ways that are healthy for your child, for you, and for your x. Custody status does not define whether you are no longer a parent. Yes, it changes the dynamic and what the new norm shall be. Find ways to make it work so that your child knows he/she is loved and valued by you.

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