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Utilizing the pediatrician during divorce and child custody

Many Maryland parents have gone to great lengths to establish and nurture a close connection with their children. Open communication is essential to good parenting and is something on which many parents pride themselves. Those same parents are often distressed to find that during divorce and child custody issues, their children are often unwilling to discuss those matters in depth. 

Kids have a hard time looking at divorce from anything other than a self-centered perspective. This is normal, because children view the world in terms of how things will affect them personally. When it comes to divorce, many kids simply don't know how to talk about the issue with their parents. Having a trusted adult that the kids can turn to is important. Many families find that their pediatrician can serve as a valuable resource during this time. 

Parents should contact their pediatrician to discuss the changing family dynamic and to schedule an annual physical exam. During that appointment, the pediatrician can talk with the child about the divorce and any other areas of concern. Because the physician approaches the matter from an objective, professional perspective, he or she can very often identify areas where the child could benefit from additional support. Children are often more comfortable talking about these issues with a trusted adult who is not too closely connected to the divorce. 

If needed, the pediatrician can also refer Maryland families to the necessary care providers. A pediatrician can help build a professional network with counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers. That can be a great help to families who are struggling with divorce and child custody issues. 

Source: aappublications.org, "Parting ways: New report on divorce addresses pediatricians' role", Ruben J. Rucoba, Nov. 28, 2016

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