In the Same Boat
An overwhelmed mom and dad arrived in my therapy office last week seeking help for their 7-year-old daughter, Madison. Madison’s teacher had referred the family because of her mean behavior with other girls on the playground. After meeting briefly with all three together, I excused Madison to the waiting room to speak alone with her parents.
Madison’s mom and dad had tried to present a unified front, but it became obvious that their marital conflict extended far beyond parenting differences. Nevertheless, they swore up and down, with one hundred percent sureness, that Madison was unaware of their tension. As it turned out, that was not the case. A few days later, on the way home from karate, mom stopped at a red light and glanced at Madison who was in tears in the back seat. Her daughter could barely raise her head as she said, “Are you and dad all right?”