Sterk Resources Spotlight: Konick & Associates
Family Counseling Services
Family Counseling Services in Orland Park
Along with a team of highly trained professionals, Lisa Konick, PhD, serves families with insightful and caring counseling resources at two locations in Naperville and Orland Park. Specializing in the treatment of children with special needs, ADHD and autism spectrum disorders, Konick & Associates also provides psychological and neuropsychological testing. These assessments can help identify physiological traits that may be tied to a child’s behavior, including learning disabilities, special needs and giftedness.
Konick & Associates also assists families through parental coaching. Especially for parents of children with special needs, it helps to learn alternate approaches, Konick said. For children and parents who need additional help, Konick & Associates also makes referrals to trusted occupational and speech therapists. According to Konick, it’s part of the holistic approach the practice takes to caring for clients.
Konick recently shared tools and information parents can use to help their children manage stress during divorce, and to help them improve co-parenting situations.
Sterk Family Law: What are some reasons a divorcing couple might seek therapy for their child?
Lisa Konick: Many times when there’s a divorce, the two people involved are very angry. It’s an emotionally intense time period. Even families that go into it with good intentions can find some sticking points that raise their stress. It’s hard to separate their frustration with the divorce from interactions with the children.
We try to operate from a holistic approach that looks at the whole picture, and involve family members and caregivers to best support the child’s treatment. With a child or adolescent, their life can be complicated within the familial structure so we’re looking at not just the presenting issue, but the factors that are underlying this presentation of a child’s symptoms.
How can parents help a child manage stress and anxiety during separation and divorce?
LK: Kids tell me that what makes them experience the most stress when they’re dealing with divorce is hearing one parent say negative things about the other. You cannot badmouth the other person, their family members or their new partner in the presence of the child. If you’re doing it, stop doing it now.
There are also things your kid does not want to know. I think parents need to be mindful that kids don’t need to know the down and dirty in the fracture of your relationship. Keep your explanation to a minimum and keep it general. “We’re going to be better separately than we are together.”
Whatever happened between the two of you and your divorce is between the two of you. Your child needs to know they can have a good relationship with both of you without jeopardizing the emotions of the other.
How can divorced parents find the most success in co-parenting?
LK: Divorce is a major disruption in a child’s life. One or both parents will move out of the family home. There could be a change in schools, routines and friends. So, consistency between the child’s two home situations becomes extremely important, especially for kids on the spectrum or kids with anxiety.
When I work with attorneys on drafting co-parenting agreements, I talk about consistency within the home setting, including expectations around school, homework, events and grades. We also discuss consistency in the child’s recreation time, including sports and social time with friends.
Let’s remember, these people are divorced for a reason, so they’re not going to be able to collaborate on all details. And consistency doesn’t mean “the same.” If he’s going to feed them pizza every Friday, you can’t control the other parent’s decision making. If you want to discuss it, do it privately. You can’t bash Dad’s plan in front of your kids.
Should some rules be unnegotiable?
LK: Supporting one another with disciplinary issues is important. If you’re grounded from your phone at Mom’s, and Dad says it’s fine to use it at his house, that’s going to cause problems. You’re creating a good cop, bad cop situation. You’ll need to have the same consequences for some more serious issues like curfew violations or drug use.
Medication regimens must be followed consistently regardless of which parent the child is with. Some kids are hypersensitive to dysregulations in their sleep; that’s particularly the case for kids on the autism spectrum or with special needs. A lot of kids don’t do well with disruptions in their daily routine, so parents should work to keep those things consistent.
For more information or to contact Konick and Associates, visit konickandassociates.com or call 630.206.4060
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