HEALTHY LIVING
03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

How A Bad Divorce Affects The Kids

A few weeks ago Jack made an appointment to see me with his wife Anne. They wanted help with their little girl Molly, who had developed many worrying and inexplicable symptoms: she wouldn't let her mother out of her sight and had become terrified of going to school despite being popular and bright.

On the day of the appointment the parents had a huge argument before coming and Anne stormed out of the house, so Jack came alone with Molly, who was clearly worried that "something dreadful was going to happen" but didn't know what.

I asked Molly to go to another room and draw me a picture of the family and she did the normal type of kid's drawing - a happy family scene of a day at the seaside. It was clear from what her dad told me when she was in the other room, that there was considerable tension and often lots of shouting at home; the marriage was really in trouble.

Molly didn't mention this at all and I suggested that her parents came back together so that we could talk some more. Molly looked pale and drawn, and said that she really hoped I would be able to help her family. After they left I had another look at the drawing and found, hidden on the page underneath, a picture of a family of rabbits, with two little rabbits hiding in their burrow while the mummy and daddy rabbit were fighting with sticks.

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