Queen's University

Intimate relationships, child custody, holiday access, and psychological adjustment


The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for individuals going through such significant life transitions and uncertainties as separation and divorce; one’s sense of isolation can be amplified in the backdrop of festivities, family get-togethers, and work parties. Dr. Uzma Rehman researches communication in intimate romantic relationships and she says that for many people, the stress of holidays can be amplified by the elusive, often unspoken goal: this year, the holidays will be perfect.  Misplaced ideals of perfection can greatly increase family stress and distract from goals that may, ultimately, be far more important.  To get the most from the holidays, we need to be realistic in our expectations of our self and our partner and focus on what the holidays mean to us and what values we want to emphasize in our family culture.
 You can reach Dr. Rehman at 613 533-3277 or  rehman@post.queensu.ca
Queen's family law expert Nick Bala can discuss legal issues associated with custody and access at this time of year. With Christmas approaching, lawyers' offices and courtrooms see a huge increase in the volume of separated and divorced parents attempting to settle child related issues, especially those related to visitation over the holidays. According to Professor Bala the parents in the courtroom are those who have the most difficulty co-operating. The question remains are they thinking most about their children or about themselves? What arrangements are best for children during this period? More broadly there are issues about how access is defined, arranged and enforced. Should we be changing the concepts that we use and the way that parents make post-separation arrangements for the care of their children?
You can reach Dr. Bala at 613-533-6000, ext. 74275, ncb@post.queensu.ca
As divorced and separated parents attempt to solve child custody and access for the holiday season Marjory Phillips, registered psychologist and director of Queen's Psychology Clinic can discuss psychiatric issues affecting children at this time of year. Children are often left to struggle with these and other issues stemming from the disintegration of the family unit on their own. Dr. Phillips can address the importance of rituals, such as holiday celebrations, for psycho-social adjustment in children and the factors that contribute to resiliency in children at times of adjustment. The Psychology Clinic at Queen's provides psychological services to children in the Kingston area, filling a need that was created by down sizing at local hospitals a few years ago and lengthy waiting lists for psychological assessment at the local school boards. You can contact Dr. Phillips at 613 533-6021, phillipm@post.queensu.ca

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Last updated at 4:16 pm EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
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