I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading lately – some professional and some personal. I recently read Don’t Alienate the Kids! by Bill Eddy, LCSW Esq. upon a recommendation from a good friend of mine. This is the second book by Eddy that I have read and I do like his style of writing – direct, but informal, he takes responsibility for mistakes he has made as well, he explains terms and ideas in a way anyone can understand, and he gives specific examples and suggestions for working through conflict for both parents and professionals.
As a licensed clinical social worker (therapist), lawyer, and mediator, Eddy has a wealth of knowledge and experience dealing with high-conflict family cases/disputes, working with families, children, adults, and couples. This particular book is geared toward both professionals and parents alike and the information is interchangeable for both parties.
Eddy defines and explains what alienation is, who can be alienated, many of the reasons a parent may be alienated, and how a parent (or professional) may indirectly be contributing to the alienation. He brings forth the idea of “1,000 Little Bricks” where a parent (or professional) can use little bricks to either build a wall of alienation, or “to build a foundation of resilience for their child.” A foundation of resilience, as Eddy describes, is based on three things: flexible thinking, managed emotions, and moderate behaviors. Eddy discusses and gives examples on how to use these three foundations in a high-conflict environment, whether or not the parent has been alienated.
He also describes the difference between alienation and abuse in high-conflict divorces/separations. Eddy goes on to discuss how friends and family member can help with the situation, and how some unintentionally make the situation worse; how counselors and other professionals can help alleviate alienation; the best ways to respond to high-conflict people; and how professionals (i.e. courts/judges) can identify and respond to high-conflict cases. Everyone will take something a little different from a book, lecture, article, etc. based on where they are at in their personal/professional lives at that moment. This is why I like to go back and re-read some books at different times in my life. It helps give me a new perspective.
I found the sections on Emotions are Contagious, All-or-Nothing Thinking, Mirroring Bad Behavior, and Teaching Resilience not only extremely informative, but also extremely applicable to my personal situation. There are things that we can always work on, all of us, no matter who we are or where we are at in our lives. This reminds me of the first of the 12 Steps in AA – admit you have a problem. Hi, my name is Kristy and I have things I need to work on in my personal (and professional) life. I am in no way perfect, and I realize this. It’s time to start utilizing these ideas and suggestions to better my life.
To read more about Eddy, or to read more written by him, you can visit his site.