Dealing with Psychologists — Part 2: Four More Aspects of Your Child’s Behavior
In addition to the four factors discussed in yesterday’s blog, psychologists and psychiatrists who perform custody evaluations will also be looking at your child’s thought process, sense of fantasy, self-concept, and super-ego functions. (This is Part 2 of a three-blog series. Be sure to check out yesterday’s blog and tomorrow’s blog for all 12 factors considered by specialists during their custody evaluations).
THOUGHT PROCESS. When the doctor begins interviewing your child, he or she will consider your children’s thinking and talking patterns, his vocabulary, organization of language and rate of speech. Is your child coherent? Comprehensible? Does he speak too much, too little? Is he preoccupied with certain ideas or concepts? Does he prefer other forms of expression besides talking (for example, drawing or playing)?
FANTASY. Doctors may also take an interest in the child’s perception of his dreams, or how he makes up fictional stories, or how he plays with toys and other objects. In children whose lives have been disrupted by an ugly custody battle, fantasy becomes a defense mechanism. Can the child distinguish fantasy from reality? Does the child imagine fantastic scenarios to compensate for (or to conceal) damaging aspects of his reality?
SELF-CONCEPT. How does your child see herself? How does she think she fits in with others at school, at home, in the family, in the community? By exploring the child’s concept of herself, experts can identify relationship issues, esteem issues, and interpersonal risk factors in each parent’s household.
SUPER-EGO FUNCTIONS. At a higher level of analysis, custody experts are also interested in the child’s ideals and value systems. Does the child have his own sense of right and wrong? Does he impose his own rules of conduct and behavior? Does he feel forry when he breaks one of those rules? Exploring these questions may yield insights into how the child identifies with parents, peers and others.
If you’ve gained any insight into these issues with your children, please tell us about it.