Sunday, July 3, 2011

Parental Alienation

More and more I am seeing people who are concerned about parental alienation. In high conflict divorces and separations, it is difficult to continue to support the other parent in the eyes of the child or children. Help is available through my private practice to help parents deal with their own feelings and how to parent in the best interest of the child.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Parenting Through The Holidays

With the money crunch on every one's mind, I am hearing more frequently that families will be getting together to share the love rather than sharing a big expensive Holiday Season. There is usually a direct proportion between the size of the family gathering and the chaos that is likely to ensue; generally with the children having something to do with it.

Parenting through this can be more than a little daunting. I recommend a few ways to make things go much easier.
  • Discuss discipline with the parents who will be bringing children and come up with as close to a standard plan as possible. Discipline is not punishment; but a way to set boundaries that all children need and even desire on some level. Boundaries keep everyone safe. With the NOT PUNISHMENT idea in mind, talk about creative ways to set the limits when they are broken.
  • Each parent should discuss how discipline will be handled with their own children attending the Holiday Event.
  • Understand that in their own particular way each child will test the boundaries. This is very normal.
  • Be consistent in your discipline with the children. Each child will understand the boundaries in their own way. The boundary test will help all the children know that it is safe and the adults are in charge.
  • Discipline should be swift and carried out in a way that does not make the party a circus.
  • As often as is possible, the child that steeped over a boundary should be disciplined by their own parent. If this is not possible, any adult who knows the rules for discipline can help the child conform to expectations.

Enjoy your holiday knowing that it will not turn out to be like the movie, "Animal House."

James E. de Jarnette, Ph.D., M.A., Ph.D., FAPA

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Special Holiday Season 2009....Are you afraid?

It's the beginning of that wonderful time of the year filled with presents, parties, and a financial hang-over lasting till around January 15, 2010.

Intrinsically there is nothing wrong with the hectic pace of the Holiday Season. However, in these uncertain times with all the “news pundits" talking about the very hard days ahead, there is a good dose of guilt and shame that is attached to the holiday pace. Everyone wants to forget about the politico-economic times and return to the familiar ways of the archetypical season that has always been our escape “from and to.”

This Season this year 2009 has some special qualities. People are suffering from wars that touch us all, a political system that appears to be biting the hand that feeds it, murders at a secure military facility done in the name of God, and a President that keeps driving home the message that things are going to get worse before they get better…without an explanation that we can understand, and members of congress passing legislation that directly dramatically effects people for generations without even reading the legislation. It is no wonder we are afraid, worried, and overstressed hoping the holidays will give us some relief from the black cloud that seems to follow each of us, all of the time.

As an evidence based psychotherapist, I will always recommend meditation and prayer; but all too often I’m hearing that people can’t turn off the fright machine in their brains long enough for prayer and meditation.

Taking back control of our very self by actively striving for a constant continual contact with our own personal God will begin the process of truly going home. Then daily praying and meditation for as long as you can on a regular schedule (even in the darkness of a blank mind) strengthens our return home.

I will be talking more in the very near future of taking back the Self.

James E. de Jarnette, Ph.D., M.A., Ph.D.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Self-Help For Custody Issues

In being aware of the latest trends in California Family Law Court, more and more people are representing themselves without legal counsel. In response to this trend, the California Courts have a self help website. The area that you may be interested in as far a child custody is . This site gives good advice. A prolonged high conflict custody fight can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars because of the high cost of legal representation.

I found this site to be helpful for people doing-it-themselves. By reducing overall legal fees, a quality Child Custody Evaluation, counseling about custody issues with a psychotherapist, or going into a private practice mediation can still leave you with money to spend on the best interests of the child(ren).

My post-doctoral training at UCLA and Harvard in mediation and negotiation has been a great aid to people wanting and needing a less costly avenue rather than going to war with the attorneys being your knights fighting on the front lines of a court battle. In this way, you have direct imput and control of how your child will be raised.

Dr. James E. de Jarnette

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Britney's Child Custody Courthouse Chaos! (1/14/08)

This is what happens when a Child Custody Evaluator is not called in a timely fashion

Dr. James E. de Jarnette

When Do I Ask For A Child Custody Evaluation

The best Child Custody Evaluators are those in private practice. They cost a little more but in my opinion the best interest of the child is served much more expertly.

As soon as you and your spouse, baby daddy, baby mother, etc. can not come to an equitable arrangement about the necessities for the child(ren), e.g. visitation, choice of school, which medical doctor to use, discipline of the child, general rules that the child must follow, counseling during the divorce or separation, high verbal or physical conflict, or an impasse regarding the child visiting relatives, etc. is the best time to ask the judge for a child custody evaluation. In California this is referred to as a 730 Evaluation.

There is a list of highly qualified Child Custody Evaluators who meet the standards of the Superior Court of California as to education, training, and experience. This list is on line as part of the Family Court of the Superior Court. You want to select an evaluator with outstanding credentials, training in forensics, has American Board or American Academy national certifications, especially in dealing with Traumatic Stress, and psychotherapy. Although the evaluator is not doing therapy, a good therapist is also a good communicator and a good listener. It is a good idea to select an evaluator who is older and has more experience; just theoretical knowledge is less than half of the picture.

If you have further questions, you may call my office at 310-289-8118 and I'll explain this process in more detail This decision to have a Custody Evaluator may be one of the most important decisions you make in the best interest of your child.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I have been working hard doing custody evaluations, child abuse counseling and seeing my regular psychotherapy patients. If more people would come for parenting counseling, custody evaluators, like me, would not see so many marital disputes that are train-wrecks for the children of divorcing-separating parents.

Having heard thousands of times, "Children aren't born with direction books attached at the heal, " does no good when the child's psychological, emotional, and physical life is headed down the toilet. "I don't think my child understands what is going on. We keep her out of our difficulties."

Children, especially very young children, are busy soaking up all that they experience, particularly the non-verbal experience with the persons, places, things, and events that are the neurological basis for the very formation of their world over the arc of their lifetimes.

A colleague of mine, Dr. Dan Siegel in his book, The Developing Mind, points out that the new infant's cerebral cortex is formed from the mother's gaze into the child's eyes. This face on face experience has been shown scientifically to effect the child's cortex to the extent that it is a duplicate of the mother's cortex.

This is the beginning of an attachment process that continues full speed ahead over the first 3 years, but continues at a little slower rate over the child's lifetime. About 80% of our communication is non-verbal. Do you really think that the child (and I'm including adolescents) is not effected just because you try to hide your conflicts?

Periodic parenting check-ups are very helpful in the best interest of the child(ren). Couples treatment is an absolute necessity when there appears parental conflict. Here in Los Angeles, 6 out of every 10 marriages will end in divorce, and this statistic is on the rise.

Are you really doing what is the best interest of your child(ren)?