Thursday, February 16, 2012
Reaction to Divorce

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

As would be expected, I often see children in my practice whose parents are divorced. Sometimes the custody arrangements are cordial. Sometimes they are bitter. One thing that we know is true is that the type of interaction between divorced parents has major affects on children's emotional development. Children tend to develop well emotionally when parents act like rational adults. That occurs when they share custody fairly evenly, when both parents support the child and when one parent does not try and put down the other parent. Unfortunately, there are many instances in which that does not happen. One example is when there is a custody battle. One parent wants to deprive the other parent of the opportunity to spend time with the child. Children need both parents to thrive. This kind of battle is rarely beneficial for the child. Another example is when one parent tries to convince the child that the other parent is a bad person. This leads to a lot of confusion for the child. They do not want to be forced to choose sides. However, that is what the parent is trying to get them to do. The kind of reaction that a child has is often dependent upon their age. We may think that an infant would not understand these kinds of differences. However, infants are very much affected by the environment around them. They sense anxiety. They react to it. They will have issues with developing proper attachment to the parents if the differences are significant. This often will translate into them having issues with proper attachment to spouses when they get older. Preschool children are filled with magical thinking. They tend to think that everything is caused by their actions so they often consider the divorce itself to be their fault. If there is a great deal of acrimony between the parents, they will often think that they are the cause of it. They will then blame themselves and feel guilty because they think they are the cause. They feel guilty because they think that they should be able to fix it. School aged children will often develop anxiety and depression related to divorced parental differences. They often feel that they have to choose sides. They love both parents so it is difficult for them to choose sides. The result is that they get anxious about making the decision. Once they make a decision and choose a side, they get depressed about having made the decision. Adolescents base much of their developing identities on their parents. In situations where there is rancor between the parents, the adolescent will have a difficult time growing into a well functioning adult. They might turn to aggression or alcohol and drugs. They might decide to stop doing schoolwork. Divorce is common in our society. That does not necessarily mean that the side effects of divorce have to impact our children in the way it often does. Divorced parents need to realize that children are not innocent bystanders. They are not there to take one parent's side over the other. Attempts to make that happen are often doomed to failure for the child to develop normally. The parents might try to blame it on the divorce. In actuality, they need to blame it on themselves and their reaction to the divorce.

Alzheimer's seminar offered The Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter is offering a free seminar, "Living with Alzheimer's Disease for Caregivers - Understanding Middle Stage," on Wednesday, March 14, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m., at Cadia Rehabilitation Renaissance at 26002 John J. Williams Highway near Millsboro. Dr. Lawrence Kemp, neurologist, will also present a medical overview scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. This is an all-day program that includes information on communicating with a person with dementia and dealing with challenging behaviors. Renaissance is not only hosting this event, but will also provide lunch. All are welcome. Pre-registration is required by either calling 800-272-3900 or Jamie Magee at 854-9788 by March 8.

Phlebotomy technician training Delaware Technical Community College's Owens Campus is offering training to anyone interested in becoming a phlebotomy technician. The Phlebotomy Technician Training course will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning March 19 and ending May 23. The course features instruction in the collection, processing and distribution of laboratory specimens according to established procedures. Emphasis will be on safety standards, legal and ethical behaviors and quality control procedures. Learn the proper order of draw, tube selection, appropriate sites for venipuncture and specimen handling. Study the structure and systems of the human body to include the function, diseases and disorders of major organs. This course includes 50 hours of classroom training and a 40-hour externship. There are added costs for an admissions fee and a criminal background test and drug screening. Students must have an up-to-date Hepatitis B virus vaccine. For more information, or to register, call Corporate and Community Programs at 854-6966.

Dr. Santiago joins La Red La Red Health Center, welcomes Dr. Marisel Santiago to its Georgetown and Seaford sites. Dr. Santiago received her doctorate in medicine from the Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and completed her internship at the Mayaguez Medical Center, in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Dr. Santiago is a bilingual pediatrician who has lived and worked in the Sussex County area for the past several years, and as a result is very aware of the health care needs of its residents. La Red Health Center provides for children of all ages and will offer pediatric services at both of its offices at 505 West Market St., Georgetown and at 1340 Middleford Rd., Suite 401, Seaford. Pediatric services include well-child visits, immunizations and same day sick appointments. La Red Health Center is open Monday through Saturday and offers day and evening hours. For more information, visit or call 855-1233.

National Cardiac Rehab Week February 12 - 18 is National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week. Health professionals involved in cardiac rehabilitation programs throughout the United States will be sponsoring activities to help people learn about preventing heart disease. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will have activities for their cardiac rehabilitation patients and will have cardiac rehabilitation informational materials available. Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program designed to optimize a cardiac patient's physical, psychological, and social functioning, in addition to stabilizing, slowing, or even reversing the progression of coronary artery disease. Some of the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation include:

  • Reduced symptoms (angina, dyspnea, fatigue)
  • Mortality benefit (approximately 20 to 25%)
  • Reduction in nonfatal recurrent myocardial infarction over median follow-up of 12 months
  • Increased exercise performance
  • Improved lipid panel (total cholesterol, HDL [good cholesterol], LDL [bad cholesterol], and triglycerides)
  • Increased knowledge about cardiac disease and its management
  • Enhanced ability to perform activities of daily living
  • Improved health-related quality of life
  • Improved psychosocial symptoms (increased self-efficacy)
  • Reduced hospitalizations and use of medical resources

  • Return to work or leisure activities
If you feel you or a loved one may benefit from such a program and want to prevent heart disease, talk to your physician or call 629-6611, ext. 2428.

Polysomnography program offered Delaware Technical Community College Owens Campus is offering polysomnography certificate training this spring for anyone interested in becoming a polysomnographer technologist. The polysomnography certificate training program will be held for 16 sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 10 p.m. beginning April 2 and ending May 23. Participants also need to have a criminal background check and drug screening, which is not included in the cost of the program. Polysomnographers usually work in sleep laboratories or sleep centers, and operate a variety of sophisticated monitoring devices, record brain activity, muscle and eye movement, respiration, blood oxygen levels and other physiologic events. Some technologists are also involved in treatment methods, and can also transition into management and marketing of sleep centers. For more information, or to register, call Corporate and Community Programs at 854-6966, or register online at

NMH offers CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants 12 years old and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Southern Delaware Heart Ball Come dance the night away for a good cause at the Southern Delaware Heart Ball. The ball will be held at the Dover Sheraton Hotel on Saturday, March 17 from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. A premier black-tie event, the Heart Ball raises funds for heart disease and stroke. Chairs are Steve and Rosie Rose of Nanticoke Health Services. For more information, visit or contact Karen Gritton at 302-286-5705 or

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Tobacco relapse support group Bayhealth Medical Center is pleased to offer a new support group for individuals who recently quit using tobacco products. The "Tobacco Relapse Prevention Support Group" will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m., on March 20, May 22, July 24, Sept. 11 and Nov. 8, 2012. The group will meet in Bayhealth's BETT Conference Room at 208 W. Water St. in Dover. This support group is designed to help individuals focus on relapse prevention and provides networking opportunities for participants to share their unique experiences and success stories with others. There is no need to register in advance for this support group. For more information, contact Bayhealth Educator Terry Towne, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC, at 302-744-6724.

NAR-ANON support group "Take Heart, Be Strong" is a support group available to those family members and friends who are concerned about the drug/alcohol addiction of a loved one. We find people in NAR-ANON who understand what we are going through and are ready to share their experience, strength and hope to help us. This group meets at 7 p.m. every Thursday in the Youth Room at Crossroad Community Church, 20684 State Forest Rd., Georgetown. If you are interested or know someone who might be, call Beth at 302-745-0466. This is an anonymous program and there are no obligations. Attendance is welcome with no prior arrangements. For more information and other meeting locations, visit

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program. The location rotates each week of the month throughout Sussex County. "New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required. There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Midge Dinatale or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

New depression support groups If you have been diagnosed with depression, are currently receiving treatment and need extra support, join the Mental Health Association in Delaware's newest depression support groups. The support groups provide a safe and comfortable environment for adults who may be struggling with depression to find others who may be going through similar experiences, learn coping skills and take back control of their life by being proactive. A support group meets in Seaford every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The location of the meeting is provided only to registered members. To register, contact the Mental Health Association in Delaware at 302-654-6833 or 800-287-6423. These new groups are made possible due to a grant received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware's BluePrints for the Community program.

NMH offers stroke support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Seaford Library. The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. Modeled from the American Stroke Association, the hospital is engaging with speakers to provide education, community resources and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering event. The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support, and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, call Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 8626.