Reading Dr. Samantha Rodman’s list of credentials, it is hard not to be in impressed. The Maryland mom is raising three children under the age of five, while working as a clinical psychologist, dating coach and maintaining her widely popular website http://www.drpsychmom.com. An expert in issues pertaining to parenting, dating, sex and relationships, she has written for such media outlets as The York Times, Washington Post, SheKnows and Huffington Post. Out later this month is her first book, How to Talk to Kids About Your Divorce, with Adams Media. (See Amazon)
In this installment of Take 5, I ask the doctor about her motivation for becoming a psychologist, along with insights and observations gathered from years of helping people navigate the parenting and relationship maze.
I’m curious as to what would drive someone to become a clinical psychologist?
I’ve always been interested in how people think and why they do the things that they do. I enjoy hearing people’s life stories and helping them find and make sense of patterns, in a way that can allow them to move forward and life in new and valued ways.
No one marries with the intent that someday they’ll divorce. As a marriage therapist who has counseled countless couples, why do you believe so many marriages fail?
I believe that people are often unable to look at themselves clearly and figure out what they are doing to contribute to marital discord. Our society today is also very focused on individual happiness rather than working together for the good of the family unit even when unhappy. This has positives and negatives, and one of the negatives is divorce and its impact on kids, particularly in contentious situations.
You obviously hear a lot of stories from the singles you work with as a dating coach. What do you feel is the number one issue that prevents people from finding “the one”?
I believe that people need to take a hard, in depth look at themselves in order to figure out who they are drawn to, and why. Often, these subconscious preferences are rooted in early childhood experiences. Most people who think they just attract the wrong people are somehow picking these people, and to remain with these people, in order to replay or process old conflicts that have not been resolved. A therapist can help with resolving these issues and moving forward to find a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
How in the world does someone with three children under 5, a dog, fish, a practice as a clinical psychologist and countless media appearances find the time to write two books?!
Before the kids wake up, during naptime, and evenings! I also have two mornings a week where all three of my kids go to preschool. I make time when I can, and my husband is very helpful and supportive.
Your first book, How To Talk To Your Kids About Divorce, will be released later this month. Divorce can be an incredibly painful process, especially if children are involved. What’s the best advice you can give someone about to embark on the process?
The best advice is to be optimistic, but realistic. Divorce is shocking and difficult for most kids. Parents should be aware that they will not know everything, and will not be fully able to reassure their kids at all times. Parents will be stressed, anxious, and often angry. They will not be their best selves. Instead of beating themselves up and becoming guilty, it is good to remember that every day is a new day and you can start again to try to connect with your kids and help them through the process. Nobody is perfect, and divorce is a tough process for all involved.