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SDA partners with Innovative licensed clinical psychologist and tech program founder!

Updated: Dec 24, 2022

Managing kids’ behavior on The Internet is difficult enough. Social Media. Tech. Memes. It’s a rabbit hole. Throw in a divorce, and there’s a lot of information out that you don’t really want your kids nosediving into. This time is hard on everyone involved as it is. That’s why it’s crucial to have the Internet work for not against us.

Dr. Adam Pletter is the Founder of iParent101.com, a website filled with eBooks, Videos, Online Courses, and other resources to help parents navigate today’s challenges so they can help their children survive and thrive during divorce. To further his mission in supporting moms and dads who want to connect with their children in a way that brings everyone together during a challenging time, Pletter recently joined forces with SDA Divorce Solution founder Scott Coopersmith. We spoke to him about his work and what the partnership with SDA means. You are the creator behind the popular website, iParent101.com. What sparked the idea to develop this and how can it be beneficial for families facing this difficult transition? I developed the iParent 101™ program in my clinical office back in the early years of the digital era (circa 2007). While the advances in technology were quickly growing, I noticed how families were facing a number of different obstacles when it came to balancing their children’s screen time with homework and family meals. For instance, moms/dads would often find their kids entrenched in online interactive activities (e.g., gaming, social media) sometimes with strangers, resulting in a predictable set of concerns including emotional outbursts, behavioral changes, and tantrums. As our society was becoming more dependent on technology, my clinical work began to study and learn about the intense power struggles over access, privacy, judgement, and supervision.

As a licensed clinical psychologist who works a lot with adults and children going through a divorce, how can collaborating with SDA Divorce Solutions help people survive and thrive from this transition? What brought you and SDA founder Scott Coopersmith together? Scott and I grew up together in the Catskills Mountains in a small upstate New York town. Although we lost touch for many years after high school, we reconnected through the wonders of social media. Divorce is a family experience that signifies many things to those who are going through it. For example, it is common for people to experience a wave of emotions such as loss, relief, reset and hope for a better future. Several families I have worked with during this transition also express a sense of confusion and helplessness. I have counseled couples who have higher-level conflict and simultaneously focus on protecting their children from the drama with minimal disruption. My approach working with these families begins and ends with empathy as they go from one family household to two separate residences.

You and SDA Divorce Solutions are going to combine your talents and resources by offering online workshops for people who are going through a divorce. Can you please explain the different programs being offered? Scott and I are planning to host a series of workshops that will be centered on supporting parents going through common “struggles” they are encountering when it comes to co-parenting from two separate residences. In addition to highlighting the good news regarding the benefits of digital communication and how technology is designed to enhance human connections and provide access to unlimited information, we will show parents how to implement certain safeguards and strategies to preserve the “united parental front’”—critical to successful co-parenting.

How do you help families regain a sense of control and power, which many feel gets lost along the way when they are going through a divorce? While two households are gradually being established, there is often a series of adjustments. These changes involve the child(ren) navigating new rules, different environments, and possibly adding new authority figure(s) if/when one or both parents decide to date and remarry. While a divorce can be a lot for adults to manage, it can be more complex for children of all ages. My approach offers a simple, straightforward co-parenting plan acknowledging the challenges each family is tackling and working with the parents to preserve a unified parental front.

Why should parents be proactive when it comes to supporting their children during a divorce and what are some examples of things they can do to be supportive to the kids as they encounter the many changes ahead? Parents play a key role in teaching and encouraging coping strategies that are healthy for everyone. Over reliance on common techniques like denial, avoidance, and escapism into the digital world often leads to worries, concerns, excessive use, and problematic outcomes. If a child seeking to download a new app is required to discuss it with both parents prior to permission, it can result in a number of benefits including: self-regulation practice, less tension between parents/child, and fun!

Jumping back to where we started, what’s the most important thing you hope people get out of your collaboration of SDA? [That…] mental health both on and offline (in one household or two) equals one thing…health. Mental Health is Health. Let’s join together to support and guide families towards healthy outcomes.

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