Because we know that identity and personality are cut from the fabric of relationships, changing personality often requires a change of relationships. Very practical steps to relocate, to enroll a child in a boarding school or asleep-away camp, can be helpful and sometimes necessary.

This is nowhere more obvious than among alcoholics and addicts. When a community supports and encourages addictive behaviors as the way to fit in, be accepted, and feel held, quitting is near impossible. Making the giant leap into a non-using community that values and rewards sobriety is often a necessary and critical astep toward achieving and sustaining abstinence.

Sign up for our newsletter today and get exclusive coParenting content.

This is true not only for addictions to alcohol, cocaine, and meth but also with addictions to video gaming, pornography, shopping, and gambling. Parents who want to minimize their child’s screen time, for example, may need to work with others in the community (the school’s PTA or the local scouting troop, for example) to achieve real and lasting change.


About Benjamin D. Garber, Ph.D

Dr. Ben Garber is a psychologist, expert consultant to family law matters, author and internationally acclaimed speaker.

He has published hundreds of popular press and dozens of peer-reviewed articles about child and family development and divorce. His six books include "Holding Tight/Letting Go: Raising Healthy Kids in Times of Terror and Technology" and "Developmental Psychology for Family Law Professionals."

To purchase Garber's Book, "Holding Tight, Letting Go," visit this link: