Two young ladies of Orchard Place reading - at Orchard Place Des Moines

Gabriel and Mateo

Divorce seems to always bring unexpected issues into a family.  It throws the entire family structure off into a different path.  Sometimes, seemly overnight. 

In the case of 4th grader, Gabriel, and 5th grader, Mateo, the divorce of their parents made them mad.  This resulted in the refusal to follow instructions at home, fighting and arguing about how each one was treated better or worse than the other.

It was increasingly difficult for the children’s mother as well.  She was frustrated, angry and felt defeated.  This resulted in a communication breakdown and left the entire family in a state of limbo.  

Mateo basically shut down and become afraid to communicate how the harsh words spoken by family members were affecting his feelings and emotions.  Gabriel resorted to bullying tactics on his brother.  This further pushed Mateo into seclusion, worried that discussing this would only create more problems for him, trapped between an unhappy mother and a brother who could be mean and nasty for no reason.

It didn’t help that different rules applied when the boys visited their father.  Upon returning home, there was a lot of conflict due to a lack of communication between the mother and the father, and the rules the boys would have to abide by while shared visits were taking place.

The Department of Human Service introduced Gabriel and Mateo and their family to Orchard Place.  With the help of the Latino Outreach Program, Orchard Place staff members made sure the family made it to the Child Guidance Center to meet with a therapist for group and individual sessions.

Family meetings were held.  The family became involved with Orchard Place’s Integrated Health Program.  Mateo expressed his feelings privately with the therapist and practice sessions were conducted to help him confront his feelings to his mother.  After feeling beat down for so long, it took a lot of time for him to build the courage to make this possible. 

That was the breakthrough moment.  

His mother realized her negative comments were contributing to the problem, and now both boys had built communication skills and were confident enough to express their feelings and communicate their needs to their mother.

This family is a prime example of the accesibilty to multiple programs offered at Orchard Place, including the Latino Outreach Program, Child Guidance Center and the Integrated Health Program.  During 9 months of working with Orchard Place professionals, years of negativity, criticism and communication issues were resolved to create a more loving and caring home environment.  

Happily today, the family is doing much better.  The boys better understand how to express themselves and the mother realizes they all need to work together on a continual basis to build the strong foundation that is required to become a successful family.   They all know it’s not always easy and will not happen automatically.  They are committed to the work to make it happen.