Denise Richards wants to give up temporary custody of Charlie Sheen’s “violent” 4 year-old twins, Bob and Max, for their outbursts and aggression toward her daughters and torturing the family dogs. Their mother, Brooke Meuller, has been in and out of rehab numerous times. Charlie Sheen went on-camera today making an impassioned plea to the Judge begging to stop visitation of the boys with their mother because they come home even more out of control. He added that the boys are at risk for being expelled from their school.
Because this is a high-profile celebrity family the case brings to the forefront the issue that children pay the highest price in divorce. These young children need to be evaluated and treated in child play therapy. A well-trained child development psychologist needs to get to the bottom root cause of the kids’ anger and acting-out. Are they reacting to a poor model of parental yelling and chaos? Are they confused because they are no longer living with their biological mother or father? Or, is it simply a case of what I term “covert deprivation” which occurs in privileged, affluent families who have the financial means to provide the best of everything but deprive the children of basic emotional nurturing and boundaries. Ahh…..boundaries. Clearly, no one knows how to stop these 4 year-olds from hurting people and animals. They are 4! No adult in their lives seems to understand or know how to contain a preschooler’s rage. This can be taught. At age 4, children have just rounded out the toddler phase of development. It is normal for toddlers to be physical and aggressive before they have mastered language skills and reasoning. They also have not yet developed a ceiling cap to hold powerful feelings. This is why toddlers need close supportively guiding supervision. When they test the waters a loving parent should be there to direct the child to appropriate behavior. The Sheen twins are in crisis. Their home and school situations are tenuous. I certainly hope the Judge will order child therapy for Bob and Max. At age 4, these boys are still emotionally pliable. Early intervention can only lead to a more positive outcome.