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Archive for the ‘California Parental Rights Amendment’ Category

April 25 is Parental Alienation Awareness Day

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Brainwashed Children, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on April 26, 2010 at 1:20 am

Today is Parental Alienation Awareness Day throughout the world. Almost every civilized country in the world and many family and family reform groups recognize the hostility involved in custody fights between parents.

When it escalates out of the courts control, and one parent trys to destroy the relationship between the children and the non-custodial parent, the children or the child becomes alienated from the parent. That is Parental Alienation. It is all to common in homes where one parent makes false allegations of abuse, in fact, it is almost a certainty if one parent does that, then the next step is to keep the child away from the other parent at all costs. When that happens the child suffers from Parental Alienation Syndrome.

My friends at http://www.paawarenessday.com/ have a good definition of the difference between the PA and PAS or Parental Alienation Disorder.

Parental Alienation vs. Parental Alienation Syndrome

Parental Alienation focuses on the parents behavior as opposed to the alienated children’s conditions, which is termed Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Richard Gardner defined Parental Alienation Syndrome as ‘a disturbance in which children are preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of a parent-denigration that is unjustified and/or exaggerated.’

Parental Alienation is damaging to children, whether or not they reject a parent. It’s important to recognize and stop the harmful behaviors of the adults before any ‘symptoms’ develop in the child, and before the behavior escalates to Parental Abduction or Parental Homocide.

Parental Alienation Syndrome and Brainwashing children: The four levels of abuse | Brainwashing Children

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Brainwashed Children, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-V, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, kidnapped children, Marriage, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Restraining Orders on January 21, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Brainwashing children: The four levels of abuse

Posted on 08. Nov, 2009 by admin in Brainwashing, Exposing the methods

The Four Levels of Brainwashing Children

The Four Levels of Brainwashing Children

Brainwashing children to despise a parent falls into one of four categories of severity:

  1. Glancing insult
  2. Direct attack
  3. Relationship assault
  4. Relationship-ending coaching

Glancing insult
The glancing insult, also called a “drive-by put down,” is a derogatory remark said to the child about a parent. These are off-the-cuff remarks whose purpose is to instill doubt and negative opinions about the target parent.

Examples include:

“She’s picking you up at 6pm, if she’s even on time”
“So your father didn’t seem to care much about what you thought, huh…”
“You know I love you more than anyone else in the world does, don’t you?”

Direct attack
A direct attack is a slew of words plainly at plainly disparaging you, and thus your relationship to your child.

Examples:

“Your father is an inconsiderate jerk”
“If your mother wasn’t such a messed up soul, your time with her would be much more fun”
“Your mother is a terrible mother, that’s for sure. I can’t believe she did that—what a moron”

Relationship attack
When the source parent tries to harm the parent-child relationship by attacking visitations, minimizing telephone and email contact, and insinuating that time spent with the target parent is bad for the child.

Examples of what such parents will do:

Being “unavailable” all week to receive phone calls from the target parent to the child
Not returning any calls, texts, or emails made by the target parent
Telling the child, “You have complete family here with me and your Dad (step-father), yet he’s again ripping you away from us this Christmas”
Telling the child, “You only have 5 days left with her, then you’ll be back and safe with us.”
Withholding letter, postcards, and emails from the child

Relationship-ending coaching
The most deplorable thing a parent can do to their child is the final step, coaching the child on how to completely break off contact with their own parent.

Some of the things the source parent will teach the child include:

  1. That once the child is 18, he/she no longer has to be in contact with the target parent anymore, and is encouraged to do just that
  2. That once the child is 18, if a boy he can change his last name to something different like his step-father’s last name
  3. That once the child is 12, he/she can go in front of a Judge and state how awful the target parent is, and of the desire to move in with the source parent and not be with the targeted parent at all anymore

Wrap-up: Take the high road
You’ll sometimes feel overwhelmed at correcting the brainwashing being inflicted upon your child. A brainwashed child will act in truly heart-wrenching manners, and you’ll often not even recognize him or her anymore.

But hang in there. Read this blog, discuss with other loved ones your frustration, and read the book “Divorce Poison,” take your complaint in front of the Judge in your case, and you and your relationship will be rewarded one day for your refusal to take part in counter-attacking the other parent.

Be a loving parent, don’t discuss the other parent in a negative light—ever—and take the high ground. Lastly, find a good child therapist who does “play therapy” with children, and you’ll be doing the right things to slowly undo the damage done to your child’s mind.

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Brainwashing children: The four levels of abuse | Brainwashing Children.

Parental Alienation – Dr. L.F. Lowenstein – Southern England Psychological Services

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, custody, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-V, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Jayne Major, Liberty, Marriage, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy on January 20, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Parental Alienation – Dr. L.F. Lowenstein – Southern England

The comparison of parental alienation to the “Stockholm syndrome”

Ludwig.F. Lowenstein Ph.D

Southern England Psychological Services

2006

What follows is in great part fact and what is not fact is based on supposition and psychological assessment of how the Stockholm Syndrome develops and how it has worked in the case of Natascha Kampusch recently reported in the press. She was abducted and kept in a prison in an underground cell without natural light and air being pumped into her enclosure. The Stockholm Syndrome was coined in 1973 by Nils Bejerot, a psychiatrist, while working for the police. It occurred that there was a bank robbery and four bank clerks were taken hostage by an armed robber who threatened to kill them. To the surprise of the police, the hostages stated that they had no wish to be rescued indicating that they felt sympathy for their captor.

It was assumed that the feeling of stress and helplessness and possibly a desire to survive led to this unlikely scenario. All the captives were eventually released without harm. The hostage taker himself must have been influenced by the behaviour of his victims as they were influenced by him. One can only wonder how this phenomenon occurred after such a short captivity. In the case of Natascha Kampusch her period of captivity of eight years probably brought about deeper psychological changes and more enduring ones.

As a specialist in the area of parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome where I have acted as a psychological expert in the courts, there appears to be a considerable similarity between parental alienation and the Stockholm Syndrome. The alienator in the case of the Stockholm Syndrome also needs to extinguish any desire in the victim’s past, seeking to demonstrate any allegiance to anyone other than the powerful captor of that individual.

Here too is demonstrated the power of the alienator and the insignificance of the power of the alienated party/parties. It is almost certain that Natascha Kampusch had opportunity in the past to escape from her captor, yet chose not to do so. This was despite her initial closeness to her family. A combination of fear, indoctrination and “learned helplessness”, promoted the total loyalty and obedience of the child to her captor. This captor was no longer viewed, as was the case initially, as evil but as necessary to the child’s well-being and her survival. A similar scenario occurs in the case of children who are alienated against an absent parent.

My forthcoming book about to be published and my website http://www.parental-alienation.info provides information as to why Natascha may have remained so slavishly with her captor for eight years of her young life. Why she decided finally to escape her enslavement will in due course be established. I will attempt to explain what might have occurred to finally induce her to escape.

A child who has had a good relationship with the now shunned parent will state: “I don’t need my father/mother; I only need my mother/father. Such a statement is based on the brainwashing received and the power of the alienator who is indoctrinating the child to sideline the previously loving parent.

In the case of the Stockholm Syndrome, we have in some ways a similar scenario. Here the two natural loving parents have been sidelined by the work of subtle or direct alienation by the perpetrator of the abduction of the young girl. At age 10, the child is helpless to resist the power of her abductor.

To the question: “How does the abductor eventually become her benefactor?”, we may note the process is not so dissimilar to the brainwashing carried by the custodial parent. This is done for the double reason of: 1) Gaining the total control over the child and consequently its dependence upon them. 2) To sideline the other parent and to do all possible to prevent and/or curtail contact between the child and the absent parent/parents.

The primary reason for such behaviour is the intractable hostility of the custodial parents towards one another. This reason does not exist in the case of the abductor of a child such as occurred in the case of Natascha Kambusch. Nevertheless the captor wished to totally alienate or eliminate the child’s loyalty or any feeling towards her natural parents. Due to the long period away from her parents and a total dependence for survival on her captor, Natascha’s closeness to her family gradually faded. She may even have felt that her own parents were making little or no effort to find her and rescue her. This view may also have been inculcated by her captor.

Her captor’s total mastery and control over her, eventually gave her a feeling of security. She could depend on the man to look after her with food, shelter, warmth, protection and hence led to her survival. Such behaviour on the part of the captor led over time not only to “learned helplessness” and dependence, but in a sense to gratefulness. As he was the only human being in her life this was likely to happen. She therefore became a ready victim of what is commonly termed the “Stockholm Syndrome” or the victim of “Parental Alienation.”

This led even to her beginning to love her captor. This view has been substantiated by the fact that Natascha found it difficult to live and feel any real closeness to her natural parents once she was rescued or once she ran away from her captor. She even pined for the loss of the captor who had since committed suicide. Even her speech had been altered from the native Austrian or Viennese dialect to the North German speech due to the fact that she only had access to the outside world via radio and television. This again, however, was carefully monitored by her captor. He controlled what she could see on television and listen to on the radio from outside her underground cell. There was little in Natascha’s present life to remind her of her past except for the dress that she wore when she was captured.

While she developed physically from 10-18 years, her weight changed but little. Why did she decide eventually to leave her captor? This is a question that requires an answer. It is the view of the current author that the answer lies in the fact that she may have had a quarrel with her captor, possibly over a very minor issue. The result was her leaving her captor and then regretting doing so, especially after she heard of his death. By the time her captor, undoubtedly fearing the retribution by the law, had ended his life, she had pined for him.

After eight years or living in close proximity to his victim, some form of intimacy undoubtedly occurred including a sexual one. This led to a mutual need and even dependence. It is likely that the “learned helplessness” of the victim succumbed eventually a caring, perhaps even loving relationship developing. It is also likely that the psychological explanation is that attribution, helplessness and depression in the victim for the loss of her parents quickly gave way to seeking to make the best of her situation while under the total domination of her captor.

Again the same scenario occurs in the case of parental alienation where the power of the dominant custodial parent programmes the child/children to eschew or marginalise the absent parent. That absent parent no longer appears to be important and is even likely to be viewed as damaging to the child’s survival.

Psychological Services.

The Tieton Truth Seekers: Severely Alienated Child of Parental Alienation

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on January 3, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Severely Alienated Child of Parental Alienation

Stage 3 – A Severely Alienated Child of Parental Alienation Syndrome

The Honorable Judge Gomery of Canada stated, “Hatred is not an emotion that comes naturally to a child. It has to be taught. A parent who would teach a child to hate the other parent represents a grave and persistent danger to the mental and emotional health of that child.”

A Severely Alienated Child of Parental Alienation Syndrome
Severe

In severe PAS the child is often fanatic or obsessional in his/her hatred of the target parent. For this reason alone the PAS-inducing parent no longer needs to be active, although the PAS–inducing parent will resort to anything to prevent the child maintaining a relationship with the targeted parent. The child takes on the PAS-inducing parent’s desires, emotions and hatreds and verbalises them all as its own. The child views the history of the targeted parent and the targeted parent’s family as all negative and is unable to either remember or express any positive feelings for the target parent.

The child is very likely to refuse Contact, make false allegations of abuse, threaten to run away, threaten to commit suicide or even murder – if forced to see the targeted parent. The PAS-inducing parent will hold little or no value for the targeted parent and hatred may be completely overt. The child and the alienating parent have a pathological bond that is invariably based on shared paranoid fantasies of the targeted parent, sometimes to the point of folie a deux.

What Does a Severely Alienated Child look like?

They have a relentless hatred for towards the targeted parent.
They parrot the Obsessed Alienator.
The child does not want to visit or spend any time with the targeted parent.
Many of the child’s beliefs are enmeshed with the alienator.
The beliefs are delusional and frequently irrational.
They are not intimidated by the court.

Frequently, their reasons are not based on personal experiences with the targeted parent but reflect what they are told by the Obsessed Alienator.

They have difficulty making any differentiate between the two.
The child has no ambivalence in his feelings; it’s all hatred with no ability to see the good.

They have no capacity to feel guilty about how they behave towards the targeted parent or forgive any past indiscretions.
They share the Obsessed Alienators cause. Together, they are in lockstep to denigrate the hated parent.
The children’s obsessional hatred extends to the targeted parent’s extended family without any guilt or remorse.
They can appear like normal healthy children until asked about the targeted parent that triggers their hatred.
Children in the severe category are generally quite disturbed and are usually fanatic. They join together with their alienating parent in a folie à deux relationship in which they share her paranoid fantasies about the alienated parent. All eight of the primary symptomatic manifestations are likely to be present to a significant degree, even more prominent than in the moderate category.

Children in this category may become panic-stricken over the prospect of visiting with their alienated parent. Their blood-curdling shrieks, panicked states, and rage outbursts may be so severe that visitation is impossible.

If placed in the alienated parent’s home they may run away, become paralyzed with morbid fear, or may become so continuously provocative and so destructive that removal becomes necessary. Unlike children in the moderate and mild categories, their panic and hostility may not be reduced in the alienated parent’s home, even when separated from their alienating parents for significant periods. Whereas in the mild and moderate categories the children’s primary motive is to strengthen the stronger, healthy psychological bond with the alienating parent, in the severe category the psychological bond with the alienating parent is pathological (often paranoid) and the symptoms serve to strengthen this pathological bond.

The Tieton Truth Seekers: Severely Alienated Child of Parental Alienation.

House Divided: Hate Thy Father | Psychology Today

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Civil Rights, CPS, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, DSM-V, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Single Parenting on December 30, 2009 at 7:30 pm

House Divided: Hate Thy Father

In 1978, after Cathy Mannis and her future husband moved into the same cooperative at U.C. Berkeley, they ran into each other often. She was not immediately smitten. “I detested him at first, and I should have stayed with that feeling,” recalls Cathy Mannis of her now ex-husband. “He was overweight and always very critical. Then he lost weight, became cuter, and started paying attention to me. He was going to be a doctor and he seemed so trustworthy; he said he would never desert his family as his own father had done to him.” They started dating, and she ultimately cared for him enough to marry him. “I thought he’d be a good father, and I was dying to be a mother. I thought we’d have a good life.”

She worked full-time as a legal secretary to put him through medical school. She also bought the two of them a town house with money she’d saved before marriage. When she gave birth to a boy, Matt (not his real name), she was as happy as she’d ever been. Over time, she saw signs that her husband was cheating on her, but she always forgave him.

Their second son, Robby, was born autistic, and things went downhill fast. The boy had speech and learning problems and was frequently out of control. Her husband was appalled. “He’s dumber than a fish,” he said.

Still, they had one more child, Harry (the name has been changed), hoping to give Matt a sibling without Robby’s problems. Harry turned out normal, but he bonded most closely with Robby; they became inseparable.

When Cathy once again became convinced her husband was cheating—he inexplicably never came home one night—she finally threw him out. He filed for divorce before she could forgive him again.

Cathy was granted primary custody of the kids, and her ex soon married the woman he’d been seeing on the side. Because of all she had to do to help Robby as well as her other two kids, Cathy could no longer hold a full-time job. Meanwhile, her ex declared two bankruptcies and, at one point, even mental disability, all of which kept alimony payments to a trickle.

Eventually Cathy was so broke that her electricity was turned off; she and the boys ate dinner by candlelight. Then she became so ill she had to be hospitalized for life-threatening surgery. She had no choice but to leave the kids with her ex. “He promised to return them when my health and finances improved,” she says.

That was almost seven years ago. Her health has long since returned and she has a good job she can do from home, but the only child ever restored to her, despite nonstop court battles, was Robby. In fact, her ex got the courts to rule that the children should be permanently separated, leaving the other two children with him, since Robby was a “threat” to his younger brother’s well-being.

Through all those years, Cathy says she faced a campaign of systematic alienation from Matt and Harry. “When I called to speak to them, I was usually greeted with coldness or anger, and often the boys weren’t brought to the phone. Then my ex sent letters warning me not to call them at home at all. Whenever the kids came to stay with me, they’d report, ‘Dad says you’re evil. He says you wrecked the marriage.’ ” Then he moved thousands of miles away, making it vastly more difficult for her to see her children.

As time has passed, the boys have increasingly pulled away. Matt, now grown and serving in the military, never speaks to Cathy. Thirteen-year-old Harry used to say, “Mommy, why can’t I stay with you? All the other kids I know live with their moms,” before leaving visits with her. Now he often appears detached from her and uninterested in Robby, whom he once adored. His friends at his new home think his stepmother is his mom, because that’s how she introduces herself. “She told me she would take my kids, and she did. The alienation is complete,” rues Cathy. “All I ever wanted was to be a mom.”

Divorcing parents have long bashed each other in hopes of winning points with kids. But today, the strategy of blame encompasses a psychological concept of parental alienation that is increasingly used—and misused—in the courts.

On the one hand, with so many contentious divorces, parents like Cathy Mannis have been tragically alienated from the children they love. On the other hand, parental alienation has been seized as a strategic tool in custody fights, its effects exploited in the courtroom, often to the detriment of loving parents protecting children from true neglect or abuse. With the impact of alienation so devastating—and false accusations so prevalent—it may take a judge with the wisdom of Solomon to differentiate between the two faces of alienation: a truly toxic parent and his or her victimized children versus manipulation of the legal system to claim damage where none exists.

A Symptom Of Our Time?

Disturbed by the potential for alienation, many divorce courts have today instituted aggressive steps to intervene where they once just stood by. And with good reason: Alienation is ruinous to all involved. “In pathological or irrational alienation, the parent has done nothing to deserve that level of hatred or rejection from the child,” explains University of Texas psychologist Richard Warshak, author of Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex. “It often seems to happen almost overnight, and neither the rejected parent nor even the rejecting child understands why.”

Often, in fact, it’s the emotionally healthier parent who gets rejected, Warshak adds. That parent tends to understand that it’s not in the child’s best interests to lose the other parent. In contrast, the alienating parent craves revenge against the ex—then uses the child to exact that punishment. “It’s a form of abuse,” Warshak says. “Both parent and child are victims.”

House Divided: Hate Thy Father | Psychology Today.

Brazilian Family Concedes Defeat: Sean Goldman Home by Christmas? – TIME

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on December 23, 2009 at 7:11 pm
Now begins the long term de-brainwashing of this little boy from the hands of this family that held him hostage for so long. What will be interesting to find out, is how much he was told his real father did not love, abandonded him, etc. that is typical of brainwashing in families that kidnap then lie to children.

Brazilian Family Concedes Defeat: Sean Goldman Home by Christmas?

read original post:    Brazilian Family Concedes Defeat: Sean Goldman Home by Christmas? – TIME.

We don’t ever see Daddy any more – Stories of children from broken homes | The Sun |Features

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Children and Domestic Violence, children criminals, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on November 29, 2009 at 6:45 pm

We don’t ever see Daddy any more

Families torn apart … the stories behind the divorces

MyView

By DEIDRE SANDERS

Sun Agony Aunt

WHEN parents are breaking up, the tragedy is that they are often so caught up in their own anger, hurt and turmoil that they have little attention to spare for their children.

Fighting over the home and maybe furious their partner has found a new love, they lash out, little realising that children can’t help identifying with both parents, wanting to love and be loved by them both equally.

Using kids as pawns in the battle is setting them up for long-term emotional damage.

Even if parents cannot live lovingly together, they owe it to their children to remember they can never have another mum or dad.

Unless contact with one parent is going to be dangerous because of violence, drugs, alcohol or mental health problems, both should make every effort to ensure it’s easy and comfortable for the kids to be with them both regularly, even if it means swallowing your rage while you negotiate contact arrangements.

Because this is such a common problem, I have written a special Kids In The Middle guide for separating parents and children on how to handle the hurdles.

Call 0845 602 2290 or go to http://tiny.cc/FGF9j for a free copy.

THOUSANDS of British kids never see their dad again once their parents break up, a shocking new survey has revealed.

More than one in three youngsters – 38 per cent – go without having their father around after their parents split, and nearly one in ten are so traumatised they consider SUICIDE.

The findings, by a leading law firm, also discovered children are being caught in bitter custody battles, and many later turn to drink and drugs.

Sandra Davis, head of family law firm Mishcon de Reya, which surveyed 4,000 people, said: “This research shows that, despite their best intentions, parents are often using their children as emotional footballs.”

Here NIKKI WATKINS, NICK FRANCIS and JENNA SLOAN speak to four people who have been affected by divorce.

We hear from a mum whose husband left for Australia, a man who tracked down his long-lost dad and two fathers who haven’t seen their kids in years.

 


 

Richard

RICHARD separated from his long-term partner in May 1998, after six years.

The 43-year-old, from Carshalton, Surrey, who is on sick leave from his job as a train-driving instructor, has not seen his 15-year-old daughter for more than eight years, despite suffering with leukaemia.

His ex-partner moved 600 miles away, which makes visiting impossible as his leukaemia treatment is carried out in his home town.

Richard says: “We came to an understanding about contact times that worked out initially.

“Then my ex started mucking about with it. I said, ‘we need to sort this out’, as I didn’t want to go down the route of court because it is expensive and pits parent against parent.

“It becomes a battle of parents rather than what is right for the child.

“The advice I got at the time was to avoid the court system.

“I said that it was in our daughter’s best interests to continue seeing me.”

Richard eventually ended up seeking the advice of a solicitor.

He says: “The day before we were due for a directions hearing my ex phoned me and asked me what I wanted. I said the same as before and she said, ‘that is fine’.

But the situation changed when Richard’s ex got engaged and moved to Scotland.

Richard says: “I got a letter from her solicitor saying the contact schedule wouldn’t work.”

He has since been diagnosed with leukaemia and when faced with chemotherapy told doctors not to worry about his fertility, as he was too traumatised to have more children.

He wrote to his ex and daughter to explain about his illness, but says he got no response.

Richard says: “I don’t get anything back – I haven’t in eight years. I just want an acknowledgement to say my daughter is aware of what has happened and sends her love. It’s an awful situation.

“I know they get to the address because everything is recorded delivery, the birthday presents and Easter eggs.

“I had to have counselling about losing my daughter. It has affected me in a big, big way.

“Children have a right to know both parents.”

 


 

Melanie Crow

MELANIE divorced her husband of 13 years after he left her and their two sons without warning.

When Melanie, 33, came home one day to find hubby Trevor leaving, she thought for a moment that he was going to the shops – before realising he meant he was going for good.

Husband left for Australia ... Melanie Crow

Husband left for Australia … Melanie Crow

North News

He left for a new life in Australia, since then having no contact with sons Oliver, then 3, and Joshua, then 8.

Melanie, a photographer from Durham, says: “Trevor left on March 8, 2008. I wasn’t aware of any real problems in our marriage, just the usual bickering. I came home from work and he said he was leaving.

“My oldest boy Joshua, who is now ten, has a lot of issues and has to see a counsellor.

“Because he was there when his dad was packing his things in the car, he blames himself for his dad leaving.

“My other son, Ollie, who’s five, was only three when his dad left so I think he has got off a bit lighter.

“They are both very clingy, though. I con-stantly have to reassure them.

“I’m worried about how it’s going to affect Ollie in the future. I also worry about my boys because there isn’t a male role model in the house.

“Trevor has my numbers and can get in touch with the boys if he wants, he just chooses not to.

“He took me to court this year to try and get access.

“We came to an agreement that he could come and see them over the summer but just one week before he was due, he cancelled.

“After spending thousands of pounds on a court case in this country, despite not having paid any money for the boys, he goes and disappoints them like that.

“If Trevor is the kind of man who can do this to his family then he’s not the sort of person I want around my kids.”

 


 

James Taylor

JAMES TAYLOR tracked down his long-lost dad, James Dennis, 52, through the internet after his parents divorced.

James 33, a mortgage adviser from Glasgow. says: “My mum and dad married when they were 17 and 18, which was very young.

“My dad, who was a welder, moved to Reading to find work and initially my mum went with him. But things didn’t work out and my mum came back to Scotland.

“My parents ended up divorcing and lost contact. I think it was a combination of the pressure on them, as they were so young, and the distance between them.

“I was their only child, and I saw my dad once when I was about seven, but that was it. It didn’t really occur to me to ask about him.

“All I’d ever known was my mum, Brenda, who remarried. But when I went to secondary school I began to wonder why I didn’t have a dad like the other kids did.

“When I was 17 my mum passed away due to complications in childbirth. It really made me think about things and start to question who my family was.

“I have four step-daughters with my wife Georgina and we have a boy Joshua, who is seven. I also have two step-granddaughters.

“Having my own children did make me think even more about getting in touch with my dad. My wife was very supportive but I was worried about finding Dad. What if he didn’t like me?

“In 2006 I logged on to the Genes Reunited website and typed in my father’s name. I hadn’t seen him for 23 years. One match came up that turned out to be my aunt, I was delighted when I got an email from her.

“She passed my contact details on to my dad and we arranged to meet.

“Going to meet him for the first time was very emotional. I’d only seen him in his old wedding picture, with long hair in the 1970s, so I didn’t recognise him straight away.

“But when it finally dawned on me that this was my dad I was thrilled. We have some of the same characteristics – our eyes are similar – and we have similar mannerisms too.

“And I have a half-brother and half-sister that I’d never met, along with aunties, uncles and cousins. I’m so glad I logged on to that website.”

 


 

Paul

DAD Paul is a full-time carer for his elderly father.

He split with his wife of 25 years and lost contact with his son, then aged seven, 12 years ago.

Lost contact with son ... Paul

Lost contact with son … Paul

Paul, 57, from Hampshire, is still coming to terms with his loss. He says: “My wife decided that she wanted the relationship to finish and we divorced.

“Very quickly it became difficult to have contact with my son.

“You get cursory visits once every two weeks. It was difficult right from the beginning, but I saw him for about a year, every other weekend. That isn’t sufficient for a relationship.”

Paul went to court to try tomaintain the contact but thesituation deteriorated.

He says: “If one parent is trying hard to stop contact, the court doesn’t really do anything to enforce contact with the absent parent.”

That is why Paul finds the new statistics about so many children not seeing their fathers unsurprising.

He says: “I wrote many articles and did some charity work for a time for all of the charity groups who were trying to get the system changed.

“I did it because there are probably about a million kids out there who have not got what you could call a decent family.

“If you include the extended family then the number of people involved is just colossal. The figure of 38 per cent doesn’t surprise me at all. It almost destroys you. You miss everything.

“I don’t even know categorically if my son is alive – simple as that.

“I took it all the way to the highest court and that got me experienced in the legal system.

“So I was advising other people how to keep the cost down and how to do it themselves.

“I have moved on now – it took me several years to get to that stage and it was a very desperate state. I have been divorced 12 years now and I fought for five years in the courts. My life could always be better.

“More than anything I would want my son to know that I care and that I am still caring.”

Stories of children from broken homes | The Sun |Features.

Parental Due Process Act

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on November 23, 2009 at 9:45 pm
November 21, 4:36 PMSan Diego Courts ExaminerGregory Smart

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CA State Senate
CA State Senate
State of CA

There is currently an effort in the State of California to have the model legislation (below) passed in an effort to ensure Parental Due Process in the Juvenile Dependency Courts.

The model legislation was written by a team of attorneys at Pacific Justice Institute http://www.pacificjustice.org/ in Sacramento California.

Anyone wishing to get involved and/or support this legislation please contact Greg Smart at cpsvictim@gmail.com

Model State Legislation

Parental Due Process Act

Model State Legislation

A BILL
To protect the fundamental due process rights of a parent in proceedings to terminate parental rights.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This shall be cited as the “Parental Due Process Act.”

SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.
(a) FINDINGS- the legislature finds that–
(1) Parental rights are so fundamental to the human condition so as to be deemed inalienable. Termination of parental rights equals or exceeds the detriment of criminal sanctions.
(2) The “liberty interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests” recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court. Troxel v. Granville, 527 U.S. 1069 (1999). Moreover, the companionship, care, custody, and management of a parent over his or her child is an interest far more precious than any property right. May v. Anderson, 345 U.S. 528, 533, (1952). As such, the parent-child relationship is an important interest that undeniably warrants deference and, absent a powerful countervailing interest, protection. Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645 (1972).
(3) State and local family services, child protective agencies, and courts have not recognized the rights of parents as inalienable, and, as a result, have failed to provide fundamental due process rights in the investigation and legal proceedings to determine abuse, neglect, and the termination of parental rights.
(b) PURPOSE- The purpose of this Act is to provide core fundamental due process rights to parents whose parental rights are subject to termination.

SECTION 3. DEFINITIONS.
As used in this Act:
(1) “Hearing” means any judicial or administrative hearing;
(2) “law enforcement officer” means an employee, the duties of whose position are primarily the prevention, investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws, including an employee engaged in this activity who is transferred to a supervisory or administrative position, or serving as a probation or pretrial services officer;
(3) “agency” means any state or local government;
(4) “Duress” consists of:
a. Unlawful confinement of the person of the party, or of the husband or wife of such party, or of an ancestor, descendant, or adopted child of such party, husband, or wife;
b. Unlawful detention of the property of any such person; or,
c. Confinement of such person, lawful in form, but fraudulently
obtained, or fraudulently made unjustly harassing or oppressive.
(5) “Actual fraud” consists of any of the following acts, committed by a party, or with his connivance, with intent to deceive another party thereto, or to induce him to enter into an agreement or to rely upon it to his detriment:
a. The suggestion, as a fact, of that which is not true by one
who does not believe it to be true;
b. The positive assertion, in a manner not warranted by the
information of the person making it, of that which is not true,
though he believes it to be true;
c. The suppression of that which is true, by one having knowledge
or belief of the fact;
d. A promise made without any intention of performing it; or,
e. Any other act fitted to deceive.
(4) “Undue influence” consists of:
a. In the use, by one in whom a confidence is reposed by another,
or who holds a real or apparent authority over him, of such
confidence or authority for the purpose of obtaining an unfair
advantage over him;
b. In taking an unfair advantage of another’s weakness of mind; or,
c. In taking a grossly oppressive and unfair advantage of another’s necessities or distress.
(5) “Malice” means conduct that is intended by the person to cause injury or despicable conduct that is carried out with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others;
(6) “Emergency” means exigent circumstances in which immediate action is required to prevent the imminent physical injury or death of a child.
SECTION 4. HEARINGS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
(a) Upon the request of a parent, guardian or custodian, the right to have proceedings open to the public shall be guaranteed in the following circumstances:
(1) any hearing for the purpose of terminating parental rights;
(2) any hearing for the purpose of determining if a child is or has been deprived.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), a judge may, upon consideration of written motion and papers filed in opposition, exclude the public if it is determined, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the safety of the child would be in jeopardy by a public hearing.
If the public is excluded from the hearing, the following people may attend the
closed hearing unless the judge finds it is not in the best interests of the child:
(i) the child’s relatives;
(ii) the child’s foster parents, if the child resides in foster care; and,
(iii) any person requested by the parent.

SECTION 5. TRIAL BY JURY.
Upon the request of a parent, guardian or custodian, the right to a trial by jury shall be guaranteed in the following circumstances:
(1) any hearing to terminate parental rights;
(2) any hearing to determine if a child is or has been deprived.

SECTION 6. RELIGIOUS/CULTURAL/MORAL/ETHNIC VALUES AND BELIEFS OF PARENTS

In placing the legal custody or guardianship of a child with an individual or a private agency, a court shall take into consideration the religious, cultural, moral and ethnic values of the child or of his/her parents, if such values are known or ascertainable by the exercise of reasonable care.

SECTION 7. ELECTRONIC OR DIGITAL RECORDING OF INTERVIEWS

Except in the case of an emergency, any law enforcement officer, agent or employee for a state’s health and welfare department or child protective services, or mental health professional, who interviews a child for the purposes of investigation, shall electronically and/or digitally cause to be made an audio and visual recording of all questioning of, and interviews with, children. All recordings made pursuant to subsection (a) shall be made available to the parent, guardian or custodian of a child not later than ten days prior to any hearing to terminate parental rights or to determine if a child is or has been deprived.

SECTION 8. EVIDENCE IN FACT-FINDING HEARINGS

(a) Only evidence that is competent, material and relevant may be admitted in a
fact-finding hearing.
(b) Any determination at the conclusion of a fact-finding hearing that
a respondent did an act or acts must be based on proof beyond a
reasonable doubt. For this purpose, an uncorroborated confession made
out of court by a respondent is not sufficient.

SECTION 9. RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL
(a) In that removal of a child from a home for even brief periods is an extreme hardship on families, upon the request of a parent, guardian or custodian, the right to a speedy trial shall be guaranteed in the following circumstances:
(1) any hearing to terminate parental rights;
(2) any hearing to determine if a child is or has been deprived.
(b) A hearing, as described in subsection a, shall be conducted within thirty days of any type of removal of a child. In the event that the thirtieth day falls on a legal holiday or other day when the court is not in session, the hearing shall be conducted prior to the thirtieth day. In no event shall a hearing be conducted beyond the thirtieth day after the removal of a child if the right to a speedy trial has been exercised.
SECTION 10. WAIVER OF RIGHTS
The rights of a parent or guardian as described in this Act cannot be waived, neither can parental rights be terminated, if said waiver is due to:
(1) mistake;
(2) fraud;
(3) undue influence; or
(4) duress.

SECTION 11. IMMUNITY

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the civil immunity of juvenile court social workers, agents or employees of a health and welfare department or child protective services or law enforcement official authorized to initiate or conduct investigations or proceedings shall not extend to any of the following:
(1) Perjury;
(2) Fabrication of evidence;
(3) Failure to disclose known exculpatory evidence;
(4) Obtaining testimony by duress, fraud, or undue influence.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any prosecutor, investigator, agent or employee of a state’s health and welfare department or child protective services who induces a parent to waive any of his or her rights under this Act by
(1) fraud;
(2) undue influence; or
(3) duress shall be subject to civil liability.

SECTION 12. DAMAGES
In the case of a determination by a court or jury of any violation of a parent’s rights under this Act, damages shall be presumed.
SECTION 13. ATTORNEYS FEES

Subsections (b) and (c) of section 722 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1988 (b) and (c)) (concerning the award of attorney’s and expert fees) shall apply to cases brought or defended under this Act.

SECTION 14. SEVERABILITY

If any provision of this Act or of an amendment made by this Act, or any application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, the amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provision to any other person or circumstance shall not be affected.

New CA Legislation – Parental Due Process Act.

Parental Alienation and the DSM-V: A Call to Action

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Liberty, Marriage, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, National Parents Day, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on November 17, 2009 at 1:02 am

Parental Alienation and the DSM-V

A large group of mental health professionals, legal professionals, and other individuals have submitted a formal proposal to have the concept of parental alienation included in the next editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The proposal was submitted in November 2009. The authors of the 2009 proposal, who are listed below, represent eleven countries.

Please write to the following individuals and encourage them to include parental alienation in DSM-V:

David J. Kupfer, M.D. Dr. Kupfer is chair of the DSM-V Task Force. His address is: Western Psychiatric Institute, 3811 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Darrel A. Regier, M.D. Dr. Regier is vice-chair of the DSM-V Task Force. His address is: American Psychiatric Association, 1000 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1825, Arlington, VA 22209-3901.

Daniel S. Pine, M.D. D. Dr. Pine is chair of the DSM-V Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence Work Group. His address is: NIMH, 15K North Drive, MSC 2670, Bethesda, MD 20892-2670.

Principal author of Parental Alienation, DSM-V, and ICD-11 are: William Bernet, M.D. Contributing authors: José M. Aguilar, Ph.D. (Spain), Katherine Andre, Ph.D., Mila Arch Marin, Ph.D. (Spain), Eduard Bakalář, C.Sc. (Czech Republic), Amy J. L. Baker, Ph.D., Paul Bensussan, M.D. (France), Alice C. Bernet, M.S.N., Kristin Bernet, M.L.I.S., Barry S. Bien, L.L.B., Wilfrid von Boch-Galhau, M.D. (Germany), J. Michael Bone, Ph.D., Barry Bricklin, Ph.D., Andrew J. Chambers, J.D., Arantxa Coca Vila (Spain), Gagan Dhaliwal, M.D., Benoit van Dieren, Ph.D. (Belgium), Christian T. Dum, Ph.D. (Germany), John E. Dunne, M.D., Robert A. Evans, Ph.D., Robert Bruce Fane, Ed.D., Bradley W. Freeman, M.D., Prof. Guglielmo Gulotta (Italy), Anja Hannuniemi, LL.Lic. (Finland), Lena Hellblom Sjögren, Ph.D. (Sweden), Larry Hellmann, J.D., Steve Herman, Ph.D., Adolfo Jarne Esparcia, Ph.D. (Spain), Allan M. Josephson, M.D., Joseph Kenan, M.D., Ursula Kodjoe, M.A. (Germany), Douglas A. Kramer, M.D., M.S., Ken Lewis, Ph.D., Moira Liberatore, Psy.D. (Italy), Demosthenes Lorandos, Ph.D., J.D., Ludwig F. Lowenstein, Ph.D. (United Kingdom), Domènec Luengo Ballester, Ph.D. (Spain), Jayne A. Major, Ph.D., Eric G. Mart, Ph.D., Kim Masters, M.D., David McMillan, Ph.D., John E. Meeks, M.D., Steven G. Miller, M.D., Martha J. Morelock, Ph.D., Stephen L. Morrison, Ph.D., Wade Myers, M.D., Olga Odinetz, Ph.D. (France), Jeff Opperman, S. Richard Sauber, Ph.D., Thomas E. Schacht, Psy.D., Jesse Shaver, Ph.D., M.D., Bela Sood, M.D., Richard K. Stephens, Julie Lounds Taylor, Ph.D., Asunción Tejedor Huerta, Ph.D. (Spain), Hubert Van Gijseghem, Ph.D. (Canada), James S. Walker, Ph.D., Randy Warren, J.D., Monty N. Weinstein, Psy.D., Katie Wilson, M.D., and Abe Worenklein, Ph.D. (Canada).

Tags: Parental Alienation

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Does DSM-IV Have Equivalents for the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Diagnosis?

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, judicial corruption, MMPI, MMPI 2, mothers rights, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, National Parents Day, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, state crimes on November 7, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Does DSM-IV Have Equivalents for the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Diagnosis?

Richard A. Gardner. M.D.
Department of Child Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University, New York, New York, USA

Child custody evaluators commonly find themselves confronted with resistance when they attempt to use the term parental alienation syndrome (PAS) in courts of law. Although convinced that the patient being evaluated suffers with the disorder, they often find that the attorneys who represent alienated parents, although agreeing with the diagnosis, will discourage use of the term in the evaluators’ reports and testimony. Most often, they will request that the evaluator merely use the term parental alienation (PA). On occasion they will ask whether other DSM-IV diagnoses may be applicable. The purpose of this article is to elucidate the reasons for the reluctance to use the PAS diagnosis and the applicability of PA as well as current DSM-IV substitute diagnoses.

Mental health professionals, family law attorneys, and judges are generally in agreement that in recent years we have seen a disorder in which one parent alienates the child against the other parent. This problem is especially common in the context of child-custody disputes where such programming enables the indoctrinating parent to gain leverage in the court of law. There is significant controversy, however, regarding the term to use for this phenomenon. In 1985 I introduced the term parental alienation syndrome to describe this phenomenon (Gardner, 1985a).

The Parental Alienation Syndrome

In association with this burgeoning of child-custody litigation, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the frequency of a disorder rarely seen previously, a disorder that I refer to as the parental alienation syndrome (PAS). In this disorder we see not only programming (“brainwashing”) of the child by one parent to denigrate the other parent, but self-created contributions by the child in support of the alienating parent’s campaign of denigration against the alienated parent. Because of the child’s contribution I did not consider the terms brainwashing, programming, or other equivalent words to be sufficient. Furthermore, I observed a cluster of symptoms that typically appear together, a cluster that warranted the designation syndrome. Accordingly, I introduced the term parental alienation syndrome to encompass the combination of these two contributing factors that contributed to the development of the syndrome (Gardner, 1985a). In accordance with this use of the term I suggest this definition of the parental alienation syndrome:

The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a childhood disorder that arises almost exclusively in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. When true parental abuse and/or neglect is present, the child’s animosity may be justified and so the parental alienation syndrome explanation for the child’s hostility is not applicable.

It is important to note that indoctrinating a PAS into a child is a form of abuse—emotional abuse—because it can reasonably result in progressive attenuation of the psychological bond between the child and a loving parent. In many cases it can result in total destruction of that bond, with lifelong alienation. In some cases, then, it may be even worse than other forms of abuse, e.g., physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. A parent who demonstrates such reprehensible behavior has a serious parenting defect, their professions of exemplary parenting notwithstanding. Typically, they are so intent on destroying the bond between the child and the alienated parent that they blind themselves to the formidable psychological consequences on the child of their PAS indoctrinations, both at the time of the indoctrinations and in the future.

Most evaluators, family law attorneys, and judges recognize that such programming and child alienation is common in the context of child-custody disputes. They agree, also, that there are situations in which the child’s alienation is the result of parental programming. Some object to the use of the term syndrome and claim that it is not a syndrome, but that the term parental alienation (PA) should be used. The problem with the use of the term PA is that there are many reasons why a child might be alienated from parents, reasons having nothing to do with programming. A child might be alienated from a parent because of parental abuse of the child, e.g., physical, emotional, or sexual. A child might be alienated because of parental neglect. Children with conduct disorders are often alienated from their parents, and adolescents commonly go through phases of alienation. The PAS is well viewed as one subtype of parental alienation. Accordingly, substituting the term PA for PAS cannot but cause confusion.

Is the PAS a True Syndrome?

Some who prefer to use the term parental alienation (PA) claim that the PAS is not really a syndrome. This position is especially seen in courts of law in the context of child-custody disputes. A syndrome, by medical definition, is a cluster of symptoms, occurring together, that characterize a specific disease. The symptoms, although seemingly disparate, warrant being grouped together because of a common etiology or basic underlying cause. Furthermore, there is a consistency with regard to such a cluster in that most (if not all) of the symptoms appear together. The term syndrome is more specific than the related term disease. A disease is usually a more general term, because there can be many causes of a particular disease. For example, pneumonia is a disease, but there are many types of pneumonia—e.g., pneumococcal pneumonia and bronchopneumonia—each of which has more specific symptoms, and each of which could reasonably be considered a syndrome (although common usage may not utilize the term).

The syndrome has a purity because most (if not all) of the symptoms in the cluster predictably manifest themselves together as a group. Often, the symptoms appear to be unrelated, but they actually are because they usually have a common etiology. An example would be Down’s Syndrome, which includes a host of seemingly disparate symptoms that do not appear to have a common link. These include mental retardation, Mongoloid faces, drooping lips, slanting eyes, short fifth finger, and atypical creases in the palms of the hands. Down’s Syndrome patients often look very much alike and most typically exhibit all these symptoms. The common etiology of these disparate symptoms relates to a specific chromosomal abnormality. It is this genetic factor that is responsible for linking together these seemingly disparate symptoms. There is then a primary, basic cause of Down’s Syndrome: a genetic abnormality.

Similarly, the PAS is characterized by a cluster of symptoms that usually appear together in the child, especially in the moderate and severe types. These include:

     

  1. A campaign of denigration
  2. Weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations for the deprecation
  3. Lack of ambivalence
  4. The “independent-thinker” phenomenon
  5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict
  6. Absence of guilt over cruelty to and/or exploitation of the alienated parent
  7. The presence of borrowed scenarios
  8. Spread of the animosity to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent
  9.  

Typically, children who suffer with PAS will exhibit most (if not all) of these symptoms. However, in the mild cases one might not see all eight symptoms. When mild cases progress to moderate or severe, it is highly likely that most (if not all) of the symptoms will be present. This consistency results in PAS children resembling one another. It is because of these considerations that the PAS is a relatively “pure” diagnosis that can easily be made. Because of this purity, the PAS lends itself well to research studies because the population to be studied can usually be easily identified. Furthermore, I am confident that this purity will be verified by future interrater reliability studies. In contrast, children subsumed under the rubric PA are not likely to lend themselves well to research studies because of the wide variety of disorders to which it can refer, e.g., physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and defective parenting. As is true of other syndromes, there is in the PAS a specific underlying cause: programming by an alienating parent in conjunction with additional contributions by the programmed child. It is for these reasons that PAS is indeed a syndrome, and it is a syndrome by the best medical definition of the term.

In contrast, PA is not a syndrome and has no specific underlying cause. Nor do the proponents of the term PA claim that it is a syndrome. Actually, PA can be viewed as a group of syndromes, which share in common the phenomenon of the child’s alienation from a parent. To refer to PA as a group of syndromes would, by necessity, lead to the conclusion that the PAS is one of the syndromes subsumed under the PA rubric and would thereby weaken the argument of those who claim that PAS is not a syndrome.

The PAS and DSM-IV

There are some, especially adversaries in child-custody disputes, who claim that there is no such entity as the PAS. This position is especially likely to be taken by legal and mental health professionals who are supporting the position of someone who is clearly a PAS programmer. The main argument given to justify this position is that the PAS does not appear in DSM-IV. To say that PAS does not exist because it is not listed in DSM-IV is like saying in 1980 that AIDS (Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome) did not exist because it was not then listed in standard diagnostic medical textbooks. DSM-IV was published in 1994. From 1991 to 1993, when DSM committees were meeting to consider the inclusion of additional disorders, there were too few articles in the literature to warrant submission of the PAS for consideration. That is no longer the case. It is my understanding that committees will begin to meet for the next edition of the DSM (probably to be called DSM-V) in 2002 or 2003. Considering the fact that there are now at least 133 articles in peer-review journals on the PAS, it is highly likely that by that time there will be even more articles. (A list of peer-reviewed PAS articles is to be found on my website, www.rgardner.com/refs, a list that is continually being updated.)

It is important to note that DSM-IV does not frivolously accept every new proposal. Their requirements are very stringent with regard to the inclusion of newly described clinical entities. The committees require many years of research and numerous publications in peer-review scientific journals before considering the inclusion of a disorder, and justifiably so. Gille de La Tourette first described his syndrome in 1885. It was not until 1980, 95 years later, that the disorder found its way into the DSM. It is important to note that at that point, Tourette’s Syndrome became Tourette’s Disorder. Asperger first described his syndrome in 1957. It was not until 1994, 37 years later, that it was accepted into DSM-IV and Asperger’s Syndrome became Asperger’s Disorder.

DSM-IV states specifically that all disorders contained in the volume are “syndromes or patterns” (p. xxi), and they would not be there if they were not syndromes (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Once accepted, the name syndrome is changed to disorder. However, this is not automatically the pattern for nonpsychiatric disorders. Often the term syndrome becomes locked into the name and becomes so well known that changing the word syndrome to disorder would seem awkward. For example, Down’s syndrome, although well recognized, has never become Down’s disorder. Similarly, AIDS (Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome) is a well-recognized disease but still retains the syndrome term.

One of the most important (if not the most important) determinants as to whether a newly described disorder will be accepted into the DSM is the quantity and quality of research articles on the clinical entity, especially articles that have been published in peer-review journals. The committees are particularly interested in interrater reliability studies that will validate the relative “purity” of the disease entity being described. PAS lends itself well to such studies; PA does not. One of the first steps one must take when setting up a scientific study is to define and circumscribe the group(s) being studied. PAS lends itself well to such circumscription. PA is so diffuse and all-encompassing that no competent researcher would consider such a group to be a viable object of study. Whether one is going to study etiology, symptomatic manifestations, pathogenesis, treatment modalities, treatment efficacy, or conduct follow-up studies, one is more likely to obtain meaningful results if one starts with a discrete group (such as PAS) than if one starts with an amorphous group (such as PA). One of the major criticisms directed against many research projects is that the authors’ study group was not “pure” enough and/or well-selected enough to warrant the professed conclusions. Studies of PAS children are far less likely to justify this criticism than studies of PA children.

Whereas the PAS may ultimately be recognized in DSM-V, it is extremely unlikely that DSM committees will consider an entity referred to as parental alienation. It is too vague a term and covers such a wide variety of clinical phenomena that they could not justifiably be clumped together to warrant inclusion in DSM as a specific disorder. Because listing in the DSM ensures admissibility in courts of law, those who use the term PA instead of PAS are lessening the likelihood that PAS will be listed in DSM-V. The result will be that many PAS families will be deprived of the proper recognition they deserve in courts of law, which often depend heavily on the DSM.

Recognition of the PAS in Courts of Law

Some who hesitate to use the term PAS claim that it has not been accepted in courts of law. This is not so. Although there are certainly judges who have not recognized the PAS, there is no question that courts of law with increasing rapidity are recognizing the disorder. My website (www.rgardner.com/refs) currently cites 66 cases in which the PAS has been recognized. By the time this article is published, the number of citations will certainly be greater. Furthermore, I am certain that there are other citations that have not been brought to my attention.

It is important to note that on January 30, 2001, after a two-day hearing devoted to whether the PAS satisfied Frye Test criteria for admissibility in a court of law, a Tampa, Florida court ruled that the PAS had gained enough acceptance in the scientific community to be admissible in a court of law (Kilgore v. Boyd, 2001). This ruling was subsequently affirmed by the District Court of Appeals (February 6, 2001). In the course of my testimony, I brought to the court’s attention the more than 100 peer-reviewed articles (there are 133 at the time of this writing) by approximately 150 other authors and over 40 court rulings (there are 66 at the time of this writing) in which the PAS had been recognized. These lists of the PAS peer-reviewed articles and legal citations are frequently updated on my website (www.rgardner.com). I am certain that these publications played an important role in the judge’s decision. This case will clearly serve as a precedent and facilitate the admission of the PAS in other cases—not only in Florida, but elsewhere.

Whereas there are some courts of law that have not recognized PAS, there are far fewer courts that have not recognized PA. This is one of the important arguments given by those who prefer the term PA. They do not risk an opposing attorney claiming that PA does not exist or that courts of law have not recognized it. There are some evaluators who recognize that children are indeed suffering with a PAS, but studiously avoid using the term in their reports and courtroom, because they fear that their testimony will not be admissible. Accordingly, they use PA, which is much safer, because they are protected from the criticisms so commonly directed at those who use PAS. Later in this article I will detail the reasons why I consider this position injudicious.

Many of those who espouse PA claim not to be concerned with the fact that their more general construct will be less useful in courts of law. Their primary interest, they profess, is the expansion of knowledge about children’s alienation from parents. Considering the fact that the PAS is primarily (if not exclusively) a product of the adversary system, and considering the fact that PAS symptoms are directly proportionate to the intensity of the parental litigation, and considering the fact that the court that has more power than the therapist to alleviate and even cure the disorder, PA proponents who claim no concern for the long-term legal implications of their position are injudicious and, I suspect, their claims of unconcern are specious.

Sources of the Controversy Over the Parental Alienation Syndrome

There are some who claim that because there is such controversy swirling around the PAS, there must be something specious about the existence of the disorder. Those who discount the PAS entirely because it is “controversial” sidestep the real issues, namely, what specifically has engendered the controversy, and, more importantly, is the PAS formulation reasonable and valid? The fact that something is controversial does not invalidate it. But why do we have such controversy over the PAS? With regard to whether PAS exists, we generally do not see such controversy regarding most other clinical entities in psychiatry. Examiners may have different opinions regarding the etiology and treatment of a particular psychiatric disorder, but there is usually some consensus about its existence. And this should especially be the case for a relatively “pure” disorder such as the PAS, a disorder that is easily diagnosable because of the similarity of the children’s symptoms when one compares one family with another. Why, then, should there be such controversy over whether or not PAS exists?

The PAS and the Adversary System

The PAS is very much a product of the adversary system (Gardner, 1985a, 1986, 1987a, 1987b, 1989, 1992, 1998). Furthermore, a court of law is generally the place where clients attempt to resolve the PAS. Most newly developed scientific principles inevitably become controversial when they are dealt with in the courtroom. It behooves the attorneys — when working within the adversary system — to take an adversarial stand and create controversy where it may not exist. In that setting, it behooves one side to take just the opposite position from the other if one is to prevail. Furthermore, it behooves each attorney to attempt to discredit the experts of the opposing counsel. A good example of this phenomenon is the way in which DNA testing was dealt with in the OJ Simpson trial. DNA testing is one of the most scientifically valid procedures for identifying perpetrators. Yet the jury saw fit to question the validity of such evidence, and DNA became, for that trial, controversial. I strongly suspect that those jury members who concluded that DNA evidence was not scientifically valid for OJ Simpson would have vehemently fought for its admissibility if they themselves were being tried for a crime, which they did not commit. I am certain, as well, that any man in that jury who found himself falsely accused of paternity would be quite eager to accept DNA proof of his innocence.

The Denial of the PAS is the Primary Defense of the Alienator

A parent accused of inducing a PAS in a child is likely to engage the services of a lawyer who may invoke the argument that there is no such thing as a PAS. The reasoning goes like this: “If there is no such thing as the PAS, then there is no programmer, and therefore my client cannot be accused of brainwashing the children.” This is an extremely important point, and I cannot emphasize it strongly enough. It is a central element in the controversy over the PAS, a controversy that has been played out in courtrooms not only in the United States but in various other countries as well. And if the allegedly dubious lawyer can demonstrate that the PAS is not listed in DSM-IV, then the position is considered “proven” (I say “allegedly” because the lawyer may well recognize the PAS but is only serving his client by his deceitfulness). The only thing this proves is that in 1994 DSM-IV did not list the PAS. The lawyers hope, however, that the judge will be taken in by this specious argument and will then conclude that if there is no PAS, there is no programming, and so the client is thereby exonerated. Substituting the term PA circumvents this problem. No alienator is identified, the sources are vaguer, and the causes could lie with the mother, the father, or both. The drawback here is that the evaluator may not provide the court with proper information about the cause of the children’s alienation. It lessens the likelihood, then, that the court will have the proper data with which to make its recommendations.

Which Term to Use in the Courtroom: PA or PAS?

Many examiners, then, even those who recognize the existence of the PAS, may consciously and deliberately choose to use the term parental alienation in the courtroom. Their argument may go along these lines: “I fully recognize that there is such a disease as the PAS. I have seen many such cases and it is a widespread phenomenon. However, if I mention PAS in my report, I expose myself to criticism in the courtroom such as, ‘It doesn’t exist,’ ‘It’s not in DSM-IV’ etc. Therefore, I just use PA, and no one denies that.” I can recognize the attractiveness of this argument, but I have serious reservations about this way of dealing with the controversy—especially in a court of law.

Using PA is basically a terrible disservice to the PAS family because the cause of the children’s alienation is not properly identified. It is also a compromise in one’s obligation to the court, which is to provide accurate and useful information so that the court will be in the best position to make a proper ruling. Using PA is an abrogation of this responsibility; using PAS is in the service of fulfilling this obligation.

Furthermore, evaluators who use PA instead of PAS are losing sight of the fact that they are impeding the general acceptance of the term in the courtroom. This is a disservice to the legal system, because it deprives the legal network of the more specific PAS diagnosis that could be more helpful to courts for dealing with such families. Moreover, using the PA term is shortsighted because it lessens the likelihood that some future edition of DSM will recognize the subtype of PA that we call PAS. This not only has diagnostic implications, but even more importantly, therapeutic implications. The diagnoses included in the DSM serve as a foundation for treatment. The symptoms listed therein serve as guidelines for therapeutic interventions and goals. Insurance companies (who are always quick to look for reasons to deny coverage) strictly refrain from providing coverage for any disorder not listed in the DSM. Accordingly, PAS families cannot expect to be covered for treatment. I describe below additional diagnoses that are applicable to the PAS, diagnoses that justify requests for insurance coverage. Examiners in both the mental health and legal professions who genuinely recognize the PAS, but who refrain from using the term until it appears in DSM, are lessening the likelihood that it will ultimately be included, because widespread utilization is one of the criteria that DSM committees consider. Such restraint, therefore, is an abrogation of their responsibility to contribute to the enhancement of knowledge in their professions.

There is, however, a compromise. I use PAS in all those reports in which I consider the diagnosis justified. I also use the PAS term throughout my testimony. However, I sometimes make comments along these lines, both in my reports and in my testimony:

Although I have used the term PAS, the important questions for the court are: Are these children alienated? What is the cause of the alienation? and What can we then do about it? So if one wants to just use the term PA, one has learned something. But we haven’t really learned very much, because everyone involved in this case knows well that the children have been alienated. The question is what is the cause of the children’s alienation? In this case the alienation is caused by the mother’s (father’s) programming and something must be done about protecting the children from the programming. That is the central issue for this court in this case, and it is more important than whether one is going to call the disorder PA or PAS, even though I strongly prefer the PAS term for the reasons already given.

In addition, if the court does not wish to recognize the PAS diagnosis there are other DSM-IV diagnoses that are very much applicable in this case. For the alienating father (mother) the following diagnoses are warranted: (the examiner can select from the list provided in the next section of this article). For the PAS child the following DSM-IV diagnoses are warranted: (the examiner can select from the list provided in the next section of this article). With regard to the alienated parent, the mother (father), no DSM-IV diagnosis is warranted. (However, a DSM-IV diagnosis may be warranted, but generally it is not related to the PAS as the symptoms have not played a role in contributing to the disorder).

I wish to emphasize that I do not routinely include this compromise, because whenever I do so, I recognize that I am providing support for those who are injudiciously eschewing the term and compromising thereby their professional obligations to their clients and the court.

Warshak (1999, 2001), has also addressed the PA vs. PAS controversy. He emphasizes the point that espousers of both PA and PAS agree that in the severe cases the only hope for the victimized children is significant restriction of the programmer’s access to the children and, in many cases, custodial transfer—sometimes via a transitional site. Warshak concludes that the arguments for the utilization for PAS outweigh the arguments for the utilization of PA, although he has more sympathy for the PA position than do I. Elsewhere, I have also addressed myself to this issue (Gardner, 2002).

DSM-IV Diagnoses Related to the Parental Alienation Syndrome

Examiners writing reports for and testifying in courts of law can generally find diagnoses in DSM-IV that are immune to the argument, “It doesn’t exist because it’s not in DSM-IV.” These diagnoses are not identical to the PAS, but they have common elements that can justify their utilization. None of them, however, are identical to the PAS and cannot be used as substitutes for it. I present here those that are most applicable and potentially useful in courts of law.

Diagnoses Applicable to Both Alienating Parents and PAS Childrem

297.3 Shared Psychotic Disorder

     

  1. A delusion develops in an individual in the context of a close relationship with another person(s) who has an already-established delusion.
  2. The delusion is similar in content to that of the person who already has the established delusion.
  3.  

This DSM-IV diagnosis is warranted in some of the severe PAS cases in which the programmer is paranoid, and the child’s campaign of denigration incorporates the same paranoid ideation. In a sense, most of the moderate, and even some of the mild cases of PAS, are examples of the folie à deux phenomenon. However, one cannot justifiably consider the mild and moderate cases of PAS to warrant the label psychotic with the implication of complete break with reality. In severe cases we do see bona fide delusions of persecution that can justifiably be considered paranoid. Most often, the delusional system is circumscribed to the alienated parent. It is important to note that this single diagnosis can be applied to both the alienator and the alienated child.

V61.20 Parent-Child Relational Problem

This category should be used when the focus of clinical attention is a pattern of interaction between parent and child (e.g., impaired communication, overprotection, inadequate discipline) that is associated with clinically significant impairment in individual or family functioning or the development of clinically significant symptoms in parent or child.

This diagnosis generally applies to a dyad. Obviously, there are a wide variety of parent-child relational problems that have nothing to do with PAS. In fact, it is reasonable to state that parent-child relational problems probably began with the first families that existed. This diagnosis is an excellent example of the aforementioned principle that none of the DSM-IV diagnoses described here can be reasonably substituted for the PAS. Rather, they are best viewed as disorders that have some symptoms in common with the PAS and may therefore justify being listed as additional diagnoses.

In the PAS situation there is a pathological dyad between the alienating parent and the child and another pathological dyad between the alienated parent and the child. The pathological dyad between the alienated parent and the child is one in which the child is being programmed into a campaign of denigration against the previously loving parent. The child is being programmed to exhibit any and all of the primary symptomatic manifestations of the PAS. With regard to the relationship between the child and the alienated parent, the child exhibits inordinate hostility, denigration, and fear of the target parent to the point where that parent is viewed as noxious and loathsome. Examiners using this criterion do well to emphasize that two separate parent-child relational problems are manifested.

Diagnoses Applicable to Alienating Parents

297.71 Delusional Disorder

     

  1. Nonbizarre delusions (i.e., involving situations that occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, infected, loved at a distance, or deceived by spouse or lover, or having a disease) of at least 1 month’s duration.
  2.  

Of the various subtypes of delusional disorder, the one that is most applicable to the PAS:

Persecutory Type: delusions that the person (or someone to whom the person is close) is being malevolently treated in some way

This diagnosis is generally applicable to the PAS indoctrinator who may initially recognize that the complaints about the behavior of the alienated parent are conscious and deliberate fabrications. However, over time, the fabrications may become delusions, actually believed by the programming parent. And the same process may ultimately be applicable to the child. Specifically, at first the child may recognize that the professions of hatred are feigned and serve to ingratiate the child to the programmer. However, over time the child may come to actually believe what were originally conscious and deliberate fabrications. When that point is reached the delusional disorder diagnosis is applicable to the child. Generally, this diagnosis is applicable to relentless programmers who are obsessed with their hatred of the victim parent, by which time the child will have probably entered the severe level of PAS. It is to be noted that when the PAS is present, most often one observes a circumscribed delusional system, confined almost exclusively to the alienated parent. This diagnosis may also be applicable to the PAS child, especially the child who is in the severe category.

301.0 Paranoid Personality Disorder

     

  1. A pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
    1. suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
    2. is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
    3. is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
    4. reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events
    5. persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights
    6. perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack
    7. has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner
  2.  

PAS programmers who warrant this diagnosis would often satisfy these criteria before the marital separation. A detailed history from the victim parent as well as collaterals may be important because the programming parent is not likely to directly reveal such symptoms. They may, however, reveal them in the course of the evaluation, because they are such deep-seated traits, and are so deeply embedded in their personality structure, that they cannot be hidden. Most people involved in protracted child-custody litigation become “a little paranoid,” and this is often revealed by elevations on the paranoid scale of the MMPI. After all, there are indeed people who are speaking behind the patient’s back, are plotting against them, and are developing schemes and strategies with opposing lawyers. This reality results in an elevation of the paranoid scale in people who would not have manifested such elevations prior to the onset of the litigation. We see here how adversarial proceedings intensify psychopathology in general (Gardner, 1986), and in this case, paranoid psychopathology especially. The PAS child is less likely to warrant this diagnosis. When the severe level is reached PAS children may warrant the aforementioned Shared Psychotic Disorder diagnosis. On occasion, the diagnosis Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type (295.30) is warranted for the programming parent, but such patients generally exhibited other manifestations of schizophrenia, especially prior to the separation. It goes beyond the purposes of this paper to detail the marital symptoms of schizophrenia which should be investigated if the examiner has reason to believe that this diagnosis may be applicable.

It is important for the examiner to appreciate that there is a continuum from delusional disorder, to paranoid personality disorder, to paranoid schizophrenia. Furthermore, in the course of protracted litigation, a patient may move along the track from the milder to a more severe disorder on this continuum.

301.83 Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

     

  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
    Note:Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
    Note Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g. intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  7. chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
  10.  

Some alienators may exhibit some of these symptoms prior to the separation. However, as a result of the stresses of the separation, the symptoms may progress to the point where the diagnosis is applicable. Criterion (1) is likely to be exhibited soon after the separation because the marital dissolution is generally associated with real feelings of abandonment. Criterion (2) is often seen when there is a dramatic shift from idealization of the spouse to extreme devaluation. The campaign of denigration is the best example of this manifestation of BPD.

Criterion (4) may manifest itself by excessive spending, especially when such spending causes significant stress and grief to the alienated parent. Following the separation, alienating parents may satisfy Criterion (6) with affect instability, irritability, and intense episodic dysphoria. Although such reactions are common among most people involved in a divorce, especially when litigating the divorce, patients with BPD exhibit these symptoms to an even greater degree. Chronic feelings of emptiness (Criterion [7]) go beyond those that are generally felt by people following a separation. Criterion (8) is extremely common among PAS programmers. The tirades of anger against the alienated parent serve as a model for the child and contribute to the development of the campaign of denigration. The stress-related paranoia, an intensification of the usual suspiciousness exhibited by people involved in litigation, may reach the point that Criterion (9) is satisfied.

The examiner should note which of the symptoms are present and comment: “Five criteria need to be satisfied for the BPD diagnosis. Ms. X satisfies four. Although she does not qualify for the diagnosis at this point, she is at high risk for its development. Furthermore, when one lists diagnoses at the end of the report one might note the DSM-IV diagnosis and add in parenthesis “incipient.”

301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

     

  1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements
  2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  4. requires excessive admiration
  5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
  10.  

My experience has been that most PAS indoctrinators do not satisfy enough criteria (five) to warrant this diagnosis. However, many do exhibit three or four of them, which is worthy of the examiner’s attention and should be noted in the report.

Criterion (5) is especially common in PAS indoctrinators. They act as if court orders have absolutely nothing to do with them, even though their names may be specifically spelled out in the ruling. Unfortunately, they often violate these orders with impunity because courts are typically lax with regard to implementing punitive measures for PAS contemnors. As mentioned in other publications of mine (Gardner, 1998; 2001), the failure of courts to take action against PAS programmers is one of the most common reasons why the symptoms become entrenched in the children.

Criterion (6) is often frequently satisfied by the programmer’s ongoing attempts to extract ever more money from the victim parent, but feels little need to allow access to the children. There is no sense of shame or guilt over this common form of exploitation. The programmer’s lack of empathy and sympathy for the victim parent is quite common and easily satisfies Criterion (7). The PAS, by definition, is a disorder in which a programmer tries to destroy the bond between the children and a good, loving parent. In order to accomplish the goal, the alienator must have a serious deficiency in the ability to empathize with the target parent. Criterion (9) is often seen in that PAS indoctrinators are often haughty and arrogant and this symptom goes along with their sense of entitlement. Again, if warranted, the diagnosis can be listed as “incipient.”

DSM-IV Diagnoses Applicable to PAS Children

312.8 Conduct Disorder

  1. A repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated, as manifested by the presence of three (or more) of the following criteria in the past 12 months, with at least one criterion present in the past 6 months:
  2.  

This diagnosis is often applicable to the PAS child, especially in situations when the conduct disturbances are the most salient manifestation. Under such circumstances, an examiner who is not familiar with the PAS may erroneously conclude that this is the only diagnosis. Such a conclusion necessitates selective inattention to the programming process, which is the hallmark of the PAS. Once again, we see here how a diagnosis, although in DSM-IV, cannot be used as a substitute for the PAS, but may be used as an additional diagnosis. I will not list here all 15 of the DSM-IV criteria, but only those that are most applicable to the PAS:

    Aggression to people and animals

     

  1. often bullies, threatens, or intimidates others
  2. often initiates physical fights
  3. has used a weapon that can cause serious physical harm to others (e.g., a bat, brick, broken bottle, knife, gun)
  4. has been physically cruel to animals
  5. has stolen while confronting a victim (e.g., mugging, purse snatching, extortion, armed robbery) Destruction of property
  6. has deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention of causing serious damage
  7. has deliberately destroyed others’ property (other than by fire setting)Deceitfulness or theft
  8. often lies to obtain goods or favors or to avoid obligations (i.e., “cons” others)
  9. has stolen items of nontrivial value without confronting a victim (e.g., shoplifting, but without breaking and entering; forgery)Serious violations of rules
  10. has run away from home overnight at least twice while living in parental or parental surrogate home (or once without returning for a lengthy period
  11.  

As can be seen, most of the 15 criteria for the conduct disorder diagnosis can be satisfied by PAS children, especially those in the severe category. The target parent is very much scapegoated and victimized by PAS children. In severe cases they are screamed at, intimidated, and sometimes physically assaulted with objects such as bats, bottles, and knives. The child may perpetrate acts of sabotage in the home of the victim parent. Destruction of property in that person’s home is common and, on rare occasion, even fire setting. Deceitfulness is common, especially fabrications facilitated and supported by the alienator. Stealing things, such as legal documents and important records, and bringing them to the home of the alienator is common. Running away from the home of the target parent and returning to the home of the alienator is common, especially in moderate and severe cases.

309.21 Separation Anxiety Disorder

     

  1. Developmentally inappropriate and excessive anxiety concerning separation from home or from those to whom the individual is attached, as evidenced by three (or more) of the following:
  2.  

I reproduce here those of the eight criteria that are applicable to the PAS:

1) recurrent excessive distress when separation from home or major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated

4) persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school or elsewhere because of fear of separation

8) repeated complaints of physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomachaches, nausea, or vomiting) when separation from major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated

It is important for the reader to appreciate that the original diagnosis for separation anxiety disorder was school phobia. The term separation anxiety disorder is a relatively recent development emerging from the recognition that the child’s fear was less that of the school per se and much more related to the fear of separation from a parent, commonly an overprotective mother (Gardner, 1985b). DSM-IV recognizes this and doesn’t necessarily require the school to be the object of fear, but rather separation from the home, especially from someone with whom the child is pathologically attached.

It is important to note that the PAS child’s hatred of the victim parent has less to do with actual dislike of that parent and has much more to do with fear that if affection is displayed toward the target parent, the alienating parent will be angry at and rejecting of the child. At the prospect of going with the victim parent, the child may exhibit a wide variety of psychosomatic symptoms, all manifestations of the tension associated with the visit. The distress may be especially apparent when the alienating parent is at the site of the transfer. The child recognizes that expression of willingness or happiness to go off with the alienated parent might result in rejection by the alienator. The separation anxiety disorder diagnosis is most often applicable to the mild and moderate cases of PAS. In the severe cases, the anxiety element is less operative than the anger element.

When applying these criteria to the PAS child, one does well to substitute the PAS indoctrinating parent for the parent with whom the child is pathologically attached. At the same time one should substitute the alienated parent for the school or other place outside the child’s home. When one does this, one can see how most of the aforementioned criteria apply. When the child with a separation anxiety disorder is fearful of leaving the home to go to many destinations, the school is the destination the child most fears. It is there that the child feels imprisoned. In contrast, PAS children generally fear only the target parent and are not afraid to leave the programming parent and go elsewhere, such as to the homes of friends and relatives. In short, the PAS child’s fear is focused on the alienated parent. In contrast, the child with a separation anxiety disorder has fears that focus on school but which have spread to many other situations and destinations.

300.15 Dissociative Disorder
Not Otherwise Specified

This category is included for disorders in which the predominant feature is a dissociative symptom (i.e., a disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, or perception of the environment) that does not meet the criteria for any specific Dissociative Disorder. Examples include:

     

  1. States of dissociation that occur in individuals who have been subjected to periods of prolonged and coercive persuasion (e.g., brainwashing, thought reform, or indoctrination while captive).
  2.  

Of the four categories of dissociative disorder (NOS), only Category 3 is applicable to the PAS. This criterion was designed for people who have been subjected to cult indoctrinations or for military prisoners subjected to brainwashing designed to convert their loyalty from their homeland to the enemy that has imprisoned them. It is very applicable to PAS children, especially those in the severe category. Such children have been programmed to convert their loyalty from a loving parent to the brainwashing parent exclusively. Cult victims and those subjected to prisoner indoctrinations often appear to be in a trance-like state in which they profess their indoctrinations in litany-like fashion. PAS children as well (especially those in the severe category) are often like robots or automatons in the way in which they profess the campaign of denigration in litany-like fashion. They seem to be in an altered state of consciousness when doing so.

Adjustment Disorders

The following subtypes of adjustment disorders are sometimes applicable to PAS children:

309.0 With Depressed Mood.

309.24 With Anxiety.

309.28 With Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood.

309.3 With Disturbance of Conduct.

309.4 With Mixed Disturbance of Emotions and Conduct

Each of these types of adjustment disorders may be applicable to the PAS child. The child is indeed adjusting to a situation in which one parent is trying to convince the youngster that a previously loving, dedicated, and loyal parent has really been noxious, loathsome, and dangerous. The programmed data does not seem to coincide with what the child has experienced. This produces confusion. The child fears that any expression of affection for the target parent will result in rejection by the alienator. Under such circumstances, the child may respond with anxiety, depression, and disturbances of conduct.

313.9 Disorder of Infancy, Childhood or Adolescence Not Otherwise Specified

This category is a residual category for disorders with onset in infancy, childhood, or adolescence that do not meet criteria for any specific order in the Classification.

This would be a “last resort” diagnosis for the PAS child, the child who, although suffering with a PAS, does not have symptoms that warrant other DSM-IV childhood diagnoses. However, if one still feels the need to use a DSM-IV diagnosis, especially if the report will be compromised without one, then this last-resort diagnosis can justifiably be utilized. However, it is so vague that it says absolutely nothing other than that the person who is suffering with this disorder is a child. I do not recommend its utilization because of its weakness and because it provides practically no new information to the court.

DSM-IV Diagnoses Applicable to Alienated Parents

In most PAS cases, a diagnosis is not warranted for the alienated parent. On occasion that parent does warrant a DSM-IV diagnosis, but its applicability usually antedated the separation and usually has not played a role in the PAS development or promulgation. As mentioned elsewhere (Gardner, 2001), the primary problem I have seen with alienated parents is their passivity. They are afraid to implement traditional disciplinary and punitive measures with their children, lest they alienate them even further. And they are afraid to criticize the alienator because of the risk that such criticism will be reported to the court and compromise even further their position in the child-custody litigation. Generally, their passivity is not so deep-seated that they would warrant DSM-IV diagnoses such as avoidant personality disorder (301.82) or dependent personality disorder (301.6), because such passivity does not extend into other areas of life and did not antedate the marital separation. One could argue that they have an adjustment disorder, but there is no DSM diagnosis called “adjustment disorder, with passivity.” Accordingly, I will often state for alienated parents, “No Axis 1 diagnosis.”

If, indeed, the alienated parent did suffer with a psychiatric disorder that contributed to the alienation, then this should be noted. Certainly, there are situations in which the alienated parent’s psychiatric disorder is so profound that it is the primary cause of the children’s alienation. In such cases, the PAS diagnosis is not warranted. Under such circumstances, this disorder should be described instead as the cause of the children’s alienation.

Final Comments About Alternative DSM-IV Diagnoses for the PAS

As mentioned, the primary reason for using these diagnoses is that the PAS, at this point, is not recognized in some courts of law. They cannot be used as substitute diagnoses for the PAS, but sometimes share in common some of the symptoms. Accordingly, they can be used as additional diagnoses. It is too early to expect widespread recognition because it was not feasible for the PAS to have been placed in the 1994 edition, so few were the publications on the disorder when the preparatory committees were meeting. This will certainly not be the case when the committees meet in the next few years for the preparation of DSM-V, which is scheduled for publication in 2010. None of the aforementioned substitute diagnoses are fully applicable to the PAS; however, as mentioned, each one has certain characteristics which overlap the PAS diagnosis. Because no combination of these alternative diagnoses can properly replace the PAS, they should be used in addition to rather than instead of the PAS. There is hardly a diagnosis in DSM-IV that does not share symptoms in common with other diagnoses. There is significant overlap and often fluidity in DSM diagnoses. None are “pure,” but some are purer than others, and the PAS is one of the purer ones.

At this point, examiners who conclude that PAS is an applicable diagnosis do well to list it in the appropriate place(s) in their reports (especially at the end). At the same time, they do well to list any DSM-IV diagnoses that are applicable for the alienator, the alienated child, and (if warranted) for the alienated parent. Accordingly, even if the court will not recognize the PAS diagnosis, it will have a more difficult time ignoring these alternative DSM diagnoses.

Conclusions

Controversies are likely when a new disorder is first described. This is predictable. The PAS, however, has probably generated more controversy than most new diagnostic contributions. The primary reason for this is that the PAS is very much a product of the adversary legal system that adjudicates child-custody disputes. Under such circumstances, it behooves opposing attorneys to discredit the contribution and to find every argument possible for obstructing its admission into courts of law. And this is what happened with the PAS. The purpose of this article has been to help evaluators involved in such disputes understand better the nature of the controversy and to deal with it in the context of the present legal situation. Like all compromises, the solution is not perfect. None of the additional diagnoses are identical to the PAS, but they do serve a purpose in a court of law in that they are established psychiatric diagnoses that are applicable to PAS alienators, PAS children, and (on occasion) the alienated parent. Ultimately, if PAS is admitted into DSM-V, the main argument for its inadmissibility in courts of law will no longer be applicable and the need for listing these additional diagnoses in courts of law will be reduced.

References

American Psychiatric Association (1994), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition, Revised (DSM-IV). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.

Boyd v. Kilgore, 773 So. 2d 546 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000) (Prohibition Denied)

Kilgore v. Boyd, 13th Circuit Court, Hillsborough County, FL., Case No. 94-7573, 733 So. 2d 546 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000) Jan 30, 2001

Gardner, R. A. (1985a), Recent trends in divorce and custody litigation. The Academy Forum, 29(2):3-7.

_______ (1985b), Separation Anxiety Disorder: Psychodynamics and Psychotherapy. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1986), Child Custody Litigation: A Guide for Parents and Mental Health Professionals. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1987), The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Differentiation Between Fabricated and Genuine Child Sex Abuse. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1987), Child Custody. In Basic Handbook of Child Psychiatry, ed. J. Noshpitz, Vol. V, pp. 637-646. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

_______ (1989), Family Evaluation in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1992), The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Professionals. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1998), The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition. Cresskill, New Jersey: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

________ (2001), Therapeutic Interventions for Children with Parental Alienation Syndrome. Cresskill, New Jersey: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (2002), Parental alienation syndrome vs. parental alienation: Which diagnosis should be used in child-custody litigation? The American Journal of Family Therapy, 30(2):101-123.

rgardner.com, Articles in Peer-reviewed journals and Published Books on the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). www.rgardner.com/refs

_______, Testimony Concerning the Parental Alienation Syndrome Has Been Admitted in Courts of Law in Many States and Countries. www.rgardner.com/refs

Warshak, R. A. (1999), Psychological syndromes: Parental alienation syndrome. Expert Witness Manual, Chapter 3-32. Dallas, TX:State Bar of Texas, Family Law Section.

_______ (2001), Current controversies regarding parental alienation syndrome. The American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 19(3):29-59.

©2002 Richard A. Gardner, M.D.

Parental Rights – U.N. treaty to muzzle children?

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment on October 9, 2009 at 6:23 pm



U.N. treaty to muzzle children?



Posted: October 09, 2009
1:00 am Eastern

© 2009 

The prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, recently announced that children of that nation should be excluded from all political activities. Quoted in the Indian newspaper The Daily Star, Hasina said, “Children would be aware of politics but should not be used in political activities.”

She made her proclamation in association with World Children’s Day and Child Rights Week 2009, suggesting that her nation’s actions were tied to its obligations under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This remarkable claim demonstrates how radically international human rights laws diverge from the American Bill of Rights. Evidence is mounting that the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child is exerting its influence across the globe in ways that may, one day soon, threaten the rights of American parents to raise their children as they see fit. This binding treaty is now being considered for ratification by the U.S. Senate.

In the United States, “children” – defined by the CRC as anyone below the age of 18 – have every right to be active participants in all manner of political activities, from canvassing for candidates, to manning call centers and beyond. It is a basic right of free speech guaranteed in our First Amendment. Any effort by the government of the United States to curtail political activity by teenagers or other children would be summarily found to be unconstitutional by American courts. Clearly, the international human rights view of free speech – supposedly guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child – runs contrary to our American system of law.

This declaration should be a strong warning to American judges who seem all-too-eager to submit to international precedent in the advocacy of human rights.

And those in the United States Senate seeking ratification of the U.N. children’s convention might be surprised to learn that the announcement from Bangladesh runs contrary their position on the treaty.

Edward Lee O’Brien, the executive director emeritus of Street Law Inc., recently sent an e-mail to public school teachers in the United States on behalf of the U.S. Campaign for the Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This advocacy organization has asked public school teachers (in grades 6-12) to “pilot a new curriculum to teach about the CRC,” even though to do so would certainly violate the CRC’s apparent restrictions on children’s political activities.

American advocates of the CRC do have this in common with their counterparts in Dhaka – they both apparently believe in government control of the political thoughts of children. In Bangladesh, the government intends to tell them what they may not do; in the United States, the pro-U.N. crowd would like to tell children what they must believe.

Whether the issue is environmentalism, tax policy, or international law, public schools should not become agencies of propaganda.

If we really believe in children’s rights – in a form that is recognized by the Bill of Rights – then we need to do everything we possibly can do to defeat the U.N. Convention on the “Rights” of the Child. And we need to pass the Parental Rights Amendment – with now more than 120 co-sponsors in the U.S. House – to see that it stays defeated for good.

If we believe in the right of young Americans to engage in the political process, then it is essential that we defeat this dangerous treaty.

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U.N. treaty to muzzle children?.

Children’s Rights Initiative for Sharing Parents Equally

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on August 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm

SUPPORT THE RESPONSIBLE FATHERHOOD AND HEALTHY FAMILIES ACT OF 2009

Obama-Change-500

Many poor fathers are shut out of the lives of their children because the family court system puts profits over children and parents.  The majority of these fathers are homeless, but the public has this skewed perception that these fathers are taking five vacation trips per year, driving fast cars, have a trophy girl friend, and could care less about their children who are straving and momma is trying to scrape every penny together to feed them.

In 2006, then Senator Barrack Obama sponsored the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act which failed miserably.  The contributions of fathers are grossly ignored by the media unless it is someone like Michael Jackson.  We seriously need change in putting fathers at an equal level as mothers when it comes to raising children.

We need to make serious changes and get rid of bad laws that hurt families and children.

Attorney Andrew J. Thompson writes about what we need in order to have true responsible fatherhood:

http://mkg4583.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/responsible-fatherhood-and-healthy-families-family-law-and-fathers/

Equality in Parenting: while parents’ roles will always differ, both parents matter deeply to every child, and on the whole, their roles should be valued equally and with an equality of balance. When parents separate, divorce, and act as single parents, each parent should be responsible for roughly equal shares of financial and parenting time responsibilities.  This equality should be recognized under the law.  The father who is willing to bear his share of each of these responsibilities should be honored and acknowledged, and his role and time with the children should not be inhibited by the family courts.

Support Enforcement: while covering a relatively equal share of his children’s financial support is part and parcel to fatherhood and will always be expected of fathers, current child support standards are far too onerous and unfairly burdensome to fathers.  The federal government plays a role in support regulation today and productive reforms can be made in the law as follows:

  1. Repeal the Bradley Amendment: Fathers who have been alienated from their children, perhaps have not seen them for 5,10 or 20 years, should not be forced to pay support to the mother.  The Bradley Amendment has created a situation where we have billions of dollars of uncollectible child support over the past 20 years, and it is time for its repeal.
  2. Title IV-D Funding: Under current law, states are rewarded with federal funds based on the amount of support they collect.  This creates an incentive in the system to create unreasonably high support guidelines and calculations, set inappropriately high support awards, and deploy draconian enforcement methods that force many, good fathers to live in poverty or near poverty conditions.  States should receive federal funding focusing directly and solely on those cases where collection is achievable (actual resources are shown to be available), and there is a history of continuing dereliction and lack of cooperation on the part of the parent obligated for support.
  3. Imputation of Income: Not even the IRS can arbitrarily impute an income against which it may levy charges, yet nearly every state permits this practice in determining the amount of support a father will have to pay.  This practice defies the principles underlying many of our Constitutional rights.  No state should be allowed to receive any federal funding as long as it allows for this practice.
  4. Sanctions/Imprisonment: There are many jurisdictions nationally where more than 10% of the prison/jail population is made up of fathers who are unable to pay support.  This runs contrary to the purpose of the laws themselves, as it prevents from earning the income necessary to do what the law is expecting of him.  The law should prohibit any parent who is willing to work and pay support from being jailed for non-payment of support, and parents responsible for support should be given a preference in professional and other licensing that may be necessary in order to earn the income to pay support.
  5. Garnishments: While other creditors are limited to garnishing 25% of an individual’s income, child support agencies can collect up to 65% – 65% of a low or mid-income wage, leaves the person completely unable to meet any other obligations, even the most basic.  Garnishments for support should be limited to 25%, consistent with otehr creditors.

Domestic Violence Issues: domestic violence is a very serious crime and should always be treated as such.  Allegations of domestic violence should result in appropriate protection for the victim with appropriate sanctions.  Children should not suffer alienation from a parent, they should not be punished for the actions of the parent.

Here is some info on the Act:

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s1309/show

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/record.xpd?id=110-h20070801-76

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Posted on by Semper Fi

Children’s Rights Initiative for Sharing Parents Equally.

Parental Rights Amendment Reaches 110 Co-Sponsors

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment on July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm

New CoSponsors in the House – and Senate!

This morning, in conjunction with Representative Hoekstra’s office, we proudly sent out the following press release:

Parental Rights Amendment Reaches 110 Co-Sponsors

Grassroots Movement behind Effort to Ensure Parents’ Rights to Raise their Children

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / July 27, 2009 / Washington, D.C. – A Constitutional Amendment to protect the parent-child relationship introduced by U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan, has reached 110 co-sponsors in the House.

“More and more members of Congress are recognizing the threat from government and foreign interference into the parent-child relationship,” Hoekstra said. “I encourage my colleagues to support the initiative by co-sponsoring the Parents’ Rights Amendment.”

The Parental Rights Amendment (H.J.Res.42) would state explicitly in the U.S. Constitution that parents have a fundamental right to raise their children as they see fit, while protecting against abuse and neglect. Threats to the parent-child relationship include potential Senate ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and the erosion of fundamental parental rights in our federal courts.

“Just about every member of Congress agrees with the legal principle that parents have the fundamental right to make decisions for the upbringing of their children,” said Michael Farris, J.D., president of Parentalrights.org. “Because of international law and shifting judicial philosophies, the right is being steadily undermined. We now have 110 members of Congress with the foresight to say that we need to protect this long-standing right before the erosion goes too far. We appreciate the leadership of Pete Hoekstra and the 109 other members of Congress who believe that it is important to secure the rights of American families for generations to come.”

More information on the Parental Rights Amendment can be viewed at http://www.parentalrights.org.

More Good News

In addition, we also received word that Senator Coburn of Oklahoma has signed on as a cosponsor of S.J. Res. 16, the Parental Rights Amendment in the Senate. This brings our total in the Senate to three (3) – a slow but important start.

While there is no way to track the direct effects of your calls and emails and our visits last week, it is safe to assume that at least some of these cosponsors would not have signed on before the summer break without this contact. When we visited Congress last week, everyone we spoke to was already aware of the Amendment – a major change from just four months ago! Our thanks and congratulations to you for your efforts to bring this vital issue to the attention of your Senators and Congressmen. With help like yours, we will win!

Fathers needed to help stop child abuse – Parental Alienation

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 16, 2009 at 4:10 am

Fathers needed to help stop child abuse
Wednesday Jul 15, 2009

I read with interest the July 9th [op-ed] in the South End News, “Health-care reform should include child abuse prevention,” by Daniel F. Conley, District Attorney of Suffolk County.

I do agree with DA Conley that funds to fight child abuse are important.

However, what DA Conley does not mention is who is responsible for the majority of child abuse and why this abuse sometimes occurs. According to the 2007 Child Maltreatment Report of the US Department of Health and Human Services, 38.7 percent of victims were at the hands of their mother only, compared to 17.9 percent at the hands of their father only. Mother and father together was 16.8 percent.

So one of the most protective methods to prevent child abuse is to bring back stable families into children’s lives to prevent child abuse. Today 40 percent of all new births are to unwed mothers and over 30 percent of children are raised without a dad in the house, over 20 million kids. From these numbers, one can deduce that there will be an explosion of child abuse with so many children brought up in single parent, mostly mother-only homes.

This explosion of single-mom homes has been due to well-meaning but perverse federal and state laws. They include Title IV(d), which actually has perverse incentives to keep a father out of the home and the Violence Against Women’s Act, which was not made gender neutral and has allowed for an explosion of false allegations without due process. The Crime Bill of 1994, which is not equally applied. The Brady Bill, which has sent more dead-broke fathers, non-violent fathers to jail. The tax code head of household provision is biased against fathers. Lack of equal shared parenting laws for fit parents and the lack of criminal penalties for false allegations and for the use of parental alienation hurt too.

If we truly want to make a dent into child abuse, one of the root ways is to bring back fathers into the household, as well as some of the support systems mentioned by DA Conley.

Dr. Peter G. Hill
Boston Copley Square Chiropractic
304 Columbus Avenue

A tale of two cities

On Sunday, July 12, Boston was literally a tale of two cities. Along Boston’s long waterfront from the Charlestown Navy Yard to the Seaport World Trade Center, thousands upon thousands were touring the tall ships in Boston for Sail Boston 2009. At the same time, over in Dorchester, folks were taking part in the ninth annual Parents’ and Children’s Walk for Peace. While driving through Upham’s Corner in Dorchester, I passed by this peace gathering sponsored by the Bobby Mendes Peace Legacy watching sad but hopeful faces, the relatives of murdered victims carrying their message of peace.

This crowd was much smaller than the one viewing those majestic tall ships but what they lacked in quantity, they made up in their continued drive to drive out violence from their communities. I viewed the march for a few minutes as it turned off Columbia Road onto Dudley Street. Ten minutes down Dudley Street and I am back in my boyhood neighborhood of 45-50 years ago. Things have not been right in my old neighborhood for decades and if things are ever to get right again, it will be because of people like these marchers working for change along with their chanting. Actions speak louder than words. Marches bring people together but once brought together a commitment to real change begins as soon as the march ends. The tall ships docked inside the harbor but there is no safe harbor for young people today as violence robs many of their futures.

Sal Giarratani
Roslindale

A healthy thank you for Senator Hart

On behalf of the 34,000 healthcare workers of 1199SEIU throughout Massachusetts, I would like to thank Senator Jack Hart for meeting with frontline health-care workers from Boston Medical Center. Senator Hart was incredibly gracious in taking time to hear from us as constituents and as caregivers about the challenges we are facing in the health-care industry right now, as we strive to fulfill our mission of delivering quality care to the residents of the South End.

It is good to know that Senator Hart cares about keeping our communities healthy and supports investing in health-care facilities, programs, and job training to ensure quality health-care services and quality jobs for Boston area residents. The local health-care industry is facing major challenges in this economy, and we know everyone needs to work together to make health care better for our patients, consumers, and nursing home residents. The health-care workers of 1199SEIU and Boston Medical Center want to thank the senator for meeting with us and taking a leadership role in that effort.

Roxana B. Hidalgo
Biller, Patient Financial Services, Boston Medical Center
South Boston

MySouthEnd.com – Local news and entertainment for Boston’s Historic South End.

Parental Alienation Syndrome – Posts from the Canadian Children’s Rights Council

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D on July 4, 2009 at 12:12 am

Parental Alienation – Brainwashing a child to hate a parent

About Parental Alienation
The parental alienation is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parents indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. The alienation usually extends to the non-custodial parent’s family and friends as well.

Many children involved in divorce and custody litigation undergo thought reform or mild brainwashing by their parents. This disturbing fact is a product of the nature of divorce and the disintegration of the spousal relationship in our culture. Inevitably, children receive subtly transmitted messages that both parents have serious criticisms of each other.

Parental Alienation, however, is much more serious. It involves the systematic vilification by one parent of the other parent and brainwashing of the child, with the intent of alienating the child from the other parent


What happens when children are denied access to a parent and are victims of Parental Alienation?

Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 1988
A child who was separated from his or her father for a period of three months or longer while between the ages of 6 months to 5 years old, suffered a 2.5 to 5 times higher risk of conduct disorder, emotional disorders and hysteria than a child that did not go through the same period of separation.

Bron, Strack & Rudolph, Univ. of Gottingen, Germany, 1991
Drastically increased suicidal tendencies were found in people who had experienced the loss of the father.

American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1990
Children showed the most behaviour problems if their parents were in a legal conflict and the visitation was not frequent or regular with both parents.

Acta Psychiatrica, Scandinavia, 1990, 1993
Scandinavian research found a significantly higher number of attempted adult suicides for people who, in childhood, had lost a parent through parental separation or divorce.

British Journal of Psychiatry, 1989
British researchers found that adults who suffered the loss of a parent because of separation or divorce have a significantly higher risk of developing agoraphobia with panic attacks and panic disorder.

<!–An Irish Equal-Parenting Parenting Equality has collection of , t http://homepages.iol.ie/~pe/ for other interesting information.–>

Canadian Children’s Rights Council – See our whole section regarding fatherlessness and single parent families for increased rates of teen pregnancy, increased suicide rates and more. According to STATSCAN, the Government of Canada statistics agency, single parent families headed by men were 20% of single parent households in October 2007. Our position is that this growing trend will produce similar negative results for motherless children. More..

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS): Sixteen Years Later

Academy Forum, 2001, 45(1):10-12 ( A Publication of The American Academy of Psychoanalysis ), by RICHARD A. GARDNER, M.D.

In 1985, the Academy Forum published my article, “Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation.” This was the first article in which I described the parental alienation syndrome (PAS), a disorder that I began seeing in the early 1980s. The Forum article is generally considered to be the seminal publication on the PAS, parent to at least 100 peer-reviewed articles. Although this is certainly a source of gratification for me, the sixteen years that have ensued cannot be viewed as a straight path to glory, especially because of controversies that have swirled around the diagnosis. I address here the reasons for the controversies and provide suggested solutions. More..

Newspaper Articles

The Globe and Mail

FAMILY LAW

Parental alienation cases draining court resources

Study says such cases should be moved out of court system, handled by individual judges

The Globe and Mail, by KIRK MAKIN, JUSTICE REPORTER, May 13, 2009

An escalation in parental alienation allegations is draining valuable courtroom resources, a major study of 145 alienation cases between 1989-2008 concludes.

“Access problems and alienation cases – especially those which are more severe – take up a disproportionate amount of judicial time and energy,” said the study, conducted by Queen’s University law professor Nicholas Bala, a respected family law expert.

“One can ask whether the courts should even be trying to deal with these very challenging cases.” More..


The Australian

Mother loses kids for anti-dad stance

The Australian, Australia’s national daily newspaper, by Caroline Overington, March 31, 2009

TWO children who have been in the care of their mother since their parents separated in 2005 have been sent from Hobart to live with their father in Melbourne after the Family Court heard the mother encouraged them to have “negative” feelings about their dad.

The two children – a girl, aged nine, and a boy, aged seven – had been struggling with “change overs” between parents, saying things such as “I don’t want to go” and “I don’t have to go” when their father arrived in Tasmania from Melbourne to collect them for access visits.

The court found the mother did not discourage them from saying these things, and did not encourage a positive relationship between the children and their father. More..

Parental Alienation in family law cases – One American high profile case

Read the story in the American magazine Newsweek and then read the information provided by the court office

Newsweek wrote:

“It took six years for Genia Shockome to gather the courage to leave her husband, Tim. He pushed her, kicked her and insulted her almost from the moment they married in 1994, she says. She tried to start over with their children when the family moved from Texas to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. It didn’t last long. Tim called her constantly at work and, after they split up, pounded on her door and screamed obscenities, she alleged in a complaint filed in 2001. Tim was charged with harassment. As part of a plea deal, Tim agreed to a stay-away order–but denies ever abusing her or the children. In custody hearings over the past six years, Tim has insisted that he’s been a good father, and argued that Genia’s allegations poisoned their children against him. The judge sided with Tim. This summer he was granted full custody of the kids, now 11 and 9. Genia was barred from contacting them.” More..


Edmonton Journal

Judicial passivism turning fathers into deadbeats

Judges refuse to enforce Divorce Act section that embraces equal access to child

The Edmonton Journal, Grant A. Brown, Freelance, Saturday, June 17, 2006When mothers lose in court, they are not made to pay court costs — again on the premise that this would only take money away from the children. But payment of penalties and costs is merely a transfer between parents, and only prejudice supports the proposition that fathers would be less generous toward their children than mothers, given the time and financial ability to do so.

Contrast the endless lame excuses judges use not to impose remedies for access denial with their attitude toward making and enforcing child-support orders. More ..


Parental alienation gets a day

Tribune, U.S.A., By Kathleen Parker, May 12, 2006

Proclamations generally have the same riveting power as supermarket ribbon-cuttings, but a recent one in Maine is being celebrated as a small victory for children and noncustodial parents wounded by divorce.

The proclamation, signed by Gov. John E. Baldacci, recognized April 25 as “Parental Alienation Awareness Day.”

If you don’t know what “parental alienation” is, you probably haven’t had the pleasure of a divorce with children. Veterans of those wars know without a governor’s seal exactly what it means – agony for a noncustodial parent and emotional problems for children alienated from one parent. More ..


Sexual Abuse Accusations Color Custody Battles
Consider child’s age, physical or mental disabilities, feelings of alienation when evaluating allegations.

Clinical Psychiatry News,  U.S.A., June 2005 Volume 33 Number 6, Heidi Splete, Senior Writer

HOUSTON, U.S.A. Sexual abuse allegations in a child custody case are not always true, and even professionals who work with these children can have trouble distinguishing fact from fantasy in the children’s stories, Joseph Kenan,M.D., said at the annual meeting of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry.

When a forensic psychiatrist evaluates potential sexual abuse of a child in a custody case, he or she considers a host of factors, including the child’s age, any physical or mental disabilities, and a child’s feelings of alienation toward one parent or history of siding with one parent during arguments, he said at the meeting cosponsored by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Although psychiatrists use careful questioning and information-gathering skills to evaluate children’s allegations, a study of 12 professionals showed that none of them could tell the difference between true and false stories after viewing videotapes of 10 different child testimonies, said Dr. Kenan, chief forensic psychiatrist at the Psychological Trauma Center, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. More..


Does DSM-IV Have Equivalents for the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Diagnosis?

Richard A. Gardner. M.D.
Department of Child Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University, New York, New York, USA click here


Psychiatric disorder may have led boy to fatally shoot father

Rick James Lohstroh, a doctor at UTMB, was fatally shot this summer, apparently by his 10-year-old son.

ABC13 Eyewitness News,  Houston, Texas, U.S.A., Dec. 29, 2004

The 10-year-old Katy boy accused of murdering his father this summer is now the face of an unofficial psychiatric disorder that may have lead to his father’s death. More ..


Billboards remember slain dad

Houston Chronicle, Feb. 13, 2005

Some new billboards in Houston are intended to keep alive the memory of Dr. Rick Lohstroh, the surgeon who police say was shot and killed by his 10-year-old son last year.

Several of Lohstroh’s friends have formed a group called Help Stop Parental Alienation Syndrome, named for the unofficial disorder that they say contributed to the 41-year-old father’s death.

Lohstroh’s family and friends believe his 2003 divorce was so contentious that his ex-wife turned their children against him, setting the stage for the Aug. 27 shooting. More ..


FAMILY WARS: The Alienation of Children

New Hampshire Bar Journal, March 1993
Composite case from actual examples More ..


Remarriage as a Trigger of Parental Alienation Syndrome

The American Journal of Family Therapy,  2000
By Richard A. Warshak of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, Texas, USA  More ..


The Emerging Problem of Parental Alienation

by Caroline Willbourne and Lesley-Anne Cull, Barristers, December 1997,  Fam Law p. 807-8  More ..


Custody and Visitation Interference: Alternative Remedies

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Journal, Winter 1994,

By Joy M. Feinberg and Lori S. Loeb

The potential for psychological and physical damage to children of divorce and the parental relationship looms as a potential harbinger of doom over every divorce case. This specter becomes reality when one parent interferes with the rights of custody or visitation of the other parent by preventing the child from visiting the other parent, or by kidnapping or secreting the child from the parent who has the right to custody or visitation.

This article will discuss the visitation and custody interferences that occur during divorce and alert practitioners and judges to the psychological damage to the children. This article will review the alternative remedies available to circumvent custody and visitation interference and address the problems associated with enforcing these remedies. This examination will reveal that the available remedies lose effectiveness proportionate to the severity of the interference with custody and visitation rights.  More ..


Interference with Parental Rights of Noncustodial Parent as Grounds for Modification of Child Custody

Divorce Litigation, by Edward B. Borris, Assistant Editor, January, 1997, p. 1

Interference by one parent in the relationship of a child and the other parent is almost never in the child’s best interests. In fact, in extreme cases, actions by one parent to alienate the affections of the child from the other parent, to interfere win the other parent’s visitation rights, or to remove the child to a distant state or country can often lead to liability in tort. See generally E. Borris, “Torts Arising Out of Interference with Custody and Visitation,” 7 Divorce Litigation 192 (1995). Tort liability is not always an option, however, as many courts refuse to award damages based upon interference with visitation rights. E.g., Cosner v. Ridinger, 882 P.2d 1243 (Wyo.1994). More ..

Parental Alienation Syndrome, PAS, parental alienation in Divorce, children’s rights, Canada.

Families without Fathers by David Popenoe – New Book

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on July 3, 2009 at 3:30 pm
This a book on American fatherhood and the result of children growing up in homes without dads.

This book is due out on July 15, 2009.  The author is David Popenoe is professor of sociology emeritus and co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles, and as co-chair of the Council on Families in America, he was the primary author of its pioneering 1995 report Marriage in America: A Report to the Nation.

Families without Fathers
Fatherhood, Marriage and Children in American Society

Author(s): David Popenoe

jacket Image for Families without Fathers

Author Biography:
David Popenoe is professor of sociology emeritus and co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles, and as co-chair of the Council on Families in America, he was the primary author of its pioneering 1995 report Marriage in America: A Report to the Nation.

Families without Fathers by David Popenoe : Eurospan Bookstore.

What we need is a fatherhood revolution: Parental Alienation (Canada)

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Foster CAre Abuse, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on July 2, 2009 at 2:32 am

Monday, June 29, 2009

What we need is a fatherhood revolution

It is nice to see more positive discussions on fatherhood. The Victim Feminist mantra that we are all bad and abusers is slowly being suffused with the benefits of paternity for children and that patriarchy is not completely without merit. I don’t mean the kind of patriarchy that suppresses anyone rather the kind that offers protection to those in need like our children. There is room for the equality women seek and the strengths dads have to offer in a family of parental equals. Have you ever noticed there is only a one non-vowel letter difference in the words matriarchy and patriarchy. Perhaps we can call a family of parental equals a natriarchy – the “n” standing for neutral. All 3 words start with a consonant.MJM

Warwick Marsh | Saturday, 20 June 2009

The times they are a-changing. Being a dad is becoming cool.

Father’s Day 2009 is being celebrated with a renewed sense of vigour and excitement. Fathers and children are appearing in more advertisements. The media are running father-friendly stories. Restaurants are booked out for Father’s Day as well as Mother’s Day.

When the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation was formed in 2002 to help and encourage Australian dads, our television community service advertisements were initially threatened with a black ban by the Advertising Standards Board. Political correctness ruled the day and fathers were incorrect. This would not happen today. Fatherhood has become sexy, a newspaper here said recently. A quick squiz at pop culture supports this optimistic statement.

Take the 2003 film Finding Nemo. That was a story about a father fish looking for his son. Amazingly, it is well inside the top 20 grossing movies of all time. Just a bit further down that list are other popular movies with positive fatherhood themes: I am Sam, Dear Frankie, The Incredibles, Night at the Museum, Pursuit of Happyness, and the brilliant Australian movie with Eric Bana, Romulus My Father. Even Snoop Dogg is cashing in on the fatherhood revival with his Father Hood TV show.

Last night, with my wife, I watched Swing Vote, Kevin Costner’s popular film about a no-hoper dad whose vote determines an entire presidential election. Interestingly, the plot revolves around a single father and his daughter and treats him with a great deal of respect. This story could never have screened 20 years ago. Fatherhood is coming in from the cold — and not before time.

Here in Australia, songwriter Colin George put together a compilation CD called Fatherhood which features some of our best artists such as Paul Kelly, Shane Howard, Neil Murray and John Butler. They sing about their children, fatherhood and families. This album has morphed into an annual Fatherhood Festival in the surfing town of Byron Bay, which is better known for hardcore punk, drugs and yoga festivals. The home of Australian counterculture has become the home of fatherhood. The idea of a Fatherhood Festival has spread to several other cities in Australia. Similar events are happening in the US. “Family First” is the name of a minor political party in Australia, but the idea putting your family first is catching on. Just like the 60s counterculture, it could be the beginning of a revolution.

The renovation of fatherhood and the renewal of masculinity have been heralded by writers like Ed Cole, author of Maximised Manhood; Gordon Dalby, Healing the Masculine Soul; Robert Bly, Iron John; and Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion and even by feminist authors such as Adrienne Burgess, Fatherhood Reclaimed and Susan Falundi, Stiffed. Australian author Steve Biddulph has been a trailblazer for the Australian fatherhood and men’s movement for many years. His books sell very smartly overseas as well.

The Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation believes that fatherlessness is a major contributor to the problems our children face. A leading expert, Dr Bruce Robinson, says that fatherlessness costs Australia A$13 billion a year. Similar estimates on the cost of fatherlessness in America by the National Fatherhood Initiative are well over US$100 billion per year. Fatherlessness increases the likelihood that children will grow up in poverty, increased crime, drug abuse, youth suicide, child sexual abuse, mental health problems, high levels of child obesity, poor health, poor nutrition and lower levels of educational performance for children. In spite of what radical feminists may say about the ills of patriarchy, involved and loving fathers are essential for the development of healthy children and strong families.

Last year Matthew Hayden, one of Australia’s most famous cricketers, was pleased to go in to bat for Aussie dads and their children. He starred in our community service advertisements around Australia as the epitome of the renewal of Australian fatherhood. I asked Matthew how he felt when he had his first child and how he now feels as a father of three children.

There’s nothing that replaces the moment of joy in your life when you have children. As a male I think you actually go through a bit of a chest beating stage. It’s like, “Gees, I’ve produced this beautiful baby, I’m a man.” It actually physically does change you as well because suddenly it’s not just your wife and you. It’s a very unselfish thing, you’ve now got this beautiful little individual and life, that you have to care and nurture and you become very selfless and that’s a difficult time in your life, but look, whatever you put into life, you get back ten-fold. With our three beautiful children, it’s just amazing how they give back to you in such simple but such rewarding ways. I wouldn’t change one damn thing.

Hayden’s passion for his family is inspirational and it is men like him, all across Australia, America and around the world, who are arresting the harmful effects of fatherlessness by their love and commitment to their families. We need a fatherhood revolution which will create involved, committed and responsible fathers. Everyone benefits. A fatherhood revolution will bring support and joy to hardworking mothers and will help children lead exceptional lives.

Warwick Marsh and his wife Alison are the founders of Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation. They have five children and have been married for 33 years.

http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/what_we_need_is_a_fatherhood_revolution/

//

Parental Alienation (Canada): What we need is a fatherhood revolution.

Decisions of the United States Supreme Court Upholding Parental Rights as “Fundamental”

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, custody, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Indians, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath on June 29, 2009 at 8:24 pm

by Christopher J. Klicka, Esq.

The Supreme Court of the United States has traditionally and continuously upheld the principle that parents have the fundamental right to direct the education and upbringing of their children. A review of cases taking up the issue shows that the Supreme Court has unwaveringly given parental rights the highest respect and protection possible. What follows are some of the examples of the Court’s past protection of parental rights.

In Meyer v. Nebraska,1 the Court invalidated a state law which prohibited foreign language instruction for school children because the law did not “promote” education but rather “arbitrarily and unreasonably” interfered with “the natural duty of the parent to give his children education suitable to their station in life…” 2 The court chastened the legislature for attempting “materially to interfere… with the power of parents to control the education of their own.” 3 This decision clearly affirmed that the Constitution protects the preferences of the parent in education over those of the State. In the same decision, the Supreme Court also recognized that the right of the parents to delegate their authority to a teacher in order to instruct their children was protected within the liberty of the Fourteenth Amendment. 4

Furthermore, the Court emphasized, “The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the right of the individual … to establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to his own conscience.”5

In 1925, the Supreme Court decided the Pierce v. Society of Sisters6 case, thereby supporting Meyer’s recognition of the parents’ right to direct the religious upbringing of their children and to control the process of their education. In Pierce, the Supreme Court struck down an Oregon compulsory education law which, in effect, required attendance of all children between ages eight and sixteen at public schools. The Court declared,

Under the doctrine of Meyer v. Nebraska, we think it entirely plain that the Act of 1922 unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children.7 [emphasis supplied]


In addition to upholding the right of parents to direct the upbringing and the education of their children, Pierce also asserts the parents’ fundamental right to keep their children free from government standardization.

The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excluded any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right and the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.8 [emphasis supplied]

The Supreme Court uses strong language in asserting that children are not “the mere creature of the State.” The holding in Pierce, therefore, preserves diversity of process of education by forbidding the State to standardize the education of children through forcing them to only accept instruction from public schools.

In Farrington v. Tokushige, the Court again upheld parental liberty by striking down legislation which the Court admitted would have destroyed most, if not all private schools. 9 The Court noted that the parent has the right to direct the education of his own child without unreasonable restrictions.10 In support of this assertion the Court explained,

The capacity to impart instruction to others is given by the Almighty for beneficent purposes and its use may not be forbidden or interfered with by government — certainly not, unless such instruction is, in its nature, harmful to the public morals or imperils the public safety. 11


The parents’ right to instruct their children clearly takes precedence over the state’s regulatory interest unless the public safety is endangered.

Similarly, in Prince v. Massachusetts,12 the Supreme Court admitted the high responsibility and right of parents to control the upbringing of their children against that of the State.

It is cardinal with us that the custody, care, and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the State can neither supply nor hinder.13 [emphasis supplied]


Twenty-one years later, the Supreme Court, in Griswold v. Connecticut, emphasized that the state cannot interfere with the right of a parent to control his child’s education. 14 The Court stated that the right to educate one’s child as one chooses is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and applicable to the States by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.15

Forty-eight years after Pierce, the U.S. Supreme Court once again upheld Pierce as “the charter of the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.” 16 In agreement with Pierce, Chief Justice Burger stated in the opinion of Wisconsin v. Yoder in 1972:

This case involves the fundamental interest of parents, as contrasted with that of the state, to guide the religious future and education of their children. The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring tradition. 17 [emphasis supplied]

This case involved a family of the Amish religion who wanted to be exempt after eighth grade from the public schools to be instructed at home. In its opinion the U.S. Supreme Court further emphasized that:

Thus a state’s interest in universal education, however highly we rank it, is not totally free from a balancing process when it impinges on fundamental rights and interests, such as those specifically protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, and the traditional interest of parents with respect to the religious upbringing of their children . . . This case involves the fundamental and religious future and education of their children. 18 [emphasis supplied]

Consequently, it is clear the constitutional right of a parent to direct the upbringing and education of his child is firmly entrenched in the U.S. Supreme Court case history. Furthermore, a higher standard of review applies to fundamental rights such as parental liberty than to other rights. When confronted with a conflict between parents’ rights and state regulation, the court must apply the “compelling interest test.” Under this test, the state must prove that its infringement on the parents’ liberty is essential to fulfill a compelling interest and is the least restrictive means of fulfilling this state interest. Simply proving the regulation is reasonable is not sufficient.

Below are excerpts from over a dozen United States Supreme Court cases where, primarily in dicta, the Court has declared parental rights to be fundamental rights which require a higher standard of review (i.e. the “compelling interest test”).

1. Paris Adult Theater v. Slaton, 413 US 49, 65 (1973)

In this case, the Court includes the right of parents to rear children among rights “deemed fundamental.”

Our prior decisions recognizing a right to privacy guaranteed by the 14th Amendment included only personal rights that can be deemed fundamental or implicit in the concept of ordered liberty . . . This privacy right encompasses and protects the personal intimacies of the home, the family, marriage, motherhood, procreation, and child rearing . . . cf . . . Pierce v. Society of Sisters; Meyer v. Nebraska . . . nothing, however, in this Court’s decisions intimates that there is any fundamental privacy right implicit in the concept of ordered liberty to watch obscene movies and places of public accommodation. [emphasis supplied]

2. Carey v. Population Services International, 431 US 678, 684-686 (1977)

Once again, the Court includes the right of parents in the area of “child rearing and education” to be a liberty interest protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, requiring an application of the “compelling interest test.”

Although the Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy, the Court has recognized that one aspect of the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment is a “right of personal privacy or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy . . . This right of personal privacy includes the interest and independence in making certain kinds of important decisions . . . While the outer limits of this aspect of privacy have not been marked by the Court, it is clear that among the decisions that an individual may make without unjustified government interference are personal decisions relating to marriage . . . family relationships, Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 US 158 (1944); and child rearing and education, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 US 510 (1925); Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 US 390 (1923).’ [emphasis supplied]


The Court continued by explaining that these rights are not absolute and,

certain state interests . . . may at some point become sufficiently compelling to sustain regulation of the factors that govern the abortion decision . . . Compelling is, of course, the key word; where decisions as fundamental as whether to bear or beget a child is involved, regulations imposing a burden on it may be justified only by a compelling state interest, and must be narrowly drawn to express only those interests. [emphasis supplied]


3. Maher v. Roe, 432 US 464, 476-479 (1977)

We conclude that the Connecticut regulation does not impinge on the fundamental right recognized in Roe
There is a basic difference between direct state interference with a protected activity and state encouragement of an alternative activity consonant with legislative policy …

This distinction is implicit in two cases cited in Roe in support of the pregnant woman’s right under the 14th Amendment. In Meyer v. Nebraska. . . the Court held that the teacher’s right thus to teach and the right of parents to engage in so to instruct their children were within the liberty of the 14th Amendment . . . In Pierce v. Society of Sisters . . . the Court relied on Meyer . . . reasoning that the 14th Amendment’s concept of liberty excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The Court held that the law unreasonably interfered with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of the children under their control

Both cases invalidated substantial restrictions of constitutionally protected liberty interests: in Meyer, the parent’s right to have his child taught a particular foreign language; in Pierce, the parent’s right to choose private rather than public school education. But neither case denied to a state the policy choice of encouraging the preferred course of action … Pierce casts no shadow over a state’s power to favor public education by funding it — a policy choice pursued in some States for more than a century … Indeed in Norwood v. Harrison, 413 US 455, 462, (1973), we explicitly rejected the argument that Pierce established a “right of private or parochial schools to share with the public schools in state largesse,” noting that “It is one thing to say that a state may not prohibit the maintenance of private schools and quite another to say that such schools must as a matter of equal protection receive state aid” … We think it abundantly clear that a state is not required to show a compelling interest for its policy choice to favor a normal childbirth anymore than a state must so justify its election to fund public, but not private education. [emphasis supplied]

Although the Maher decision unquestionably recognizes parents’ rights as fundamental rights, the Court has clearly indicated that private schools do not have a fundamental right to state aid, nor must a state satisfy the compelling interest test if it chooses not to give private schools state aid. The Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act simply reaffirms the right of parents to choose private education as fundamental, but it does not make the right to receive public funds a fundamental right. The PRRA, therefore, does not in any way promote or strengthen the concept of educational vouchers.

4. Parham v. J.R., 442 US 584, 602-606 (1979).

This case involves parent’s rights to make medical decisions regarding their children’s mental health. The lower Court had ruled that Georgia’s statutory scheme of allowing children to be subject to treatment in the state’s mental health facilities violated the Constitution because it did not adequately protect children’s due process rights. The Supreme Court reversed this decision upholding the legal presumption that parents act in their children’s best interest. The Court ruled:

Our jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children. Our cases have consistently followed that course; our constitutional system long ago rejected any notion that a child is “the mere creature of the State” and, on the contrary, asserted that parents generally “have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare [their children] for additional obligations.” Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535 (1925) … [other citations omitted] . . . The law’s concept of the family rests on a presumption that parents possess what a child lacks in maturity, experience, and capacity for judgment required for making life’s difficult decisions. More important, historically it has been recognized that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interests of their children. 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries 447; 2 J. Kent, Commentaries on American Law 190.
As with so many other legal presumptions, experience and reality may rebut what the law accepts as a starting point; the incidence of child neglect and abuse cases attests to this. That some parents “may at times be acting against the interests of their children” … creates a basis for caution, but it is hardly a reason to discard wholesale those pages of human experience that teach that parents generally do act in the child’s best interest … The statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant to American tradition.” [emphasis supplied]

Parental rights are clearly upheld in this decision recognizing the rights of parents to make health decisions for their children. The Court continues by explaining the balancing that must take place:

Nonetheless, we have recognized that a state is not without constitutional control over parental discretion in dealing with children when their physical or mental health is jeopardized (See Wisconsin v. Yoder; Prince v. Massachusetts). Moreover, the Court recently declared unconstitutional a state statute that granted parents an absolute veto over a minor child’s decisions to have an abortion, Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth, 428 US 52 (1976), Appellees urged that these precedents limiting the traditional rights of parents, if viewed in the context of a liberty interest of the child and the likelihood of parental abuse, require us to hold that parent’s decision to have a child admitted to a mental hospital must be subjected to an exacting constitutional scrutiny, including a formal, adversary, pre-admission hearing.
Appellees’ argument, however, sweeps too broadly. Simply because the decision of a parent is not agreeable to a child, or because it involves risks does not automatically transfer power to make that decision from the parents to some agency or officer of the state. The same characterizations can be made for a tonsillectomy, appendectomy, or other medical procedure. Most children, even in adolescence, simply are not able to make sound judgements concerning many decisions, including their need for medical care or treatment. Parents can and must make those judgements … we cannot assume that the result in Meyer v. Nebraska, supra, and Pierce v. Society of Sisters, supra, would have been different if the children there had announced a preference to learn only English or preference to go to a public, rather that a church school. The fact that a child may balk at hospitalization or complain about a parental refusal to provide cosmetic surgery does not diminish the parent’s authority to decide what is best for the child (See generally Goldstein, Medical Case for the Child at Risk: on State Supervention of Parental Autonomy, 86 Yale LJ 645, 664-668 (1977); Bennett, Allocation of Child Medical Care Decision — Making Authority: A Suggested Interest Analyses, 62 Va LR ev 285, 308 (1976). Neither state officials nor federal Courts are equipped to review such parental decisions. [emphasis supplied]

Therefore, it is clear that the Court is recognizing parents as having the right to make judgments concerning their children who are not able to make sound decisions, includingtheir need for medical care. A parent’s authority to decide what is best for the child in the areas of medical treatment cannot be diminished simply because a child disagrees. A parent’s right must be protected and not simply transferred to some state agency.

5. Santosky v. Kramer, 455 US 745, 753 (1982)

This case involved the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court affirming the application of the preponderance of the evidence standard as proper and constitutional in ruling that the parent’s rights are permanently terminated. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, vacated the lower Court decision, holding that due process as required under the 14th Amendment in this case required proof by clear and convincing evidence rather than merely a preponderance of the evidence.

The Court, in reaching their decision, made it clear that parents’ rights as outlined in Pierce and Meyer are fundamental and specially protected under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court began by quoting another Supreme Court case:

In Lassiter [Lassiter v. Department of Social Services, 452 US 18, 37 (1981)], it was “not disputed that state intervention to terminate the relationship between a parent and a child must be accomplished by procedures meeting the requisites of the Due Process Clause”. . . The absence of dispute reflected this Court’s historical recognition that freedom of personal choice in matters of family life is a fundamental liberty interest protected by the 14th Amendment … Pierce v. Society of Sisters … Meyer v. Nebraska.
The fundamental liberty interest of natural parents in the care, custody, and management of their child does not evaporate simply because they have not been model parents or have lost temporary custody of their child to the state … When the state moves to destroy weakened familial bonds, it must provide the parents with fundamentally fair procedures. [emphasis supplied]

6. City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health Inc., 462 US 416, 461 (1983)

This case includes, in a long list of protected liberties and fundamental rights, the parental rights guaranteed under Pierce and Meyer. The Court indicated a compelling interest test must be applied.

Central among these protected liberties is an individual’s freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life … RoeGriswoldPierce v. Society of SistersMeyer v. Nebraska … But restrictive state regulation of the right to choose abortion as with other fundamental rights subject to searching judicial examination, must be supported by a compelling state interest. [emphasis supplied]

7. Lehr v. Robertson, 463 US 248, 257-258 (1983)

In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a decision against a natural father’s rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses since he did not have any significant custodial, personal, or financial relationship with the child. The natural father was challenging an adoption. The Supreme Court stated:

In some cases, however, this Court has held that the federal constitution supersedes state law and provides even greater protection for certain formal family relationships. In those cases … the Court has emphasized the paramount interest in the welfare of children and has noted that the rights of the parents are a counterpart of the responsibilities they have assumed. Thus, the liberty of parents to control the education of their children that was vindicated in Meyer v. Nebraska … and Pierce v. Society of Sisters … was described as a “right coupled with the high duty to recognize and prepare the child for additional obligations” … The linkage between parental duty and parental right was stressed again in Prince v. Massachusetts … The Court declared it a cardinal principle “that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder.” In these cases, the Court has found that the relationship of love and duty in a recognized family unit is an interest in liberty entitled to Constitutional protection … “State intervention to terminate such a relationship … must be accomplished by procedures meeting the requisites of the Due Process Clause” Santosky v. Kramer … [emphasis supplied]

It is clear by the above case that parental rights are to be treated as fundamental and cannot be taken away without meeting the constitutional requirement of due process.

8. Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 US 747 (1986)

The U.S. Supreme Court declared, “Our cases long have recognized that the Constitution embodies a promise that a certain private sphere of individual liberty will be kept largely beyond the reach of governmentGriswold v. ConnecticutPierce v. Society of SistersMeyer v. Nebraska.”

By citing Pierce, the Court included parental liberty in that protected sphere.

9. Board of Directors of Rotary International v. Rotary Club of Duarte, 481 US 537 (1987)

In this case, a Californian civil rights statute was held not to violate the First Amendment by requiring an all male non-profit club to admit women to membership. The Court concluded that parents’ rights in child rearing and education are included as fundamental elements of liberty protected by the Bill of Rights.

The Court has recognized that the freedom to enter into and carry on certain intimate or private relationships is a fundamental element of liberty protected by the Bill of Rights … the intimate relationships to which we have accorded Constitutional protection include marriage … the begetting and bearing of children, child rearing and education. Pierce v. Society of Sisters … [emphasis supplied]

10. Michael H. v. Gerald, 491 U.S. 110 (1989)

In a paternity suit, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled:

It is an established part of our constitution jurisprudence that the term liberty in the Due Process Clause extends beyond freedom from physical restraint. See, e.g. Pierce v. Society of SistersMeyer v. Nebraska … In an attempt to limit and guide interpretation of the Clause, we have insisted not merely that the interest denominated as a “liberty” be “fundamental” (a concept that, in isolation, is hard to objectify), but also that it be an interest traditionally protected by our society. As we have put it, the Due Process Clause affords only those protections “so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamentalSnyder v. Massachusetts, 291 US 97, 105 (1934). [emphasis supplied]

The Court explicitly included the parental rights under Pierce and Meyer as “fundamental” and interests “traditionally protected by our society.”

11. Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990)

One of the more recent decisions which upholds the right of parents is Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith, which involved two Indians who were fired from a private drug rehabilitation organization because they ingested “peyote,” a hallucinogenic drug as part of their religious beliefs. When they sought unemployment compensation, they were denied because they were discharged for “misconduct.”

The Indians appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals who reversed on the grounds that they had the right to freely exercise their religious beliefs by taking drugs. Of course, as expected, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the case and found that the First Amendment did not protect drug use. So what does the case have to do with parental rights?

After the Court ruled against the Indians, it then analyzed the application of the Free Exercise Clause generally. The Court wrongly decided to throw out the Free Exercise Clause as a defense to any “neutral” law that might violate an individual’s religious convictions. In the process of destroying religious freedom, the Court went out of its way to say that the parents’ rights to control the education of their children is still a fundamental right. The Court declared that the “compelling interest test” is still applicable, not to the Free Exercise Clause alone:

[B]ut the Free Exercise Clause in conjunction with other constitutional protections such as … the right of parents, acknowledged in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925), to direct the education of their children, see Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S.205 (1972) invalidating compulsory-attendance laws as applied to Amish parents who refused on religious grounds to send their children to school.19 [emphasis supplied]

In other words, under this precedent, parents’ rights to control the education of their children is considered a “constitutionally protected right” which requires the application of the compelling interest test. The Court in Smith quoted its previous case of Wisconsin v. Yoder:

Yoder said that “The Court’s holding in Pierce stands as a charter for the rights of parents to direct the religious upbringing of their children. And when the interests of parenthood are combined with a free exercise claim … more than merely a reasonable relationship to some purpose within the competency of the State is required to sustain the validity of the State’s requirement under the First Amendment.” 406 U.S., at 233.20 [emphasis supplied]


Instead of merely showing that a regulation conflicting with parents’ rights is reasonable, the state must, therefore, reach the higher standard of the “compelling interest test,” which requires the state to prove its regulation to be the least restrictive means.

12. Hodgson v. Minnesota, 497 U.S. 417 (1990)

In Hodgson the Court found that parental rights not only are protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments as fundamental and more important than property rights, but that they are “deemed essential.”

The family has a privacy interest in the upbringing and education of children and the intimacies of the marital relationship which is protected by the Constitution against undue state interference. See Wisconsin v Yoder, 7 406 US 205 …
The statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant to American tradition.” Parham, 442 US, at 603, [other citations omitted]. We have long held that there exists a “private realm of family life which the state cannot enter.” Prince v Massachusetts

A natural parent who has demonstrated sufficient commitment to his or her children is thereafter entitled to raise the children free from undue state interference. As Justice White explained in his opinion of the Court in Stanley v Illinois, 405 US 645 (1972) [other cites omitted]:

“The court has frequently emphasized the importance of the family. The rights to conceive and to raise one’s children have been deemed ‘essential,’ Meyer v Nebraska, … ‘basic civil rights of man,’ Skinner v Oklahoma, 316 US 535, 541 (1942), and ‘[r]ights far more precious … than property rights,’ May v Anderson, 345 US 528, 533 (1953) … The integrity of the family unit has found protection in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Meyer v Nebraska, supra.” [emphasis supplied]

The Court leaves no room for doubt as to the importance and protection of the rights of parents.

13. H.L. v. Matheson, 450 US 398, 410 (1991)

In this case, the Supreme Court recognized the parents’ right to know about their child seeking an abortion. The Court stated:

In addition, constitutional interpretation has consistently recognized that the parents’ claim to authority in their own household to direct the rearing of their children is basic in the structure of our society.
Ginsberg v. New York, 390 US 629 (1968) … We have recognized on numerous occasions that the relationship between the parent and the child is Constitutionally protected (Wisconsin v. Yoder, Stanley v. Illinois, Meyer v. Nebraska) … “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care, and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom includes preparation for obligations the state can neither supply, nor hinder.” [Quoting Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 US 158, 166, (1944)]. See also Parham v. J.R.; Pierce v. Society of Sisters … We have recognized that parents have an important “guiding role” to play in the upbringing of their children, Bellotti II, 443 US 633-639 … which presumptively includes counseling them on important decisions.


This Court clearly upholds the parent’s right to know in the area of minor children making medical decisions.

14. Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, 132 L.Ed.2d 564, 115 S.Ct. 2386 (1995)

In Vernonia the Court strengthened parental rights by approaching the issue from a different point of view. They reasoned that children do not have many of the rights accorded citizens, and in lack thereof, parents and guardians possess and exercise those rights and authorities in the child’s best interest:

Traditionally at common law, and still today, unemancipated minors lack some of the most fundamental rights of self-determination—including even the right of liberty in its narrow sense, i.e., the right to come and go at will. They are subject, even as to their physical freedom, to the control of their parents or guardians. See Am Jur 2d, Parent and Child § 10 (1987).


15. Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000)

In this case the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion on parental liberty. The case involved a Washington State statute which provided that a “court may order visitation rights for any person when visitation may serve the best interests of the child, whether or not there has been any change of circumstances.” Wash. Rev. Code § 26.10.160(3). The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Washington statute “unconstitutionally interferes with the fundamental right of parents to rear their children.” The Court went on to examine its treatment of parental rights in previous cases:

In subsequent cases also, we have recognized the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children…Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 232, 32 L. Ed. 2d 15, 92 S. Ct. 1526 (1972) (“The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition”); Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U.S. 246, 255, 54 L. Ed. 2d 511, 98 S. Ct. 549 (1978) (“We have recognized on numerous occasions that the relationship between parent and child is constitutionally protected”); Parham v. J. R., 442 U.S. 584, 602, 61 L. Ed. 2d 101, 99 S. Ct. 2493 (1979) (“Our jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children. Our cases have consistently followed that course”); Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 753, 71 L. Ed. 2d 599, 102 S. Ct. 1388 (1982) (discussing “the fundamental liberty interest of natural parents in the care, custody, and management of their child”); Glucksberg, supra, at 720 (“In a long line of cases, we have held that, in addition to the specific freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, the ‘liberty’ specially protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right … to direct the education and upbringing of one’s children” (citing Meyer and Pierce)). In light of this extensive precedent, it cannot now be doubted that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children. [emphasis supplied]


This case clearly upholds parental rights. In essence, this decision means that the government may not infringe parents’ right to direct the education and upbringing of their children unless it can show that it is using the least restrictive means to achieve a compelling governmental interest.

Conclusion

The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently protected parental rights, including it among those rights deemed fundamental. As a fundamental right, parental liberty is to be protected by the highest standard of review: the compelling interest test.

As can be seen from the cases described above, parental rights have reached their highest level of protection in over 75 years. The Court decisively confirmed these rights in the recent case of Troxel v. Granville, which should serve to maintain and protect parental rights for many years to come.

Copyright 2003 Home School Legal Defense Association. Reprint permission granted.



Footnotes

1. 262 U.S. 390 (1923).

2. Id., at 402.

3. Id., at 401. Also see Bartles v. Iowa, 262 U.S. 404 (1923) where the Court reached a similar conclusion.

4. Meyer, 262 U.S. 390 at 400.

5. Id., at 403.

6. Pierce, 268 U.S. 510 (1925)

7. Ibid at 534.

8. Pierce, 268 U.S. 510 at 535.

9. Farrington v. Tokushige, 273 U.S. 284 (1927) at 298.

10. Id., at 298.

11. Farrington v. Tokushige, (9 cir.) 11 F.2d 710 at 713 (1926), quoting Harlan, J., in Berea College v. Kentucky 211 U.S. 45, 29 S. Ct. 33, 53 L. Ed. 81.

12. Prince v. Massachussetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944).

13. Ibid at 166.

14. Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, (1965) at 486.

15. Ibid.

16. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 at 233.

17. Ibid at 232. Burger further admonishes, “and when the interests of parenthood are combined with a free exercise claim of the nature revealed by this record, more than merely a ‘reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the State’ is required to sustain the validity of the State’s requirement under the First Amendment.” (Yoder, at 233).

18. Id., at 214.

19. Id., 881.

20. Id., 881, ftn. 1.

Decisions of the United States Supreme Court Upholding Parental Rights as “Fundamental”HSLDA | National Center Special Report.

Parents Rights’ Amendment Reaches Milestone

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on June 26, 2009 at 6:57 pm

American Family Rights Association :: The Voice of America’s Families©.

Parents Rights’ Amendment Reaches Milestone

100 Members of Congress Cosponsor Grassroots Movement to Ensure Parents’ Freedom to Raise their Children

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Constitutional Amendment introduced by U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, to protect the parent-child relationship has reached more than 100 co-sponsors in the House.

“More and more members of Congress and their constituents are recognizing the slow erosion of individual rights posed by the courts, government and international organizations and the threat presented to the parent-child relationship,” Hoekstra said. “This is a grassroots movement fueled by increased awareness about sovereignty and the need to protect rights against government intrusion and international law. It is as simple as preserving parents’ freedom to parent.”

The Parents’ Rights Amendment (H.J.Res.42) would state explicitly in the U.S. Constitution that parents have a fundamental right to raise their children as they see fit while protecting against abuse and neglect.  Threats to the parent-child relationship include potential Senate ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“A review of federal appellate decisions from 2008 demonstrates that our lower courts are turning away from the traditional Supreme Court standards on parental rights,” said Michael Farris, J.D., president of Parentalrights.org. “We need to act now to protect parental rights before this erosion results in a wholesale repudiation of our traditional American principles.”

More information on the Parents’ Rights Amendment and the list of co-sponsors can be viewed at www.parentsrights.us.

The Best Parent

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, state crimes on June 26, 2009 at 3:09 pm

by Suzanne Fields on Creators.com – A Syndicate Of Talent

Divorce is good mostly for the lawyers. They make a lot of money from divorces, working out alimony, child support and custody while the meter keeps ticking. These issues are never easy to resolve, but the “best” divorces are those where the parents can keep the best interest of the child always in sharp focus.

That’s always more difficult when rancor trumps reason and the concerns of the children give way to spite and ego, and a spouse’s anger with the other surpasses sensitivity and common sense. This is the stuff of countless books and movies. The literature begins with Medea, who murdered her children to punish her husband. Less spiteful parents impose softer gradations of suffering on children when a marriage fails. It doesn’t have to be so. Customs, like time, can change.

“Blended” family holidays are increasing, where remarried husbands and wives with a mixture of children celebrate together. Divorced parents share summer houses (hopefully at separate times) so that their children can enjoy an extended stay in the same house where they’ve developed friendships and familiarity.

But lurid headlines about “deadbeat dads” still identify delinquent parents who refuse to pay child support, even when affluence puts no strain on pocketbooks. Circumstances always alter cases, but David Levy, director of the Children’s Rights Council, blames a social system that emphasizes the importance of financial support without focusing nearly the attention that emotional support should get. When child support laws began to tighten in the 1980s, fathers were often kept out of the child’s life. Fathers weren’t needed, but their dollars were.

“The country saw wage withholding, liens against property, interception of federal and state tax returns, publication of ‘most wanted’ lists of child-support delinquents, and arrests in the middle of the night, where dads were handcuffed in their pajamas and hauled off to court,” Mr. Levy says. Sometimes this was warranted; many angry men were in fact withholding support because their wives were withholding access to their children.

“Men were offended by the idea that a woman could initiate divorce, obtain custody and support, and reduce the father to the role of Disneyland Daddy in his own child’s life,” he says.

Fathers saw themselves unfairly treated, and some of them organized the Children’s Rights Council to lobby Congress for joint custody laws and for what’s called “shared parenting” — one parent may be held responsible for financial support but both parents are held responsible for emotional support. Children’s rights, as fathers argued before congressional committees, meant fathers’ rights, too.

Joint custody, like sole custody, can work well or not at all. What matters is the mental health of the parents and the quality of child-parent relationships. Needs can often change with a child’s age.

While one size does not fit all, it’s difficult to object to an increased emphasis on shared parenting for divorced parents. This doesn’t necessarily mean equal time, but an amicable commitment of time and cooperation. Governments spend $4 billion a year to collect financial support but only $109 million annually on parenting education, counseling, mediation and other things.

The emotional benefits stemming from a parent’s psychological participation in a child’s life are harder to measure than the benefits paid for by hard cash. Mr. Levy objects to such a facile interpretation. “The lack of two parents in a child’s life is the most significant fact producing more crime, drugs, lack of school performance, and teenage pregnancy in young people,” he says. Such data has been used in campaigns to foster fatherhood in single parent families, but he doesn’t think enough has been said on behalf of those fathers of divorce who remain vulnerable to vindictive wives. Preliminary data even suggests that certain states with high joint custody rates have lower divorce rates, suggesting that if you can’t get your “ex” out of your life maybe you might as well consider reconciliation. This might be the greatest benefit of all for the kids.

The Children’s Rights Council has become more mainstream — perhaps even mellower — than when it was founded 20 years ago, reflecting the mellowing of feminists who sought “liberation” from the home, directing venom at men and delivering it through the children. Divorce has declined or flattened since as post-feminism attitudes have revived the importance of family life for both men and women. It’s difficult to find someone to disagree with the council’s mantra: “The Best Parent is Both Parents.” How to accomplish that is another matter. We’ll be working on that for as long as children are the rewards of marriage.

Suzanne Fields is a columnist with The Washington Times. Write to her at: sfields1000@aol.com. To find out more about Suzanne Fields and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2007 CREATORS SYNDICATE

via The Best Parent by Suzanne Fields on Creators.com – A Syndicate Of Talent.

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