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Archive for the ‘National Parents Day’ Category

Injustices faced by non-custodial parents | Step Talk

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Brainwashed Children, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children criminals, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Domestic Violence, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers on February 25, 2010 at 1:02 am

Injustices faced by non-custodial parents

I thought this was really interesting and very pertinent. It talks about father’s rights and the rights of the non-custodial parent as well as PAS:

http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/?p=6057

nycSM's picture

That is so heart-wrenching

That is so heart-wrenching to read. I cannot imagine what it is like to have been an active and fit parent to your child only to have the courts tell you that you have no legal right to any custody of that child.

StepChicka's  picture

Good read SM8. I skipped to

Good read SM8. I skipped to the Accomplishments this organization has done. I have to say WOW–so cool what this org has been able to accomplish. Lots of good changes thanks to them.

Here’s a list of a few, several, maybe too much…lol I didn’t paste them all I swear They are largely instrumental in military family rights as well.

Fathers & Families has the best record of legislative success, the largest membership base, the highest media profile, the most funding, and the most successful legislative representatives of any family court reform organization. Fathers & Families’ accomplishments include:

*Helped lead successful campaigns in 2004 and 2006 to defeat California “move-away” bills which would have made it too easy for custodial parents to move children to other states without regard for children’s best interests.

*Reduced excessive child support by over $1 billion from 2001 through 2008 in Massachusetts. Won seat on the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Task Force in 2007-2008.

* Helped pass paternity fraud legislation (AB 252 and SB 1333) which allows California child support obligors to use DNA evidence to set aside false paternity judgments and the concomitant child support orders.

*Pushed “shared parenting” to the number one issue on the Massachusetts Governor’s website for citizen input.

*Wrote amicus brief which helped win precedent-setting Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case protecting children in joint physical custody from being moved out of state, away from one parent.

*Instrumental in passing law opening up access to report cards and school records to non-custodial parents in Massachusetts.

*Helped create California’s COAP program, which allows parents who are unfairly saddled with inflated, unpayable child support arrearages to settle them for modest cash payments.

*Worked with Texas Senator Jane Nelson to pass SB 279, a bill to protect military parents’ custody rights, which was signed by Texas Governor Rick Perry in 2009.

* Helped spearhead successful national protest campaign against Florida’s refusal to reunite a fit and loving Cuban dad with his daughter.

*Helped lead successful campaign to free Brian Gegner, a father jailed because his adult daughter didn’t get her GED.

*Helped beat back repeated California legislative attempts to prevent target parents of Parental Alienation from raising PA as an issue in their family law cases.

*Helped defeat an amendment to California AB 164 which would have prevented fit noncustodial parents from gaining access to school and other records.

StepChicka's  picture

I live in a good state

I live in a good state Smiling

stepmom008's picture

Yep, they’re very

Yep, they’re very impressive. I found them a couple of weeks ago when I was researching child support statutes and lawyers so I signed up for their email alerts & that’s where the story came from. I’m almost tempted to send them money but I’ve really been thinking about contacting them to see if they’ve got something in the works where you can send a letter about their issues to your congressman and senators to try and push some reform.

“There are two things over which you have complete dominion, authority, and control over – your mind and your mouth”.

stepmom008's picture

Oh duh. I just went to the

Oh duh. I just went to the website and they do have an action section:
http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/?page_id=1347

“There are two things over which you have complete dominion, authority, and control over – your mind and your mouth”.

StepChicka's  picture

If this org can change

If this org can change legislature I’m sure they can create a petition of sorts; gather papers, letters like you’re suggesting. Congressman see validity in numbers of people wanting chang and facts of unfairness. Seems like these guys have the right stuff.

Keep me posted on what you find out.

stepmom008's picture

I just filled out an online

I just filled out an online form volunteering to do what I can to help reform the child support laws here in Maine and nationally. I’ll let you know if they contact me & what they say.

“There are two things over which you have complete dominion, authority, and control over – your mind and your mouth”.

Injustices faced by non-custodial parents | Step Talk.

Pajamas Media » The Domestic Violence Industry’s War on Men

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Brainwashed Children, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, National Parents Day, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on January 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm

The Domestic Violence Industry’s War on Men

By painting all males as brutes, feminists hope to reduce half the population to a state of dhimmitude.

January 21, 2010 – by Barbara Kay

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The industry that has grown up around domestic violence (DV), or, as it is more precisely situated these days in research circles, intimate partner violence (IPV), began in good faith decades ago as a legitimate campaign to help women trapped in abusive relationships.

Over the years, as the triumphalist feminist revolution’s long march through the institutions of the West proceeded with eerily unchallenged vigor, DV emerged as a highly politicized touchstone justifying women’s entitlements — legal, economic, familial — at the expense of boys’ and men’s human rights.

A tipping point in the DV chronology, when the focus amongst militant feminists shifted from helping individual women to the more totalitarian ambition of reducing the male population to cultural dhimmitude, can be traced back in time to December 6, 1989, and in space to a school two miles north of my front door.

December 6, 2009, marked the 20th anniversary of a unique tragedy in Western history, the systematic massacre of 14 women engineering students, with injury to 13 others, at Montreal’s École Polytechnique by a lone young gunman, Marc Lepine, who killed himself at the end of his shooting spree.

As an act of violence against women, the Montreal Massacre had no prequel or sequel. Lepine — his real name was Gamil Gharbi, but Lepine chose to identify with his québécois mother rather than his brutal, misogynistic, Algerian-born father — was a sociopath, unaligned with any faith, political movement, or identity grievance group. He was no jihadi. Although one could argue that the massacre presented elements of an honor killing, Lepine’s crime was essentially sui generis.

Ironically enough, if he were a jihadi, feminists would have been stymied in their rush to collective judgment, for the standard reflex following jihadist incidents is to repudiate any linkage of the act with Islam and to warn against expressions of Islamophobia.

But in the case of the Montreal Massacre, a diametrically opposed instinct prevailed. Because Lepine’s only distinguishing feature was his maleness, the tragedy sanctioned unbridled hostility toward all heterosexual men. Indeed, for elite feminist apparatchiks, then in their most muscular and misandric phase, bliss it was in that bloody Montreal dawn to be alive.

Brazenly, without bothering to adduce any substantiating chain of evidence, there being none, feminist spokeswomen linked the horrific crime of a lone sociopath to the general phenomenon of domestic violence against women. Marc Lepine “became” all men who want to control women — eventually all heterosexual men — and December 6 achieved instant sacralised status as a day of national mourning that, for fevered rhetoric and solemnity, eclipsed even 9/11 memorials.

As I wrote in a December 2007 National Post column:

By contrast [to Americans’ lessening interest in 9/11 memorials], the Canadian public never seems to weary of the annual December 6 tribute to the 1989 Montreal Polytechnique shooting massacre of 14 women. Indeed, 12/6’s branding power burgeons with every anniversary: The theme of violence against women dominates the media; new physical memorials are constructed; additional programs decrying domestic violence against women are entrenched in school curricula; masses of white ribbons are distributed; more stringent gun control is more strenuously urged. Their cumulative effect is to link all Canadian men to a global conspiracy against women of jihadist proportions.

Feminists everywhere in the West appropriated its emotive themes to lend greater credence to an already widespread pernicious tripartite myth: namely, that all men — the “patriarchy” — are inherently prone to violence against women, that all women are potential victims of male aggression, and that female violence against men is never unprovoked, but always an act of self-defense against overt or covert male aggression.

The unspoken corollary to these falsehoods is that violence perpetrated against males, whether by other males or by females, is deemed unworthy of official recognition or more than minimal legal redress, and that while female suffering must be acknowledged as socially intolerable, male suffering may not make a parallel moral claim.

In fact, as any number of peer-reviewed research and government statistics make clear, although women are far more likely to report domestic abuse, equal numbers of men and women experience some form of DV during their lifetimes; men and women initiate abuse in equal measure; and far from any inherent “patriarchal” instinct to control women, DV — in Judeo-Christian culture at any rate — is almost always attributable to individual psychological dysfunction (see citation for Abusegate RADAR report below).

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Barbara Kay is a weekly columnist in the comment pages of Canada’s National Post newspaper.

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Pajamas Media » The Domestic Violence Industry’s War on Men.

NEW CAMPAIGN: Ask DSM to Include Parental Alienation in Upcoming Edition « Fathers & Families

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Civil Rights, CPS, custody, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, Jayne Major, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Single Parenting on December 2, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Ask DSM to Include Parental Alienation in Upcoming Edition

A group of 50 mental health experts from 10 countries are part of an effort to add Parental Alienation to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V), the American Psychiatric Association’s “bible” of diagnoses. According to psychiatrist William Bernet, adding PA “would spur insurance coverage, stimulate more systematic research, lend credence to a charge of parental alienation in court, and raise the odds that children would get timely treatment.”

Few family law cases are as heartbreaking as those involving Parental Alienation. In PA cases, one parent has turned his or her children against the other parent, destroying the loving bonds the children and the target parent once enjoyed.

Fathers & Families wants to ensure that the DSM-V Task Force is aware of the scope and severity of Parental Alienation. To this end, we are asking our members and supporters to write DSM. If you or someone you love has been the victim of Parental Alienation, we want you to tell your story to the DSM-V Task Force. To do so, simply fill in our form by clicking here.

Once you have filled out our form, Fathers & Families will print out your letter and send it by regular US mail to the three relevant figures in DSM-V: David J. Kupfer, M.D., the chair of the DSM-V Task Force; Darrel A. Regier, M.D., vice-chair of the DSM-V Task Force; and Daniel S. Pine, M.D., chair of the DSM-V Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence Work Group.

DSM V is struggling with many weighty matters and as things currently stand, Parental Alienation might not get much notice or attention. By having our supporters write to leading DSM figures, we hope to draw attention to the issue.

Again, to tell your story, click here.

Supporters can send letters to DSM until the middle of 2010. In 2011, DSM will be considering the issue. In 2012, DSM V will be written, and in 2013 DSM V will be published. When you write your letter, please:

1) Keep the focus on your child(ren) and how the Parental Alienation has harmed them.
2) Stick to the facts related to the Parental Alienation.
3) Be succinct.
4) Fill in all fields on our form.
5) Be civil and credible, and avoid any profanity or use of insulting language

Again, to write the DSM Committee about your story, click here.

Running these campaigns takes time and money–the postage and supplies alone on this campaign will be several thousand dollars. To make a tax-deductible contribution to support this effort, click here.

Together with you in the love of our children,

Glenn Sacks, MA
Executive Director, Fathers & Families

Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers & Families


Frequently Asked Questions about Parental Alienation

1) What is Parental Alienation?

Parental Alienation is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of divorce/separation and/or 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) of a parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the targeted parent. Parental Alienation is also sometimes referred to as “Parental Alienation Disorder” or “Parental Alienation Syndrome.” To learn more, click here.


2) Most claims of Parental Alienation are made by divorced or separated fathers. When fathers have custody of their children, do they sometimes alienate them from the noncustodial mothers?

Yes, both genders can be perpetrators and victims of Parental Alienation, but those hurt the worst are always the children, who lose one of the two people in the world who love them the most.

3) Do fathers (or mothers) sometimes make false claims of Parental Alienation against mothers (or fathers)?

Yes. There are parents who have alienated their own children through their abuse or personality defects, and who attempt to shift the blame to their former spouses or partners by falsely claiming the other parent alienated the children from them.

4) How common is Parental Alienation?

Parental Alienation is a common, well-documented phenomenon that is the subject of numerous studies and articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals. A longitudinal study published by the American Bar Association in 2003 followed 700 “high conflict” divorce cases over a 12 year period and found that elements of PA were present in the vast majority of the cases studied. Some experts estimate that there are roughly 200,000 children in the U.S. who have PAD, similar to the number of children with autism. To learn more, click here.

5) Opponents of recognizing Parental Alienation claim that abusive fathers often employ Parental Alienation as a way to wrest custody from protective mothers in family court. They’ve promoted several cause celebre cases in recent years as a way to garner public sympathy and political support for their agenda. Is their portrayal of these cases accurate?

No–most of these cases are being misrepresented by opponents of recognizing Parental Alienation. Examples include: Genia Shockome (publicized by Newsweek magazine and others); Sadia Loeliger (one of the alleged heroines of a 2005 PBS documentary called Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories; and Holly Collins (publicized by Fox News, Inside Edition and others.) In each of these three cases, opponents of recognizing Parental Alienation badly misrepresented the cases, turning reality on its head. To learn more about these cases, click here and here.

Despite this, opponents of recognizing Parental Alienation push for reforms which will make it easier to deny parents shared custody or visitation rights based on unsubstantiated abuse claims. They also push for laws to exclude evidence of Parental Alienation in family law proceedings. One example is California AB 612, a bill that a bill that would have prevented target parents of Parental Alienation from raising PA as an issue in their cases. In 2007 and 2009, Fathers & Families’ legislative representative Michael Robinson helped build a professional coalition to scuttle AB 612.

6) Opponents of recognizing Parental Alienation, as well as some mental health professionals, claim that Parental Alienation should not be recognized by DSM as a mental disorder. What’s Fathers & Families’ position on this aspect of the issue?

Many intelligent, accomplished mental health authorities do believe that Parental Alienation Disorder should be considered a mental disorder, but there are also credible experts who do not. DSM has accepted several relational disorders, such as Separation Anxiety Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and PAD is a typical relational disorder. Any target parent of Parental Alienation would certainly believe that his or her child’s sudden, irrational hatred constitutes some sort of a mental disorder. In Parental Alienation Disorder and DSM-V, numerous mental health authorities make the case for including PAD–to learn more, click here.

Dr. Richard A. Warshak explains:

PAS fits a basic pattern of many psychiatric syndromes. Such syndromes denote conditions in which people who are exposed to a designated stimulus develop a certain cluster of symptoms.

Nonetheless, Fathers & Families’ emphasis is not on these technical aspects of the issue, but instead on the harm Parental Alienation does to children. The malignant behavior of alienating a child from his or her mother or father after a divorce or separation is a widespread social problem which merits a much more vigorous judicial and legislative response.

7) How will children caught in Parental Alienation be helped if Parental Alienation is included in DSM V?

Inclusion of Parental Alienation in DSM V will increase PA’s recognition and legitimacy in the eyes of family court judges, mediators, custody evaluators, family law attorneys, and the legal and mental health community in general. Psychiatrist William Bernet says that adding PA “would spur insurance coverage, stimulate more systematic research, lend credence to a charge of parental alienation in court, and raise the odds that children would get timely treatment.” To learn more, click here.

8) What is the child’s part in PAS?

The child denigrates the alienated parent with foul language and severe oppositional behavior. The child offers weak, absurd, or frivolous reasons for his or her anger. The child is sure of him or herself and doesn’t demonstrate ambivalence, i.e. love and hate for the alienated parent, only hate. The child exhorts that he or she alone came up with ideas of denigration. The “independent-thinker” phenomenon is where the child asserts that no one told him to do this. The child supports and feels a need to protect the alienating parent. The child does not demonstrate guilt over cruelty towards the alienated parent. The child uses borrowed scenarios, or vividly describes situations that he or she could not have experienced. Animosity is spread to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent.

In severe cases of parent alienation, the child is utterly brain-washed against the alienated parent. The alienator can truthfully say that the child doesn’t want to spend any time with this parent, even though he or she has told him that he has to, it is a court order, etc. The alienator typically responds, “There isn’t anything that I can do about it. I’m not telling him that he can’t see you.” (excerpted from Dr. Jayne A. Major’s Parents Who Have Successfully Fought Parental Alienation Syndrome).

9) Are there varying degrees of Parental Alienation?

Yes. Dr. Douglas Darnall, in his book Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children from Parental Alienation, describes three categories of PA.

The mild category he calls the naïve alienators. They are ignorant of what they are doing and are willing to be educated and change.

The moderate category is the active alienators. When they are triggered, they lose control of appropriate boundaries.

In the severe category are the obsessed alienators or those who are involved in PAS. They are committed to destroying the other parent’s relationship with the child. In the latter case, Dr. Darnall notes that we don’t have an effective protocol for treating an obsessed alienator other than removing the child from their influence.

An important point is that in PAS there is no true parental abuse and/or neglect on the part of the alienated parent. If this were the case, the child’s animosity would be justified. (excerpted from Dr. Jayne A. Major’s Parents Who Have Successfully Fought Parental Alienation Syndrome).

The Case for Including Parental Alienation Disorder in DSM V

Parental Alienation Disorder and DSM-V was written by psychiatrist William Bernet, M.D., Wilfrid v. Boch-Galhau, M.D., Joseph Kenan, M.D., Joan Kinlan, M.D., Demosthenes Lorandos, Ph.D., J.D., Richard Sauber, Ph.D., Bela Sood, M.D., and James S. Walker, Ph.D. In it, they make the case for including Parental Alienation Disorder in DSM V.

Their proposal was submitted to the Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence Work Group for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition in August of 2008. Below are some excerpts from their paper.

Bernet & Co. write:

Although parental alienation disorder has been described in the psychiatric literature for at least 60 years, it has never been considered for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). When DSM-IV was being developed, nobody formally proposed that parental alienation disorder be included in that edition. Since the publication of DSM-IV in 1994, there have been hundreds of publications (articles, chapters, books, court opinions) regarding parental alienation in peer reviewed mental health journals, legal literature, and the popular press. There has been controversy among mental health and legal professionals regarding parental alienation…

Regarding our proposed diagnostic criteria, we say that the essential feature of parental alienation disorder is that a child – usually one whose parents are engaged in a hostile divorce – allies himself or herself strongly with one parent (the preferred parent) and rejects a relationship with the other parent (the alienated parent) without legitimate justification. The primary behavioral symptom is the child’s resistance or refusal to visit or have parenting time with the alienated parent…

For purposes of this proposal, we are referring to the mental condition under consideration as parental alienation disorder (PAD). Depending on the context, we sometimes refer to parental alienation syndrome (PAS). Our primary criteria for PAD are the attitudes and behavior of the child, that is, the child essentially has a false belief that the alienated parent is a dangerous person and must be avoided. We reserve the word alienation for individuals with this false belief, whether the false belief was brought about by the alienating parent or by other circumstances, such as the child who avoids being caught between warring parents by gravitating to one side and avoiding the other side of the battle…

Bernet & Co. believe that PAD should be included in DSM-V for the following reasons:

Relational disorders are being considered for DSM-V, and PAD is an exemplar of this type of mental disorder.

Despite controversies regarding terminology and etiology, the phenomenon of PAD is almost universally accepted by mental health and legal professionals. Research indicates that PAD is a valid and reliable construct.

Establishing diagnostic criteria will make it possible to study PAD in a more systematic manner.

Establishing diagnostic criteria will reduce the opportunities for abusive parents and unethical attorneys to misuse the concept of PAD in child custody disputes.

Establishing diagnostic criteria will be helpful for: clinicians who work with divorced families; divorced parents, who are trying to do what is best for their children; and children of divorce, who desperately need appropriate treatment that is based on a correct diagnosis.

One of the important points that Bernet & Co. make is that PA is not new. They write:

The phenomenon of PAD has been described in the mental health literature for at least 60 years and the concept is almost universally accepted by psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers who evaluate and treat these children. Also, the concept of parental alienation is generally understood and accepted by legal professionals. The symptoms of PAD were described in the mental health literature long before Richard Gardner coined the term “parental alienation syndrome” (in 1985).

In 1949, Wilhelm Reich wrote in his classic book, Character Analysis, that some divorced parents defend themselves against narcissistic injury by fighting for custody of their child and defaming their former spouse. These parents seek “revenge on the partner through robbing him or her of the pleasure in the child. … In order to alienate the child from the partner, it is told that the partner is an alcoholic or psychotic, without there being any truth to such statements”.

In 1952, Louise Despert referred in her book, Children of Divorce, to the temptation for one parent “to break down” their child’s love for the other parent.

In 1980, Judith Wallerstein and Joan Kelly referred to an alliance between a narcissistically enraged parent and a particularly vulnerable older child or adolescent, who “were faithful and valuable battle allies in efforts to hurt and punish the other parent. Not infrequently, they turned on the parent they had loved and been very close to prior to the marital separation”.

Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee later discussed how court-ordered visitation can “be entangled with Medea-like rage.” They said, “A woman betrayed by her husband is deeply opposed to the fact that her children must visit him every other weekend. … She cannot stop the visit, but she can plant seeds of doubt – ‘Do not trust your father’ – in the children’s minds and thus punish her ex-husband via the children. She does this consciously or unconsciously, casting the seeds of doubt by the way she acts and the questions she asks…”

Bernet & Co. write:

In 1994, the American Psychological Association published “Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Divorce Proceedings”…the authors of the guidelines provided a bibliography of “Pertinent Literature,” which included The Parental Alienation Syndrome and two other books by Richard Gardner.

In 1997, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) published “Practice Parameters for Child Custody Evaluations.” This document, an “AACAP Official Action,” referred explicitly to “Parental Alienation” and said, “There are times during a custody dispute when a child can become extremely hostile toward one of the parents. The child finds nothing positive in his or her relationship with the parent and prefers no contact. The evaluator must assess this apparent alienation and form a hypothesis of its origins and meaning. Sometimes, negative feelings toward one parent are catalyzed and fostered by the other parent; sometimes, they are an outgrowth of serious problems in the relationship with the rejected parent”…

There has been an enormous amount of research on the psychosocial vicissitudes of children of divorced parents, including children with PAS. The most exhaustive single volume regarding PAS is The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome, published in 2006. More than 30 mental health professionals wrote chapters for this book, including authors from Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, England, Germany, Israel, Sweden, and the United States.

PAS was the focus of major national conferences in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, in 2002 and in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain, in 2008. A scholarly article by Warshak cited a list of references that currently numbers 213, most of which were published in peer reviewed journals (http://home.att.net/~rawars/pasarticles.html)…

We conclude that mental health professionals (taken as a group) and the general public recognize parental alienation as a real entity that deserves considerable attention.

How common is Parental Alienation, and how many cases are there nationwide? Bernet & Co. estimate that there are roughly 200,000 children in the U.S. who have PAD, similar to the number of children with autism. They write:

In general, PAD is more likely to occur in highly conflicted, custody-disputing families than in community samples of divorcing families. Even in highly conflicted divorces, only the minority of children experience PAD. The following studies indicate that approximately 25% of children involved in custody disputes develop PAD.

Johnston – in California – found that 7% of the children in one study and 27% of the children in a second study had “strong alignment” with one parent and rejection of the other parent. Kopetski – in Colorado – found that 20% of families involved in custody disputes manifested parental alienation syndrome. Nicholas reported that 33% of families involved with custody disputes manifested parental alienation syndrome, based on a survey of 21 custody evaluators. Berns reported a study of divorce judgments in Brisbane, Australia, and said parental alienation syndrome was present in 29% of cases.

The prevalence of PAD can be roughly estimated as follows. The U.S. Census Bureau says approximately 10% of children under age 18 live with divorced parents. Approximately 10% of divorces involve custody or visitation disputes. Approximately 25% of children involved in custody or visitation disputes develop PAD. Multiplying these percentages yields a prevalence of 0.25%, or about 200,000 children in the U.S. For comparison purposes, this prevalence is the same order of magnitude as the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders.

Bernet & Co. believe that “controversies related to definitions and terminology have delayed and compromised systematic research regarding [PAD]” and that “Establishing diagnostic criteria will make it possible to study parental alienation in a more methodical manner.” They write:

[Despite controversy] There is consensus among almost all mental health professionals who have written about parental alienation regarding the following: (1) PAD is a real entity, that is, there really are children and adolescents who embark on a persistent campaign of denigration against one of the parents and adamantly refuse to see that parent, and the intensity of the campaign and the refusal is far out or proportion to anything the alienated parent has done. (2) There are many causes of visitation refusal, and PAD is only one of them. (3) PAD is not the correct diagnosis when the child’s visitation refusal is caused by child maltreatment or serious problematic behavior of the alienated parent.

Dr. Richard A. Warshak makes the case for accepting PAD/PAS:

PAS fits a basic pattern of many psychiatric syndromes. Such syndromes denote conditions in which people who are exposed to a designated stimulus develop a certain cluster of symptoms. ‘Posttraumatic stress disorder’ (PTSD) refers to a particular cluster of symptoms developed in the aftermath of a traumatic event. … These diagnoses carry no implication that everyone exposed to the same stimulus develops the condition, nor that similar symptoms never develop in the absence of the designated stimulus. … Similarly, some, but not all, children develop PAS when exposed to a parent’s negative influence. Other factors, beyond the stimulus of an alienating parent, can help elucidate the etiology for any particular child.

Bernet & Co. add “We hope that the Work Group will not reject this proposal simply because of this 20- year-old argument about the concept, the terminology, and the criteria for PAD. There is no lack of controversy regarding conditions that are quite prominent in the DSM.”

Bernet & Co. also address the important issue of the misuse of PA/PAD. As we’ve often noted, claims of Parental Alienation can be used by abusive parents as a cover for their abuse, such as in the Joyce Murphy case.

More commonly, one parent may have damaged his or her relationships with his children due to his or her own personality problems, narcissism, substance abuse issues, erratic behavior, etc., but then, rather than assuming responsibility for his or her actions, instead blames the bad relationship on the other parent, under the rubric of Parental Alienation. Fathers & Families sometimes hears from parents, usually mothers, who say that they are being unfairly blamed for the deterioration of their children’s relationships with their former partners, who claim Parental Alienation. We believe that these are legitimate concerns.

However, as we’ve often noted, simply because false claims of Parental Alienation can and are made doesn’t mean that Parental Alienation doesn’t exist or isn’t a problem. Bernet & Co. believe that acceptance of PA/PAD by DSM V will “reduce the opportunities for abusive parents and unethical attorneys to misuse the concept of parental alienation in child custody disputes.” They write:

Having established criteria for the diagnosis of PAD will eliminate the Babel of conflicting terminology and definitions that currently occurs when parental alienation is mentioned in a legal setting. More important is that the entry regarding PAD in DSM-V will include a discussion of the differential diagnosis of visitation refusal. It will be clear that the clinician should consider a number of explanations for a child’s symptom of visitation refusal and not simply rush to the diagnosis of PAD. Also, it will be clear that the diagnosis of PAD should not be made if the child has a legitimate, justifiable reason for disliking and rejecting one parent, for instance, if the child was neglected or abused by that parent.

We believe that when everybody involved in the legal procedures (the parents, the child protection investigators, the mental health professionals, the attorneys, and the judge) has a clear, uniform understanding of the definition of PAD, there will be fewer opportunities for rogue expert witnesses and lawyers to misuse the concept in court. What really matters is whether PAD is a real phenomenon, a real entity. If PAD is a real clinical entity, it should be included in the DSM. If PAD is a real clinical entity, the possibility that the diagnosis will sometimes be misused should not be a primary or serious consideration.

They also note:

[T]he psychiatric diagnosis that is most misused in legal settings is posttraumatic stress disorder. In personal injury lawsuits, the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder in an alleged victim is used to prove that the individual actually sustained a severe trauma. Also, military veterans and workers’ compensation claimants sometimes malinger posttraumatic stress disorder in order to receive disability benefits. However, we are not aware that anybody has ever proposed that posttraumatic stress disorder should be deleted from the DSM because it is sometimes misused.

Recognizing PA/PAD/PAD will help children of divorce or separation. Bernet & Co. write:

Establishing diagnostic criteria will be helpful for: clinicians who work with divorced families; divorced parents, who are trying to do what is best for their children; and children of divorce, who desperately need appropriate treatment that is based on a correct diagnosis. According to Barbara-Jo Fidler, clinical observations, case reviews and qualitative comparative studies uniformly indicate that alienated children may exhibit a variety of symptoms including poor reality testing, illogical cognitive operations, simplistic and rigid information processing, inaccurate or distorted interpersonal perceptions, self-hatred, and other maladaptive attitudes and behaviors. Fidler’s survey of the short-term and long-term effects of pathological alienation on children reviewed more than 40 articles published in peer-reviewed journals between 1991 and 2007…

The authors of this proposal believe that if PAD were an official diagnosis, counselors and therapists from all disciplines will become more familiar with this condition. As a result, children with PAD will be identified earlier in the course of their illness while it is more easily treated and even cured. Also, if PAD were an official diagnosis (with clear criteria for the diagnosis and for severity of the condition), it will be possible to conduct coherent research regarding its treatment.

The Authors’ Proposed Criteria for Parental Alienation Disorder is as follows:

A. The child – usually one whose parents are engaged in a hostile divorce – allies
himself or herself strongly with one parent and rejects a relationship with the other,
alienated parent without legitimate justification. The child resists or refuses visitation or
parenting time with the alienated parent.

B. The child manifests the following behaviors:

(1) a persistent rejection or denigration of a parent that reaches the level of a
campaign
(2) weak, frivolous, and absurd rationalizations for the child’s persistent
criticism of the rejected parent

C. The child manifests two of the following six attitudes and behaviors:

(1) lack of ambivalence
(2) independent-thinker phenomenon
(3) reflexive support of one parent against the other
(4) absence of guilt over exploitation of the rejected parent
(5) presence of borrowed scenarios
(6) spread of the animosity to the extended family of the rejected parent.

D. The duration of the disturbance is at least 2 months.

E. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social,
academic (occupational), or other important areas of functioning.

F. The child’s refusal to have visitation with the rejected parent is without legitimate
justification. That is, parental alienation disorder is not diagnosed if the rejected parent
maltreated the child.

Send Your Letter to the DSM-V Task Force and Tell Them Your Story

To write your letter to the DSM-V Task Force, please fill out the form below. Fathers & Families will print out your letter and send it by regular US mail to the three relevant figures in DSM-V. When you write your letter, please:

1) Keep the focus on your child(ren) and how the Parental Alienation has harmed them.
2) Stick to the facts related to the Parental Alienation.
3) Be succinct.
4) Fill in all fields on our form.
5) Be civil and credible, and avoid any profanity or use of insulting language

Together with you in the love of our children,

Glenn Sacks, MA
Executive Director, Fathers & Families

Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers & Families

NEW CAMPAIGN: Ask DSM to Include Parental Alienation in Upcoming Edition « Fathers & Families.

The ‘Best Interests of the Child’ Concept – Misused from the Beginning | Glenn Sacks on MND

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders on November 30, 2009 at 8:12 pm
Saturday, November 28, 2009

By Robert Franklin, Esq.

Even the casual observer of family law and practice can be struck by the astonishing, er, flexibility of the term “best interests of the child.”  For example, in 1995, a New Mexico court approved of the outright theft of a child by an adoption agency and his subsequent placement with an adoptive couple as in the “best interests of the child.”

The boy had lived with the mother and father for all his year and a half of life.  One weekend when the father was out of town working, the mother took the child to the adoption agency, lied about the father’s whereabouts and gave the child up for adoption.  Two days later, the father informed the adoption agency that he had no intention of giving up the child.  But the agency kept the child with the adoptive parents anyway and let the glacial pace of the judicial system do the rest.

A year and a half later, the child was deemed to have “bonded” with the adoptive parents and the father was out of luck.  The “best interests of the child,” you understand, meant that breaking those new bonds was impermissible.  At the same time, the “best interests of the child” did permit breaking the bonds between the father and the child.  That’s what I mean when I say the concept is “flexible.”

The conduct of the mother and the agency violated New Mexico civil law, and the father sued them and won a judgment for monetary damages.  Those damages were never paid as the agency receded behind the impenetrable veil of bankruptcy.

Given the mutability of the ‘best interests’ standard, it’s interesting to know a little of its history.  In 1973, Joseph Goldstein, Anna Freud and Albert Solnit published a book that would have enormous influence on family courts and child protective agencies nationwide, albeit not the one they intended.  They were, respectively, a law professor at Yale, a child psychologist and a researcher at the Child Study Center at Yale.  Their book was entitled “Beyond the Best Interests of the Child.”  It was an effort to guide courts and placement agencies that had to decide issues of family dissolution and child custody about how best to do that.

But by 1979, the same authors were so horrified at the misuse of their book by those very courts and child protective agencies that they wrote another one entitled “Before the Best Interests of the Child.”

With their first book, they meant well; they truly didn’t anticipate the distortions to which judges, social workers and child welfare agencies would subject its message.  In it, they were dealing only with cases in which a family had already broken down and required intervention by the state to protect the children.  The authors limited their discussion to that.  The “best interests of the child” concept was discussed solely as a goal to be obtained after family breakdown.

But the courts and other state agencies had no intention of limiting their use of the book’s concepts in the same way the authors did.  In direct contradiction to the authors’ intentions, states began using the “best interests of the child” concept to achieve family breakdown by state intervention and removal of the children.

That’s what horrified the authors and prompted them to publish “Before the Best Interests of the Child” in 1979.  Here’s what they said:

[W]e believe that a child’s need for continuity of care by autonomous parents requires acknowledging that parents should generally be entitled to raise their children as they think best, free of state interference.  This conviction finds expression in our preference for minimum state intervention and prompts restraint in defining justifications for coercively intruding on family relationships…

So long as a child is a member of a functioning family, his paramount interest lies in the preservation of his family.  Thus our preference for making a child’s interests paramount is not to be construed as a justification in and of itself for intrusion.  (Emphasis in the original.)

I’ll write a bit more on this later, but remember what the authors said: the child’s “paramount interests lies in the preservation of his family.”

It’s a concept that escaped the New Mexico courts back in 1995, even as it continues to escape so many today.

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The ‘Best Interests of the Child’ Concept – Misused from the Beginning | Glenn Sacks on MND.

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 Alienation Syndrome to be Viewed as a Form of Child Abuse | ParentsElite

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, DSM-V, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers 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, Single Parenting, Sociopath on November 28, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Parental Alienation Syndrome to be Viewed as a Form of Child Abuse

Image from abdoukili.wordpress.com

Image from abdoukili.wordpress.com

Health experts from ten different nations are making an effort to include Parental Alienation Syndrome in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is a behaviour exhibited by one parent where he threatens or makes his child fear his other parent, often attempting to turn the child against his other parent. This sort of behaviour may lead to the child developing a chronic psychological disorder, affecting his physical and mental state of health. This Syndrome often includes false accusations by one parent of mistreatment, abuse, domestic violence, and neglecting the child, by the other parent.

Since such behaviour can greatly distress the child affecting his state of mind, health care professionals must view this behaviour as a form of child abuse.

Fifty mental health experts are campaigning in an attempt to include this Syndrome in the 2012 edition of the Mental Disorders Manual.

Related posts:

  1. Parenting Education Important to Check Child Abuse
  2. Aggressive Behaviour in Children Increases if Parents are Negative towards them
  3. Four Effective Theories for Parental Training
  4. Poor Parenting can lead to Crime
  5. Dealing with a Parent-Teacher Meeting
  6. Effective Parenting comes with Instincts
  7. Impulsivity is a Risk Factor for Drug Abuse?
  8. Aggressive Children have Lesser Number of Friends
  9. Communication between a Child and a Parent is Extremely Vital
  10. A Child’s Interests Should Have Greater Priority in Divorces Cases

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  1. Thank you for sharing this information with your readers.

    Parental alienation is a huge problem in the U.S. and around the world. Long-standing emotional issues drive the alienating parent to damage, and in some cases destroy, the child’s relationship with his or her other parent. Neither men or women have cornered the market on these issues. In fact, based on the response to our book, A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation (http://www.afamilysheartbreak.com), Moms and Dads are both the alienating parent and the targeted parent in equal numbers. The biggest losers are the children of these horrible situations.

    Sincerely,

    mike jeffries
    Author, A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation

  2. Thank you for publishing this article. There is essential material written on the subject today, author above Mike Jeffries is one. Dr. Amy J L Baker, Dr. Stephen Baskerville, Richard Warshak, and others have given the public a wealth of information about PAS- Parental Alienation Syndrome.

    Others are not so informtive or kind to parents and their children. Justice for Children (JFC) is one such group and one with which I am painfully and devastatingly aware. You see they feciliatated the taking of my precious daughter seventeen years ago.

    JFC patently rejects the existence of PAS. Furthermore the group is sexist. (one but read the interview of an employee borrowed form the firm Haynes and Boone, Llp, atty. Alene Ross Levy in a Houston Chronicle interview of May 2, 2007 for proof) Thus JFC enters courtrooms to effect the kind of justice it alone decides with materially wealthy lawyers thrown at the subject parent. It is beyond my understanding how JFC could be in such denial as to reject the credibility of PAS. My own daughter has not been able to speak with me for the past 17 years despite the fact that she is now 23 years of age. Her mother was out commiting three felonies while she got JFC’s ‘help’. Her mother is a severe level alienator as per the work of Dr. Richard Gardner. She had flourished in my care of 5/1/2 years but now is raising a fatherless child having dropped out of high school before she finished even that.

    Beware of groups like JFC and people like Garland Waller of Boston University, former judges like Sol Gothard, foundations like the Mary Kay Foundation, and other groups like the The Leadership Council. They all work to destroy the legitimacy of PAS.

Parental Alienation Syndrome to be Viewed as a Form of Child Abuse | ParentsElite.

Separation, Divorce and Parental Alienation Syndrome | Psychology Today

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Feminism, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights on November 24, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Splitting up shouldn’t mean splitting the kids.

The term “splitting” refers to a familiar tactic often used by children to manipulate their parents — if Mommy says, “No.”, then go ask Daddy.

For parent couples in the throes of separation or divorce, the adult version of splitting — largely characterized by one parent vilifying the other in order to manipulate the children into choosing sides and, ultimately, alienating the other parent from them — can be much more insidious.

The children may, at first, be only pawns — tools for gaining some sense of leverage or perceived control — but, in due course, they can become nothing more than weapons of vengeance, unwitting victims of ego and arrogance.

We are not alone in our relationship, nor is our partner. Establishing any relationship is an act of social co-creation in which all parties must be both responsible to, and accountable for, their actions, inactions and the consequences held therein. To that point, a relationship – any relationship — demands cultivation; it doesn’t just happen.xxxx

Should a relationship break, it is vital that both parties step back, take a moment to examine their personal role in that break, and hold onto that self-revelation. When the break is something not mutually agreed upon, the “wronged partner” – a term used quite loosely here – in denial and ignorance of their own responsibility, will often attempt to exercise some means for regaining a perceived semblance of control.

When benign, these means can appear as gestures of reconciliation, promises of change, pleas to seek counseling and all manner of self-effacing behavior. In instances more menacing, money is hidden; credit cards cancelled; documents disappear; cell phones are checked; computers scoured and private detectives hired, even when there is nothing to detect. A pattern of latent abuse [1, 2] emerges, escalating from a point somewhat removed from normal, to one that veers dangerously close to pathological.

These efforts to regain control are often fruitless; mostly because they are generally an illusion in the first place. Their abject futility, however, can foster a further, even more ominous, escalation – the co-opting of social connections. Friends, family, co-workers – anyone who will listen to the spinning of fantastical yarns that describe the evils of the other is approached, for good, ill or indifference.

Couched within this drama of social distortion, the saddest moment of all can come when an otherwise reasonable adult utters to a child fateful words that might go something like, “I don’t want a divorce. This is all your mother’s idea. She’s just a selfish bitch.” In that moment, in an ego-driven and one way war of wills, the child becomes so much collateral damage.

The mechanism of parental alienation is fueled by a gross failure of emotional intelligence, and further compelled by the anger and resentment of ego. It is roundly destructive to everyone involved; disrupting or destroying familial connections, rending the fabric of the post-marital relationship and effectively compromising any chance at successful co-parenting.

Indeed, the most oppressive aspect of parental alienation is that it creates a false issue — or set of false issues — for children whom it is very likely do not have the social or emotional intelligence to discriminate between fact and fancy. The inaccuracies and misinformation proffered by one parent in service of discrediting the other shakes the very foundations of a child’s model of the world, leaving them stranded outside the bounds of the very structure and consistency upon which they thrive.

Children caught up in this system of abuse [1, 2] are subject to a campaign of unjustified and unjustifiable denigration focused on one parent and perpetrated by the other. In mild cases, there is some programming fostered on the part of the alienating parent, but, all in all, relationships remain intact.

In moderate cases of parental alienation , the level of programming escalates, introducing two artifacts – firstly, the relationship with the targeted parent is more disrupted, created anxiety for the kids and, second, the children become co-opted into the alienating parent’s system of unjustified accusation and begin to believe it, causing a whole separate set of psychosocial issues for them.

In severe cases, the programming has taken hold and the child/children come to develop an irrational and unfounded hatred of the targeted parent, often disrupting the parent/child bond to the point of breaking.

While this all sounds like a horribly Machiavellian system of social pathology – and, at its worst, it is — some space needs to be held for the unintentional or naïve alienation fostered by simple resentment and frustration. Snarky remarks about financial matters, living arrangements or general behavior not personally directed at the other parent constitute a sort of indirect and somewhat unintentional alienation that a child may or may not take to heart.

A more active, and destructive, form of this is compassed by critical comments that remind a child about past disappointments or situations that had negative outcomes. It might also include more personal attacks on character, or descriptions of alleged (and typically false) activities that would reflect on character.

In severe cases, attempts at alienation are obsessive and irrational. The alienating parent literally subjugates the child, enmeshing them in their own irrational belief system and making it virtually impossible for them to think for themselves. The child is interjected into the social reality of the targeted parent as the mouthpiece of hatred for the alienating parent and, objectified in this way, becomes nothing more – and nothing less – than a weapon of social and emotional destruction.

The take away here is fairly straightforward — if we can’t figure out how to be married, fine, but, with children involved, we need to figure out how to be divorced; and certainly not at the expense of the children’s state of mind simply for our own small, petty and vindictive satisfactions.

So, play nice — and if you see this happening or catch yourself doing it, either speak up, or knock it off. In the end, it serves no one and the only ones who suffer are the kids.

References

Gardner, R.A. (1998). The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition, Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

© 2009 Michael J. Formica , All Rights Reserved

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Separation, Divorce and Parental Alienation Syndrome | Psychology Today.

Men’s Rights – Feminism should be about equality for males, too. – Reason Magazine

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-V, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Protective Dads on November 24, 2009 at 12:58 am

Men’s Rights

Feminism should be about equality for males, too.

Earlier this month DoubleX, Slate’s short-lived female-oriented publication (launched six months ago and about to be folded back into the parent site as a women’s section), ran an article ringing the alarm about the dire threat posed by the power of the men’s rights movement. But the article, written by New York-based freelance writer Kathryn Joyce and titled “Men’s Rights’ Groups Have Become Frighteningly Effective,” says more about the state of feminism—and journalistic bias—than it does about men’s groups.

Joyce’s indictment is directed at a loose network of activists seeking to raise awareness and change policy on such issues as false accusations of domestic violence, the plight of divorced fathers denied access to children, and domestic abuse of men. In her view, groups such as RADAR (Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting) and individuals like columnist and radio talk show host Glenn Sacks are merely “respectable” and “savvy” faces for what is actually an anti-female backlash from “angry white men.”

As proof of this underlying misogyny, Joyce asserts that men who commit “acts of violence perceived to be in opposition to a feminist status quo” are routinely lionized in the men’s movement. This claim is purportedly backed up with a reference that, in fact, does not in any way support it: an article in Foreign Policy about the decline of male dominance around the globe. Joyce’s one specific example is that the diary of George Sodini, a Pittsburgh man who opened fire on women in a gym in retaliation for feeling rejected by women, was reposted online by the blogger “Angry Harry” as a wake-up call to the Western world that “it cannot continue to treat men so appallingly and get away with it.” But does this have anything to do with more mainstream men’s rights groups? The original version of the article claimed that Sacks, who called “Harry” an “idiot” in his interview with Joyce, nonetheless “cautiously defends” the blogger; DoubleX later ran a correction on this point.

Sacks himself admits to Joyce that the men’s movement has a “not-insubstantial lunatic fringe.” Yet in her eyes, even the mainstream men’s groups are promoting a dangerous agenda, above all infiltrating mainstream opinion with the view that reports of domestic violence are exaggerated and that a lot of spousal abuse is female-perpetrated. The latter claim, Joyce asserts, comes from “a small group of social scientists” led by “sociologist Murray Straus of the University of New Hampshire, who has written extensively on female violence.” (In fact, Straus, founder of the renowned Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, is a pre-eminent scholar on family violence in general and was the first to conduct national surveys on the prevalence of wife-beating.)

Joyce repeats common critiques of Straus’ research: For instance, he equates “a woman pushing a man in self-defense to a man pushing a woman down the stairs” or “a single act of female violence with years of male abuse.” Yet these charges have been long refuted: Straus’ studies measure the frequency of violence and specifically inquire about which partner initiated the physical violence. Furthermore, Joyce fails to mention that virtually all social scientists studying domestic violence, including self-identified feminists such as University of Pittsburgh psychologist Irene Frieze, find high rates of mutual aggression.

Reviews of hundreds of existing studies, such as one conducted by University of Central Lancashire psychologist John Archer in a 2000 article in Psychological Bulletin, have found that at least in Western countries, women are as likely to initiate partner violence as men. While the consequences to women are more severe—they are twice as likely to report injuries and about three times more likely to fear an abusive spouse—these findings also show that men hardly escape unscathed. Joyce claims that “Straus’ research is starting to move public opinion,” but in fact, some of the strongest recent challenges to the conventional feminist view of domestic violence—as almost invariably involving female victims and male batterers—come from female scholars like New York University psychologist Linda Mills.

Contrary to Joyce’s claims, these challenges, so far, have made very limited inroads into public opinion. One of her examples of the scary power of men’s rights groups is that “a Los Angeles conference this July dedicated to discussing male victims of domestic violence, ‘From Ideology to Inclusion 2009: New Directions in Domestic Violence Research and Intervention,’ received positive mainstream press for its ‘inclusive’ efforts.’” In fact, the conference—which featured leading researchers on domestic violence from several countries, half of them women, and focused on much more than just male victims—received virtually no mainstream press coverage. One of the very few exceptions was a column I wrote for The Boston Globe, also reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Whatever minor successes men’s groups may have achieved, the reality is that public policy on domestic violence in the U.S. is heavily dominated by feminist advocacy groups. For the most part, these groups embrace a rigid orthodoxy that treats domestic violence as male terrorism against women, rooted in patriarchal power and intended to enforce it. They also have a record of making grotesquely exaggerated, thoroughly debunked claims about an epidemic of violence against women—for instance, that battering causes more hospital visits by women every year than car accidents, muggings, and cancer combined.

These advocacy groups practically designed the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, and they dominate the state coalitions against domestic violence to which local domestic violence programs must belong in order to qualify for federal funds. As a result of the advocates’ influence, federal assistance is denied to programs that offer joint counseling to couples in which there is domestic violence, and court-mandated treatment for violent men downplays drug and alcohol abuse (since it’s all about the patriarchy).

Against the backdrop of this enforced party line, Joyce is alarmed by the smallest signs that men’s rights groups may be gaining even a modest voice in framing domestic violence policy. She points out that in a few states, men’s rights activists have succeeded in “criminalizing false claims of domestic violence in custody cases” (this is apparently meant to be a bad thing) and “winning rulings that women-only shelters are discriminatory” (in fact, the California Court of Appeals ruled last year that state-funded domestic violence programs that refuse to provide service to abused men violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection, but also emphasized that the services need not be identical and coed shelters are not required).

To bolster her case, Joyce consistently quotes advocates—or scholars explicitly allied with the advocacy movement, such as Edward Gondolf of the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute—to discredit the claims of the men’s movement. She also repeats uncorroborated allegations that many leaders of the movement are themselves abusers, but offers only one specific example: eccentric British activist Jason Hatch, who once scaled Buckingham Palace in a Batman costume to protest injustices against fathers, and who was taken to court for allegedly threatening one of his ex-wives during a custody dispute.

The article is laced with the presumption that, with regard to both general data and individual cases, any charge of domestic violence made by a woman against a man must be true.

One case Joyce uses to illustrate her thesis is that of Genia Shockome, who claimed to have been severely battered by her ex-husband Tim and lost custody of her two children after being accused of intentionally alienating them from their father. Yet Joyce never mentions that Shockome’s claims of violent abuse were unsupported by any evidence, that she herself did not mention any abuse in her initial divorce complaint, or that three custody evaluators—including a feminist psychologist who had worked with the Battered Women’s Justice Center at Pace University—sided with the father.

More than a quarter-century ago, British feminist philosopher Janet Radcliffe Richards wrote, “No feminist whose concern for women stems from a concern for justice in general can ever legitimately allow her only interest to be the advantage of women.” Joyce’s article is a stark example of feminism as exclusive concern with women and their perceived advantage, rather than justice or truth.

Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason magazine and a columnist for RealClearPolitics.com. She is the author of Ceasefire: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality. This article originally appeared at Forbes.

Men’s Rights – Reason Magazine.

Dad tales of desperate and defeated, or deadbeat

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, judicial corruption, Liberty, Marriage, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on November 23, 2009 at 3:45 am

Dad tales of desperate and defeated, or deadbeat

LESLIE CANNOLD

November 22, 2009 – 8:42AM

In recent weeks, I seem to have become a bloke magnet. Two weeks ago at the State Library cafe and one night last week at my usual watering hole, I’ve had men in my ear. Sweet men, sad men, vulnerable men – some recently divorced, others single for years – crooning variations on the same tragic tale. A tale about children they love but no longer see.

Once, I would have called them deadbeat dads. My own parents split when I was young but my father maintained scrupulous contact with my brother and me, and was dismissive of men who didn’t. And I knew the facts: that about 30 per cent of Aussie kids rarely or ever see the father who doesn’t live with them; and that before 1989, when the law gave men a choice about chipping in financially to support their children, only about one-third did.

But as I listened to the stories of these grieving men, the moral issue was no longer clear. There is no shortage of grievances, legitimate and otherwise, when a couple splits. But when fathers want to share care of their children but are granted access only on weekends – leaving the Child Support Agency as the only institution affirming the role of men in their children’s lives post-divorce – something seems amiss.

‘‘I was more than a wallet to those children,’’ the man in the cafe told me. ‘‘I parented them.’’ Later, a diary he had kept of his daughter’s first words and subsequent language development would arrive in the mail: proof of his commitment and grief.

The bloke at the bar, let’s call him Barry, was less certain of what he had to offer to his daughter who is three, no four, no three. He hadn’t seen her in years. ‘‘I don’t even have a place to live at the moment,’’ he confessed. ‘‘Had all my ID stolen a few months ago and been couch-surfing for the past three weeks.’’ I heard the rest of his sentence as if he’d spoken it aloud. ‘‘I wouldn’t be good for her, anyway.’’
‘‘She told me to bugger off,’’ he continued, speaking of his former partner, a girl he’d got pregnant, then agreed to support. He sipped his beer primly before cracking a wooden smile. ‘‘So I did.’’

But here’s the real question. Does the fact that many men feel sad when made to feel surplus to requirements in their own children’s life – disenfranchised by the legal system or their former spouse – mean they’ve been wronged?  Not necessarily. The terrible truth is that when relationships break down, what is in the best interests of children may not be what’s best for men.

Research by Australian researcher  Jennifer McIntosh finds that shared care is not the best arrangement for very young children and only works well for older kids where parents are emotionally mature and get along well. Men incapable of resolving the substance abuse, anger management or emotional issues that can contribute to relationship breakdown in the first place may not be the best influence on children, including their own.

And according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, there is ‘‘compelling evidence’’ that it is parental conflict and the negative economic consequences of divorce, not fatherlessness per se, that is costly for children of divorce. Deadbeat dads, or desperate, defeated and driven-away ones? You decide.

Do you have a moral issue you need resolve? Send it to Leslie@Cannold.com. All correspondence will be kept strictly confidential.

Dad tales of desperate and defeated, or deadbeat.

Michael Robinson is now Fathers & Families’ full-time legislative representative in Sacramento

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Violence, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, Marriage, National Parents Day, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Single Parenting on November 21, 2009 at 12:21 am

A Major Announcement from Fathers & Families

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

By Glenn Sacks, MA for Fathers & Families

In a move that will change the course of the family court reform movement, Fathers & Families has just hired two experienced, accomplished legislative representatives. Soon we will be launching campaigns in support of our family court reform legislation—to get involved, please click here.

California

Readers of www.GlennSacks.com are familiar with Michael Robinson’s work in Sacramento on family court reform legislation, and Robinson and I have often worked together. In 2004 and again in 2006, we helped scuttle two bills (SB 730 and SB 1482) that would have led to unrestricted post-divorce move-aways. This was an important victory for California’s children of divorce, and one that surprised many Sacramento insiders, including Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters.

Robinson and I also worked together to pass family law legislation to help military parents (SB 1082) and on shared parenting and domestic violence reform bills. In 2007 and again this year, Robinson helped build a professional coalition to scuttle AB 612, a bill that would have banned target parents of Parental Alienation from raising PA as an issue in their cases.

Robinson has also been instrumental in passing legislation on paternity fraud (AB 252 and SB 1333), noncustodial parents’ access to school records (AB 164), Collaborative Law (AB 402, AB 189, AB 3051), and protection for disabled veterans with child support obligations (SB 285). He helped create the COAP program, which allows mothers and fathers who are unfairly saddled with inflated, unpayable child support arrearages to settle them for modest cash payments.

Michael Robinson is now Fathers & Families‘ full-time legislative representative in Sacramento, and we will be introducing several family court reform bills into the California legislature in February. Starting soon, Fathers & Families activists will be meeting with legislators throughout the state. We want your participation–to get involved, please click here.

Massachusetts

Enzo Pastore, our new deputy director, has worked on health care reform legislation in Washington DC, Albany, NY, and Boston, MA for 15 years. Pastore designed and promoted model prescription drug legislation that was introduced in 27 states in 2001. He led a successful legislative campaign in New York in 2007 to fund special housing for senior citizens and the disabled. In 2005, he helped defeat a federal Bush initiative that would have drastically cut Medicaid funding and services.

In January, we will launch our campaign to pass HB 1400, the Massachusetts Shared Parenting bill, and Pastore will be spearheading our campaign.

Through Fathers & Families’ efforts, over one-quarter of the Massachusetts Legislature has expressed clear, public support for our Shared Parenting Bill, many of them signing on as co-sponsors. We gathered thousands of signatures to place shared parenting on the 2004 Massachusetts ballot and led a successful campaign for its passage, winning 86% of the vote. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick told the Legislature that if they pass Fathers & Families’ Shared Parenting, he will sign it, and F & F recently met with Governor Patrick.

We need volunteers to meet with legislators, do media work, and help build our campaign–to volunteer, please click here.

Federal Legislation, plus Legislation in Texas & Many Other States

Robinson has worked with legislators and staffers in many other states on military parent legislation, and many states have passed bills modeled in part on SB 1082, the military parents bill we passed in California in 2005. These include: Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, Utah, Mississippi, Alaska, Missouri, and others.

Robinson worked with Texas Senator Jane Nelson to pass SB 279, a bill to protect military parents’ custody rights which was signed by Texas Governor Rick Perry earlier this year.

Robinson worked with Mark Sullivan, Committee Chair of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association’s Military Committee, on the National Defense Reauthorization Act (HR 2647), which was signed by President Obama last month. The bill mandates that the Secretary of Defense produce a report on child custody litigation involving members of the Armed Forces, as well as international intrafamilial abductions of servicemembers’ children.

The Secretary of Defense will submit its report to the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives by the end of March. Robinson says:

“Fathers & Families can play a major role in the implementation of this legislation. We need to make sure that the impact isn’t watered down, that it’s powerful, not sugar-coated.”

This problem affects both fathers and mothers who serve. If you are a military mother or father whose custody rights have been adversely affected due to your service, we want to make sure your story is included in the Secretary of Defense’s report. To submit your story for inclusion, please fill out our form here.

Prominent Biotechnology Executive Mark Benedyk, PhD Joins Our Board of Directors

Dr. Benedyk is the head of The Pfizer Incubator, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc., the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company. The Pfizer Incubator was initiated by Pfizer to support life science start-ups and to explore novel approaches to discovering new medicines.

Dr. Benedyk has over 15 years experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, where he has been involved in business development, product management, and corporate fundraising. His business strategy and fundraising skills will be invaluable for Fathers & Families, and we welcome him as our newest national board member.

What You Can Do

Experienced legislative experts like Robinson and Pastore cost money, as does the organizational work we do surrounding their efforts–please make a tax-deductible gift to support our important work by clicking here.

One very affordable way to help build Fathers & Families is to make a monthly gift–to do so, click here and enter an amount under “monthly contribution.”

The Family Court Reform Movement will not progress unless we engage in the political process on a professional level, as our opponents do.

Fathers & Families has the largest membership base, the highest media profile, the most funding, and now the best legislative advocates of any family court reform organization. The time to take this movement to a higher level is now, and it takes money to do it–please give generously by clicking here.

To volunteer to help, please click here.

Together with you in the love of our children,

Glenn Sacks, MA
Executive Director, Fathers & Families

Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers & Families

A Major Announcement from Fathers & Families | Glenn Sacks on MND.

Ninth Circuit Gives Big Victory to Non-Custodial Father | Glenn Sacks on MND

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Glenn Sacks, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Protective Dads on November 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

By Robert Franklin, Esq.

A case decided November 10, 2009 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could have an enormous impact on fathers’ rights to their children.  (Note: The case is not yet published, so I can’t provide a link to it.)  It holds that even a divorced father with no right of physical custody must be given the opportunity to have custody of his child before a child protective agency can place it in foster care.  Failure to do so by a county child protective agency can subject the county to a suit for damages by the father under the federal civil law governing deprivation of constitutional rights.

To put it bluntly, this is a huge win for non-custodial parents.

The opinion in Burke, et al vs. County of Alameda California, et al now governs everyone within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit which encompasses California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Montana and the territories of Guam and the Northern Marianna Islands.  Unless overturned by the United States Supreme Court, Burke is binding precedent throughout the Ninth Circuit.

The Ninth is the largest federal circuit and one of the most influential on the others.  Of course the opinion in Burke doesn’t govern cases in other circuits, but, given that it was a case of first impression (i.e. a similar case had never been decided before by that circuit) there, it may well be looked to by other circuits in deciding similar cases.  It may also be looked to by the Supreme Court should a similar case reach that level.

David and Melissa Burke lived together and apparently were married.  Melissa’s 14-year-old daughter “B.F.” lived with them.  She was the natural daughter of Melissa and Clifton Farina who had divorced some years before.  David was her stepfather and Clifton was a non-custodial dad.  Frustratingly enough, the opinion doesn’t tell us whether Clifton had an order of visitation, but it seems that he did not because the opinion says that he had no right of physical custody.  Nevertheless, he saw his daughter fairly often even though B.F. testified that his new wife didn’t like her and being around her was uncomfortable for the girl.  Melissa had sole physical custody of B.F.

When B.F. complained to an Alameda County Sheriff’s officer that David hit her repeatedly and often fondled her breasts, the officer, without a warrant, removed her from the Burke home and placed her with the county child protective services agency.  CPS in turn placed her in some form of protective care.

David, Melissa and Clifton Farina sued Alameda County and the sheriff’s deputy under federal statute 42 U.S.C. 1983 which allows civil suits against municipal and state entities which “under color of law” deprive someone of their constitutional rights.  The trial court granted the county’s motion for summary judgment, holding that neither the Burkes nor Farina had any claim against the county on which they could prevail at trial.  The Ninth Circuit agreed that the Burkes had no claim and that the sheriff’s deputy was immune from suit.

But the circuit court reversed the trial court as to Clifton Farina.  It said that, even though he had no right of physical custody, Alameda County could not lawfully ignore Clifton as a possible custodian of B.F.  Failure by the county to “explore the possibility of putting B.F. in his care” violated his constitutional right to a familial relationship and association with his daughter.  His case was returned to the trial court so a jury could hear and decide his claim for damages against the county.

On this blog, both Glenn and I have written about the outrageous preference on the part of CPS agencies for foster care over father care.  Those agencies routinely bypass fathers altogther and place children in foster care.  I reported on an Urban Institute study that showed that, even though CPS agencies know who the father is in some 88% of cases that come before them, attempts to contact him are made in barely over half those cases.  Glenn has written about a girl to whom Orange County, California lied repeatedly over many years, solely to keep her from her father and in foster care.

In short, after this case, CPS agencies can no longer do that without getting sued.  The Burke opinion is not clear on exactly what a county must do to comply with it.  But as I see it, they’ll have to make diligent efforts to locate the father and assess whether his care would be superior to that of a foster home.  If it would be, he would get custody.  In short, when taking a child from its custodial parent due to abuse or neglect, a state within the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction may no longer simply ignore the non-custodial parent.

Thanks to Ned for the heads-up.

Lisa Scott’s RealFamilyLaw.com
Shared Parenting Advocate/Family Law Attorney Lisa Scott’s RealFamilyLaw.com exposes the truth about what is happening in our family law system. Lisa, the all-time leader in appearances on His Side with Glenn Sacks, says that she was “tired of having her stuff rejected by elitist bar publications and politically-correct newspapers” and decided to start her own website. RealFamilyLaw.com

Ninth Circuit Gives Big Victory to Non-Custodial Father | Glenn Sacks on MND.

Mother Abducts Children; Is Punished! Father Gets Custody!

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children criminals, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, DSM-V, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, fathers rights, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Single Parenting on November 17, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Men also abduct children, too. But Parental Alienation Syndrome is the pariah that hangs around the neck of twice as many moms that steal kids, still. Parental Alienation has nothing to do with “batterers getting custody” or “abusers stealing children” and the hysterical members of what we call the “pig pen” moan and whine about. No, Parental Alienation is a pattern of denigration that one parent uses to tear down and destroy the child’s relationship with the other parent – in 2 of 3 cases the father. That is primarily why the pigs are squealing.

Mother Abducts Children; Is Punished! Father Gets Custody!
Friday, November 13, 2009
By Robert Franklin, Esq.

It’s good to read a story like this one that actually makes sense (Courier News, 11/10/09). It’s not fraught with silly claims or absurd reasoning. No misinformation, no disinformation.

Back in April of 2000, a Kane County, Illinois judge issued an order in the custody case of two children of Crystel Strelioff and her ex-husband Brian Strelioff. From reading the article, it looks like the order gave her custody, him visitation and included a clause prohibiting her from moving out of the jurisdiction without prior court approval.

Crystel did exactly that, though, in 2004, when she moved to California with the children. In February of this year, a Kane County jury convicted her of four counts of child abduction and last Friday she was sentenced to three years in prison less 185 days for time served. She was also required to pay her ex-husband $73,340 in restitution. A family court judge has placed the only child who is still a minor in the custody of Brian Strelioff. A court psychologist described Crystel’s abduction as “a form of parental alienation” aimed at Brian.

How sensible. A mother abducted two children and was actually punished by a criminal court. A family court called the behavior what it was, “parental alienation,” and placed the child in the father’s custody. No one claimed phantom child abuse by the father. No one manufactured any statistics about men relentlessly menacing children. No expert witnesses explained how every act of maternal kidnapping is in some way justified. No one claimed, against mountains of contrary evidence, that parental alienation is a scam cooked up by evil advocates for fathers’ rights.

Think of it: a crime, due process, reasonable punishment and paternal custody.

It shouldn’t amaze me, but it does.
Lisa Scott’s RealFamilyLaw.com
Shared Parenting Advocate/Family Law Attorney Lisa Scott’s RealFamilyLaw.com exposes the truth about what is happening in our family law system. Lisa, the all-time leader in appearances on His Side with Glenn Sacks, says that she was “tired of having her stuff rejected by elitist bar publications and politically-correct newspapers” and decided to start her own website. RealFamilyLaw.com

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

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 14th, 2009 at 2:59 am and is filed under Advocacy, DSM-V, Parental Alienation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Children’s Day Rally for Parental Rights – Protecting Children by Empowering Parents

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Children and Domestic Violence, 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, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on November 12, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Children’s Day Rally for Parental Rights

November 20 has been designated “Children’s Day” by the internationalists. But what greater way to support children than to protect their families? So, we’re celebrating Children’s Day with a Parental Rights Rally in Washington, D.C.

The rally will be held at the U.S. Capitol, on the East Lawn across from the Rayburn House Office building. It is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with several very special guests invited to speak, including Rep. Peter Hoekstra and Sen. Jim DeMint, the lead sponsors of the Parental Rights Amendment; Gerard Robinson with Black Alliance for Educational Options; William Estrada of Homeschool Legal Defense Association; Dean and Julie Nelson of National Black Home Educators; and Steven Groves of Heritage Foundation.

We know most of you won’t be able to come all the way to D.C. If you are among those who can, give us a call at 540-751-1200 for further details or directions.

Tell Us YOUR Story

Too many Americans – including congressmen – think the proposed Amendment is just about stopping the Convention on the Rights of the Child. But threats to parental rights are already going on in our nation today. You have seen them. You have experienced them, and we need to hear from you.

Have you: been harassed about your child’s school attendance? Had your child immunized without your consent? Been harassed for your decision over whether to immunize your child or not? Been denied your child’s library records? Had to fight to (or been refused to) opt your child out of specific classes, activities, or events at school? Been harassed for opting them out? Been denied access to your child’s health records, or been kept from staying with them at the doctor’s office? Had your child subjected to health screenings, drug tests, etc., without your knowledge or consent? Had your child obtain an abortion or birth-control prescription without your knowledge or consent? Received threats or had your child removed by social services without cause and a fair trial?

Please, email us at stories@parentalrights.org with a brief description of your run-in with parental rights limitations. (Remember, we will have to read every email sent in, so brevity will be greatly appreciated. We can always write you back if we need more information!) And pass this email along to anyone you know whose parental rights may have been violated, so that they will know to share their story with us, too!

 

Parentalrights.org – Protecting Children by Empowering Parents — Tell Us YOUR Story.

Child Custody – Phone Contact, Custodial Interference, Parental Alienation Part 7 | The Psycho Ex Wife

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, National Parents Day, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Single Parenting on November 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Phone Call Series: Lies, Manipulation, Custodial Interference, Parental Alienation – Part 7

Being the glutton for punishment that I obviously was in the summer of 2005, part 6 was a morning phone call.  I actually took an evening phone call from her the same day.

PEW: Hello? You recording?
LM Hey. Yes, I sure am.
PEW: Okay, good.
LM (inaudible)
PEW: Yeah, you change your mind?
LM No, I didn’t change my mind, did you change yours?
PEW: No.
LM I did speak with my father, though.
PEW: Mmmhmm.
LM He asked me to ask you what he told you.
PEW: Hmm?
LM To ask you what he told you.
PEW: Well, I didn’t really talk to him.

I knew this.  She often lied about such things.  I’m not sure I even talked with my father at that point, but I did confront her with the above – mostly because that’s what my father probably would have said to me, had I talked to him or not.

LM Why would you suggest then that my father would be calling me?
PEW: I don’t know. I can’t believe that you did this to the kids.

QUICK!  MUST CREATE DIVERSION!  MUST CREATE DIVERSION!!!

LM I really wish you would stop saying that I did anything to the kids. The kids are, again, downstairs having a grand old time. Disappointed that you’re not coming down here to get them.
PEW: That was never… that was never supposed to happen.
LM Well, I guess you didn’t communicate very well, then. But all I told them is that we forgot to work on the specifics and that uh, if things didn’t work out for today that I would take them back on Tuesday night because I had to go back up there anyway.
PEW: Well the, I want to call them back at bedtime.
LM You can talk to them now if you want.
PEW: No, I don’t want them getting all upset and then (long pause) (inaudible) This definitely has to be the most vindictive thing you ever did.
LM I’m not doing anything to you and I’m not doing anything to the kids. I, I don’t know where you conjure up these things. You know, I’m sorry that our signals got crossed…
PEW: No signals got crossed…
LM …stop acting like I promised you any such thing, cause I didn’t.
PEW: No signals got crossed.
LM Please don’t act like I promised you any such thing, cause I didn’t. Number one. And number two, please don’t intimate that I’m doing anything to the kids. I said it before and I’ll say it again, just like two weeks ago. Your coming down here is… is of your own free will.
PEW: No.
LM If you want to come down here, I’m not keeping the kids from you, I’m not telling you you can’t see the kids, I’m just telling you that circumstances are not gonna permit me to bring them all the way back today, so…
PEW: Well, you wouldn’t even meet me in [halfway point]. That’s wrong. It’s wrong.
LM Why is that wrong?
PEW: And you know what? Tomorrow, I am having the contempt thing trialed. I’m not, not going to spend 14 years like this, no.
LM I don’t intend to spend 14 years like this either, I just don’t know what “like this” means.
PEW: Mmmhmm. Well, what would make you think after all, I’ve never driven down there except for the one time that you refused to meet me…

PEW logic:  Since she has never driven down “there” before, she should never have to drive down “there.”  I wonder how she would react if I were to use such a childish approach?

LM You mean, the one time that I made you stand by your commitment to come down like you had promised all week.
PEW: Right. Then why would I… why would I come down there?
LM You’re the one saying that you really miss the kids.
PEW: Hmm?
LM You’re the one saying that you really miss the kids.
PEW: I do really miss them, LM, but…
LM Stop making it out like I’m keeping them from you, because I’m not.
PEW: You are.
LM No, I’m not.
PEW: You are. I can’t drive my car down there. First of all, my lawyer said I can’t. I shouldn’t.

Which is it?  Can’t?  or Shouldn’t?  Let this be lesson 1,478,522 of how lawyers can be such scumbags… that is, assuming her lawyer actually told her that.  Her last one told her to move back into the marital home and so she broke in, so it’s entirely believable.  Maybe this new attorney was the same as the old.

LM Shouldn’t and can’t are two different things.
PEW: Yeah, I shouldn’t. And, advised strongly against it, so. (Long pause) (Inaudible) I mean, I can’t, I’m not gonna feel bad about what… whatever consequences you have tomorrow.
LM You don’t feel bad about anything.
PEW: Yeah, I do.
LM No, you don’t.
PEW: I felt more bad, obviously I feel the worst about the kids, but whatever you’ll sustain as a result of what you did today, I can’t feel sorry for you.
LM What exactly did I do today?
PEW: LM, you and I both know what you did today.
LM What did I do today? I’ve asked you repeatedly to send me the evidence that you have that I told you…
PEW: I did. Did you see the email I sent you?
LM No.
PEW: Oh, it says in there three separate times that your vacation was over.
LM Right.
PEW: Right. And you’ve returned them. Since you moved in March, you have done all the returning. So how all of a sudden…

Notice how it didn’t say, “I will bring the children back to you this weekend.”

LM Not since school I didn’t, I haven’t. I’d come up and get them, you came down and retrieved them. I came to [your vacation home location] to get them, and here we are again, I mean…
PEW: That’s bull and you know it.
LM That isn’t what happened?
PEW: No.
LM Okay, so I came, I picked up and dropped off during the school year. Then I didn’t come get them on the 25th, right? Is that what you’re telling me? I didn’t get them on the 25th when I came back from my trip. You didn’t come down here on the 2nd to get them.
PEW: Only because you refused to meet me. You said that…
LM No, only because I made you stand by your commitment. That you promised all week that you were coming down to get them and then changed your mind the day before. So, you keep saying the one version of events and I’ll bring the documentation and the evidence that you said you were going to come down and get them and only changed your mind Friday morning. It might have even been Friday afternoon.
PEW: No, I changed my mind after I talked to DW and she said that I was mentally unstable and my kids were… have mental health issues.
LM No, I don’t think that’s what happened. You keep saying that’s what happened, but I’m sure conveniently your recorder wasn’t working that day.
PEW: Yeah, is she coming with you?
LM What?
PEW: Is she coming to court, too?
LM I’m not telling you anything.
PEW: I hope so. I want my lawyer to have her testify, too. You made a big mistake today. A big one.
LM I don’t know what mistake you say I made.
PEW: You made a mistake LM. And the mistake was leading our kids to believe that you were bringing them home.

Click HERE: for a definition of projection…

LM No, I’m gonna tell you again, and I have mountains of evidence to the contrary. The only person that suggested to the kids that I was bringing them home was you and you had no business doing that, because I never told you that and I never told the kids that. Never, never, never. Okay? So stop saying that’s what you did, unless you can produce it, then you’re lying, okay?
PEW: So, there’s no… I will not… after Wednesday, I will never be required to drive again, anywhere.

Wrong again, PEW!

LM That may be.
PEW: Huh?
LM That may be.
PEW: That is gonna be, LM.
LM That may be.
PEW: And you’ll have yourself to thank for whatever, whatever trouble you get into because of being in contempt, I have… I cannot feel bad for you.
LM I… my understanding is that I’m not in contempt.
PEW: Well, your understanding is wrong. And you can claim that you’re innocent, but you’re not.
LM I keep missing the part where the custody agreement requires that I drop them off to you.
PEW: Well, the part where you moved 4 hours away, that’s the part.
LM No, that, I checked, I called Domestic Relations and you know what? I found no provision in the state law that says if I move out of state that automatically means that I have to pick up and drop off.
PEW: Well, then why would Gloria suggest that?
LM I can’t speak for Gloria.
PEW: Right. Well. She has me doing no driving.
LM She also suggests during the summer, meeting in [halfway exchange point].
PEW: Yeah.
LM Yeah, I know.
PEW: And I’ve offered to do that.
LM What’s that?
PEW: I’ve offered to do that today.

On the off-chance you’re not paying attention, try to recognize this for what it is.  She always “offers” things that benefit only her under the guise of doing me a favor.  The ONLY times she EVER offered to “meet” was when she was required to drive further.  Never has she offered anything to the benefit of someone else to her own detriment.  PEW is a taker, not a giver.

LM You offered it today?
PEW: Yeah. I also offered to do that two weeks ago when you forced me to drive 10 hours in one day.
LM No, I didn’t force you to do no such thing. The only thing I did was say you need to honor your commitment.
PEW: Mmmhmm.
LM For once you need to honor an agreement. One time. In the whole situation, one time you needed to honor an agreement.
PEW: You’re a disgrace, LM.
LM I understand that. I understand that from you.
PEW: You are. Seriously, I don’t know how you live with yourself. And total disregard for the fact that I did give you some happy years. I did give you two beautiful children and this is just typical of what I’ve gotten back out of this.
LM No, it’s what you try to convince yourself is reality and reality is something vastly different.

Oh, burn!

PEW: No… (inaudible) …talking.
LM You gave me 10-years of verbal abuse, mental abuse, threats to leave, leaving dozens of times, forcing major life-decisions like moving and cars and everything. (Inaudible) …and everything else under threat of divorce and abandonment and it’s all in your own words.

Can you feel the love?

PEW: Yeah, and those letters saying that you spent the happiest years of your life with me.
LM You know, there were times where I tried really hard to make you happy.
PEW: Yeah, well.
LM Cards, were just totally smashed in my face. Christmases that were destroyed, because you were just so… I don’t what’s wrong, but something was not right. The things you’ve done over the course of the years.

Cue Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You…”

PEW: Well everything is fine now, so…
LM It can’t possibly be fine now, all you do is confrontation, and arguments, and go back on your word, and all you want to do is make an issue out of everything that comes up, PEW, I don’t know what, I don’t know what to tell you, I don’t know how to explain it. I just don’t know how to explain it. (Long pause) I try to make the most of my time with the kids and you’re calling me 6, 7 times a day, I mean it’s just so…
PEW: Did you explain this situation to your dad?
LM What’s that?
PEW: Did you explain this situation to your dad?
LM No I didn’t explain the situation to my dad. Oh, yeah, wait I did, I told him that you were mad that I wasn’t dropping them off or something.
PEW: What did he say?
LM He asked me if there were any provisions in the agreement regarding pick-ups and drop-offs. I told him “no, not to my knowledge.”
PEW: Mmmhmm. Right. Tell him that the kids cry every day? To talk to their mom?
LM No, they don’t cry every day. They only cry when you prompt them to cry.
PEW: No.
LM Yeah, they do.
PEW: No they don’t.
LM I told him, “yeah, you know, I feel bad, the kids miss their mother and she just doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by driving down here to get them.” That’s the reality. It was the reality two weeks ago, you decided, you know what, you know what, after a commitment to come down here you decided on Friday, “you know what? I don’t feel like driving all that way.” (Long pause) And what’s scary is you do nothing to, you do nothing to help me out in a pinch and then you, then you have this expectation that all you gotta do is ask and just eh…
PEW: I didn’t have to give you two weeks in the summer so far. I could have waited. I could have waited until I was court-ordered to do that.
LM I gave you plenty of notice for vacation time.
PEW: It doesn’t matter. I didn’t have to voluntarily give you two weeks out of the summer already and now you’re taking advantage of that.
LM Taking advantage of what?
PEW: You’re taking advantage of how nice I am.
LM No, I’m taking advantage? By what?
PEW: I let you try the every-other-weekend thing.
LM You let me? I did it because it was what was right for the kids. Do you want to talk about letting? I mean, I could have followed the custody agreement and taken them all but one weekend per month.

Gate-keeping mother, supported by the government.  Man, it’s good to be a father in this day-and-age.

PEW: What was Gloria’s suggestion for the school year?
LM The forthcoming school year is every other weekend.
PEW: No, every other weekend with one weekend in [custody state].
LM Yeah, but that’s not gonna work out either.
PEW: It’s gonna have to.
LM No, it won’t have to.
PEW: Yes, it will.
LM No, I don’t think it will because you know what? I don’t think the court is going to sanction me and sanction the grandparents of the children and everybody else who I might have opportunity to visit by telling me that I have to bear the expense of a stay in a hotel. What kind of… and that’s the extra interesting thing about this, you want to talk about doing what’s best for the kids, how is it best for the kids that I spend a weekend in a hotel room without their toys, without their friends, and I mean, what kind of a weekend are you setting your kids up to have by making that a stipulation?
PEW: Well, I was thinking more along the lines that you would stay with one of your brothers.

Oh, you were, were you?  Now you’re going to take command of what goes on in their homes to, Your Heinous?  The unmitigated gall…

LM They have families. They have plans. You just assume these people…
PEW: Okay, you know what…?
LM …can put up and adult and two children on a… on a whim. I mean that’s a pretty big assumption.
PEW: Well then you’ll get them once a month.
LM That might, that might be in the offing.
PEW: That is in the offing. It’s in the offing.
LM We’ll see.
PEW: And you know what? I don’t want to talk to you again. Could you please put the kids on now?
LM Yeah, I can put them on now, are you going to not incite them into crying and suggesting…
PEW: I don’t incite them into crying and you know I don’t.
LM Yes, you do. Yes, you do and you know, I’ll show that you do that. By asking “Oh, are you bored? You sound sad.” And even when S1says three times “No everything’s fine, everything’s fine” you say “you sound like you’re going to cry” You just pepper him until he does what you want him to do and that is cry into the phone to you. (Short pause) You do. You can say you don’t, I can show you that you do.
PEW: Okay. Show me.
LM I will.
PEW: Mmmhmm. It will backfire, LM, trust me.
LM There is nothing to backfire. I’m going to come down there and make a case for me spending meaningful time with the kids.
PEW: And it’s all going to backfire.
LM I don’t what you think I’m trying to do here…
PEW: Put the kids on I’m done talking to you.
LM I don’t know what you think I’m trying to do here…
PEW: Put the kids on I’m done talking to you.
LM You know, this whole backfiring thing…
PEW: I… am… done… listening… to… you… put… my… kids… on.
LM Are you okay?
PEW: Hmm?
LM Are you okay?
PEW: No, I’m not okay. I miss my kids.
LM Come and get them.
PEW: You bring them home like you were supposed to.
LM Before I put them on, I want you to hear how much fun they’re having so that when they start crying…
[Holds the phone over the stairs as the kids are laughing down below.]
PEW: The only reason they’re having fun… hello? The only reason they’re having fun is cause SD1 and SS1 are there.
LM No, they’re not.
PEW: They’re not having so much fun with you as they are with SD1 and SS1. No. You and Miss Personality.
LM SD1 and SS1 are at their father’s.

Oh, burn!  How devastating it must have been to learn that the children can actually have a wonderful time with their father and step-mother.  What a terrible shame for the poor, poor perpetual victim.

PEW: Mmmhmm.
LM Had a nice day, planting flowers in the nice picnic area that they made for themselves. Played bottlecaps in the driveway together.
PEW: You’re a great dad, LM.

You bet your ass I am.

LM I try my best given the circumstance.
PEW: Mmmhmm.
LM I tell them to love their mom. I don’t manipulate them and make suggests to them that they do things to undermine their time with me.
PEW: (SCREAMS) SHUT UP! And put the kids on.
LM I’m just trying to tell you how… you know, you talk about co-parenting and doing the right things by the children and you say one thing and do something else.
PEW: I’m taping this, did I tell you that?
LM Well no, but I have no problem with that.
PEW: Well this is bordering on harassment. I’m asking you to let me talk to the kids and…
LM I’m just answering your contention that they don’t…
PEW: And I said I don’t want to talk to you anymore. All you do is blow hot air. Nobody cares. Nobody believes you. Only you and DW are the only two people that believe your little stories about having to move to [home state] and you know, that I’m mentally unstable and…
LM She never said that.
PEW: Well, where does she get that idea then? I’m a respected person in my community and nobody even knows you in your community.
LM Is there where you start with the insults and the storytelling again?
PEW: Mmmhmm.
LM Because you can’t help yourself?
PEW: Mmmhmm. What storytelling (inaudible)? Did you not abandon your kids, yes or no?
LM No, I didn’t abandon my kids.
PEW: Yeah you did.
LM I told you before, anytime you’re ready to give me primary custody… (a beep is heard)
PEW: What did you say?
LM I said, anytime you’re ready to turn over primary custody to me I’d be more than happy to take it, I…
PEW: (SCREAMS) NEVER! NEVER! NE-VER!!! It’s never gonna happen, LM.
LM Can you keep yourself under control, PEW?
PEW: I am under control. But I would never, I would… I would never give you custody ever. Not a psycho sociopath like yourself, no way. Put the kids on.
LM Is this the kind of talk that fosters goodwill between the parents?
PEW: I know, well… I’m telling you that there is nothing more infuriating to a parent than when the other parent is supposed to drop the kids off and…
LM I don’t know where you got that contention…
PEW: I haven’t seen them in a week and you’re not dropping them off. When they were supposed to be dropped off.
LM I don’t know that they were supposed to be dropped off and if you provided me evidence that I said that I’d do that, I would do that, but with that…

[LM calls to S1 “Hey, S1, you ready for your turn?” and S1 gets on the phone with PEW.]

S1: Mom, are you able to come down half-way?
PEW: Umm, buddy, we’re, me and daddy can’t like, get it worked out, so…
S1: (Sad) Can you ask him again?
PEW: I did, I did.
S1: Please, can you try again?
PEW: Huh?
S1: Can you try again?
PEW: Can I try again?
S1: Yes, cause I just can’t take it without you. I just can’t do it any longer.
PEW: Daddy says you guys are having a great time.
S1: Well…
PEW: Are you faking?
S1: I miss you, so badly.
PEW: Okay, well listen, you are a good boy right? And you can stay there for two more days, I have a great surprise for you for you when you get home.

Here we go again… with the manipulation…

S1: (whining) What is it?
PEW: (laughs) I can’t tell you.
S1: (laughs and whines)
PEW: But… but… can you be a good boy for two more days?
S1: (whines) Well, can you just tell me what it is?
PEW: (laughs) I can’t tell you what it is that’ll ruin the surprise…
S1: (whines) Tell me!
PEW: (laughs) Listen, you can’t cry anymore.
S1: (whines) Tell me!
PEW: (laughs) Listen, you can’t cry anymore.
S1: (whining)
PEW: Okay I’ll give you a hint but I can’t tell you what it is
S1: (whining) why?
PEW: if I (hears whining)
S1: What?
PEW: It’s alive (laughs) That’s all I can tell you
S1: Is it a fish
PEW: I don’t know, I said I can’t tell you

The stringing him along is completely painful to hear and read…

S1: Please, you have to tell me if I get it right
PEW: It’s a surprise so don’t
S1: (whining)
PEW: So, listen, listen, you cannot cry anymore
S1: Okay
PEW: Alright
S1: You can tell me, I won’t tell S2, I promise
PEW: (laughs) Try to guess again
S1: Ahh, lizard?
PEW: Ahh, can’t tell you
S1: Tell me
PEW: No, it’s not a lizard
S1: Is it a parrot?
PEW: no
S1: Cat?
PEW: No
S1: Dog?
PEW: No
S1: What is it?
PEW: I don’t know, I can’t tell you because I don’t wanna ruin the surprise
S1: (whining) please
PEW: You’re gonna love it
S1: (whining) tell me
PEW: but wait, listen, you have to um, you can’t be sad, you have to be happy for the next two days
S1: Alright I’ll be happy, if you’ll let me know, or tell me what it is
PEW: (laughs) Aunt DUI is here,
[to Psycho-SIL]: he said he’ll be happy for the next two days if I tell him what it is.
S1: Mommy can you tell me what it is
PEW: It’s a lizard
S1: It is?
PEW: Yes
S1: Yes! (yelling something in a happy voice, inaudible)
PEW: Okay, but you can’t be upset anymore
S1: (again making happy noises)
PEW: So you’re not gonna be sad anymore?
S1: No

This is what she’ll never get – she’s just gifted his compliance.  She’ll never get that this is precisely why he does what he does.  If he gives her the sad, crying act, she’ll buy him something.  When she complies with his manipulation, he’s happy.  It’s basic Pavlovian theory.  She teaches him to act the way he does and then rewards him for his behavior.  Hostile-Aggressive Parenting 101.

PEW: So you’re happy now
S1: Yes
PEW: I know
S1: (making happy noises)
PEW: (laughs)
S1: What color lizard is it?
PEW: It’s a green one
S1: Okay (making happy noises)
PEW: You’re funny
S1: Oh wait, can I tell S1?
PEW: Um, yea
S1: S2, Mom bought a lizard for us. Dad, you wanna know what Mom bought for us? (LM answers: a lizard?) Yep. K, I guess, Mom?
PEW: Yes?
S1: Um, he has his food?
PEW: uhhuh
S1: Cage?
PEW: Yes, does um, he’s really (inaudible)
S1: Was it big or little?
PEW: He’s medium, so you gotta do me a favor and be happy til Tuesday when you come home okay?

In her head now, his happiness is predicated solely on what she’s done.  In her mind, she’s the sole reason he is happy with me now, because of the gift.  He’s to be happy as a “favor” to her.

S1: Okay, I’m so happy, woohoo
PEW: It’s only two more days okay? You know, you know Mommy loves you so much right
S1: What happens if we’re not happy? You’re giving the lizard back?
PEW: (laughs) No, I’ll be sad if you guys aren’t happy, I just want you to be happy while you’re at Daddy’s, okay? Cuz what? It’s only two more days right?
S1: Well all we have to play with is some Power Rangers and Buzz Light Year, and a movie and that’s all we got to play with, SD1 and SS1 aren’t here
PEW: Well you’ll have a good time, it’s only two…
S1: And we have some board games and the bottle cap game.
PEW: right.

Yes, PEW… games their father plays with them.  It’s why they’re having such a happy week.

S1: Right, Mom, now I got an idea
PEW: What?
S1: Um on the driveway
PEW: Yes
S1: If you move your car a little back
PEW: Umhmm
S1: Guess what we can do?
PEW: What?
S1: We can draw a big giant square on the driveway
PEW: Umhmm
S1: I mean big, and a 1 in one corner and a 1 in the other corner, and then you make a 7 in the other corner and an 8 in the other corner
PEW: Right
S1: And then on the side you make a rectangle, then put a line down in the middle and then put 9 then you pt 11 with it
PEW: Uhhuh
S1:And then you put, then you make another one and there’s 12 and 10, and then you have another spot where 1, 3 and then the other spot there is 6 and 4, and then in the middle, you have to make a smaller square in the middle and then make a skeleton face in the middle
PEW: Ummhmm
S1: And then put cross bones, you know it’s just like cross bones, and then what you have to do is, you make a skeleton
PEW: Ohhhhh
S1: A skeleton head, and then you make two really skinny rectangles all the way to the other side and then you write 13 and 14
PEW: Ummhmm
S1: Okay
PEW: Right
S1: And then you need bottlecaps, so you can use your Corona bottlecaps in that game
PEW: Okay, can you show me how to do that square thing
S1: Um, I’ll show you how daddy makes the square
PEW: Okay
S1: And I’ll help you out with it
PEW: Okay, sounds good, you’re funny
S1: Um is it, wait, does the lizard have that thing coming out of it? Like that neck thing coming out of it
PEW: Um, no it’s not there at all
S1: Can you go look at it?
PEW: Yea
S1: Are you looking at it now
PEW: Uhhuh
S1: Okay well does like some of that long neck part there
PEW: Um, it’s like medium sized neck
S1: Um, that’s an iguana
PEW: Oh (laughs)
S1: Yea, so you called it a lizard, it’s an iguana. Ewwwww
PEW: What?
S1: S2 had a Corona bottle cap in his mouth and hit had permanent marker on it
PEW: Uhoh, did he get it in his mouth?
S1: Yes, he put it in his mouth
PEW: Oh no, oh boy, oh boy
S1: I know, I thought he had nothing in his mouth, and then he spits it out at me, a bottle cap falls in his hands
PEW: (laughs) you’re funny, you’re a funny guy
S1: (inaudible)
PEW: What are you gonna name him?
S1: Um, Rocky, S2 I need to know the lizards name, name it Rocky? Okay me and S2 both agreed on naming him rocky, so it’s Rocky
PEW: Okay that sounds good, I like that name
S1: Okay
PEW: Okay well I wanted to say goodnight, cuz I guess I won’t talk to you again tonight
S1: Does he eat live worms
PEW: Yes
S1: And (inaudible) I’ll feed him don’t worry
PEW: Okay, you don’t mind?
S1: Yea, but guess what, if he ever escapes guess what I’ll do
PEW: What?
S1: Don’t worry, I’ll chase him around and I’ll get him
PEW: Okay (laughs)
S1: I’ll make sure we have the door closed though (inaudible) it would be a problem if we had an iguana running all around our house
PEW: Right
S1: Yea
PEW: That would be
S1: Where is it, in our room or in our playroom or what?
PEW: Downstairs by the hermit crabs
S1: Okay
PEW: K?
S1: If he moves, does he move a lot?
PEW: Yes, he does, he likes it here
S1: Okay
PEW: Yea, he needs some friends
S1: I can’t wait until I get to see him
PEW: Yea, so that’s what you can look forward to when you come home okay? And don’t be sad anymore
S1: Alright
PEW: I love you so much, you’re the best little boy in the world
S1: Alright, I’m so happy
PEW: (laughs)
S1: I can’t wait to see my lizard
PEW: Lizard boy
S1: (inaudible) if I can find them
PEW: Well we got bugs, and betas, your betas are still doing good
S1: Good, you know what I would do, if I’m quick enough, I’d grab the iguana and (inaudible) (laughs)
PEW: (laughs) you’re funny, you’ll like him
S1: And guess what
PEW: Aunt DUI said to tell you hi.
S1: Alright. None of the fished died right?
PEW: No, no they are both still doing good
S1: Is the shark still alive, the shark
PEW: No, he died, we still got the hifin tetra and the Danube and the two betas that you and S2 got, or that you won down the shore. And I’m proud they’re still alive
S1: Alright
(inaudible)
PEW: So does S2 wanna talk to me?
S1: What?
PEW: Does S2 wanna talk or no?
S1: Um I wanna talk to you for a little bit
PEW: Oh okay
S1: You know you didn’t have to buy me a lizard, but I want him anyway
PEW: Yea
S1: How big is the cage
PEW: About, bigger than the hermit crab cage, um
S1: Does it have like little um platforms where he can climb up on
PEW: Uhhuh
S1: I knew it
PEW: Which would you rather have, a lizard or a snake?
S1: I’d have both
PEW: Both? (laughs)
S1: Did you get two?
PEW: No, but I was debating whether to get the snake because I knew that you kept saying that you wanted a cord snake, remember?
S1: Oh yes
PEW: But I’m a little scared of snakes
S1: Alright I’ll have the iguana
PEW: (laughs) You’re funny (inaudible)

“You’re funny.”  “You’re a funny guy.”  “You’re a good boy.”  Over and over and over again.  She has no idea how to talk to the children.  When in doubt – buy them a gift so that you can have a discussion about what PEW did and not what’s going on in the children’s lives.  It’s all about PEW.  All the time.

S1: I know, woohoo
PEW: So
S1: If you ever get a lizard, it’s not a lizard
PEW: (laughs) They also had some cute parakeets at the pet store
S1: What?
PEW: I said they also had some cute parakeets there
S1: Awwww guess what they have, the birds that can fly free
PEW: Yes
S1: Yea,
PEW: is that where you guys go?
S1:: Yea, the birds, they have no cages
PEW: Uhhuh
S1:: Yea, they were flying up on top of the cage, they can fly out anytime they want
PEW: Wow, that’s cool
S1: And guess what
PEW: What?
S1: He was flying up (unaudible) he was like ahh (more inaudible)
PEW: Oh yea, was he like a big huge parrot?
S1: Yea he was, he had the white and then the black circles around his eyes
PEW: Oh okay, it’s not a parrot it’s a cockatoo
S1: Yea? Isn’t a cockatoo the pretty one with red and green and blue and stuff
PEW: Oh okay, and a mackaw?
S1: Yea, they had a big mackaw too and a baby
PEW: Uhhuh
S1: Either that or a (inaudible)
PEW: You’re funny

“You’re funny.”  Where have I seen that before?

S1: I love you and guess what, they also have some turtles at the store, no wait they weren’t turtles they were tortoises
PEW: Oh really?
S1: Yea
PEW: They got some tortoises at our pet store
S1: They do?
PEW: Um yea
S1: Were they grey and really little?
PEW: They were grey and really big, about the size of your head
S1: Oh my
PEW: Then they have big ones like big as a dog, yea, but I think I’d be afraid, what would you do with it?
S1: Um you could leave it out front, or out to the wild
PEW: Yea
S1: Yea
PEW: You think?
S1: Yea
PEW: You’re such an animal lover huh?
S1: Yea
PEW: I know, you take after me, I love animals too.

You ARE me.  I have no concept of the children as being their own individuals.  They are just an extension of me.  Me me me me my my my my me my me.

S1: Guess what, there’s this snake, he’s venomous, but guess what
PEW: What?
S1: Well he curls up like a ball and you can play catch with him even like throw him up and down
PEW: Ahh
S1: Yea, real quick like a ball. Yea (inaudible) found one and he threw him up and down and he said, he said (inaudible) it’s just another ball
PEW: You’re funny

“You’re funny.”  Where have I seen that before?

S1: Yea
PEW: Would you pet a snake
S1: Yea if it wasn’t venomous
PEW: Really?
S1: (inaudible) if it didn’t bite you, did you know that?
PEW: No, and you wouldn’t be afraid
S1: Um, no
PEW: Oh
S1: This is what I would do, if you were scared to hold it, I would let you real quick (inaudible)
PEW: Yea
S1: Real quick, get him behind the head and hold him like that you know
PEW: Umhmm
S1: And then he won’t bit you then
PEW: Right, yea, well maybe (inaudible) because I don’t think they bite anyway, do you?
S1: I don’t know
PEW: Hmmm
S1: Do you know they are actually selling frogs? Even yellow frogs, I don’t know it was either a toad or a frog
PEW: Yellow?
S1: Yea yellow, and it had spots
PEW: Oh I never saw that. What else did they have there, did they have cats and dogs?
S1: Um no they don’t have cats and dogs
PEW: Oh
S1: But they have an animal shelter with a funny looking cat, Sarah was like look at that funny looking cat (laughs) and we all start laughing cuz he’s all funny looking
PEW: Right
S1: But he’s nicer than he looks, he was really nice
PEW: Yea
S1: He was a sweetheart
PEW: So, huh
S1: So he just kept going around in circles and then he comes by and he jumps, you know
PEW: Yea awww
S1: And then there was this big cat, when I would move my finger he would go after it. One time I moved my finger all the way up to the top and he jumps up to get me, all four of his feet weren’t on the ground then he’d move to the side of the cage
PEW: Awwwwww
S1: Then he came right back down, he was cute, he got me with his teeth one time though.
PEW: Right they like to chew on your fingers.
S1: Yea I hate cats.
PEW: Yea, baby dogs like to do that too, they like to chew.
S1: They won’t on your hand though.
PEW: Right, they’re cute though.
S1: Yea they are cute though.

(A lot of inaudible, can hear words and they’re talking about dogs)

PEW: cutie pie
S1: I’ll ask S2 if he wants to talk
PEW: Okay bud, well you have a good nights’ sleep okay?
S1: Alright
PEW: I’ll see you day after tomorrow
S1: Okay, bye
PEW: Love you
S1: By

The conversation closed with S2…

S2: Hi mom
PEW: Hi
S2: What is that? What is it? What is it called? (inaudible) Mom, the iguana?
PEW: umhmm
S2: The iguana it’s (inaudible)
PEW: Yes and it also eats lettuce, lettuce and bananas
S2: I wanna, can I give him a banana when I come see you
PEW: Sure, yea
S2: A banana
PEW: Yep. So how you doing bud?
S2: do (inaudible) walk around a lot?
PEW: yea he does
S2: do you have a cage for him?
PEW: yea, you’re funny

“You’re funny.”  Where have I seen that before?

S2: (inaudible)
PEW: Does he have a long neck?
S2: Did you say yes?
PEW: No he doesn’t have a long neck, he has a medium sized neck
S2: what does, I’ll ask S1, what else did he say?
PEW: the (inaudible) and the cage
S2: what else did he say
PEW: ahh I guess that’s it, he asked me a lot of questions
S2: Good bye I love you
PEW: Oh you’re done?
S2: Yea
PEW: I love you baby
S2: Bye
PEW: You’re a good boy I’ll see you soon okay
S2: Okay
PEW: Night pumpkin
S2: Bye
PEW: Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite
S2: Alright, bye

More interesting calls to come… there would be several more before she wises up and disallows any further recording of phone calls.

Child Custody – Phone Contact, Custodial Interference, Parental Alienation Part 7 | The Psycho Ex Wife.

Parental Alienation Mommy Tossed in Jail for Abducting Children

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children criminals, Childrens Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads on November 11, 2009 at 7:18 pm

November 10, 2009

WEST DUNDEE — A former West Dundee woman was sentenced to prison for abducting her two minor children in 2004.

Crystel A. Strelioff, 53, was sentenced Friday by 16th Circuit Court Associate Judge T. Jordan Gallagher to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

A Kane County jury had convicted Strelioff of four counts of child abduction — each a Class 4 felony — after a three-day trial in February. She later was arrested on a warrant and has been in custody at the Kane County Jail since May, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

In February 2004, Strelioff intentionally violated a court order by taking her two children from the jurisdiction of the Kane County court to California, according to authorities. Her last known address was in Newhall, Calif.

The court order was issued by a Kane County judge in an April 2000 custody ruling. The ruling noted that a psychologist had reported Strelioff’s “conduct is a form of parental alienation toward” her ex-husband. For that and other reasons, custody of the two children was granted to their father, Brian Strelioff, the judge’s ruling said.

One child is no longer a minor, and the other is under 13, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

In addition to the prison sentence, Strelioff was ordered to pay $73,340 in restitution to Brian Streliof. She was given day-for-day sentencing, as well as credit for 185 days already served in the Kane County Jail.

Mom sentenced to prison for abducting kids :: The Courier News :: Local News.

Parental Alienation: Children on the frontlines of divorce

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Department of Social Servies, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Marriage, National Parents Day, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping on November 8, 2009 at 6:06 am

Another case of child abuse where a mom is alienated from her children by a dad who did everything possible to keep the child from the mother..Parental Rights

Slideshow image

Experts call it parental alienation, when in the midst of a divorce, one parent tries to turn a child against the other parent. It’s a mind-warping tactic for the child.

 

View Larger ImageW5 Staff

The world of divorce is scary for any child. Even when spouses split amicably children can be forced to balance their love and time between two parents.

But when a divorce becomes especially toxic children can become the target of an unrelenting crusade by one parent to destroy the child’s relationship with the other. Experts call it parental alienation, a persistent campaign by one parent to poison a child’s relationship with the other parent.

Typical tactics include lying or making false allegations about the targeted parent, refusing to let the child see the other parent, even punishing the child for showing affection for the other parent. Experts claim, in its more extreme forms, it is child abuse.

Pamela Richardson

For almost 12 years, Pamela Richardson rarely saw her son Dash because of the campaign her ex-husband waged against her.

According to Richardson, after her marriage dissolved her ex-husband, who had custody of the then-four-year-old, did everything he could to alienate Dash from his mother – fabricating illness, booking activities for Dash to prevent visits; he even arranged to have Richardson banned from Dash’s school.

“I wouldn’t see Dash for, you know, a number of months and not without me trying, not without me doing all the classic things that alienated parents do — cookies on the doorstop, faxes, phone calls, notes, trying to see him at friends’ houses — everything you possibly can to keep that thread of a relationship alive,” said Richardson.

Despite a court order giving her regular visits with Dash, Richardson said her ex-husband did everything he could to keep them apart and to convince their son that she was a bad and uncaring mother.

“There was period of two years, and I added up the hours (with Dash) and it came to 24 – in two years,” Richardson lamented.

Richardson said she wasn’t the only one suffering as a result of the alienation – Dash was suffering too. Alienated from his mother, the once happy little boy turned into an isolated, depressed and angry teenager.

On January 1, 2001, Dash, then 16, jumped off Vancouver’s Granville Street bridge, in the middle of the night, to his death. While Richardson blames her ex-husband, she also blames a court system that she insists did little to intervene and help.

“This is extreme and this was something that was in the courts many, many times…they had an opportunity to do something and they didn’t,” said Richardson.

Parental Alienation and the Courts

Courts are paying more attention. Family court judges are increasingly considering issues of parental alienation in deciding custody.

Justice Harvey Brownstone is a family court judge in Toronto and the author of a book on the bitter realities of divorce court.

“Parents who are on a campaign to destroy the child’s relationship with the other parent could lose custody and, in extreme cases, courts have changed custody to the other parent,” said Brownstone.

He encourages divorcing couples to focus on parenting together rather than using children as a tool of revenge, dragging them through protracted, bitter family feuds.

“While there may be some therapeutic benefits to coming to court and venting and telling a judge how much you were hurt by the other parent’s infidelities or bad conduct, at the end of the day, we are looking at parenting capacity, parenting skills,” he said. “We need to look at how couples are going to reinvent themselves from ex-partners to co-parents.”

Co-parenting

The concept of divorced parents co-parenting isn’t new for psychologists Peggie Ward and Robin Deutsch. They bring bad-mouthing alienating parents, targeted parents, and their children to a camp in Vermont in an effort to help these broken families learn new ways to properly raise their children

Eight-year-old Tori Cercone knows first hand how it feels to be caught in the middle of a high conflict divorce. “What is so painful is that your mom and dad get separated and they don’t like each other but you like both. And it’s kind of like a contest who you like better”

Two years ago Tori’s parents Fran Beecy and Chris Cercone couldn’t stand to be in the same room after Beecy made abuse allegations against her ex-husband.

“Oh my God, he hated me,” said Beecy. “I was like the big mother bear guarding the door, not letting my ex-husband near my kids…I just wanted to protect them, to keep them safe. And yet he, on the other hand, was just like ‘these are my kids, I want to see them. I have every right to see them.’”

Divorce camp in Vermont changed everything. Today, they visit together, gather for family dinners, and get along.

As Cercone explained, “whichever side you’re on, whether you’re the alienated or the alienator, you’ve got to come to grips that it can’t be about how I feel or getting back at the other one.”

“I think I’m a better mom because I’m happier,” said Beecy. “I’m not trying to create any wedges between my kids and their dad.”

CTV News | W5 investigates: Children on the frontlines of divorce.

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.

Japanese Dads Trying to Start a Fathers’ Rights Wave There | Glenn Sacks on MND

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Single Parenting, UNCRC, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on October 12, 2009 at 6:09 pm
Sunday, October 11, 2009

By Robert Franklin, Esq.

OK, so it’s worse in Japan.

As this article shows, Japanese divorce law, while nicely gender-neutral in its wording, results in mothers being the overwhelming majority of custodial parents after divorce (Fox News, 10/8/09).  The real difference between Japanese divorce law and that of the U.S. and other western nations is that, post divorce, only one parent is permitted custody.  That is, there’s no “joint custody,” which in the U.S. typically means one parent with physical custody and the other with visitation rights.

And it should come as no surprise that, in Japan, the parent with custody is the mother in 90% of cases.  That leaves fathers who want a relationship with their children and children who want a relationship with their father out in the cold.  From what the article says, neither seems to have any rights to contact with the other.  One father discussed in the article, Masahiro Yoshida, asked a family court for visitation rights with his daughter and was turned down.  Post-divorce family law places the power to grant or deny father-child contact squarely in the hands of the mother.

Now, that may seem like merely the official version of what happens unofficially here in the U.S.  Indeed, at first blush, it’s possible to say that the Japanese are just more honest than we are.  They prefer maternal custody.  Period.

We, on the other hand, make many plaintive bleats about connecting fathers with children.  We occasionally even acknowledge that children are better off with two parents than one.  But then we turn around and give primary custody to mothers 84% of the time.  (Is that so different from the 90% maternal custody in Japan?)  We make a show of granting visitation to fathers, but then don’t enforce the orders.  So children are denied their fathers just as surely as in Japan, just more hypocritically.

And that’s just one of many ways that we too place almost all power over children in the hands of mothers.  From conception through age 18, any single mother with two brain cells can manage to keep a child from its father legally and without too much effort.

But in fact, even the U.S. seems to be ahead of Japan in fathers’ rights issues.  Fathers here are becoming more assertive about their rights and courts are starting to listen.  The huge mass of sociology about the benefits of fathers to children is becoming more widely known and acknowledged.  The words “equally shared parenting” are becoming common too.

Fathers in Japan are starting to get the message.  As the linked-to article says,

Yoshida has banded together with other divorced fathers to form a support group, one of several that have sprung up in recent years.

A few lawyers and lawmakers have showed support for their cause. A bar association group is studying parenting and visitation arrangements in other countries such as Australia.

That’s a long way from an effective movement, but with the rest of the industrialized world moving in the direction of greater protection for the father-child bond, can Japan be far behind?

Japanese Dads Trying to Start a Fathers’ Rights Wave There | Glenn Sacks on MND.

The Making of a Modern Dad | Psychology Today

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, Department of Social Servies, Domestic Violence, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Sociopath, state crimes on October 9, 2009 at 4:13 pm

The Making of a Modern Dad

“One of my first memories growing up was wishing that my father would be home more” recalls Andrew Hudnut M.D, a family doctor in Sacramento, California. “I was 8, and we had just returned from a canoe trip. I remember thinking, ‘I don’t want a bigger house or more money. I just want my dad around.’”

When his wife gave birth, Hudnut arranged his practice so he could be home to take care of his son, Seamus, two days a week; he sees patients on the other three workdays. “It was a very natural transition,” he reports. “I’m grateful to have the opportunity my father never had.”

Part of a new generation of men who are redefining fatherhood and masculinity, Hudnut, who is 33, is unwilling to accept the role of absentee provider that his father’s generation assumed. With mothers often being the breadwinners of the family, many young fathers are deciding that a man’s place can also be in the home—part-time or even full-time.

According to census figures, one in four dads takes care of his preschooler during the time the mother is working. The number of children who are raised by a primary-care father is now more than 2 million and counting. By all measures, fathers, even those who work full-time, are more involved in their children’s lives than ever before. According to the Families and Work Institute in New York City, fathers now provide three-fourths of the child care mothers do, up from one-half 30 years ago.

Is Father Nurture Natural?

Many men and women wonder if all of this father care is really natural. According to popular perceptions, men are supposedly driven by their hormones (primarily testosterone) to compete for status, to seek out sex and even to be violent—conditions hardly conducive to raising kids. A recent article in Reader’s Digest, “Why Men Act As They Do,” is subtitled “It’s the Testosterone, Stupid.” Calling the hormone “a metaphor for masculinity,” the article concludes, “…testosterone correlates with risk: physical, criminal, and personal.” Don’t men’s testosterone-induced chest-beating and risk-taking limit their ability to cradle and comfort their children?

Two Canadian studies suggest that there is much more to masculinity than testosterone. While testosterone is certainly important in driving men to conceive a child, it takes an array of other hormones to turn men into fathers. And among the best fathers, it turns out, testosterone levels actually drop significantly after the birth of a child. If manhood includes fatherhood, which it does for a majority of men, then testosterone is hardly the ultimate measure of masculinity.

In fact, the second of the two studies, which was recently published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, suggests that fathers have higher levels of estrogen the well-known female sex hormone—than other men. The research shows that men go through significant hormonal changes alongside their pregnant partners changes most likely initiated by their partner’s pregnancy and ones that even cause some men to experience pregnancy-like symptoms such as nausea and weight gain. It seems increasingly clear that just as nature prepares women to be committed moms, it prepares men to be devoted dads.

“I have always suspected that fatherhood has biological effects in some, perhaps all, men,” says biologist Sue Carter, distinguished professor at the University of Maryland. “Now here is the first hard evidence that men are biologically prepared for fatherhood.”

The studies have the potential to profoundly change our understanding of families, of fatherhood and of masculinity itself. Being a devoted parent is not only important but also natural for men. Indeed, there is evidence that men are biologically involved in their children’s lives from the beginning.

Is Biology Destiny for Dads?

It’s well known that hormonal changes caused by pregnancy encourage a mother to love and nurture her child. But it has long been assumed that a father’s attachment to his child is the result of a more uncertain process, a purely optional emotional bonding that develops over time, often years. Male animals in some species undergo hormonal changes that prime them for parenting. But do human dads? The two studies, conducted at Memorial University and Queens University in Canada, suggest that human dads do.

In the original study, published in Evolution and Human Behavior, psychologist Anne Storey, and her colleagues took blood samples from 34 couples at different times during pregnancy and shortly after birth. The researchers chose to monitor three specific hormones because of their links to nurturing behavior in human mothers and in animal fathers.

The first hormone, prolactin, gets its name from the role it plays in promoting lactation in women, but it also instigates parental behavior in a number of birds and mammals. Male doves who are given prolactin start brooding and feeding their young, Storey found that in human fathers, prolactin levels rise by approximately 20 percent during the three weeks before their partners give birth.

The second hormone, cortisol, is well known as a stress hormone, but it is also a good indicator of a mother’s attachment to her baby. New mothers who have high cortisol levels can detect their own infant by odor more easily than mothers with lower cortisol levels. The mothers also respond more sympathetically to their baby’s cries and describe their relationship with their baby in more positive terms. Storey and her colleagues found that for expectant fathers, cortisol was twice as high in the three weeks before birth than earlier in the pregnancy.

To see the rest of the article:

The Making of a Modern Dad | Psychology Today.

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