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Alec Baldwin: A Letter From a Reader of My Book – A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey through Fatherhood and Divorce – on Parental Alienation

In Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Marriage, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome on October 15, 2009 at 9:05 pm

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Alec Baldwin

Posted: October 15, 2009 03:50 PM

Alec Baldwin

A Letter From a Reader of My Book

I am a divorced father living in (name of city) in the SanFrancisco Bay area. My ex-wife has primary custody of our 11 year-old daughter. I read your book (A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey through Fatherhood and Divorce; St. Martin’s Press) and I also saw you speak during your book promotion at the Commonwealth Club here. Needless to say, I identified with your story and those of others depicted in your book to a great degree.

I have been the victim of parental alienation for five years now. Like you, I have had multiple judges preside over my case; first in mediation, then in court. Like you, one of those judges seemed to understand the principle that “all behavior is consistent” in marriages and on into divorce litigation. My ex-wife is a complicated and narcissistic woman. Subsequently, she and her lawyers have created every obstacle to my custody of my only child. They have succeeded at both denying my requests for time and blocking me from exercising time that I had been awarded by a judge. Much of this comes about as the result of convincing my daughter to speak against me to her court-appointed therapist. My daughter would attend sessions wherein she would describe her visits with me in ways that blatantly contradicted my sense of our time together (as well as what others plainly witnessed) and in language that I found unfamiliar to my daughter. It had sounded to me like the child had been coached to use hot button words like “unsafe” to describe how she felt if I reprimanded her. She described to the court that I never paid any real attention to her during our visits as I was “always on the phone and doing business.” I wondered how I could be doing all of that business when we were on rides all day at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

Things in my case have turned even more unfair, inefficient and downright maddening since the court appointed a minor’s counsel to represent my daughter. You briefly touch upon this in your book, but I want to share with you some of what I have encountered. During the period of my custody battle, I have not stood idly by while judges and lawyers suggested or demanded what I should do to better my chances of having a healthy relationship with my daughter. I have been proactive, in the extreme, on my own. I have contacted and had appointments with multiple family law related therapists and learned some interesting things from one or two, particularly those that do not rely on the judicial system for their clients.

Well-regarded therapists I have met with expressed grave reservations about ad litem attorneys in custody cases. Such lawyers too often function as ersatz therapists, probing, speculating about and shaping what their minor clients wish to say or not say to the court. These lawyers are untrained in any field of therapy, let alone the complex issues involving child therapy. And, like the overwhelming number of lawyers in the family law system in California, they cannot resist the opportunity to make hearings, ex partes and any other form of litigation drag on as long as possible in order to pad their fees.

You make certain proposals in your book. That custody evaluators should be selected without the involvement of attorneys. That there be default positions that courts assume for minimal custody for fathers where there are no valid arguments against such orders. That Special Masters serve indefinite terms. (My ex fired ours, too.)

I would add to this list the abolition of minor’s counsel provisions in family law. As you said in your book, there are already enough avaricious, ineffectual lawyers in our lives.

Oddly enough, I am a lawyer practicing corporate litigation with a firm that enjoys a sterling reputation for advising our clients as how litigation should be avoided at all costs. We have saved clients untold amounts of money. However, the family law system in California is a disgrace and it is a prime example as to why Americans have little or no faith left in lawyers, judges and justice in our country.

Sincerely,

Don (name withheld)

My book, A Promise to Ourselves, is now out in paperback.

Dear Alec Baldwin, The following is a letter that I recently received from a man in California:

Read more at:

Alec Baldwin: A Letter From a Reader of My Book.

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.

Depressed mothers lead to Depressed Kids | Opinion | theGrio

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on September 28, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Such a terrible tragedy for moms and children that the government has sponsored the destruction of the Traditional Mom and Dad family in favor of a welfare check?  Our government encourages Irresponsibility by allowing No-Fault Divorce, when the facts are, that children and women are safest from Domestic Violence in a two-parent home.

These are the facts.  Mothers are safest with dad in the home.  Children are safest with dad in the home.  It is only when dad is not present, does Domestic Violence occur.  In 90 percent of all cases, DV occurs AFTER a restraining order is slapped on dad, and he is kicked out of the home   See Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting.

You ask any of these moms or children do they want a husband, daddy or a welfare check? Our government should be ashamed of itself for tolerating this destruction.   As a Native American, this is the same Hate Crime committed against the Indian Nations for over two hundred years, and what did get the American Indian? Genocide of a race. Is that what the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson was supposed to do?

And what about our first black President Barack Obama?Does he have the courage to stand up against the feminist, No-Fault divorce culture, the culture that places the rights of moms and dads to have children, yet ignores the rights of children to be raised in Mom and Dad Homes? – No child left behind, except 70 percent of all black children. – Parental Rights.

Depressed mothers lead to depressed kids

Depressed mothers lead to depressed kids

(Photo/© Laurin Rinder – Fotolia.com)

The insightful expression, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” continues to hold true in many ways. Yet it is often “Momma” herself who says she’s fine, when she really isn’t. It is an easy, often automatic, reply rooted in slavery and passed down from generation to generation through the caretakers of an oft broken people.

We cook, we clean, we go to work, we raise the babies and we suffer in silence. Generations of our women have been taught to show no shame; to hide the unspeakable emotional and unbearable mental pain that they themselves may have endured as a child or as an adolescent. From poverty, sexual abuse, violence, self-parenting, and a limited education, our young mothers unknowingly suffer in great number from mild to severe cases of depression. If left untreated, these symptoms – difficulty concentrating, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, irritability, overeating, persistent sadness, and/or thoughts of suicide – may worsen, lasting for years and causing untold family suffering.

What does this mean for our children? Today, nearly 70% of Black children are born to single mothers, a third of which live below the poverty line. This means that these mentally distressed women are raising our children, more often than not by themselves, and under very harsh circumstances.

Sadly, too many of our kids are having to process the pain of not having a father present. No one really speaks about this void because it is so common, but the kids process this by internalizing rejection, telling themselves, “Daddy did not love me” and, “Daddy did not want me.”

Children’s surroundings affect them immensely. Gang violence is ever-present in many neighborhoods. The stress faced in daily life makes it difficult for students to sit down and concentrate in the classroom and get along with their peers. According to health experts, the stress can lead to various health problems, with students complaining of lack of sleep or constant headaches.

It should come as no surprise that depressed mothers often lead to depressed children. Unfortunately, even those mothers who recognize that they themselves are depressed don’t recognize the signs in their own children. Many depressed and busy parents may also not be as attentive of their own children and not realize that their dysfunction is deeply affecting the rest of the family.

Children whose mothers suffer from depression may be more likely to exhibit the same symptoms. Moreover, the harmful consequences of poverty coupled with the mediating effects of maternal depression jeopardize the development of our young boys and girls. These children are slow to develop and their problems often only come to our attention when their pain becomes public manifested as violence and self-destruction at the hands of drug and alcohol abuse or additional behavioral disorders.

The most revolutionary thing we can do for them is let them know they are not alone. We should share our own vulnerabilities with them and teach them how to deal with their emotions. We should not pretend to be “the strong one” who wears the mask all the time and never sheds a tear. Most important, we should share coping mechanisms that work for us; from spiritual health to professional mental healthcare.

If doing it to help yourself isn’t enough, then do it for the well-being of our children.

Terrie M. Williams is the co-founder of the non-profit Stay Strong Foundation and author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting http://www.healingstartswithus.net

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Depressed mothers lead to depressed kids | Opinion | theGrio.

The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Part I) by Deirde Rand, Piece 1

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, 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, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on September 28, 2009 at 3:00 am

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY, VOLUME 15, NUMBER 3, 1997

THE SPECTRUM OF PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME (PART I)
Forensic Psychologist, Deirdre Conway Rand, PhD

The Parental Alienation Syndrome, so named by Dr. Richard Gardner, is a distinctive family response to divorce in which the child becomes aligned with one parent and preoccupied with unjustified and/or exaggerated denigration of the other target parent. In severe cases, the child’s once love-bonded relationship with relected/target parent is destroyed. Testimony on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in legal proceedings has sparked debate. This two-part article seeks to shed light on the debate by reviewing Gardner’s work and that of others on PAS, integrating the concept of PAS with research on high conflict divorce and other related literature. The material is organized under topic headings such as parents who induce alienation, the child in PAS, the target/alienated parent. attorneys on PAS, and evaluation and intervention. Part II begins with the child in PAS. Case vignettes of moderate to severe PAS are presented in both parts, some of which illustrate the consequences for children and families when the system is successfully manipulated by the alienating parent, as well as some difficult but effective interventions implemented by the author, her husband Randy Rand, Ed.D., and other colleagues.

Dr. Richard Gardner was an experienced child and forensic psychiatrist conducting evaluations when, in 1985, he introduced the concept of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in an article entitled “Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation” (1). His work with children and families during the 1970s led him to write such books as Boys and Girls Book of Divorce, The Parents Book About Divorce and Psychotherapy with Children of Divorce. He knew from experience that the norm for children of divorce was to continue to love and long for both parents, in spite of the divorce and the passage of years, a finding replicated by one of the first large scale studies of divorce (2). With this background, Gardner became concerned in the early 1980s about the increasing number of divorce children he was seeing who, especially in the course of custody evaluations, presented as preoccupied with denigrating one parent, sometimes to the point of expressing hatred toward a once loved parent. He used the term Parental Alienation Syndrome to refer to the child’s symptoms of denigrating and rejecting a previously loved parent in the context of divorce.

Gardner’s focus on PAS as a disturbance of children in divorce is unique, although from the mid-1980s on there has been a proliferation of professional literature on disturbing trends in divorce/custody disputes, including false allegations of abuse to influence the outcome. At least three other divorce syndromes have been identified. In 1986, two psychologists in Michigan, who were as yet unaware of Gardner’s work, published the first of several papers on the SAID syndrome, Blush and Ross’s acronym for sex abuse allegations in divorce (3). Drawing on their experience doing evaluations for the family court, and the experience of their colleagues at the clinic there, these authors delineated typologies for the falsely accusing parent, the child involved and the accused parent. Two of the divorce syndromes named in the literature focus on the rage and pathology of the alienating or falsely accusing parent. Jacobs in New York and Wallerstein in California published case reports of what they called Medea Syndrome (4, 5). Jacobs discussed Gardner’s work on PAS in his 1988 study of a Medea Syndrome mother, as did Turkat when he described Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome in 1994 (6). Fathers, too, can be found with this disorder, as one of the case vignettes below indicates, but for some reason Turkat has not encountered any.

In addition to articles specifically on PAS and literature which refers to it, there is a body of divorce research and clinical writings which, without a name, describe the phenomenon. The literature reviewed here comes from a number of sources including: practitioners who like Gardner are seeking to improve the diagnostic skills and intervention strategies of the courts and other professionals who deal with high conflict divorce; attorneys and judges who come in contact with PAS cases; researchers like Clawar and Rivlin who reference Gardner’s work on PAS in their large scale study of parental programming in divorce (7) and Johnston whose work on high conflict divorce (8) led her to study the problem of children who refuse visitation, including a discussion of PAS (9). When PAS is viewed from the standpoint of parts and subprocesses which create the whole, the literature which pertains increases exponentially, for example: psychological characteristics of parents who falsely accuse in divorce/custody disputes; cults who help divorcing parents alienate their children from the other parent; and psychological abuse of children in severe PAS including Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy type abuse.

The trends identified by Gardner and others are the result of important social changes which began to take root and flower around the mid 1970s. The legal treatment of divorce and child custody shifted from the preference for mothers to have sole custody and the “tender years presumption” to the preference for joint custody and “best interests of the child.” This gave divorce fathers more legal options for parenting their children and increased the quantity and intensity of divorce disputes as parents vehemently disagreed over the numerous custodial arrangements now possible. By the late 1970s, rising concern about parental programming of children to influence the outcome of disputes led the American Bar Association Section of Family Law to commission a large scale study of the problem. The results of this 12 year study were published in 1991 in a book called Children Held Hostage (7). Clawar and Rivlin found that parental programming was practiced to varying degrees by 80 percent of divorcing parents, with 20 percent of engaging in such behaviors with their children at least once a day. Further discussion of this book appears below.

At the same time as new divorce trends have been emerging, sweeping social changes have been occurring in society’s treatment of child abuse. Mandated reporting became the law of the land in the 1970s and the procedures for making reports were simplified such that anonymous reports are now accepted and acted upon in some states. As the number of suspected abuse reports practically doubled, so did the number of false and unsubstantiated reports, according to statistics compiled by the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect in 1988 which showed that non-valid reports outnumbered cases of bona fide abuse by a ratio of two to one ( 10).

According to some observers, false allegations of abuse in contested divorce/custody cases have become the ultimate weapon. Judge Stewart wrote that “Family Courts nationwide are feeling the effects of a new fad being used by parties to a custody dispute-the charge that the other parent is molesting the child…The impact of such an allegation on the custody litigation is swift and major…The Family Court judge is apt to cut off the accused’s access to the child pending completion of the investigation” (11, p. 329). In response to concerns such as these, the Research Unit of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts obtained funding for a study on sex abuse accusations in divorce/custody disputes (12). Data for 1985-1986 were gathered from family court sites across the country. At that time, the incidence of sex abuse allegations in divorce was found to average two percent, but varied from one percent to eight percent depending on the court site. Results of this study suggest that sex abuse allegations in divorce may be valid only about 50 percent of the time. Many of the court counselors and administrators interviewed believed they were seeing a greater proportion of such cases than in previous decades.

Ten years later in 1996, Congress amended the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to eliminate blanket immunity for persons who knowingly make false reports, based on information that 2,000,000 children were involved that year in non-valid reports, as opposed to 1,000,000 children who were genuinely abused (13). In addition, many states have already enacted laws against willfully making a false child abuse report. In California where the author and her husband practice, the Office of Child Abuse Prevention revised their manual for mandated reporters several years ago to include a section on false allegations in which the coaching of children during custody disputes is described as a major problem and Gardner’s work on PAS is referenced (14).

In the meantime, the 1980s saw a massive campaign to train social workers, police, judges and mental health professionals in such concepts as “children don’t lie about abuse.” To make up for society’s blind eye to child abuse in the past, professionals are encouraged to unquestioningly ” believe the child ” and to reflexively accept all allegations of child abuse as true. Widespread media attention and a proliferation of popular books and movies on child abuse continues to suggest that the problem is widespread and insidious. Parents and professionals alike are enjoined to be vigilant for what are touted as “behavioral indicators” of sex abuse. These include the common but vague symptom of poor self esteem, conflicting “indicators” such as aggressive behavior and social withdrawal, and child behaviors which may be developmentally normal such as sexual curiosity and nightmares. Little attention is paid to the fact that children may develop the same symptoms in response to other stressors, including divorce and father absence.

Children, too, are being sensitized to abuse, taught about “good touch/bad touch.” At the end of such a lesson in school, they may be asked to report anyone who they think may have touched them in a bad way. Although some instances of legitimate abuse are detected in this manner, children sometimes misunderstand the lesson such that a kindly grandfather going to scoop up his young grandson in his arms, as he had done many times before, may find the child pulling back from him in horror and accusing him of “bad touch.” Adults conducting these classes are sometimes so eager to find abuse that in one Southern state, the parents of over half the class were arrested.

The foregoing outline of recent social changes is not meant to imply that Parental Alienation Syndrome and false allegations of sex abuse in divorce are synonymous. PAS can occur with or without such abuse accusations. Although false allegations of sex abuse are a common spin-off of severe PAS, other derivative false allegations may include physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, or a fabricated history of spousal abuse. In addition, there seems to be an increase in PAS type cases of accusations by the alienating parent that it is the alienated parent who is practicing PAS, a tactic which tends to confuse and neutralize interveners.

PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME

According to Gardner, PAS is a disturbance in the child who, in the context of divorce, becomes preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of one parent, which denigration is either unjustified and/or exaggerated. Gardner sees PAS as arising primarily from a combination of parental influence and the child’s active contributions to the campaign of denigration, factors which may mutually reinforce one another. Gardner distinguishes between Parental Alienation Syndrome and the term “parental alienation.” There are a wide variety of causes for parental alienation, including bonafide parental abuse and/or neglect, as well as significant deficits in a rejected parent’s functioning which may not rise to the level of abuse. From Gardner’s perspective, a diagnosis of PAS only applies where abuse, neglect and other conduct by the alienated parent which would reasonably justify the alienation are relatively minimal. Thus Gardner conceives of PAS as a specialized subcategory of generic parental alienation. Since introducing the concept of PAS in 1985, Gardner has written two books on the subject (15, 16), and included a chapter on it in his book entitled Family Evaluation, in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration and Litigation(17).

Depending on the severity of the PAS, a child may exhibit all or only some of the following behaviors. It is the cluster of these symptoms which prompted Gardner to consider them as a syndrome.

1) The child is aligned with the alienating parent in a campaign of denigration against the target parent, with the child making active contributions;

2) Rationalizations for deprecating the target parent are often weak, frivolous or absurd;

3) Animosity toward the rejected parent lacks the ambivalence normal to human relationships;

4) The child asserts that the decision to reject the target parent is his or her own, what Gardner calls the “independent thinker” phenomenon;

5) The child reflexively supports the parent with whom he or she is aligned;

6) The child expresses guiltless disregard for the feelings of the target or hated parent;

7) Borrowed scenarios are present, i.e., the child’s statements reflect themes and terminology of the alienating parent;

8) Animosity is spread to the extended family and others associated with the hated parent.

In Gardner’s experience, born out by the clinical and research literature reviewed below, mothers are more frequently found to engage in PAS, which is likened by Clawar and Rivlin to psychological kidnapping (7). Where PAS with physical child abduction occurs, however, Huntington reports that fathers are in the majority (18). Gardner recognizes that fathers, too, may engage in PAS and gives examples in his books. For consistency and simplicity, though, he refers to the alienating parent as “mother” and target parent as “father.”

According to Gardner, the brainwashing component in PAS can be more or less conscious on the part of the programming parent and may be systematic or subtle. The child’s active contributions to the campaign of denigration may help to create and maintain a mutually reinforcing feedback loop between the child and the programming parent. The child’s contributions notwithstanding, Gardner views the alienating parent as the responsible adult who elicits or transmits a negative set of beliefs about the target parent. The child’s loving experiences with the target parent in the past are replaced with a new reality, the negative scenario shared by the programming parent and child which justifies their rejection of the alienated parent. In light of these observations, Gardner warned that children’s statements in divorce/custody about rejecting one parent should not be taken at face value and should be evaluated for PAS dynamics. According to psychologist Mary Lund, this insight is one of Gardner’s most important contributions because it alerted the legal system, parents and mental health professionals dealing with divorce to an important possibility which can have disastrous effects if unrecognized (19).

Gardner emphasizes the importance of differentiating between mild, moderate and severe PAS in determining what court orders and therapeutic interventions to apply. In mild cases, there is some parental programming but visitation is not seriously effected and the child manages to negotiate the transitions without too much difficulty. The child has a reasonably healthy relationship with the programming parent and is usually participating in the campaign of denigration to maintain the primary emotional bond with the preferred parent, usually the mother. PAS in this category can usually be alleviated by the court’s affirming that the preferred or primary parent will retain primary custody.

In moderate PAS, there is a significant degree of parental programming, along with significant struggles around visitation. The child often displays difficulties around the transition between homes but is eventually able to settle down and become benevolently involved with the parent he or she is visiting. The bond between the aligned parent and child is still reasonably healthy, despite their shared conviction that the target parent is somehow despicable. At this level, stronger legal interventions are required and a court ordered PAS therapist is recommended who can monitor visits, make their office available as a visit exchange site, and report to the court regarding failures to implement visitation. The threat of sanctions against the alienating parent may be needed to gain compliance. Failure of the system to apply the appropriate level of court orders and therapeutic interventions in moderate PAS may put the child at risk for developing severe PAS. In some moderate cases, after court-ordered special therapy and sanctions have failed, Gardner states that it may be necessary to seriously consider transferring custody to the allegedly hated parent, assuming that parent is fit. In some situations, this is the only hope of protecting the child from progression to the severe category.

The child in severe PAS is fanatic in his or her hatred of the target parent. The child may refuse to visit, personally make false allegations of abuse, and threaten to run away, commit suicide or homicide if forced to see the father. Mother and child have a pathological bond, often based on shared paranoid fantasies about the father, sometimes to the point of folie a deux. In severe PAS, Gardner has found that if the child is allowed to stay with the mother the relationship with the father is doomed and the child develops long-standing psychopathology and even paranoia. Assuming the target parent is fit, Gardner believes that the only effective remedy in severe PAS is to give custody to the alienated parent. In 1992 he suggested that courts might be more receptive to the change of custody option if the child was provided with a therapeutic transitional placement such as hospitalization, an intervention employed with success by the author and her husband (see case vignette in Part II).

Gardner’s original conception of PAS was based on the child’s preoccupation with denigration of the target parent. It was not until two years later when he published his first book on PAS that he addressed the problem of PAS with false allegations of abuse. Gardner prefers to view such allegations as derivative of the PAS, observing that they often emerge after other efforts to exclude the target parent have failed. Some of the literature reviewed below, however, indicates that false allegations of abuse may also surface prior to the marital separation, symptomatic of a pre-existing psychiatric disorder of the alienating parent which may not be diagnosed until there is further mental deterioration after the divorce. Gardner was among the first to recognize that involving a child in false allegations of abuse is a form of abuse in itself and indicative of serious problems somewhere in the divorce family system. Insofar as PAS with false allegations of abuse can result in permanent destruction of the child’s relationship with the alienated parent, it can be more harmful to the child than if the alleged abuse had actually occurred.

Gardner supports joint custody for those parents who can sincerely agree on it and have the ability to fulfill this ideal. Research by Maccoby and Mnookin suggests that about 29 percent of divorced parents are successfully co-parenting three to four years after filing (20). Gardner opposes imposing joint custody on parents in dispute and between whom there is significant animosity. For these families, Gardner recommends that a thorough evaluation be conducted to develop a case specific plan with the right combination of court orders, mediation, therapeutic interventions, and arbitration.

HIGH CONFLICT DIVORCE AND PAS

High conflict divorce is characterized by intense and/or protracted post separation conflict and hostility between the parents which may be expressed overtly or covertly through ongoing litigation, verbal and physical aggression, and tactics of sabotage and deception. Clinical and research literature suggest that Parental Alienation Syndrome is a distinctive type of high conflict divorce which may require PAS specific interventions, just as the problems of divorced families have been found to respond to divorce specific interventions rather than to traditional therapies. In their book on children caught in the middle of high conflict divorce, Garrity and Baris treat PAS as a distinctive divorce family dynamic, devoting two chapters to PAS, one on understanding it and the other on a comprehensive intervention model (#21).

In high conflict divorce without significant PAS, the parents do most of the fighting while the children manage to go back and forth between homes, maintain their own views and preserve their affection for both parents. They cope by developing active skills for maneuvering the situation or by adopting a survival strategy of treating both parents with equal fairness and distance (8). Periodically, children may exacerbate parental conflicts by embellishing age appropriate separation anxieties, telling each parent things the parent wants to hear and shifting their allegiance back and forth between the parents. Nevertheless, they avoid consistent alignment with one parent against the other and are able to enjoy their time with each parent once the often difficult transition between homes has been accomplished.

In high conflict divorce with significant PAS, the children are personally involved in the parental conflict. Unable to manage the situation so as to preserve an affectionate relationship with both parents, the child takes the side of one parent against the other and participates in the battle as an ally of the alienating parent who is defined as good against the other parent who is viewed as despicable. In a study of 175 children from high conflict families, Johnston found that chronic hostility and protracted litigation between the parents contributed to the development of PAS among older children (9). In other words, where the system is unable to settle and contain parental divorce conflicts, the children may be at increasing risk for developing PAS as they get older. Johnston acknowledges that her findings support Gardner’s contention that as many as 90 percent of children involved in protracted custody show symptoms of PAS.

A large scale study of patterns of legal conflict between divorce parents three to four years after filing contained them significant finding that the most hostile divorce couples were not necessarily those engaged in the most contentious legal battles (20). This suggests that PAS may occur not only in the context of litigation but may develop after litigation has ceased, or proceed a new round of litigation after many years, supporting what Dunne and Hedrick found in their clinical study of severe PAS families (22).

According to Johnston, high conflict divorce is the product of a multilayered divorce impasse between the parents (8). Often, the impasse has its roots in one or both parents’ extreme vulnerability to issues of narcissistic injury, loss, anger and control. These vulnerabilities prevent a satisfactory divorce adjustment and feed an endless, sometimes escalating cycle of action and reaction which promotes and maintains parental conflict. The parents are frozen in transition, psychologically neither married, separated or divorced, a pattern which may pertain even when only one parent is significantly disturbed. Using Johnston’s model, PAS can be viewed as an effort by one parent, with the help of the children, to “resolve” the divorce impasse with a clear-cut understanding of who is good, who is to blame and how the parent to blame should be punished. The following vignette illustrates this. Like the other case examples interspersed throughout this article, it is a composite scenario synthesized from real cases encountered by the author and her colleagues.

Mr. L had adopted his wife’s child from her previous marriage and he and Mrs. L. had a child of their own, a girl who was six years old when Mr. L. moved out of the family home. During the six months leading up to this precipitous event, Mrs. L. was living in one part of the house with the older child while Mr. L. and his daughter had rooms together in a separate part of the house. The parents hardly spoke to one another but the children visited back and forth freely with each other and with both parents. Under the circumstances, Mr. L. did not think his wife would object to his leaving, but just in case there was a scene he decided to move out first and then work out the practical issues with Mrs. L. He left a letter for her and another one for the children, explaining his decision and affirming his desire to make arrangements for visitation and child support. Mrs. L. was furious. She immediately had the locks changed and successfully blocked her husband’s efforts to contact the children by phone or to see them. Both children probably felt betrayed by father and Mrs. L. amplified such feelings by telling the children their father had abandoned them and did not- care about them at all. She also alleged that he had had numerous affairs during the marriage although Mr. L. always denied that. These allegations may have sprung from the fact that Mrs. L. found out six weeks after her husband left that he was dating someone. Outraged, she told Mr. L. that he would never see the children again. She and the children began calling Mr. L. and his girl- friend at all hours, screaming accusations and obscenities over the phone until a restraining order was obtained. When efforts by father’s attorney to arrange for mediation between Mr. and Mrs. L. were stonewalled, Mr. L. got a court order for visitation. Three months had passed when his first opportunity to see his children since moving out was scheduled. On the eve of this visit, Mrs. L. called child protective services and accused Mr. L. of sexually molesting their daughter. According to the social worker’s notes which were obtained during subsequent litigation, Mrs. L. told the social worker that she “knew” while she and her husband were still living together that he was molesting their daughter.

The family law judge ordered a custody evaluation which was very thorough and took months to complete. The evaluator documented a number of instances in which the girl’s statements about abuse and hat mg. her father seemed to be strongly influenced by mother’s overwhelming anger and that of the older half sibling, who was strongly aligned with the mother. Mrs. L. was diagnosed with a severe narcissistic personality disorder with antisocial features, while Mr. L. was seen by the evaluator as rather passive by comparison and as ambivalent and conflict avoidant. The evaluator was able to hold one meeting with father and daughter together, during which their loving attachment to one another was apparent. This was the little girl’s first opportunity to talk to her father about the feelings engendered by his leaving. As it turned out, it was also her last opportunity. The PAS intensified such that efforts to convene further father/daughter sessions failed when the child threw tantrums in the waiting room and ran screaming into the parking lot where her mother was waiting.

Seven months after the marital separation, the custody evaluator’s report was released. It stated that the alleged abuse had in all probability not occurred but failed to diagnose severe PAS with false allegations of abuse. The evaluator recommended that the mother retain primary custody and that the girl and her parents each become involved in individual therapy to facilitate father/daughter reunification. Not surprisingly, Mrs. L. arranged for the child to see a therapist/intern who never saw the custody evaluator’s report. Based on input from the mother alone, the therapist treated the girl for abuse by her father instead of providing divorce specific therapy aimed at helping the little girl to adjust to her parent’s divorce and to establish a post divorce relationship with her father. The girl’s anger at her father became more extreme with each passing month and defeated the visitations planned by the family mediation center. Finally, a year after the separation, the custody evaluator was prepared to testify as to the PAS and to make the strong recommendations needed to remedy the situation. By that time, the father was convinced that nobody could do anything about his daughter’s continued expressions of hatred toward him. He also felt daunted by the prospect of further litigation and an even greater financial drain. He decided to let go, hoping that one day when his daughter was older she would understand and seek him out.

CHILDREN HELD HOSTAGE: DEALING WITH PROGRAMMED AND BRAINWASHED CHILDREN

By the late 1970s, judges, parents, and mental health professionals involved with divorce were so concerned about parental programming that the American Bar Association Section on Family Law commissioned this 12 year study of 700 divorce families (7). Clawar and Rivlin found that the problem of parental programming was indeed widespread and that even at low levels it had significant impact on children. Data from multiple sources was analyzed including: written records such as court transcripts, forensic reports, therapy notes and children’s diaries; audio and video tapes of interactions between children, their parents and others related to the case; direct observations, such as children with parents and clients with attorneys; and interviews with children, relatives, family friends, mental health professionals, school personnel, judges and conciliators.

Gardner’s work on PAS is referenced at the beginning of Clawar and Rivlin’s book (7), but the authors take issue with what they represent as his position, that less severe cases need not be a cause of great concern. They found that PAS can result from a variety of complex processes, whether or not one parent engages in a systematic programming campaign and whether or not alienation is the programming parent’s goal. Parental alienation is only one of a number of detrimental effects. According to this study, even well meaning parents often at tempt to influence what their children say in the custody and visitation proceedings.

Mild levels of parental programming and brainwashing seem to have significant effects.

Clawar and Rivlin anchor their work in 30 years of literature on social psychology and the processes of social influence, variously referred to in the literature as thought reform, brainwashing, indoctrination, modeling, mimicking, mind control, re-education, and coercive persuasion. These terms describe a variety of psychological methods for ridding people of ideas which authorities do not want them to have and for replacing old ways of thinking and behavior with new ones. For the purposes of research, Clawar and Rivlin ascertained the need for more precisely defined terminology. They selected the words “programming” and “brainwashing.” They defined “program” as the content, themes, and beliefs transmitted by the programming parent to the child regarding the other parent.

“Brainwashing” was defined as the interactional process by which the child was persuaded to accept and elaborate on the program. Brainwashing occurs over time and involves repetition of the program, or code words referring to the program, until the subject responds with attitudinal and behavioral compliance.

According to Clawar and Rivlin, the influence of a programming parent can be conscious and willful or unconscious and unintentional. It can be obvious or subtle, with rewards for compliance that were material, social or psychological. Noncompliance may be met with subtle psychological punishment such as withdrawal of love or direct corporal punishment, as illustrated in the case vignette of S in Part II. The author encountered another case in which the alienating mother handcuffed her son to the bedpost when he was 12 years old and the boy asserted he was not willing tocontinue saying his father had physically abused him. The Clawar and Rivlin study found that children may be active or passive participants in the alienation process. As the case of the 12- year-old boy suggests, the nature and degree of the child’s involvement in the PAS may change over time.

This study identifies the influential role of other people in the child’s life, such as relatives and professionals aligned with the alienating parent, whose endorsement of the program advances the brainwashing process. In a general way, these findings appear to replicate Johnston’s research on high conflict divorce which identified the importance of third party participants in parental conflicts (8). Rand noted the influence of so-called “professional participants in Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy type abuse which in divorce can overlap with PAS “(23).

Clawar and Rivlin identify eight stages of the programming/brainwashing process which culminates in severe Parental Alienation Syndrome (7). Recognizing the power imbalance between parent and child, they view the process as driven by the alienating parent who induces the child’s compliance on step by step basis:

1 ) A thematic focus to be shared by the programming parent and child emerges or is chosen. This may be tied to a more or less formal ideology relating to the family, religion, or ethnicity;

2) A sense of support and connection to the programming parent is created;

3) Feeling of sympathy for the programming parent is induced;

4) The child begins to show signs of compliance, such as expressing fear of visiting the target parent or refusing to talk to that parent on the phone;

5) The programming parent tests the child’s compliance, for example, asking the child questions after a visit and rewarding the child for ” correct ” answers;

6) The programming parent tests the child’s loyalty by having the child express views and attitudes which suggest a preference for one parent over the other;

7) Escalation/intensification/generalization occurs, for example, broadening the program with embellished or new allegations; the child rejects the target parent in a global, unambivalent fashion;

8) The program is maintained along with the child’s compliance, which may range from minor reminders and suggestions to intense pressure, depending on court activity and the child’s frame of mind.

CLINICAL STUDIES OF PAS

According to Gardner and seconded by Cartwright, Parental Alienation Syndrome is a developing concept which clinical and forensic practitioners will refine and redefine as new cases with different features become better understood (24). This section reviews the work of practitioners who, like Cartwright, seek to elaborate on Gardner’s work by contributing their own knowledge and experience from work with moderate to severe PAS cases.

Dunne and Hedrick

Practicing in Seattle, Washington, Dunne and Hedrick analyzed sixteen families who met Gardner’s criteria for severe PAS (22). Although the cases show a wide diversity of characteristics, the authors found Gardner’s criteria useful in differentiating these cases from other post-divorce difficulties, lending support for the idea that PAS has distinctive features which differentiate it from other forms of high conflict divorce. Among the severe PAS cases examined, some involved false allegations of abuse and some did not. Children in the same family sometimes responded to the divorce with opposing adjustments. For example, the oldest child in one family, a 16-year-old girl, aligned with her alienating mother while her 12-year-old brother’s desire for a relationship with his father led to the mother finally rejecting the boy.

Continuation – Part 2

The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Part I) by Deirde Rand, Piece 1.

The American Conservative » Married to the State

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, Family Rights, Feminism, Foster Care, Foster Care Scam, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on September 27, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Married to the State

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How government colonizes the family

By Stephen Baskerville

In 1947, with the baby boom in its infancy and few disposed to hearing of family crisis, Harvard sociologist Carle Zimmerman saw the long-term reality: the family had been deteriorating since the Renaissance and was nearing the point of no return. Whenever the family shows signs of dysfunction, Zimmerman observed, “the state helps to break it up.” During the 19th century, “law piled on law, and government agency upon government agency” until by 1900 “the state had become master of the family.” The result, he wrote in Family and Civilization, was that “the family is now truly the agent, the slave, the handmaiden of the state.”

Today we might regard 1947 as a golden age for the family. Without perceiving it, each generation has become acculturated to family deterioration and added to it. We now accept as normal what would have shocked our grandparents: cohabitation, illegitimacy, divorce, same-sex marriage, daycare, fast-food dinners. Indeed, shocking the previous generation is part of the thrill of filial rebellion.

What should shock even the liberal and the young—but today does not much disturb even the conservative and the old—are destruction of constitutional protections and invasions of personal freedom and privacy by the government’s family machinery. Some four decades ago, the Western world embarked on the boldest social experiment in its history. With no public discussion, laws were enacted in virtually every jurisdiction that ended marriage as an enforceable contract. Today it is not possible to form a binding agreement to create a family.

Few stopped to consider the implications of laws that shifted the breakup of private households from a voluntary to an involuntary process. Unilateral divorce involves government agents forcibly removing legally innocent people from their homes and seizing their property. It inherently abrogates not only the inviolability of marriage but the very concept of private life.

The most serious consequences involve children. Through involuntary divorce, a legally unimpeachable parent can be arrested for seeing his own children without government authorization. He can be charged with domestic violence or child abuse, without evidence that he has committed either crime. He can be hauled before a judge for not paying child support without proof that he actually owes it. He can even be arrested for not paying an attorney or psychotherapist whom he has not hired. No formal charge, no jury, no trial required.

To justify this repression, the divorce machinery has generated hysterias against fathers so inflammatory that few dare question them: child abuse, wife-beating, nonpayment of child support. The accused parent simply loses his family and finds himself abandoned, with everyone terrified to be associated with an accused “pedophile,” “batterer,” or “deadbeat dad.”

Our passivity before repression this serious is stunning and the starkest example yet of the erosion of that civic virtue that has been integral to American political thought since before the founding of the Republic.

Conservatives have labored this idea into a cliché. We preach that people must be more virtuous, less selfish, and more devoted to the public good. But these exhortations earn us nothing but contempt when we remain silent in the face of real tyranny, which, as usual, has appeared where we least expected it and are least equipped to resist it. Instead of resisting, we lament a decline in “culture” and declare there is very little we can do.

But as Linda McClain writes, families are “seedbeds of civic virtue” and “have a place in the project of forming persons into capable, responsible, self-governing citizens.” The family is where parents and children learn to love sacrificially, to put others’ needs before their own desires, to sacrifice for the welfare and protection of the whole. If this does not begin with one’s own home and loved ones it, does not begin at all. People unwilling to sacrifice for their own flesh and blood will not do so for the strangers who comprise their country. In the family, children learn to obey authorities other than the state—God, parents, clergy, teachers, coaches, neighbors. By accepting these, some of whom they love, children learn that government is not the only authority and is one that can and must be limited.

Conservatives have recently been eager to declare marriage and the family to be “public” institutions, largely in response to homosexual insistence that families are purely private and therefore may be defined according to the whims of individuals. But it is more precise to say that the family mediates between the public and the private, ensuring each its proper sphere. In the family children learn to distinguish and defend private life from encroachment by public power. Involvement in public affairs, which is important, begins as an extension of private responsibilities as parents, homeowners, neighbors, and parishioners. Citizens participate in public life as amateurs with a stake in their families, homes, and communities, not as professionals with a stake in a government program or ideology.

Children raised without intact families do not as readily absorb concepts such as family privacy, sacrificial love, parental authority, limited government, or civic virtue. For their rules and values come not from parents but from government officials, who have ultimate sovereignty over their lives: courts, lawyers, social workers, forensic therapists, public-school bureaucrats, and police. These are the figures they must obey rather than their parents. Thus children whose authority figures are government officials cannot distinguish the private from the public and come to see the public sphere as a realm not of civic duty and community leadership but of abstract ideology, government funding, professional employment, career advancement, and state power, in whose growth they acquire a vested interest.

It is no accident that the traditional family is described as patriarchal and that civic virtue traditionally suggested masculinity. It is also no coincidence that fathers are the ones marginalized by family decline.

Enormous attention has been devoted to the crisis of 24 million fatherless children, a phenomenon directly linked to every major social pathology from violent crime to substance abuse and truancy. Because these ills justify almost all domestic government spending, fatherlessness has resulted in a huge expansion of state power. The Obama administration aims to promote virtue with programs preaching “responsible fatherhood” and nagging men to practice “good fathering.” The Bush administration used similar schemes to argue for the importance of marriage. The result is the same: bewailing other people’s moral failings at taxpayer expense.

There is certainly truth in the connection between fatherhood and civil society. “Fathers play a key role in developing and sustaining the kind of personal character on which democracy depends,” writes Don Eberly of the National Fatherhood Initiative. Government therapy, on the other hand, cannot create virtue because it requires no sacrifice. Federal funding only gives officials incentives to perpetuate problems, so it is hardly surprising that not only have these programs done nothing to improve either fatherhood or marriage, they have exacerbated the breakdown of both.

Eberly’s point connecting fathers and freedom contains a larger truth. While families require sacrifice from all members, it is fathers whose sacrifice may extend to their very lives. Children deprived of their fathers by state officials therefore lose more than a parent. They lose the parent who connects them with the civic order. When the father protects and provides for his family, he will resist the state’s efforts to assume those roles. Under his leadership, the family is a force for limiting state power.

The single mother does not resist the state’s encroachment. On the contrary, she is our society’s principal claimant on a vast array of state services, without which she cannot manage her children. When the state usurps the roles of protector and provider and disciplinarian, the state becomes the father.

This is the story of modern politics: increasingly centralized police, plus the regulatory and welfare states that also promise various forms of protection. These paternal—and increasingly maternal—substitutes brought massive bureaucracies, fulfilling Tocqueville’s prophecy that democracy would lead to increasingly bureaucratic intrusion into private life. These agencies expanded by creating problems to solve. As police functionaries, they had to create criminals and newfangled, nonviolent crimes that most people (such as juries) could not understand and required “experts” to adjudicate—crimes that were safe for female police, crimes that could be committed only by men.

Fathers whose children are taken away by state officials do not heroically rescue them or organize opposition to the divorce machinery because the enervating power of the bureaucratic behemoth makes resistance pointless. Men are thus politically neutered and, as a result, often despised by their own children and the rest of us.

That most people do not regard these practices as tyrannical may be the most alarming aspect of all. Government agents seize control of children and property of vast numbers of law-abiding citizens through literally “no fault” of their own, and we accept it because of jargon that makes it all appear banal: “custody battle” and “division of property.” Fidelity to one’s word—let alone one’s spouse—is disdained. Basic civilities become irrelevant because family members can be made to obey through court orders. Family wealth—traditionally used to leverage both obedience from children and limits on government—is useless for both purposes. In divorce it is simply confiscated.

So vast numbers of children now grow up believing from the earliest age that it is normal for government officials to assume control over their family life, to order their parents about as if they were naughty children. This is causing more than social chaos. It is destroying our freedom and our will to defend it.

Stephen Baskerville is associate professor of government at Patrick Henry College and author of Taken into Custody: The War Against Fatherhood, Marriage, and the Family. A longer version of this essay will appear in The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy.

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The American Conservative » Married to the State.

A Kidnapped Mind: A Mother’s Heartbreaking Memoir of Parental Alienation

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Single Parenting on September 17, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Parental Alienators are both mothers and fathers.   Children suffer the effects of hateful moms and dads who keep children away from the other parent.  Parental Alienators FAIL the MMPI-II at it is time for us to codify this mental illness in the DSM-IV. – Parental Rights

Presented as the story of an “indefatigable mother’s fierce love,” Pamela Richardson’s A Kidnapped Mind: A Mother’s Heartbreaking Story of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Dundurn 2006) is a memoir of losing her son, Dash, during an eight-year custody battle, then ultimately to death. With an introduction by a “divorce and custody consultant” named Dr. Reena Sommer, this harrowing tale of domestic strife attributes the estrangement of Richardson’s son to “Parental Alienation Syndrome” as triggered by the cruel and insidious “brainwashing” of her son by her ex-husband. Published in the wake of Richardson’s ex-husband’s death, A Kidnapped Mind could have educational value for anyone who cannot imagine the prolonged treachery of an ex-spouse. The Vancouver author formerly worked as a minor television personality before marrying her second husband.

A Kidnapped Mind

A Kidnapped Mind

BOOKS:

A Kidnapped Mind: A Mother’s Heartbreaking Story of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Dundurn 2006). $24.99 1-55002-624-0

[BCBW 2006] “Advice”

A Kidnapped Mind (Dundurn $24.99)
Review

“Agents now tell their fiction-writing clients to write narrative non-fiction, compelling stories of autism, alcoholism, abuse and Alzheimer’s (and we’re not even through the A’s).” — Martin Levin, books editor, the Globe & Mail

A Kidnapped Mind (Dundurn $24.99) by Pamela Richardson with Jane Broweleit and Walking After Midnight (Raincoast $32.95) by Katy Hutchison both fall into the category allegedly recommended by literary agents [see quote above]. They are compelling non-fiction narratives that revolve around turbulent teenagers.

Pamela Richardson’s story begins when her former husband gains custody of their four-year-old son. As a criminal lawyer, his legal knowledge and his influential friends enabled him to sway the presiding judge. Although this is a highly subjective first person account, written after the former husband and son have died, it seems clear that Richardson’s depiction of the arrogance and blindness of the judicial system has some foundation.

Judges persisted in favouring the father, in spite of evidence of his alcoholism and neglect. Their rulings were bolstered by reports by court-appointed psychologists who recommended that the child remain with his father even while they acknowledged the
father had “a drinking problem” and suffered from Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. From the beginning, he used the child as a means of tormenting his former wife, obstructed her legal access, and poisoned her relationship with her son.

Some brave friends testified to the father’s misdeeds while many others (including one of the mother’s lawyers) backed off, allegedly intimidated by his threats of violence. When the courts belatedly recognized the damage facilitated by earlier decisions, it was too late.

Court decisions can be reversed but not the years of damage they have caused. Richardson brought in experts on Parental Alienation Syndrome and used her considerable wealth in a last desperate attempt to force him into rehab programs. She never gave up the battle for her son, but she was helpless to prevent his downward spiral. At the age of sixteen he jumped to his death from the Granville Street bridge. The book-jacket description of this story as “heart-breaking” is no hyperbole.

ABCBookWorld.

Mums Lead Abuse Shame – Children at Risk!

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children criminals, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Freedom, Liberty, Marriage, National Parents Day, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Protective Dads, Protective Parents on September 15, 2009 at 2:00 am

The same holds true in the United States with moms abusing the children in record numbers, and we are making it known everywhere, that it is time to put dad back in the home to protect the children from mums. – Parental Rights.  The US stats are here: Child Maltreatment 2007: Figure 3-6 Victims by Perpetrator Relationship, 2007.

Mums lead abuse shame

Posted by Laurie Nowell on September 13th, 2009 | Category: Laurie Nowell

Sunday Herald Sun (Melbourne)
13 September 2009, Page 35

By Laurie Nowell

Child abuse is rising dramatically in Australia, according to the first
in-depth study to be released on the issue in a decade.

Data shows cases of abuse against children rose more than 50 per cent between 2006 and 2008.

In the 37 per cent of cases in which a parent was the perpetrator, mothers were responsible for 73 per cent of abuse cases while fathers were the cause of 27 per cent.

The data, the first of its kind to emerge since 1996 and obtained under Freedom of Information (FoI) laws, was compiled by the Western Australia Department of Child Protection.

The figures present a disturbing snapshot of soaring child abuse and its perpetrators. Experts say the data can accurately be applied across Australia.

Applications under FoI for similar data from all other states were refused.  The statistics come as the Federal Government has signalled it may roll back the “shared parenting” amendments to the Family Law Act, brought in under the Howard government to give fathers greater access to their children in custody battles.

The data shows fathers are most responsible for sex abuse against children – accounting for more than 85 per cent of cases.

But mothers carry out more than 65 per cent of cases of emotional and psychological abuse and about 53 per cent of physical abuse. They are also responsible for about 93 per cent of cases of neglect.

There were 1,505 cases of abuse of children in WA in 2007-08 – 427 of them were carried out by mothers and 155 by fathers.

In other cases in which the gender of the perpetrator was determined, 463 cases were carried out by women and 353 by men.

A comparison with 2005-06 data shows the number of total cases of abuse had risen more than 50 per cent from 960. In 2005-06, mothers carried out 312 acts of abuse and fathers 165.

University of Western Sydney lecturer Micheal Woods said the findings “undermined the myth that fathers were the major risk factor for their children’s wellbeing”.

“While there are some abusive fathers, there are in fact a larger
proportion of violent and abusive mothers,” Mr Woods said.

F4E Blog – Father Matters.

Children can get killed when the signs of Parental Alienation are missed

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Freedom, Glenn Sacks, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, Maternal Deprivation, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Single Parenting, Sociopath on September 14, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Children can get killed when the signs of Parental Alienation are missed

(MMD Newswire) September 14, 2009 — Rekha Kumari-Baker stabs her teenage daughers Davina Baker and Jasmine Baker to death; Frances Elaine Campione drowns her daughters Sophia (1) and Serena (3); Nadine Bernard kills her 18 month old son Jayden Bernard; Claude Mubiangata kills his daughters Alpha and Cyndy and sons Kio and Aaron , aged 3-12; Brian Philcox murders his daughter Amy (7), and son Owen (3) by strapping them into the car and running the exhaust of his car in; James Gumm shoots his son Tyler Gumm (7) and daughter Kylie Gumm (6) at close range; Alysha Green douses her 3 daughters Alexandria Green (5), Adamiria Green (7) and Ariania Green (3) with gasoline and sets them on fire; Michele Sambriski kills daughter Gina (2); and the list continues.These seemingly random acts of insanity have a few commonalities, one of which is that there were signs. Signs of Parental Alienation, also called Hostile Aggressive Parenting. Signs which friends, family and/or professionals missed or ignored. Signs that if taken seriously may have saved some young, innocent lives.

Parental Alienation, also called Hostile Aggressive Parenting, is a set of behaviors that are very harmful to children’s emotional and mental health, and in extreme cases, to their lives. Mild Parental Alienation behaviors, such as bad-mouthing a parent, interfering with parenting time of a child and parent, can quickly escalate to obsessive alienation, such as refusing to give the child any gifts from the rejected parent, denying the existence of the other parent and forcing the child to take sides or risk being rejected by them. At the extreme end of the continuum, Parental Alienation can result in Parental Abduction and Parental Homocide.

These behaviors can occur in intact families, but occur most often in separated and divorced families. The courts and court professionals may then exacerbate the problem by not recognizing the signs of this type of abuse. Forcing a child to look down upon and/or hate another parent can be extremely harmful to children.

It’s time for public and professionals alike to stop ignoring the signs. Parents, and the children affected by these behaviors need quick and effective help, before the behaviors escalate; and before more children are abducted or murdered!

For every child murdered with signs of Parental Alienation, there are thousands more suffering mental and emotional trauma and abuse. How many more children need to suffer before Parental Alienation behaviors are recognized and stopped.

Join us in doing your part in your community to raise awareness of Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting, so that one day, these behaviors will become as socially unacceptable and recognizable as child battery.

“With education and awareness comes the power to stop the abuse of our most innocent-the children!” – Sarvy Emo, Founder of Parental Alienation Awareness Day, April 25th.

For more information on these behaviors and how to help raise awareness, visit www.paawareness.org

For further information contact:
Sarvy Emo
416-840-5657
info@paawareness.org
www.paawareness.org

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Children can get killed when the signs of Parental Alienation are missed.

How the Government Creates Child Abuse

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, Foster Care, Freedom, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on September 14, 2009 at 1:00 am
How the Government Creates Child Abuse
04/13/2006

Just in time for “Child Abuse Prevention Month,” the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) publishes its annual contribution to obfuscating the causes of child abuse.

Operatives of the child abuse industry often wax righteous about the “scandal” of child abuse. “We cannot tolerate the abuse of even one child,” says an HHS press release. But the real scandal is the armies of officials who have been allowed to acquire — using taxpayers’ dollars — a vested interest in abused children.

Devising child abuse programs makes us all feel good, but there is no evidence they make the slightest difference. In fact, they probably make the problem worse. Child abuse is largely a product of the feminist-dominated family law and social work industries. It is a textbook example of the government creating a problem for itself to solve.

Child abuse is entirely preventable. A few decades ago, there was no child abuse epidemic; it grew up with the welfare system and the divorce revolution. It continues because of entrenched interests who are employed pretending to combat it.

A few undisputed facts will establish this — facts that are passed over and even distorted year after year by HHS and others whose budgets depend on abused children.

Almost all child abuse takes places in single parent homes. A British study found children are up to 33 times more likely to be abused when a live-in boyfriend or stepfather is present than in an intact family. HHS has its own figures demonstrating that children in single-parent households are at much higher risk for physical violence and sexual molestation than those living in two-parent homes. Yet this basic fact is consistently omitted from its annual report.

Shorn of euphemism, what this means is that the principal impediment to child abuse is a father. “The presence of the father … placed the child at lesser risk for child sexual abuse,” conclude scholars in the journal Adolescent and Family Health. “The protective effect from the father’s presence in most households was sufficiently strong to offset the risk incurred by the few paternal perpetrators.”

In fact, the risk of “paternal perpetrators” is miniscule. Contrary to the innuendo of child abuse “advocates,” it is not married fathers but single mothers who are by far the most likely to injure and kill their children. “Contrary to public perception,” write Patrick Fagan and Dorothy Hanks of the Heritage Foundation, “research shows that the most likely physical abuser of a young child will be that child’s mother, not a male in the household.”


Mothers accounted for 55% of child murders, according to a Justice Department report (1,100 out of 2,000, with fathers committing 130). Here again, HHS itself has figures that women aged 20 to 49 are almost twice as likely as men to be perpetrators of child maltreatment: “almost two-thirds were females.”
Given that “male” perpetrators are not usually fathers but much more likely to be boyfriends and stepfathers, fathers emerge as by far the least likely child abusers.

While men are thought more likely to commit sexual as opposed to physical abuse, sexual abuse is much less common than severe physical abuse and much more likely to be perpetrated by boyfriends and stepfathers. “Children are seven times more likely to be badly beaten by their parents than they are to be sexually abused by them,” according to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

The NSPCC found that father-daughter incest is “rare, occurring in less than 4 in 1,000 children,” and that three-fourths of incest perpetrators are brothers and stepbrothers rather than fathers. HHS’s own figures show that reported sexual abuse is a tiny minority of reported child abuse, and of this little is committed by real fathers. The Journal of Ethnology and Sociobiology reports that a preschooler not living with both biological parents is forty times more likely to be sexually abused.

Yet feminists would have us believe that father-daughter incest is rampant, and conservatives credulously swallow their propaganda. A recent PBS documentary, “Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories,” asserts without evidence and contrary to known scientific data that “Children are most often in danger from the father.”

Feminist child protection agents implement this propaganda as policy. “One scholarly study concluded that “An anti-male attitude is often found in documents, statements, and in the writings of those claiming to be experts in cases of child sexual abuse.” Social service agencies systematically teach children to hate their fathers and inculcate in the children a message that the father has sexually molested them. “The professionals use techniques that teach children a negative and critical view of men in general and fathers in particular,” the authors write. “The child is repeatedly reinforced for fantasizing throwing Daddy in jail and is trained to hate and fear him.” A San Diego grand jury investigative report found that false accusations during divorce were positively encouraged by government officials. “The system appears to reward a parent who initiates such a complaint,” it states. “Some of these involve allegations which are so incredible that authorities should have been deeply concerned for the protection of the child.” Such behavior by officials is driven by federal financial incentives. “The social workers and therapists played pivotal roles in condoning this,” charged the grand jury. “They were helped by judges and referees.”

Seldom does public policy stand in such direct defiance of undisputed truths, to the point where the cause of the problem — separating children from their fathers — is presented as the solution, and the solution — allowing children to grow up with their fathers — is depicted as the problem. If you want to encourage child abuse, remove the fathers.

That is precisely what officials do — not only social workers but also family court judges. It is difficult to believe that judges are not aware that the most dangerous environment for children is precisely the single-parent homes they themselves create when they remove fathers in custody proceedings. Yet they have no hesitation in removing them, secure in the knowledge that they will never be held accountable for any harm that comes to the children. On the contrary, if they do not they may be punished by the bar associations, feminist groups, and social work bureaucracies whose earnings and funding depend on a constant supply of abused children. It is a commonplace of political science that bureaucracies relentlessly expand, often by creating the problem they exist to address. Appalling as it sounds, the conclusion is inescapable that we have created a huge army of officials with a vested interest in child abuse.

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Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D., is assistant professor of government at Patrick Henry College and Earhart Fellow at the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society. His most recent book, Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family, has just been published by Cumberland House Publishing.

– HUMAN EVENTS.

Fathers Needed to Help Stop Child Abuse – 2007 HHS Report

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Relocation on September 13, 2009 at 1:00 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A tale of two cities

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

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

Sal Giarratani
Roslindale

A healthy thank you for Senator Hart

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

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

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

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

Are You Guilty of Parental Alienation?

In Alienation of Affection, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Single Moms, Single Parenting on September 11, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Are You Guilty of Parental Alienation?

Friday September 11, 2009

Some parents work over-time at alienating their children from the other parent. Some are guilty of parental alienation and don’t realize what they are doing. Whether or not you are deliberately alienating your child from the other parent the result will be the same. Your child will be damaged emotionally.

A divorcing parents first concern should be the welfare of the children. Children need two parents who are 100% invested in making sure that child’s needs are met. You may not like your ex but you should never allow that to get in the way of taking care of your child.

Below is a list of behaviors parents do that purposefully or unwittingly alienate a child from his/her other parent:

1. Sharing information about the divorce. I NEVER talked to my children about the specifics of any legal divorce issues I had with their father. I was dumbfounded a few months back when in court with my ex over custody of our youngest. I looked over at my youngest and his father and the child had his father’s files, files pertaining to legal issues and was reading them.

I think I’m safe in assuming that those files were full of negative information about me. What purpose other than trying to shed a negative light on me could my ex have for showing the files to my son?

2. Withholding contact information. Parents have a right to know how to contact their child. Withholding email addresses or phone numbers is a clear attempt to interfere with a parent’s right to communicate with his/her child. If your child doesn’t want to talk to the other parent fine. The other parent still has a right to leave messages and write emails. They have the right to let that child know, that they are loved.

3. Allowing your child to decide whether or not to visit the other parent. This is another one that played a role in my divorce. I’m the guilty party. My ex angered my children. He did some very hurtful things and they had a right to be angry. My children were in therapy, the therapist told me to not force them to visit their father.

I was torn. Part of me knew that they needed their father, part of me was afraid of damaging them by forcing them to spend time with someone who had hurt them. I called my ex MIL and she said, “don’t make them see him until he behaves like a father.”

Guess what, the therapist was wrong, my ex MIL was wrong and I was wrong for not forcing them to visit and build a relationship with their father. I’ve recently realized that I allowed my children to make a choice based on emotion not logic.

I was the parent; it was my place to be the logical one. Instead, I let emotion win out and unwittingly did my children and their father harm. If your child is angry and refusing to visit the other parent do everything you can to promote visitation. Don’t give your child power and control over a situation they are viewing through eyes that are clouded by eomtional pain.

4. Saying negative things about the other parent. If you’ve got a beef with your ex, keep it to yourself. Don’t say negative things to your child or to anyone in front of your child. Something as insignificant as, “your father never shows up on time,” sends a negative message to your child about the other parent. Keep such thoughts out of reach of tiny ears!

Whether you are purposefully or unwittingly exposing your child to parental alienation it is time to stop and think about what it means to your child. Parenting after divorce means being hyper aware of the consequences of your words and actions have on your children.

Are You Guilty of Parental Alienation?.

Children’s Rights Challenges Tennessee Law Unconstitutionally Interfering with Children’s Juvenile Court Hearings — Children’s Rights

In 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, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights on September 11, 2009 at 6:34 pm

NASHVILLE, TN — Challenging the constitutionality of a new Tennessee law aimed at pressuring local judges to reduce the number of children they commit to foster care — and asserting that the law endangers the safety of abused and neglected kids — the national advocacy organization Children’s Rights today asked a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order blocking the law’s implementation.

The law, which was proposed by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS), passed as an amendment to the omnibus budget bill that took effect in July. It establishes fiscal penalties for counties whose judges commit more than a prescribed number of children to state custody (300 percent of the state average commitment rate) — and fails to take into account the local circumstances influencing foster care placements in each county and the unique facts of each child’s case.

In a motion (PDF) filed today with the U.S. District Court in Nashville, lawyers at Children’s Rights and their co-counsel in Tennessee asserted that the clear intent of the law was to save state funds by influencing judges’ commitment decisions with the threat of fiscal penalties to their counties. At hearings about the legislation, DCS officials have stated publicly that the goal was never to collect money from the counties, but to reduce the number of children placed in foster care.

“This law is unconstitutional and very dangerous to children who have already suffered abuse or neglect,” said Children’s Rights Associate Director Ira Lustbader. “These children have the right to have their cases heard by judges who will decide how best to keep them safe based only on the facts of their individual cases, not whether their counties are in danger of getting fined for exceeding an arbitrary limit on foster care commitments.”

Before the law was passed, the executive committee of the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges unanimously passed a resolution opposing it, and, after it was enacted, “expressed great concern about the Legislative Branch telling the Judicial Branch how many kids they can or cannot commit to state custody.”

The new law violates the 2001 settlement of a federal class action brought by Children’s Rights and co-counsel to reform the Tennessee child welfare system, which requires that judges make safety decisions based on the facts before them and that children’s constitutional rights are protected at all hearings in juvenile courts. Furthermore, say attorneys, the law violates children’s constitutional rights to due process and equal protection by preventing those who live in counties with high foster care placement rates from receiving fair hearings.

“The express purpose of this law is to make judges think about the number of commitments in their counties each time they decide whether to place a child in state custody,” said David L. Raybin, an attorney with Hollins, Wagster, Weatherly & Raybin in Nashville serving as co-counsel on the case. “If you’re a child facing abuse or neglect at home, and you happen to live in a county where foster care placements are running high, this law ensures that you’ll be treated differently than you would if your county’s placements were low. That’s a clear violation of children’s constitutional rights.”

Today’s challenge to the new law notes that Anderson County, an undisputed target of the law, leads the state in both the number of methamphetamine lab seizures and the number of children committed to state custody due to parental substance abuse. In measuring individual counties’ foster care placements against a statewide average without considering such unique local circumstances, the law “is completely disconnected from these realities,” the motion says.

Additionally, lawyers at Children’s Rights assert that the state has other, lawful means of reducing foster care placements, including appealing individual judges’ decisions it believes to be unfounded and, most important, increasing family preservation services where necessary to keep vulnerable families together.

“Tennessee could achieve its goal of minimizing foster care commitments by enhancing the support and services it provides to help families stay together, which would be absolutely the right thing to do,” Lustbader said. “Instead, this law seeks to influence judges’ decisions in individual children’s cases, which is unfair and dangerous.”

Children’s Rights and a team of Tennessee attorneys have represented all children in Tennessee foster care since 2000, when they filed a class action against the state seeking the comprehensive reform of the state-run child welfare system. Agreements negotiated by attorneys at Children’s Rights to settle the case established court-enforceable reform plans that have produced major improvements — including increases in the number of children moved out of foster care and into permanent homes and reductions in the number of foster children housed in institutions, separated from their siblings, and placed in foster homes far away from their own communities.

Today’s motion — and a complete archive of documents related to Children’s Rights’ efforts to reform Tennessee child welfare — can be found at www.childrensrights.org/tennessee.

Related Press

Child advocacy group wants Tennessee’s new foster-care law blocked (Tennessean, Sept. 10, 2009)

Advocates Ask Judge To Block Limits On Foster Care (AP, via NewsChannel 5 Nashville)

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Children’s Rights Challenges Tennessee Law Unconstitutionally Interfering with Children’s Juvenile Court Hearings — Children’s Rights.

“The Medea Complex and the Parental Alienation Syndrome: When Mothers Damage Their Daughter’s Ability to Love a Man”

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Children and Domestic Violence, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome on September 9, 2009 at 7:21 pm

“The Medea Complex and the Parental Alienation Syndrome: When Mothers Damage Their Daughter’s Ability to Love a Man”

by Robert M. Gordon, Ph.D.
When doing custody evaluations, I am often struck by the frequency in which mothers aggress against their children’s fathers by turning their children against him. In the process, they do great harm to their children.

As a therapist, I am often struck by the resistance of patients who were brainwashed as children against a parent. I believe that brainwashing by a mother is both more common and more powerful than that of a father, since the child’s bond with the mother is more intense and primitive.

Such brainwashing and alienation usually leads to a life long problem with establishing and maintaining a healthy intimacy. Their mother’s perception and definition of their fathers, if programmed at an early age becomes a core fundamental belief, and if questioned, the person’s core sense of reality seems shaken; “If my mother lied to me about my father, then can I trust her love for me?” Thus there is a great deal of resistance to the awareness of having been brainwashed.
In this chapter I will discuss: The mother-daughter bond, The Medea Complex ( The mother’s revenge against her former husband by depriving him of his children), brain washing and the Parental Alienation Syndrome (The children’s pathological unconscious wish to please the “loved” parent by rejecting the “hated” parent), the subsequent disturbed intimacies that the brainwashed child suffers later in life, and a case history of three generations of Parental Alienation Syndrome and it’s unusual resolution.
In this chapter, I will bring together two separate issues: the Medea complex and the Parental Alienation Syndrome. To my knowledge, I have not seen these two concepts brought together. I believe that the Medea Complex in divorcing mothers is a frequent cause of Parental Alienation Syndrome.

The Mother-Daughter Bond
Mothers are more likely than fathers to be alienators and brainwashers (Gardner,1987). Mothers are more likely to take out their aggression on their children. Selma Kramer (1995) refers to Steele’s research (1970) in stating that children are more physically abused by their mothers,and sexually abused by their fathers. Women may have few means of expressing power, and thereby may use their own children as scapegoats.
The mother’s brainwashing of a daughter is particularly powerful due to the daughter’s identification with the mother. Juni and Grimm (1933) in their study of adults and their parents found that the strongest relationships were between mother-daughter and father-son dyads. Troll (1987) found that mother-daughter relationships “… appear to be more complex, ambivalent and ambiguous than do other parent-child configurations.” Olver, Aries, and Batgos (1989) found that, “… First born women had the least separate sense of self and reported the greatest degree of maternal involvement and intrusiveness…Men showed a more separate sense of self than women.” They also found that mothers were reported to be more highly involved with and intrusive in the lives of their daughters than their sons. Gerd Fenchel in this text, points out that the mother-daughter relationship is a primitive latent homosexual one, that is intense and ambivalent; one that requires first fusion, then separation for the proper development to occur.
When the mother encourages her daughter to see her father as bad, this may become an Oedipal fixation in that the daughter may be attracted to men who will mistreat her, or she may mistreat them. The daughter will also have problems with separation from the mother and have problems with attachment and abandonment with subsequent love objects. The son has his mother as his Oedipal love object, but is aided in his separation from her when he must go to his father for his male identity. The daughter is more closely tied to her mother as both a primary love object and source of her identity. Her Oedipal drive toward the father fosters development in helping her to separate from her mother and to master the outside world which father represents. If the mother devalues the father, and sees separation as betrayal, the daughter does not make that necessary break from her mother. The daughter remains with a parasitic mother, insecure and dependent.
Fathers are very important to their daughter’s feminine development. Biller’s research review (1971) supports that girls who had positive relationships with their fathers were more likely to have satisfying heterosexual relationships. When a mother poisons her daughter’s love of her father, she is also compromising her daughter’s ability to maturely love any man. The mother is programming her daughter to be her ego extension without a will of her own, and to be with her and no one else, narcissistically bound.
Although both boys and girls are greatly harmed when they are turned against a parent, the harm is often different. Studies indicate that boys suffer the most harm when the boys are stuck with mothers who express hostility towards their fathers- the source of their male identity ( Hodges, 1991; Kelly,1993). This chapter, however, will focus only on the mother-daughter bond in the Parental Alienation Syndrome. Although the daughter’s self esteem may not suffer as much as the son’s, her ability to deal with separation and mature relationships with men is very deeply affected. Wallerstein’s (1989) 10 year longitudinal study of girls from divorced families found that the nature of the mother-daughter relationship, and the daughter’s identification with her mother were predictive of the daughters’ ability to address the tasks of their relationships with men later on. Daughters who identified with hostile mothers had the poorest adjustment.
A woman has two internal sexual love objects, the mother representation-the original love object, and the father representation-the later Oedipal love object. Both affect object choice. The boy has a more narrow band of “chemistry”. His love for a woman will always be affected by his internal mother representation. He has his mother as his ever powerful love object. His father is a latent homosexual love object and source of identification that does not play the same gyroscopic object role as does the mother. A man will not marry a woman like his father. A woman however will choose a man in reaction to her mother or her father. If the daughter is brainwashed against her father by a hostile paranoid mother (which is often the case), the daughter has internally two core love objects, the hostile mother and the devalued father. These internal objects will guide her love choices and her behaviors in relationships with men. By picking, provoking or by distorting , she will try to repeat her emotional past with men. I caution the reader to the distinction of “emotional past” verses “actual” past. Our neuroses may be based on real events as well as on false perceptions and fantasies. For example, in the Parental Alienation Syndrome the “hated” parent may in fact be loving, and the “loved” parent may be very disturbed and unloving. This sets up a complex system of layering of object relations in the ego. At one level the child is traumatized by the perceptions and not the reality of the “hated” parent and consciously hates that parent, yet at the unconscious level, the child often secretly loves that parent, who was in fact loving. The “loved” parent may be loved on the conscious level, but feared and hated on the unconscious level. The patient may start therapy claiming that she was traumatized by her father, and later in therapy realize that her trauma was based partly on the image of her father, and largely on the her mother’s exploitation and hostility. The patient who was brain washed will not present this as a problem, and has special defenses to guard against this awareness.
Why would a mother do this to her own children? The story of Medea may help us to understand such motives. The Greek drama served the purpose to not just entertain, but to provide a catharsis for the collective unspoken traumas and pains of the audience. These classic stories express most beautifully powerful human conflicts characteristic of our universal psychology.

The Medea Complex: The myth.
Euripides wrote Medea around 400 .B.C.. It is a story of intense love turned to such intense hate, that Medea kills her own children to get back at her husband for betraying her. Medea is so madly in love with Jason, that she tricks her own father, King Aeetes, who guards the Golden Fleece, and kills her own brother so that Jason could steal the Golden Fleece. (Jason might have done well to consider how she treated her father and brother before he married her.) Jason leaves Medea to marry yet another princess. Medea plans her revenge. The chorus blames Aphrodite for causing all the trouble, in having intense passion turns to hate. (The Greeks often displaced their psychodynamics onto their gods.) Medea offers the bride her gifts of a beautiful robe and chaplet. When Jason’s new bride puts on the gifts, her head and body burst into flame and she dies a horrible, painful death. When her father embraced her corpse, he too bursts into flames and dies the same tortured death. Medea then takes her sword and kills their two children. The chorus amazed at the degree of Medea’s vengefulness doubt that anything can rival a mother’s slaughter of her own innocent children. Medea escapes Jason with a dragon drawn chariot. She taunts Jason not allowing him to embrace or bury his sons. She rejoices at having hurt him so.

Fred Pine (1995) refers to Medea as an example of a particular form of hatred found in women.” Medea’s internal experience is a compound of a sense of injury- a sense that builds to imagined public humiliation and a sense of righteousness. … The righteousness implied here in “the wrong they have dared to do to me” has struck me clinically. It is a frequent accompaniment of hate and hate-based rage. I think it stems from something self-preservative(“I have been so mistreated that I have this right…”) and some flaw in the super-ego, possibly based on identification with the child’s experience of the rageful mother’s giving herself full permission- and without subsequent remorse- to express her rage toward the child.” (p.109). That is, Pine suspects that for a mother to be so destructive to her own children, she herself must have been exposed to her own mother’s unremorseful hostility.

Jacobs’ (1988) paper entitled, “Euripides’ Medea: A psychodynamic model of severe divorce pathology” views the Medea mother as “narcissistically scarred, embittered dependent woman…(who) …attempts to severe father-child contact as a means of revenging the injury inflicted on her by the loss of a self-object, her hero-husband.” Jacobs’ idea that the Medea mother is so dependent that she cannot deal with the loss, and thus holds on with hate.
Medea certainly has a flaw in her superego. We know this early on when she betrays her father and kills her brother to help Jason steal from them. But she not only kills his new bride and her father, but her own children. Her love turned to hate is so passionate that she destroys that which intimacy between them produced. The hate goes beyond her instinctive need to protect her own children. Medea must make Jason suffer more than she suffers for it to be a punishment with revenge.
Jason, “You loved them, and killed them.”
Medea, “To make you feel pain.”

The Medea Complex involves a mother who is still pathologically tied to her (ex)husband. She has a great deal of rage probably as Pines suggests (1995) from her interactions with her hostile mother. This rage is rooted in part with a wish to destroy the child, whom she at some level resents being stuck with and may turn her rage into overprotectiveness as a reaction formation. She is unable to let her children separate from her. She tells them the harm that will befall them when they are out of her control. When the mother wishes to punish the father by turning their children against him, she is also aggressing against the children. In her unconscious, both the children and the husband represent the same thing (others that did or might betray), and destructiveness is wished on them both. In short, a mother who brain washes her children against their father has a Medea Complex. She probably has paranoia or at least paranoid features within a borderline or psychotic character structure. She can not deal with the loss, and remains tied to her (ex)husband in an intimate hate, and keeps her children tied to her out of fear.
A Medea mother must kill off her own femininity in order to be destructive to her own children. As Lady Macbeth prays so that she will be able to help murder, “Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe topful of direst cruelty!” (Macbeth, act 1, scene 5 ).
Brain Washing and Parental Alienation Syndrome
I agree with Gardner’s (1987) assessment that most mothers in custody disputes do some form of brain washing. I have done custody evaluations for over 15 years. I have found that mother’s attempts to turn their children against their fathers in custody disputes are very common. I have also found that this is by far the most destructive aspect of divorce on children. I now consider brain washing children against a parent as a form of child abuse, since it leads to enduring psychopathology.
Kelly’s (1993) longitudinal research of child’s postdivorce adjustment found that the majority of children adjust to divorce, and older children express relief. Most symptoms last 6 months to 2 years post separation, and usually only involve adjustment disorders. Only about 10% of divorcing couples with children fight over custody. Of this group, at least one parent often has hostile and paranoid features. In a study of MMPI’s given to parents in custody evaluations, the MMPI’s of the parents who lost the custody dispute had significantly higher scores in Psychopathic Deviant (hostility), Paranoia, and Mania (narcissistic and impulsive tendencies), than parents who won the custody dispute (Otto and Collins, 1995). Children do adjust to divorce, except if a disturbed parent uses them as a pawn to punish the other parent. This traumatizes the child, and it’s effects may be life long, and is often passed on generation after generation.
Gardner (1987) stated, “Although the mothers in these situations may have a variety of motivations for programming their children against their fathers, the most common one relates to the old saying, ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.’ … Because these mothers are separated, and cannot retaliate directly at their husbands, they wreak vengeance by attempting to deprive their former spouses of their most treasured possessions, the children. And the brainwashing program is an attempt to achieve this goal.”p.87. Gardner also feels that these mothers are aggressing against their own children by brain washing them against their fathers. “These mothers exhibit the mechanism of reaction formation, in that their obsessive love of their children is often a cover-up for their underlying hostility.”p.87…”And when these mothers “win”, they not only win custody, but they win total alienation of their children from the hated spouse. The victory here results in psychological destruction of the children which, I believe, is what they basically want anyway.” P.88
Brain washing are conscious acts of programming the child against the other parent. But Gardner went on to describe what he refers to as “Parental Alienation Syndrome”. The concept of the Parental Alienation Syndrome includes the brain washing component, but is more inclusive. It includes not only conscious but unconscious factors within the programming parent that contribute to the child’s alienation from the other parent. Furthermore, it includes factors that arise within the child- independent of the parental contributions. The child may justify the alienation with memories of minor altercations experienced in the relationship with the hated parent. These are usually trivial and are experiences that most children quickly forget. These children may even refuse to accept evidence that is obvious proof of the hated parent’s position. Commonly these children will accept as 100 percent valid the allegations of the loved parent against the hated one. “All human relationships are ambivalent… the concept of ‘Mixed feelings’ has no place in these children’s scheme of things. The hated parent is ‘all bad’ and the loved parent is ‘all good'(Gardner,1987).p.73.
Dunne and Hedrick (1994) in their research found that Parental Alienation Syndrome, “appeared to be primarily a function of the pathology of the alienating parent and that parent’s relationship with the children. PAS did not signify dysfunction in the alienated parent or in the relationship between that parent and child.” This study supports Gardner’s definition of Parental Alienation Syndrome as a pathological reaction to a parent, and not a conflict arising out the real relationship with the rejected parent.
Gardner also refers to factors arising within the child which contributes to Parental Alienation Syndrome, such as the fear of losing the love of the alienating mother, since “the loved parent is feared much more than loved.” p.90. Additionally, Oedipal factors are sometimes operative in the Parental Alienation Syndrome. A daughter may resent the father’s new female partner, and may identify with her mother’s jealousy and rage, and the daughter may revenge by rejecting him.
Damaged Ability for Separation and Intimacy
A daughter has first her mother as the primary love object, and then shifts to her father as the Oedipal love object. These two internal objects guide her attractions and patterns of intimacy. If she had in fact a rejecting father, but a healthy loving mother who does not turn her against the father, the daughter will have damaged relationships with men. But she has a good prognosis for overcoming this problem. Since her mother was healthy, the daughter can form love relationships built on that basic love relationship. If however, her mother has a Medea Complex, that is she turns her daughter against her own father out of revenge, the daughter is more likely to have a damaged ability to love maturely. Both her primary love object, the mother and Oedipal love object, the father, are internally driving her to self defeating relationships. To love a man is to betray her mother. And, she can only love as she has been taught and shown. The daughter will find unconscious ways to undermine relationships. She can unconsciously undermine them in three ways: picking, provoking and distorting.

to see more read:

MMPI-2 Information, Continuing Education, and Psychology Books by Dr. Robert M. Gordon.

No-Fault Divorce is Institutionalized Evil

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, 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, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on September 6, 2009 at 11:50 pm

No-Fault Divorce is Institutionalized Evil

S. Michael Craven

S. Michael Craven

S. Michael Craven
Center for Christ & Culture

Throughout history, Christians have fought against countless social evils from slavery to child labor and these battles inevitably began with a campaign of sustained public persuasion that exposed the hidden evils to a public largely unaware. Similarly, no-fault divorce has become so commonplace that its evil is either obscured or ignored. But the availability of no-fault divorce has served to increase family dissolution at a rate greater than ever before in history; furthermore, it undermines the institution of marriage itself, perhaps more so than any other single factor in history. We would not be standing on the brink of same-sex marriage were it not for the corrosive effect upon marriage-as-an-institution that followed the divorce revolution.

Constitutional and family law attorney J. Shelby Sharpe says, “No-fault is national catastrophe. Anything which overturns the order or systems of things whereby families are destroyed and the whole of society adversely affected is by definition a catastrophe.”

You may be surprised to learn that the initial efforts to advance no-fault divorce legislation were underwritten by Hugh Hefner through the Playboy Foundation, which financed an army of young lawyers working to advance these antifamily policies. Let’s see…America’s largest pornographer working to rewrite public policy related to the family? There’s something seriously wrong with this picture! Alfred Kinsey also played an instrumental role in reducing these legal protections by falsely reporting that adultery was commonplace in most marriages. This reduced the stigma associated with adultery and ultimately served as the basis for eliminating all laws against adultery. Hefner and Kinsey both saw marriage as the final barrier to sexual freedom and thus determined to remove its inhibiting influence upon unrestrained sexual activity.

Cheap divorce (Credit: Kevin Dooley)

Cheap divorce (Credit: Kevin Dooley)

No-fault divorce is much more than just divorce; it is a legal tyranny that denies the fundamental right of due process to a defendant. Prior to no-fault divorce, the party seeking divorce (plaintiff) was required, by law, to demonstrate cause on the part of the other party (defendant) prior to dissolving the marriage, dividing the family’s assets, and destroying the two-parent structure essential for children. These measures provided strong legal protections—primarily to women and children who might otherwise find themselves abandoned by husbands and fathers who simply sought “greener pastures.” (You might think me overly hard on men here. Granted, both men and women can be guilty of abandoning marriages; however, statistically speaking, women and children are most often the victims.)

Under the system prior to no-fault divorce, the state was limited in its actions and intrusion into the private affairs of the family except in those cases in which one of the parties committed a legally recognized offense against the other. In the wake of no-fault divorce, the state has been given unprecedented access into and unconstitutional authority over what was previously sacrosanct: the family. Historically, the law regarded the family as a preserve of privacy that was largely off-limits to the government. It was what Supreme Court Justice Byron White (1962–1993) called the “realm of family life, which the state cannot enter.”

What is most shocking about no-fault divorce is the inherent unconstitutionality of it all, a direct violation of human rights. A retired circuit court judge writes, “To the characterization of no-fault divorce laws as both ungodly and inhumane I would add unconstitutional as well.” In my conversation with attorney J. Shelby Sharpe he was confident that if a case involving no-fault divorce were ever brought before the U.S. Supreme Court it would no doubt be ruled unconstitutional and no-fault divorce abolished!

One of our most fundamental protections secured by the U.S. Constitution is the right to due process, which secures the right of an individual to be heard regarding issues of life, liberty, or property. This means that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, property, or of any right granted him by statute, unless the matter involved is first adjudicated or ruled against him at trial.

No-fault divorce completely usurps the defendant’s constitutional right to due process. In the case of Judith Brumbaugh, author of Judge, Please Don’t Strike That Gavel on My Marriage, with whom I spoke, her husband of twenty years had an adulterous affair, formed a relationship with the other woman, and decided that he no longer wanted to be married. Under the no-fault procedure he was able to file for divorce claiming that their marriage was “irretrievably broken.” Judith contested this claim, hoping to preserve her marriage; however the no-fault procedure ultimately gave her husband and the court the right to deny her due process. She was, in essence, charged with a crime, found guilty, and sentenced without ever being heard. The marriage contract was unilaterally dissolved.

Judith lost her home, her children, and her husband; she was left nearly destitute from legal expenses and utterly without recourse—which is legally impossible in every other contractual obligation in this country! And yet in the most important contractual obligation in society, under no-fault divorce the plaintiff is able to break his or her contractual obligation without the right of due process being given to the other party in the contract. The defendant’s life can be ruined, her liberty restrained in countless ways, and her property taken away by the courts. I know, and I’m sure you do as well, too many women and children who have suffered similar results.

This is a travesty of justice that affects more than a million families each and every year, with an annual related cost to taxpayers of more than $48 billion! This cost doesn’t even begin to consider the secondary societal effects of family dissolution upon crime rates, welfare rolls, and the emotional and psychological effects upon the children of divorce. No-fault divorce has created an easy divorce culture, which, according to Maggie Gallagher, an affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values and a nationally syndicated columnist, “demotes marriage from a binding relation into something best described as cohabitation with insurance benefits.”

No-fault divorce is a social and legal atrocity that needs to be abolished both for the sake of families and children that have, for too long, been subjected to the tyrannical actions of family courts, and because it has encouraged, through law, radical selfishness on the part of narcissistic, self-indulgent spouses. What must be understood by Christians is that no-fault divorce functions as a direct enemy of the gospel of the kingdom by opposing the in-breaking reign of God and his desires for the family.

I will be sharing more on this and what you can do in the months ahead

S. Michael Craven is the President of the Center for Christ & Culture. Michael is the author of Uncompromised Faith (Navpress).The Center for Christ & Culture is dedicated to renewal within the Church and works to equip Christians with an intelligent and thoroughly Christian approach to matters of culture in order to demonstrate the relevance of Christianity to all of life. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, the teaching ministry of S. Michael Craven, visit the Center for Christ & Culture.

Note: Reader comments are reviewed before publishing, and only salient comments that add to the topic will be published. Profanity is absolutely not allowed and will be summarily deleted. Spam, copied statements and other material not comprised of the reader’s own opinion will also be deleted.

No-Fault Divorce is Institutionalized Evil.

Parental Alienation & Grief « It’s Almost Tuesday

In Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parentectomy, Parents rights on September 4, 2009 at 6:15 am

Parental Alienation & Grief

The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent.

The primary person responsible for the induction of a parental alienation syndrome (PAS) in a child is the litigating parent who hopes to gain leverage in a court of law by programming in the child a campaign of denigration directed against a target parent.

In most cases alienated parents are relatively helpless to protect themselves from the indoctrinations and the destruction of what was once a good, loving bond. They turn to the courts for help and, in most cases in my experience, have suffered even greater frustration and despair because of the court’s failure to meaningfully provide them with assistance.

It is the author’s hope that increasing recognition by the judiciary of its failures to deal effectively with PAS families will play a role in the rectification of this serious problem.

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

by Dr. Barbara Steinberg

Q: A parent who has been alienated from his or her child’s life experiences extreme loss. Often we are asked by a targeted parent, “How do I deal with his on-going pain?”

A: First, know that you are not alone. There are others, both mothers and fathers, who have similar experiences, and who are in deep agony over the loss of contact and meaningful relationship with their children.

Second, know that you are not crazy. In our culture we are not encouraged to experience our grief. We are taught to be strong, to rise above it, to tough it out, to get over it and get on with life. Sometimes that is wise counsel if we linger in our pain, and our outrage becomes the complete focus of our life affecting our work, our social life and our spirit. However, the loss of a child whether by death or by exclusion from that child’s life is beyond the realm of most parents’ ability to cope.

In the beginning of an alienation process, we believe, as parents, this is not really happening. We deny that the other parent of our child is capable of these vengeful acts, and we choose not to believe our child, whom we love deeply, would ever treat us in such a hurtful ways.

Denial is the strongest emotional defense mechanism we have at our disposal, and it is the one on which we rely the most. For most parents, because they truly want contact and relationship with their child, their denial does not hold up under time or with the reality of the disconnection they experience.

Third, many parents feel confusion, which suggests they are not able to identify and process the bunch of emotions; they are experiencing in their gut. Usually, these can be separated into feelings of deep sadness, intense anger, extreme outrage, and desperate blame.

To keep from being overwhelmed by this internal “bucket of worms,” many parents detach from the situation that they believe is an act of self-preservation. Some bargain with them using the following logic, “My child will get what’s happened when he/she turns eighteen so I’ll just wait.” Both strategies are akin to whistling in the dark.

Fourth, targeted parents want to know how to deal with these strong emotions in healthy ways because if allowed to remain unreleased, they often gain a life of their own and emerge at inappropriate and inopportune times toward others who do not understand or deserve the depth and intensity of the feeling.

Sometimes, these emotions are held internally. In an attempt to self-medicate the resulting pain, the targeted parent turns to addictive behaviors or substances. Eventually, if strong emotions are held internally for a long period of time, they can convert into physical problems, which plague the individual for the remainder of his/her life.

So the dilemma remains, what do I do with my pain? Keeping a journal or diary is helpful, but strong emotions require active self-interventions. Many parents report feeling relief from their deep sadness by allowing themselves to cry and scream.

If you believe this might assist you in your process, to avoid embarrassment, it is wise to isolate yourself perhaps in a quiet, natural place so you can grieve in an unrestrained and unobserved way. It is also helpful to take a sequence of your child’s pictures so you can activate your feelings of loss.

Intense anger is a physical activator so you will need to participate in a focused activity such as bowling, driving golf balls at a range or hitting balls in a batting cage. A less expensive approach is throwing ice cubes at a sturdy wall, an activity, that parents report, gives a sense of relief and release from ever tightening bands of anger.

Outrage describes a parent who feels misunderstood so there needs to be some attention paid to “telling your story.” The problem is finding a receptive listener who has the patience and energy to hear the saga of hurt, frustration and humiliation more than once. Targeted parents can tell their story into a small tape recorder; they can write their story by hand into a journal, a loose-leaf notebook or a diary. They can use a word processor and store it on computer disc, or if they are creatively inclined, they can write poems to their children. Some parents have already published their story in books and poetry.

Of importance here is the intention to alleviate the outrage of misunderstanding that, as a parent, you are unimportant, even nonessential in your child’s life. Also, it is important that you be heard, and that you remind yourself that you are still a parent by keeping your child’s pictures around you. Another approach is to involve yourself in the parenting role with other children as a Godparent, as an involved uncle or aunt, as a Big Brother or Big Sister. Validating yourself as a parent can go a long way to heal feelings of outrage.

Finally, desperate blame is probably the most difficult bereavement issue to process. Some blame is justifiable: the other parent, the other parent’s family, the legal and social services system, your child, yourself. However, the only one under your jurisdiction of control is yourself so this is the part that you work with in three separate ways. First, it is critical, regardless of the attitude and reception from the other parent, from the other parent’s family and from your child that you stay in positive contact with them. Civility and cordiality in face-to-face contact is essential regardless of what is said in your presence or behind your back. In addition, sending your child cards, letters and little packages on unimportant days is appropriate. Also, communicating with your child by telephone, by e-mail and by facsimile can be effective. If you have completely lost contact with your child, then set your priority to find him/her and restore contact at least by distance. If this is impossible, then collect items and memorabilia in a special box or trunk reserved for your child and the possibility of future contact.

Second, become active as a citizen for positive change, and learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the system you blame for preventing you from having parenting opportunities with your child. This action may not change the disposition of your situation, but you may make the system a better place for other targeted parents and their children.

Third, for your sake and for the sake of your relationship with your child, it is imperative that you forgive the other parent. Notice there was no mention of forgetting what has happened, or how you have been treated, but again, for restoring your emotional balance and your ability to cope with life challenges in healthy ways, you will need to forgive the alienator.

For some, this is a spiritual journey, and for others the path is a secular one. What is important is that you go about this process in a unique way that you believe will work for you so the specter of losing your child is diminished, and your health and well being are in restoration.

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Danville, IL, mother arrested for attempted murder, child abuse – Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News

In Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence on September 4, 2009 at 1:00 am

Danville mother arrested for attempted murder, child abuse

Posted: // Sep 3, 2009 08:13 AM

Police arrest a Danville mother after finding her daughter riding a bike naked several blocks from her home.

44-year-old Deanna Wharwood is facing preliminary charges of attempted murder, domestic aggravated battery, and child abuse. Police got a call Monday at 7:45 in the evening that a ten-year-old girl was naked on a bike on North Vermilion Street.

The child told police she and her mother had an argument. The girl was taken to the hospital, but was not seriously hurt. She’s now in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services.

Formal charges are expected Thursday.

Danville mother arrested for attempted murder, child abuse – Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-.

Mothers Who Kill Their Children << Daddyblogger.com

In Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody for fathers, Divorce, Feminism, Parental Kidnapping, Single Moms, Single Parenting, Sociopath on September 3, 2009 at 6:00 am

March 09, 2009

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Mothers Abuse Children 3 Times more than Dads – Federal HHS Statistics

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, family court, kidnapped children, Marriage, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, parental rights, Parents rights, Sociopath on September 1, 2009 at 12:19 am

Although this federal government report is the year 2001, there is NO REASON to believe the statistics have not changed with regard to who commits child abuse more against a child or children. Biological mothers are 3 times more like to commit abuse against a child over a biological father. Child Maltreatment (2001)

Then why the hell do mothers wind up with custody 72.8 percent of the time after divorce? Why are fathers only seen as a paycheck to divorced moms, and welfare checks to single moms? Why are dads kept away from their children?

Perhaps it is time we realize that father’s protect children more than moms. It is a fact. The statistic prove this.

But apparently the agenda of feminists who created the draconian laws that kill and maim children are only interested in one thing: the maternal legalization of child abuse.

Mothers Who Hurt Their Children

Mom knows best – right?

It must be true… A mother knows what’s best for her children. Who isn’t for motherhood and apple pie? It’s reinforced in our literature, movies, books, our laws, our religion. Mom knows best. There is no love greater than that of a mother for her children.

A Mother’s Love

A Mother’s love is something that no one can explain,
It is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it or take that love away . . .
It is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters even though the heart is breaking . . .
It believes beyond believing when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty of the rarest, brightest gems . . .
It is far beyond defining, it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret like the mysteries of creation . . .
A many splendoured miracle man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence of God’s tender guiding hand.

– Helen Steiner Rice –

Our governments, schools, churches, courts bend over backwards to protect and support the rights of mothers. Mothers are encouraged and empowered to home school their children, diagnose their illnesses, control their activities, choose their friendships, dictate their living conditions, even select their religion.

Parenthood isn’t easy and many mothers do an excellent job of what is a very challenging assignment…

But not all.


How Common is Child Abuse?

In the US, an estimated 903,000 children (1.2% of all children) were victims of abuse and neglect in 2001.

  • 57.2 percent of victims suffered neglect (including medical neglect),
  • 18.6 percent were physically abused
  • 9.6 percent were sexually abused;
  • 26.6 percent of victims were associated with additional types of maltreatment.

Percentages of victims are similar for males and females (48.0% and 51.5% respectively).

Children in the age group of birth to 3 years account for 27.7% of victims. Victimization percentages decline as age increases.

In the US, more than half of all child abuse victims are White (50.2%); one-quarter (25.0%) are African American; and one-sixth (14.5%) are Hispanic. American Indians and Alaska Natives account for 2% of victims, and Asian-Pacific Islanders accounted for 1.3% of victims.

19% of reported and substantiated child abuse cases result in the child being removed from the home.

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services Child Maltreatment Report 2001


Who Is Abusing the Kids?

The answer may surprise you. It is most commonly not the proverbial “stranger” that most children are warned to avoid – it is more likely to be someone much closer to home:

Child Maltreatment Statistics

See Larger Chart

  • 40.5% of all child abuse is committed solely by biological mothers
  • 17.7% of all child abuse is committed solely by biological fathers
  • 19.3% of child abuse is committed by both the mother and the father
  • 6.4% of child abuse is committed by the mother and some other individual
  • 1.0% of child abuse is committed by the father and some other individual
  • 11.9% is committed by someone other than the parents
  • 3.1% is committed by an unknown or missing perpetrator.

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services Child Maltreatment Report 2001


Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBPS)

Definition:

Munchausen By Proxy Syndrome (MBPS) or Munchausen’s Syndrome By Proxy (MSBP) is a form of child abuse in which a parent systematically manufactures, fabricates or exaggerates the appearance of illness in a child in order to draw attention to themselves, elevate their own importance and manipulate the attentions of caregivers and medical professionals. Click Here for More Info on Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome

Description:

In Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBPS), an individual – typically a mother – deliberately makes another person (most often his or her own preschool child) sick or convinces others that the person is sick. The parent or caregiver misleads others into thinking that the child has medical problems by reporting fictitious episodes. He or she may exaggerate, fabricate, or induce symptoms. As a result, doctors commonly order tests, experiment with medications and, in severe cases, may hospitalize the child or perform surgery to determine the cause.

Typically, the perpetrator feels satisfied when he or she has the attention and sympathy of doctors, nurses, and others.

It should be noted that there is strong controversy over the existence of Munchausen By Proxy Syndrome. The originator of the term, British Pediatrician Roy Meadow was discredited for misrepresenting statistical data in his expert witness testimony in the conviciton of mothers of children who died from cot deaths (also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – or SIDS). In a nutshell, he testified that the likelihood of more than one incidence of SIDS in a single family was so remote as to warrant a conviction. Several cases in which he testified have since been overturned in British Courts. Crirics of the MBPS theory correctly point out that child abuse is child abuse and the burden of proof must be to reveal objective evidence of abuse prior to removing children from parental custody. For more information regarding the MBPS controversy see the links at the bottom of this page.

In some MBPS cases, since the parent or caregiver appears concerned, wrongdoing is not suspected. Frequently, the perpetrator is familiar with the medical profession and is skilled at fooling medical staff. It is not unusual for medical personnel to overlook the possibility of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome because of the controversy srrounding it or because it goes against the commonly held belief that a parent or caregiver would never deliberately hurt his or her own child.

Children who are subject to Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome are typically preschool age, although there have been reported cases in children up to 16 years old. There are equal numbers of boy and girl victims of MBPS.

Statistically, 98% of the perpetrators of MBPS are female. Source: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/munchausen.html

Examples:

  • A parent observes symptoms of illness in a child that nobody else can detect, and insists that a battery of tests be performed.
  • A child contracts a common virus and the mother attributes the symptoms to an undiagnosed chronic condition.
  • A child is developing normally, but the mother insists she can detect symptoms of a mental disorder.

What it feels like:

For a child of a parent who is exposing them to MPBS – they may be made to feel alarm or discomfort as a series of strangers intrusively examine and interrogate them looking for things that might be wrong. They are frequently receiving the message from grown-ups that something is wrong with them. This can lead to developmental delay, fear of strangers – especially doctors and a distorted world-view .

For third parties – spouses or relatives of people exhibiting MBPS-like behaviors this can be a confusing and frightening experience. You may not have all the facts you need to judge what is really going on. On the one hand – you do not want to keep a child away from critical medical care when they need. On the other hand, you do not want the child to be exposed to unnecessary and intrusive investigations and diagnoses, not to mention the associated psychological and physical damage.

For doctors and health care professionals – it can be disturbing and frightening when confronted with a parent who is possibly manifesting MBPS. There is the underlying fear of a malpractice accusation when facing a parent who will not take “no” for an answer. There can also be the confusion of having to deal other family members who vehemently disagree on what the facts are. Many doctors ultimately err on the side of caution – referring to specialists and ordering additional tests and over-medicating and over-diagnosing just to protect themselves. This succeeds in protecting the doctor but is often not in the best interests of the child.

What NOT to Do:

When dealing with a possible MBPS problem:

  • Don’t get into arguments with the perpetrator.
  • Don’t go it alone or try to solve the problem yourself.
  • Don’t interrogate the child or share with them your disapproval of their parent.
  • Don’t ignore the problem. Don’t abdicate the problem to others. A child is possibly being abused. You must act.

What TO Do:

  • Seek COMPETENT advice from a well qualified attorney, Guardian ad litem or children’s advocate.
  • Document all that you have observed as thoroughly and candidly as you can.
  • Report what you have seen. Be honest about what you know AND what you don’t know (it will be uncovered anyway). Be objective and sincere – remember – it is a child you are representing and you must put the best interests of the child ahead of your own.
  • If you have regular contact with the child, assure them of their value, and praise their positive qualities.

For more Information on Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBPS)…

Dr. Marc Feldman’s Munchausen Syndrome, Malingering, Factitious Disorder, & Munchausen by Proxy Page – Information Site about Munchausen Syndrome and Munchausen by Proxy

http://www.msbp.com UK Site questioning the validity of MBPS/MSBP syndrome with links to news articles and cases where the theory has been discredited.

http://www.ashermeadow.com MBPS education & information site.

Site by MBP consultant & author Louisa Lasher

http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/munchausen.htm


US Child Custody Statistics

Many people believe that mothers are naturally better caregivers than fathers. And the US courts seem to agree. US Divorce Statistics show that a divorcing mother is 7 times more likely to retain sole custody of her children than a father:

USA 1990 Custody Statistics (19 States reporting) Percentage
Sole possession granted to mother 72.5%
Sole possession granted to father 10.3%
Joint possession 15.7%
Possession granted to other person(s) 1.4%

Source: http://www.divorcepeers.com/stats17.htm

Fathers, who want to protect their children from an abusive mother, are sometimes afraid to take legal action because they fear:

  • Facing ridicule or disbelief from police or social services.
  • Losing all contact with their children at the hands of a gender-biased legal system
  • Facing steep legal costs.
  • Facing abuse themselves at the hands of the perpetrator
  • Being judged by their communities, families and friends.


Who Pays Child Support?

When it comes to child support, US census data indicates that:

  • 79.6% of custodial mothers receive a child support award
  • 29.9% of custodial fathers receive a child support award

US census data also indicates that fathers are more likely to fulfil their child support obligations than mothers:

  • 43% of moms required to pay child support are “deadbeat moms” – i.e. they default on 100% of the money they owe,
  • 32% of dads required to pay child support are “deadbeat dads” – i.e. they default on 100% of the money they owe.

One of the reasons that “deadbeat dads” get most of the bad press in the popular media is that there are a lot more of them – primarily for 2 reasons:

  • There are 7 times more fathers than mothers who do bnot have primary custody of the children.
  • Fathers are 3 times more likely than mothers to be ordered to pay child support than their female counterparts.

Source: 2002 Fox News Article


Qualifications for becoming a Mother

So who really does know best?

In the US, there are laws to protect all sorts of individuals from reckless behavior of others. For example, you must pass an exam before you may:

  • Drive a car,
  • Fly a plane
  • Operate a crane
  • Run a restaurant
  • Educate school children
  • Become a social worker or any kind of therapist
  • Diagnose an ailment or prescribe, dispense or administer any kind of medicine or medical treatment

But there is no qualification for becoming a Mother other than being female. Nor is there any review of your performance except in the most severe cases of physical violence and neglect.

When it comes to your treatment of strangers you may be prosecuted for:

  • hitting
  • slandering
  • harassing
  • stalking
  • invading their privacy
  • confiscating their property

When it comes to treatment of minors, parents are held almost completely unaccountable. Minor children of abusive parents are completely trapped in their environment – dependent totally on an overwhelmed legal system to take action – after the abuse has been witnessed and reported by a neighbor, teacher, doctor or social worker. Many cases go unreported.


The Role of Religion In Child Abuse

Most popular religions extol the virtues of being obedient and loyal to parents.

“Honor thy father and thy mother:that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

– Exodus –

“He who wisheth to enter Paradise at the best door must please his father and mother.

– Prophet Muhammad –

While teachings like this make sense when a child is learning to accept the discipline and wisdom of a benevolent parent, there are situations where a lack of intervention or a maintenance of the biological family status quo is neither wise nor loving for a child – nor for the abusive parent.

However, most of the ancient sacred scriptures and modern religious organizations do not discriminate between parents who are loving and nurturing and parents who are abusive.

Children are repeatedly told that they are never supposed to hate, resent, criticize, disregard or abandon their parents. Instead they are reminded to honor them, obey them, cherish them, be loyal to them and take care of them in their old age.

This sends a confusing mixed-message to children who grow up in abusive homes. They can see the contradictions for themselves in the actions of an abusive parent – and often know that something is wrong about that. However, they will often be afraid to speak out to another adult, say anything negative about their parent or seek help for fear that they will be seen as “bad”.

It’s common for these children to reject their childhood religion in adulthood which they judge to have failed them, sustained the abusive parent and perpetuated the cycle of abuse.

By emphasizing the sanctity of marriage and traditional family roles, many religions discourage spouses of abusers – many of whom are victims themselves – from taking action to remove their children.


What Happens When the Children Grow Up?

What is surprising to many is that child abuse often extends long into adulthood although it often takes a more emotional,psychological or subtle form as children become physically stronger and more economically independent.

Adult children of abusive parents often feel trapped between maintaining an unhealthy relationship with an aging, yet disrespectful, stalking, slandering, harassing parent and being judged by extended family, friends and acquaintances if they choose to cut off all contact with the abusive parent.

Adult children of abusive parents are at increased risk of making poor personal, relationship and career choices in adulthood.

Abusive parents sometimes see things like relationships, career and outside interests of their young adult children as threats and may seek to undermine them.

Adult survivors of child abuse ultimately suffer in three distinct ways:

  1. They suffer the abuse itself
  2. They suffer the loss of knowing what should have been – the loss of a supportive parent, of a loving home and a safe refuge.
  3. They suffer the consequences of protecting themselves from that abuse. They are often left feeling guilty, judged, condemned by society, religion, their communities and their families.

Out of the FOG – Mothers Who Hurt Their Children.