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Gender Polarization Impedes Family Law Reform | angiEmedia

In Alienation of Affection, 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, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment on March 23, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I found this article published about 3 months ago, and agree with it completely.  Gender-based politics have lead to trauma and child abuse, while hate sites such as rightsformothers continues to espouse gender-hate speech against children who have NO contact with their moms for the exact same reasons that most fathers now do.

Gender Polarization Impedes Family Law Reform

Written by: Chris Share1
Use of Our Content (Reposting and Quoting)

December 9th, 2009


Today I viewed a disturbing website. It’s called Justice4Mothers. The idea that mothers deserve justice is not disturbing. I believe that everybody deserves justice regardless of gender or sexual orientation. And it’s not that every one of the articles on the site is alarming, either. But one particular article riled me up a bit. The article is reposting of a twisted reposting entitled Attention Judges and Lawmakers: This is the REAL AGENDA of the Father’s Rights Movement.

I don’t consider myself a father’s rights activist, so the reason the reposted articles bother me is not that they put down father’s rights groups and I’m somehow personally offended by this. I’m an advocate for the rights of parents and children of both genders. There’s no question in my mind that sometimes its the mothers who are shafted by the courts, sometimes it is the fathers, and usually it is both. And usually, the children are victimized right along with one or both of their parents.

The main two reasons I’m alarmed by this article are:

  1. The article is a mockery and distortion of author Rachel Alexander’s original work. I wouldn’t like to see this done to my writing and empathize with how Rachel Alexander feels about it.
  2. The article serves to further harm all children and parents. It largely consists of a reposting of vitriolic tripe from an hack job reposting of her work at the web page How Fathers Can Win Custody to Avoid Paying Child Support.

Rachel Alexander

I compared the reposted articles versus the original article Guide: How Fathers Can Win Child Custody on the Intelligent Conservative. The World O’ Crap version is totally different from the Intelligent Conservative version. It appears to be a mockery of the original article. It quotes bits and pieces of the original work interspersed with extreme distortions to make the original words look ridiculous. But the Justice4Mothers reposting has made the matter worse by removing the formatting that made it somewhat clear what the original words were versus the spin-job.

Rachel Alexander is aware of the mockery being made of her article by the World O’ Crap website and their distorted hack job on her writing. View Rachel Alexander’s posting archive page and scroll down to the bottom. You will notice how displeased she is about that warped spin on her writing:

(from Rachel Alexander’s posting archive page)

Note to the haters: Ms. Alexander has never posted on a salon.com blog called World o Crap and to say otherwise is false as well as libelous.

Mother’s Rights Websites: Too Many Espouse Rabid Extremism

The tactics mentioned in the spin-job reposts are purported as being applied by men to ruin their ex-wives and ex-girlfriends to obtain 100% child custody. However, these same destructive and selfish tactics are applied by women, too. By perpetuating and spreading the distorted views from World O’ Crap, Justice4Mothers is doing children and parents, including mothers, a grave disservice. Sadly, it is just one of many “angry women” web sites that is creating such a bad impression of women and mothers. Without knowing more about the people behind these sites, I’d hazard a wild guess that they are either guys posing as extremist women to make a point or they are personality disordered vindictive and likely abusive women. But whatever the case may be, the result is not good.

Extremism and sexism are common problems with far too many “mother’s rights” web sites. We’ve been noticing recently that there are slew of them that are quoting from and linking to our articles. While typically this would be fine with us, it is alarming to see how these web sites distort the facts in an attempt to trash fathers and men in general that not only does a disservice to fathers, but also seriously harms children and good mothers, too.

Some of them appear to be going after particular men, going so far as to doctor photographs of fathers to make them look creepy. Canadian author Michael Murphy of the web site Parental Alienation Canada and others have been slammed by some of these web sites as he describes in his article The Cyber Stalkers from OZ are back again with their not so secret – secret service.

What these web sites are doing is not productive. Blindly stereotyping child custody warfare perpetrators by gender isn’t helpful. It actually increases the odds of these battles continuing, ensuring the demise of more children, parents, and families due to the ongoing systemic failure to reform the broken family law courts and family and domestic relations laws.

Balkanization Of Family Law Reform Advocates

Polarizing family law problems along gender lines serves the purposes of those who would like to perpetuate the tragedies of today long into the future. The polarization pushed by “gender rights” groups balkanizes those who oppose the current system. It serves the divide and conquer tactics of the power-elite in government and lobbying groups who conspire with them. These groups are happy to pit men and women against each other in a fight to the death over child custody.

The government and lobbying groups that interfere with family law reform regard divorce as a sort of financial equivalent to the energy output of nuclear fission. Break apart an atom by fission and you get some energy. Break apart lots of atoms and you get a chain reaction that might blow up a lot more than just the decomposing atoms.

Likewise, breaking apart lots of families releases large stores of cash. The people behind are often “irradiated” severely, leading to long term ruination by psychological, emotional, and financial devastation. Others are figuratively incinerated by the nuclear divorce blast. Both outcomes are desirable for many judges, lawyers, CPS social workers, police, psychologists, and collection workers who comprise the divorce, domestic violence, and child support industries. That’s because the destruction of children and families helps ensure their financial security by sucking the lifeblood out of families. Additional revenues are gained by hocking off the pieces of what remains after mommy and daddy have repeatedly shot each other with legal bullets for several years and the children have had holes blasted in their souls by the conflict.

Child support begets a whole new government bureaucracy that serves to take from some to give to others while taking a cut along the way and abusing anybody who disagrees. Money doesn’t lead to good parenting, but wars over child support money lead to damaged and even dead children and parents.

Then those damaged children turn into ready enablers of job security for CPS, police, and psychologists because they tend to become depressed, anxious, antisocial, and even criminal. Many of them will go on to abuse their own children in the future and repeat the mental illness, divorce, child abuse, and crime cycle.

Both Genders Culpable

Both men and women abuse the family law courts and their children. I understand that it is often very hard to be objective about this when your personal experience stems from the nightmare bullying, lying, harassment, and even parental alienation pulled on you and your family by your ex-wife or ex-husband. But the failure to be objective leads to false generalizations that only women or only men commit abuses and crimes in child custody battles. This is foolish, intellectually dishonest, and counterproductive. It is as moronic as generalizing that all men are evil genocidal maniacs because Hitler and Stalin were both men. It is just as idiotic as claiming that all women must be witches because in Salem they executed many of them and the common (but inaccurate) perception is that all were females.

American Divorce Courts: The New Salem Witch Trials

Sadly, family law courts and the polarized bickering around them today are much like the Salem witch trials. Reality has been tossed out the window. Due process has been stabbed in the back and left to die. Innocent people are being ruined by false and bizarre allegations. Children are being seriously harmed. And the insanity continues largely unabated. Meanwhile, the government and its power-hungry agents benefit from the chaos.

What’s In A Name?

There are many well-intentioned family law reform groups with the words mother, father, men, or women in their names. Unfortunately, there are many groups with such names which are not at all well-intentioned. If you’re fed up with the family law system and are thinking about starting a group in your area, do yourself a favor — avoid the gender bias in your name. Stick the words “parents” or “children” or “families” in your names and avoid any hint of identifiable gender bias that might get you lumped together with the gender extremists.

Gender Polarization Ensures No Solutions

Both the mother’s rights and father’s rights bigots are doing themselves and more importantly their children no good. The government and its parasitic allies enforce their family-busting policies to turn parents on each other to drain them of their assets and transform their children into fountains of money and job security. By polarizing the unquestionably wronged populace of broken families, the gender rights groups are simply enabling more of the same. These problems simply will not be fixed until there is a stop to the gender wars over child custody and family law.

LegalMatch finds you EXCELLENT lawyers for free!

Further Reading

Unconstitutional Child Custody Decisions

Republicans Fail to Offer Family-Friendly Policy Choices

Holding Family Law Judges Accountable

Men’s Rights: Feminism should be about equality — for males too

Cathy Young Criticizes Slate/Salon Hit Job on Family Court Reform Movement in Forbes

Battered women – and men

CPS, Child Custody, Children, Courts, Divorce, Family, Federal Government, Government Abuse, Legal, Police, Politics, Prosecutor
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Gender Polarization Impedes Family Law Reform | angiEmedia.

Fathers-4-Justice Sault Ste. Marie: Ontario Children’s Aid and Misandry

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Brainwashed Children, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Feminism, Fit Parent, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, Michael Murphy, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Single Parenting on January 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ontario Children’s Aid and Misandry

Many men will attest to have seen a bias by CAS Protective Workers who are, it would appear, 95% female and some stridently feminist in their ideology. I can certainly speak to it, and can also say the local Algoma CAS and its sister organization Algoma Family Services, who deal with child mental health issues, have both shown me they care little about fathers. In one case a worker completely ignored my requests for help on the telephone and declared a conflict of interest so she could get out of providing service to me. I went over her head and finally got a supervisor to do her job.MJM

By Susan Longley


Please note concerns regarding  upcoming Ontario conference. (see OACAS web site).

A frightening trend in North American child welfare practice  is the growing alliance between child welfare services and those promoting anti violence against women (i.e. VAW sector).

This alliance has resulted in an increased denigration of male parents and general deterioration in efforts to address the best interests of children. The deeply rooted gender biased ideology of the latter sector remains deeply troubling and in complete  contradiction to male parents attempts to engage with child welfare services involved with their  children. This concern needs to be urgently addressed, partly to maintain service integrity but also to maintain an ethical stance towards families in general.

Male parents are frequently already marginalized from participating in services for their children. There is now an  increased propensity to isolate men even more so from their children’s lives. There remains a blatant contradiction between child welfare services who adopt the polemic and platitudes of the VAW sector. The child welfare mandate remains to enhance family life VAW sector is completely contradictory and opposed to such values.

It has become recently popular for child welfare services and VAW services to adopt certain kinds of inter agency protocols. These protocols are an embarrassment to child welfare practice in Canada. Blatantly unprofessional and academically dishonest theses protocols reflect misandric nonsense rather than legitimate protocol. These so called protocols must be abandoned and exposed for what they are. There are least two CASs in the Toronto region (see Peel CAS protocol with VAW sector)) have adopted such protocols. These agencies are allegedly family service agencies with no endorsement to promote such anti male rhetoric.

A review of these protocols disclose an incredulous gender bias which can only be described as sexism of the worst order. These professionally distasteful protocols are  written in total sympathy with VAW expectations with no accountability to the general public or their respective agency mandates. They contradict not only good social work practice but remain contradictory  to ethical guidelines established by their governing body  OASW.

These so-called protocols allege to address issues related to inter agency service provision and cooperation between public agencies but are in fact nothing more than an ideological treatise intended to alienate men further from appropriate child welfare practice.

These protocols refuse to acknowledges domestic violence in families other than that of men against women. Women remain the perpetual victim and men always the perpetrator. Any mention of domestic violence refuses to acknowledge  women ‘s violence against men. Programmes sponsored by child welfare services for children exposed to domestic violence ultimately define the perpetrator as male.

These protocols never hold women accountable for any acts of child abuse or inter personal violence. The identification of child abuse only mentioned in regard to men.  Any child welfare programmes delivered to “children exposed to family violence” refer to men only. Women are never identified as initiators of any domestic violence even when a so-called family agency is involved.

The suggestion that women may make false complaints regarding domestic violence in order to gain an upper hand on custody and access matters is not acknowledged. That women may fabricate or even lie is considered anathema.  The fact that women account for the majority of child abuse in not even mentioned. That VAW services and child welfare services advocate becoming increasingly involved in controversial custody and access matters remains extremely repugnant. The suggestion that child welfare services become more intrusive regarding access arrangements between children and their fathers is an outright abomination.

Please find a copy of a recent letter sent to Jeanette Lewis, Director of  the provincial OACAS (see web site) outlining my concerns regarding an anticipated conference involving Provincial Child Welfare Services and Violence Against Women Services. The purported agenda is to build understanding and cooperation between the two sectors. My cynical view, as previously suggested, indicates an alternate agenda. The VAW sector is given a further opportunity to impose a particular ideological gender politic on child welfare services.

“I notice with trepidation an anticipated 2010 Toronto conference co sponsored by Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies , The Ontario Women’s Directorate and various Violence Against Women programmes. The theme of the conference being the “Intersection of Women Abuse and Child Welfare Services.”

I was immediately troubled by the tone and wording of the conference details included in the call for papers especially given the propensity for child welfare services in Ontario and in general North America, to adopt a value preference embracing the practice of a certain feminist political and ideological agenda. A social work practice that has increasingly marginalized services to men and boys and a priori assumptions regarding male perpetrators and female victims.

I have outlined a few  of my concerns.
As many researchers have pointed out gender feminist theory has its limitations and family service agencies in particular must always be ethically accountable in providing services to both men and women especially where “best interests” of children are involved. One can already anticipate the usual presenters invited to provide discourse at such matters. It would be extremely naive to expect genuine debate or rational presentation between the sectors involved.  I will assume the usual feminist rhetoric and platitudes will rule the day.

Some academic  integrity needs to be maintained  and that the conference must reject any ideological and gender biased, misandric unbalanced research which has tended to place a certain anti male spin on issues related to woman abuse, child custody and other such politically charged issues.

There has been a long term feminist advocacy in this province (highlighted in proposals of the provincial domestic violence death review  panel and its recommendations ) to have child welfare services acquiesce to the values and political ideology of the violence against women sector.

This is viewed by many as a regressive and extremely ill advised road to go down. It is appears regressive for child welfare services in general, especially since their services have already become suspect for aligning themselves with principles that reject a family orientation and men in particular. Any child welfare services must be dispensed with fairness and remain gender neutral in practice.

I am concerned that any dialogue between CAS and VAW sectors becomes a mere “smoke screen” for advocating CAS become more feminized in their social work practice at the expense of academic and social work integrity. Not that the two sectors cannot collaborate on occasion and cooperate when appropriate in providing in shared client advocacy.


It seems vital and important to acknowledge the value differences between the two sectors and reject the propensity to gloss over the obvious political and ideological conflicts. It is imperative that these conflicts be clearly acknowledged and identified. This remains especially so in reference to mutual  protocols regarding advocacy and support of woman’s issues especially those issues related to custody access and the interaction between service providers regarding male clients and families in general .  It appears to me that the mandates of  the two sectors are severely different and are grounded in often opposed ideological principals. Just a few issues regarding the two sectors come to mind.

Definitions of Abuse and Victimization:

More stringent definition of abuse and victimization in general are required by both sectors. The CAS social workers remain accountable not only to the clients, the best interest of the child but also the court system especially when wards of the court are involved. What is considered abuse in the VAW sector cannot always be validated in the CAS sector.


CAS are obliged to involve male fathers and partners regardless if they have been identified as so called perpetrators or offenders.

Validation

The feminist principle of “validating” the “stories” of violence against women and children has always been troublesome for social workers in the CAS sector. Not to deny supportive advocacy for all clients (a basic social work value)  CAS social workers have always had to depend on not only “clients narratives” but also collaboration efforts to seek alternate sources of  information. The VAW sector do not require such gender neutral language of exploration and context for service. It appears that a higher standard of accountability and transparency is required.

Gender Bias / Male Clients and Partners:

Gender biased practice has been generally the order of the day. Given the long history of feminist advocacy many would argue that CAS have acquiesced far to willingly to certain  feminist theory at the expense of gender neutral practice. This must be recognised and the matter dealt with in an honest and forthright manner. Children’s best interest require addressing issues with both parents where possible.

CAS social workers when in court regarding children’s interests must prove that they have attempted involved both parents (and even other partners as defined as parents ) Fathers and or partners in a parenting role can never be ignored in CAS social work. The issues regarding custody and access assessments during divorce remains a highly contentious one, as do the issues related to counselling of couples where violence has occurred. Protocols regarding children’s access to both parents where domestic violence is disputed also remains highly contentious. These issues must be debated within the reality of both male and female experience.

Academic Research and Domestic Violence Findings:

The academic literature regarding domestic violence has and continues to be long dominated by a certain type of feminist ideology and both the  CAS and VAW sectors have been very much influenced in their practice by certain political views. This must change. The literature is much more divergent in findings and recommendations for practice than previously acknowledged. This is particularly so when discussing woman abuse and domestic violence. The divergent literature has always been available but to many practitioners who accepted certain dissident views were quickly rejected ostracized or threatened.

A modest appeal to Richard Gelles article January 2007 Family Court Review sums up these concerns regarding academic integrity with succinct clarity. Need I mention Don Dutton’s “Rethinking Domestic Violence.”


These are some of my concerns regarding the two sectors having authentic dialogue. This can only be achieved with honesty and respect. Some would also claim an appeal to rational discourse mixed with a modicum of intellectual integrity can also help.

Regards Susan

Fathers-4-Justice Sault Ste. Marie: Ontario Children’s Aid and Misandry.

Fathers & Families Files Official Response to Elkins Task Force Recommendations on California Family Law Reforms « Fathers & Families

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Freedom, Glenn Sacks, Marriage, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment on December 8, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Fathers & Families Files Official Response to Elkins Task Force Recommendations on California Family Law Reforms

December 7th, 2009 by Glenn Sacks, MA, Executive Director

elkinslogo“[Family law litigants should not be subjected to second-class status or deprived of access to justice. Litigants with other civil claims are entitled to resolve their disputes in the usual adversary trial proceeding governed by the rules of evidence established by statute. It is at least as important that courts employ fair proceedings when the stakes involve a judgment providing for custody in the best interest of a child and governing a parent’s future involvement in his or her child’s life…”–Elkins v. Superior Court (2007)

Family law takes up more court calendar time than any other form of law in California, yet it receives the least amount of funding. Moreover, the public’s trust and confidence in the family court system is lower than that of any other area of law the judicial system handles.

The Elkins Family Law Task Force is conducting a comprehensive review of family law proceedings and will recommend to the Judicial Council of California proposals that increase access to justice for all family law litigants. The Task Force grew out of the Elkins decision referenced above–to learn more, click here and go to page 3.

The Elkins Family Law Task Force recently issued its draft recommendations and Fathers & Families has submitted its official comments in response. Fathers & Families’ comments, which were submitted by F & F Board Member Elizabeth Barton, PhD of the University of California at Irvine, are here.

Elkins’ recommendations concern 21 family court issues, including: Enhancing Mechanisms to Handle Perjury; the Right to Present Live Testimony at Hearings; Contested Child Custody; Streamlining Family Law Forms and Procedures; and numerous others.

While Fathers & Families feels that many of the recommendations lack sufficient substantive detail, we believe that this will be addressed in the Task Force’s final recommendations to the Judicial Council in Spring 2010. We are encouraged that the recommendations address transparency, due process, and education.

Many of the issues the Elkins Commission is taking up, such as conflict reduction, improving transparency, and protecting all parties’ due process rights, were first addressed by Fathers & Families’ legislative representative Michael Robinson during his work on AB 402 in 2006.

AB 402, a family law bill sponsored by then-California Assemblyman Mervyn M. Dymally, codified collaborative law practice into our family law codes. The current adversarial litigation process escalates conflict between divorcing parents instead of reducing it. Collaborative Law is a better option.

Among other provisions, AB 402 mandated a written statement of decision in all hearings or trials involving child custody. While this provision was already part of the Codes of Civil Procedure, it was not always being followed.

Robinson also attempted to add provisions for stronger enforcement of child custody orders by adding a new SECTION. 4. Family Code 3022 as part of AB 402. There was strong support for this provision from the California Judges Association and the Family Law Section of the State Bar. This provision was lost, but Fathers & Families is continuing to pursue this goal in Sacramento.

During the Work Group that AB 402 established (similar to the Elkins Task Force), Donna Hitchens, Presiding Judge of the San Francisco Family Court, commented:

You have no idea how many children’s college educations I have seen unnecessarily wasted in my court room. This must be stopped.

Fathers & Families will continue its close monitoring of the Elkins Task Force and will be reporting on future developments.

The next event is the Task Force’s two-day meeting February 1 & 2, 2010 in the Judicial Council Conference Center of the Administrative Office of the Courts in San Francisco. Fathers & Families will have a representative speaking at this meeting, and will post its presentation on our E-Newsletter and on www.FathersandFamilies.org.

Fathers & Families is also working on 2010 legislation to codify some of the Elkins Task Force’s most important recommendations–stay tuned for more details.

California law has an enormous impact on the laws of other states, as well as federal law. For example, many of the misguided domestic violence laws that have separated so many innocent fathers from their children emanated from the legislation passed in California in the mid-1990s in the wake of the OJ Simpson trial.

In addition, many of those reading this participated in our successful 2005 campaign to pass California SB 1082, a military parents bill. Since then 30 states have passed bills based in part on SB 1082.

Fathers & Families is the only family court reform organization with a fulltime lobbyist working inside the capitol of California or any other major state, and we probably have the only fulltime family court reform lobbyist in the country. This important work costs money–please support it by giving here.

The family court system has become so damaging and dysfunctional because for 40 years our opponents have passed, defeated, and amended legislation while our side usually didn’t show up. We’re there now, and we’re growing stronger–become a part of it by filling out our Volunteer Form here.

Fathers & Families Files Official Response to Elkins Task Force Recommendations on California Family Law Reforms « Fathers & Families.

Parental Alienation Syndrome – PasKids.com

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-V, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Single Parenting, Sociopath on November 29, 2009 at 12:45 pm

PasKids.com

Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Forum

Home Parental Alienation Articles Resources

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?

This is the definition of PAS as described by R.A. Gardner who discovered the syndrome and has become an expert in dealing with the issue.

Gardner’s definition of PAS is:

“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.”

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

Basically, this means that through verbal and non verbal thoughts, actions and mannerisms, a child is emotionally abused (brainwashed) into thinking the other parent is the enemy. This ranges from bad mouthing the other parent infront of the children, to withholding visits, to pre-arranging the activities for the children while visiting with the other parent.

Stages of Parental Alienations Syndrome:

Children who are victims of PAS often go through different Stages as they experience the depth of the alienation.

Stage 1 – Mild | Stage 2 – Moderate | Stage 3 – Severe |

Types of Alienators:

With PAS there are three types of Alienators:

Naive Alienator | Active Alienator | Obsessed Alienator |

Parental Alienation Syndrome – PAS.

Parental Alienation Mommy Tossed in Jail for Abducting Children

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

November 10, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parental Rights – An Enduring Imperative: Sacrifice for Children – Kansas City Star

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Foster Care, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress on October 6, 2009 at 5:47 pm

An enduring imperative: sacrifice for children

The Angry Daughter – PAS Parental Alienation Syndrome: The Married Man My Mother Said She Cheated With

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Freedom, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath on September 30, 2009 at 10:42 pm

This blog is about my childhood dealing with PAS Parental Alienation Syndrome cause by my mother.I am 32 years old now & it still effects my life.

To those who say there is no such thing you have no clue what you are talking about or maybe you don’t want it to be recognized because you are the one’s doing it to your kids.

My heart aches for those children that get caught in the middle & are treated like a weapon against their other parent – .

The Angry Daughter – PAS Parental Alienation Syndrome: The Married Man My Mother Said She Cheated With.

I was born & raised in Saint John New Brunswick Canada…I could not have asked for a better dad, I wouldn’t want any other dad…

When I was little I remember my mom telling me that I would want to play with her ornaments & dad would let me & I guess I use to break them accidentally of course…

Mom would always tell me how he let me play with them & that I broke them…Her good expensive ornaments… Well in grade one is when things went bad for mom & dad, so dad moved out & no matter what mom said she couldn’t make me turn against my dad so it has been 33 years since I was born so I sagest mom stop trying to turn me against my dad because it isn’t going to happen…

Don’t get me wrong mom wasn’t all bad there were some good memories but too few… With dad my brother & I came first & with mom well after dad left she went all wired…

Instead of being a good mother & just dealing with the break up, getting over it & moving on she had only one thing one her mind & that was to turn my down syndrome brother & I against my dad…

This will never work with me & she hates me for that because I will not believe & go along with her lies…Even though she has kidnapped my brothers mind she can not kid nap his heart…

I do wish I could have a relationship with my mom but how can I when she lies not only about my dad but about me…Just because I wouldn’t go along with her lies she decided to make up some lies about me…What type of mother does that…

For the life of me I can not even begin to understand how a mother or parent can do that to a child… When I was a little girl & still even now all I wanted was for my mother to just be a mother…

I am sorry that dad leaving you cause you such mental disorder that you can not seem to grasp or hold on to reality…But every thing that comes out of your mouth is hurtful lies & how could you expect me to just stand there & let you do it…

You could of had my help now that you going through another separation but lying & manipulating are more important to you than your own children…

I can see that in your youngest son you already are brain washing him…It is not right no matter how things ended…

If you ever decide to get real help maybe then I will talk to you again but if not then I guess we had our last words already…

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 2

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, due process rights, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Feminism, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath on September 28, 2009 at 3:00 pm

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

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

In another case, failed separation between mother and daughter, age 4 at the time of the marital break up, was shown to contribute to an escalating pattern of the girl rejecting her father. The onset of PAS in a given family was found to occur before the parents separated, during the actual divorce proceedings, or years after the divorce decree. Dunne and Hedrick describe a two-and-a-half year-old girl whose parents were disputing custody where there had been a long series of allegations by the mother since the early months of her pregnancy. Some of the teens in this sample had enjoyed a lengthy and positive post-divorce relationship with a parent prior to rejecting that parent as part of a PAS scenario.

Lund

Psychologist Mary Lund examined factors in addition to parental programming which can contribute to estrangement between the child and a rejected parent (19). She wrote that the methods Gardner advocates, such as court orders for continued contact, fit many cases and may help prevent the child developing the kind of phobic-like reaction to the rejected parent which can occur when contact is discontinued during long, drawn out legal proceedings. Such legal interventions often form the cornerstone for treatment. In treating these families, Lund integrates Gardner’s work with that of Janet Johnston. She assesses the family in terms of developmental factors in the child which may be contributing, such as normal separation problems among preschoolers and oppositional behavior during preadolescence and adolescence. Deficits in the noncustodial parent’s parenting may also contribute to the problem. In her experience, the hated parent, usually the father, often has a distant, rigid, even authoritarian style which contrasts with the indulgent, clinging style of the loved parent, who may also need help with appropriate parenting. These are risky generalizations, however. In the experience of this author and others, alienating and target parents exhibit a wide variety of personality patterns which do not lend themselves to this type of generalization. In addition, where the father is the alienating parent, it is sometimes he who uses an overindulgent and materially lavish parenting style to overwhelm and override the children’s healthier psychological bond with the mother.

According to Lund, PAS may also develop when the stress for the child of ongoing high conflict divorce becomes too much and the child seeks to “escape” being caught in the middle by aligning with one parent. Therapists, especially individual child therapists, can unwittingly become part of the system maintaining the PAS, such that a court order is required to break up the therapist’s polarizing influence. Ultimately, a combination of strategic legal and therapeutic interventions are required to mitigate the PAS and keep the case manageable.

Cartwright

A Canadian psychologist, Cartwright makes eight points about PAS:

1) PAS can be provoked by conflicts other than custody matters, e.g., child support and relatively trivial differences;

2) alienation is a gradual and consistent process that is directly related to the time spent alienating;

3) time is on the side of the alienating parent, who may engage in a host of delay tactics;

4) slow judgments by courts exacerbate the problem;

5) alienating parents sometimes use the hint of sexual abuse to discredit the other parent, what Cartwright calls “virtual” allegations of sexual abuse;

6) judgments by the court which are clear and forceful are required to counter the force of alienation;

7) children subject to excessive alienation may develop mental illness and

8) successful parental alienation has profound, long term consequences for the child and other family members which are only beginning to be appreciated (24).

As an example of “virtual” allegations abuse, Cartwright describes a mother who insinuated sexual abuse by the father by alleging that he had shown the child a pornographic videotape which in fact was just a Hollywood comedy rented from a family video store. Regarding risk to the child of developing mental illness, Cartwright gives the example of disintegrating behavior by an alienated son, presumably latency age, who tried to poison his father by slipping air freshener into his stomach medicine. Later, the boy ran away during a visit with the father and the police had to be called. The folie a deux literature includes a report in 1977 of a 10-year-old boy who allegedly attempted to burn down his father’s house two years after his parents divorced, apparently as a result of his folie a deux relationship with his disturbed mother (25). Such cases suggest that severe PAS can be indicative of significant emotional disturbance in the alienating parent with a proportionately disturbing effect on the child.

Cartwright poignantly describes the psychological effects on the child of being involved in severe PAS. “The child…experiences a great loss, the magnitude of which is akin to death of a parent, two grandparents, and all the lost parent’s relatives and friends…Moreover…the child is unable to acknowledge the loss, much less mourn it” (24). The child’s good memories of the alienated parent are systematically destroyed and the child misses out on the day-to-day interaction, learning, support and love which, in an intact family, usually flows between the child and both parents, as well as grandparents and other relatives on both sides.

The child may encounter insurmountable obstacles if, later in life, he or she seeks to reestablish relations with the lost parent and his family. The lost parent may be unable or unwilling to become reinvolved. The parent or grandparents may have died. Some of these children eventually turn against the alienating parent, and if the target parent is lost to them as well, the child is left with an unfillable void.

PARENTS WHO INDUCE ALIENATION

Gender

Gardner’s observation that mothers seem to engage in PAS behavior with significantly greater frequency than fathers is born out by divorce research, as well as by the clinical PAS literature. The California Children of Divorce Study found that in a nonclinical sample, mothers were twice as likely as fathers to form PAS type alignments with their children (2). When false allegations of abuse arise, as in more severe manifestations of PAS, mothers also seem to comprise the majority (3, 2628). Mothers constituted 67 percent of the accusers in the nationwide study which revealed that allegations of abuse in divorce/custody disputes were found to be invalid about 50 percent of the time (12). Fathers were the accusers in 22 percent of cases while third parties such as relatives and professionals were the adult initiators 11 percent of the time. Where a third party was the initiator of the allegation, a parent might also believe there was abuse. The numbers reverse when it comes to physically abducting the child, with fathers the abductors from 60 percent to 70 percent of the time (18). There may be gender differences in how men and women go about gaining control of their children and taking revenge on an ex-spouse, with men more inclined to physical kidnapping and women more inclined to social/psychological abduction, which is how Clawar and Rivlin characterized severe PAS (7).

Never Married

Parents may engage in PAS behavior even if they were never married. In Johnston’s study of children who refuse visitation, she found that from 6 percent to 15 percent of the high conflict parents she studied were not married (9). In the author’s experience, one of the contributing factors to PAS with some of these couples is the mother’s anger and resentment over the father’s refusal to marry her, an effect which is exacerbated if the father becomes involved with a new partner. A mother in this position may have particularly strong proprietary feelings, similar to what Clawar and Rivlin describe (7), infuriated by the unfairness of joint custody laws which grant the father rights to a relationship with his child without his having fulfilled his obligations with respect to the mother.

New Partners

Johnston found that the new partner of either parent could be the primary instigator of efforts to gain custody of the child (8). Something similar happens when a divorcing parent joins a cult which actively strives to get the child from the noncult member parent, with the cult fulfilling the role of new partner in a sense, as shown in one of the case vignettes to follow.

Narcissistic Vulnerability

Johnston found that to varying degrees, one or both of the parents in high conflict divorce may be narcissistically vulnerable, lacking a well-established self identify and relying on primitive defenses such as externalization, denial and projection (8). The need of one or both parents to protect and defend themselves against narcissistic injury is at the root of many high conflict divorces. This may be a motivating factor for PAS in some cases, a dynamic described by Wilhelm Reich almost 50 years ago (29) when he foretold how parents of certain character types would seek to defend themselves against narcissistic injury in divorce by fighting for the child, using the technique of defaming the partner in order to alienate the child from that parent.

Need to Conceal Parental Deficits

According to Clawar and Rivlin, the campaign to alienate the child from the other parent is sometimes used to deflect unwanted scrutiny of the programming parent’s personal problems, for example alcohol, drugs, neglectful parenting, physical and sexual abuse, criminal involvement, or socially unaccepted life-style (7). Sometimes parents engage in PAS behavior out of fear that they will be found wanting when compared to the more loving and capable target. The literature on false allegations in divorce/custody disputes often makes the point that the accusation helps the accuser level the playing field, so to speak.

Vulnerability to Separation and Loss

A factor in some high conflict divorces is the presence in one or both parents of specific underlying vulnerabilities to loss and conflicts around attachment and separation (8). A PAS scenario can develop when a troubled parent who was rejected in the divorce copes with loss and loneliness by turning to the child to fullfill emotional needs, resulting in what Wallerstein calls the “overburdened child ” , discussed in Part II. For some parents, the divorce reactivates separation issues from earlier losses such as previous divorce, kidnapping or death of a child, or the loss of other family members. Such a parent may engage in PAS to defend against further “loss,” that of having to share the child with the other parent. Some parents have long standing personality problems with separation and individuation. The ongoing conflicts over the child engendered by PAS help ward off feelings of loss and abandonment by maintaining the relationship with the ex-spouse. PAS can also be used by keep the other parent hostilily engaged, as in Medea Syndrome (4, 5) and Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome (6, 30).

Revenge Clawar and Rivlin found that revenge was one of the most common and powerful reasons for parents to engage in alienating behavior (7). The personality makeup of some parents is such that revenge seems like their only viable option in response to feeling wounded by the divorce. The desire for revenge can be further kindled if infidelity is discovered, the alienating parent is left for someone else, or finds themselves immediately replaced by a new love object in the life of the parent who left.

Need for Control and Domination

Some alienating parents are driven by overriding needs for power, influence, domination and control (7). Engaging in PAS may provide the dual gratification of maintaining power, influence and control over the child and vicariously over the ex-spouse whose visitation and relationship with the child is frustrated by the alienating parent’s control maneuvers. Needs for domination and control are sometimes acted out by abducting the child and using it to taunt and torment the frantic target parent. In addition to mothers and fathers, a new partner can be the one with inordinate needs for power, domination and control. For example, a mother may become involved with a new partner who first seduces her away from her relatively weak husband and then acts as a sort of one-on-one cult leader to mother and child, who are both programmed and brainwashed into compliance and submission.

Medea Syndrome

The need for revenge is taken to an extreme in Media Syndrome (4, 5). “Modern Medeas do not want to kill their children, but they do want revenge on their former wives or husbands-and they exact it by destroying the relationship between the other parent and the child…The Medea syndrome has its beginnings in the failing marriage and separation, when parents sometimes lose sight of the fact that their children have separate needs [and] begin to think of the child as being an extension of the self…A child may be used as an agent of revenge against the other parent…or the anger can lead to child stealing” (5). The “embittered- chaotic” parents described earlier by Wallerstein and Kelly may also fall in the revenge category (2). These parents act out their intense anger in a disorganized but chronically disruptive way which bombards the children, rather than protecting them, with the raw bitterness and chaos of the angry parent’s feelings about the ex-spouse and the divorce.

Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome

Turkat would have done better to call this disorder “Malicious Parent Syndrome,” but be that as it may, this disorder describes a special class of alienating parents who engage in a relentless and multifaceted campaign of aggression and deception against the ex-spouse, who is being punished for the divorce (6, 30). Contrary to Turkat, the author has encountered several cases in which the father was the malicious parent, as illustrated in the case vignette at the end of this section. Discussing PAS by name, Turkat classified PAS as a moderate form of visitation interference as compared with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome. The parent with the latter disorder uses an array of tactics including excessive litigation, alienating the child from the target parent, and involving the child and third parties in malicious actions against the ex-spouse. Lying and deception are routinely used. A malicious parent might arrange to have the ex-spouse investigated for use of illegal drugs at work or file a complaint with authorities against the ex-spouse’s new partner. Malicious parents are often successful in using the law to punish and harass the ex-spouse, sometimes violating the law themselves but often getting away with it. Their efforts to interfere with the target parent’s visitation are persistent and pervasive, including attempts to block the target parent from having regular, uninterrupted visitation with the child and from having telephone contact, as well as trying to block the target parent from participating in the child’s school life and activities.

Mr. C’s suspiciousness and verbal attacks on his wife finally drove her to file for divorce. As on previous occasions, Mr. C. threatened that if she would not reconcile he would win custody of their four-year-old daughter and make sure the mother never saw her again. In the past, Mrs. C. had relented, fearful that Mr. C. would fulfill his threats, but this time she stood firm. Mr. C. filed for sole custody based on false allegations that the mother was unfit. When these allegations were not upheld, the father made up new ones. Within a year of filing, Mrs. C. became engaged to another man. Mr. C. succeeded in breaking up the engagement by accusing the fiance of sexually abusing the child. He had the police arrest the fiance at the mother’s home. When child protective services informed the mother that they would take her daughter away for failure to protect, the mother canceled her engagement, terrified that Mr. C. would make good on his threat to take her daughter away. When police and child protection investigation of the sex abuse allegations resulted in a finding that no abuse occurred, Mrs. C. proceeded with her wedding plans. Father raised allegations of sex abuse against Mrs. C.’s new husband in family court and succeeded at one point in gaining temporary custody. Primary custody was returned to the mother after the court ordered evaluation found the allegations to be without merit and the father to be emotionally disturbed and pressuring the child to report abuse. During his visitation time, the father and a male friend continued to interrogate the girl about abuse by the stepfather and as time went by she felt increasingly pressured to meet their expectations. Away from the father’s influence, however, the girl enjoyed her family with her mother and stepfather. She stated to several different therapists that she had only accused her stepfather of molesting her to please her father and his friend.

In the meantime, Mr. C. and friend continued to make abuse reports against the stepfather, creating significant distress for Mrs. C., her new husband and the child. Eventually, when the girl was 10, the father succeeded in getting the juvenile court to take jurisdiction and give him custody, although medical examination of the child did not support the increasingly serious accusations. Mrs. C. was not allowed to see her daughter. When she tried to contact the therapist who was now seeing the girl for sex abuse by Mrs. C.’s new husband, the therapist was rude and a refused to speak with her. The mother was tortured by reports from a series of child protection workers which indicated that her daughter was acting out in bizarre and often self-destructive ways. At the age of twelve, she was picked up by the police for prostitution and had to be psychiatrically hospitalized. Several professionals who were involved when the mother had custody wondered if Mr. C. was deliberately destroying his daughter so as to get revenge against the mother. Mr. C. was able to retain custody, however, by focusing the attention of authorities on allegations of sex abuse against the stepfather.

Long before Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome was identified by Turkat, a male psychologist, whose ex-wife undoubtedly exhibited the disorder, wrote a book about his ordeal (31). Accusing him of sexually abusing their young daughter, the mother arranged for the police to arrest him at his office in front of his clients and staff. She also arranged for newspaper reporters to be present so that pictures of the shocked psychologist being handcuffed and hauled off to jail were widely broadcast. The father fought back and eventually obtained joint custody after the court found that mother’s extreme efforts to sever the father’s relationship with his child were detrimental and stripped her of sole custody.

Personality Characteristics of Parents Making False Accusations of Sexual Abuse in Disputes

Wakefield and Underwager undertook a systematic review of divorce/custody case files to examine and compare the characteristics of 72 false accusers, 103 falsely accused parents and a control group of 67 parents disputing custody but without allegations of abuse (28). Criteria for determining whether a parent had falsely accused included a finding by the justice system that there had been no abuse. Of the three groups, the falsely accusing parents were much more likely to have been diagnosed by a professional as exhibiting a personality disorder including mixed, unspecified, histrionic, borderline, passive-aggressive or paranoid. Approximately one-fourth of the false accusers did not exhibit significant pathology, while most of the parents who were disputing custody without abuse allegations were assessed as normal. Some of the false accusers were so obsessed with anger toward their estranged spouses that this became a major focus of their lives. They continued to be obsessed with abuse despite negative findings by mental health professionals and the courts, similar to what is found in cases of delusional disorder and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. The relationship of falsely accusing parents with their children was often characterized in the record as extremely controlling and symbiotic. Two were Qiven a formal diagnosis of folie a deux between parent and child. Several exhibited extremely serious dysfunction, such as unpredictable bizarre behavior, belief that they possessed supernatural powers and delusions of grandeur. These authors found more similarities than differences between mothers and fathers who falsely accused, with mothers very much in the majority.

SAID Syndome

Blush and Ross have come up with three psychological profiles for mother false accusers and a typical profile of father accusers (3, 26, 27). Mothers tend to present as “fearful victim,” “justified vindicator,” or to some degree psychotic. The “fearful victim” presentation involves manipulation of social image around a specific theme to which others respond with sympathy and support, such as child abuse or spousal abuse. The “justified vindicators” initially present as intellectually organized with a knowledgeable, even pseudo-scientific sounding agenda, similar to what Clawar and Rivlin report regarding self righteousness as an important motivation of some programming parents. Women in the third group present with a combination of borderline and histrionic features, which interact with the stress of the divorce to impair the mother’s reality testing and significantly interfere with her functioning, sometimes to the point of a psychotic or quasi-psychotic presentation. Similar to Wakefield and Underwager’s findings (28), mothers in all three categories tend to be histrionic in presentation, so emotionally convinced of the “facts” that no amount of input, including from neutral professionals, can dissuade them from their perceptions. According to Blush and Ross, the typical profile for father accusers is one of intellectual rigidity and a high need to be “correct,” possibly male counterparts of the “justified vindicator” presentation among mothers. By history, these men were hypercritical of their wives while the marriage was still intact, quick to suspect them of negligence and to accuse their wives of being unfit mothers. Gardner’s work is referenced in the second and third SAID syndrome articles by these authors (26, 27).

Accuser and Accused Dyads

Important information about a programming parent using false allegations of abuse is to be found in the particular choice of accused. The study reported by Thoennes and Tjaden showed that the battle goes beyond simply mothers against fathers and vice versa (12). Parents were found to accuse not only each other but the other’s new partner, or relatives such as grandparents or the new partner’s teenage son. A parent who accuses the ex-spouse’s new partner may fulfill a number of goals simultaneously, expressing feelings of jealousy, revenge, and trying to keep the child from forming a positive attachment with the new parent figure. Accusations against the target parent’s relatives may provide a combination of revenge, allegations that are difficult for the ex-spouse to defend since they are not directly against him or her, and a means to exclude the relatives from post-divorce involvement in the child’s life. The accuser can set up a devastating conflict for the target parent by accusing his teenage son from a previous marriage or the new partner’s teenage offspring from a previous union. This has the effect of forcing the target parent to “choose” between his child involved in making the allegation and another child whom he loves and is responsible for. This enhances the alienating parent’s ability to convince the child that daddy does not care.

The Delusional Parent

Rogers refers to PAS in her report on five divorce/custody cases in which the falsely accusing parent, all mothers in this sample, suffered from delusional disorder (32). The children were subjected to undue influence to get them to accept the accusing parent’s psychotic belief and concomitant rejection of the other parent in a severe PAS scenario. Where the child succumbed, a diagnosis of shared paranoid disorder, otherwise known as folie a deux might also be made. According to Rogers, the first stages of the mother’s delusional disorder were present to some degree during the marriage and exacerbated parental conflicts prior to the separation. However, these subtle signs were not immediately discernible as a psychiatric illness and were only recognized in retrospect, as the mother’s symptoms became worse in the course of the divorce and its attendant disputes. One of the severe PAS cases reported by Dunne and Hedrick appears to be an example of the mother developing delusional disorder. The “subtle signs” were expressed as suspicions during her pregnancy that the father would molest the child, similar to a case encountered by the present author in which suspicions harbored by the mother even before the child was born prompted her to abduct the child a few months later. According to Rogers, the mothers who became delusional were usually the main caretakers for the children. In two cases they were awarded custody during the first round of custody litigation, before more noticeable deterioration in their parenting capabilities had occurred. With continued custody litigation, the intractable nature of their mental illness became apparent and the court gave custody to the father in four of the five cases.

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

Some cases of PAS, especially those with false allegations of abuse, may have important features in common with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSP) in which parents fulfill their needs vicariously by presenting their child as ill (23). In cases of “classical” MSP, parents repeatedly take their children to doctors for unnecessary, often painful tests and treatments which the physician is induced to provide based on the parent’s misrepresentations. “Contemporary-type” MSP occurs when a parent fabricates an abuse scenario for the child and welcomes or actively seeks out repeated abuse interviews of the child by police, social workers and therapists (23). The concept of contemporary-type MSP elaborates on the idea put forth by Sinanan and Houghton that new types of MSP behavior will evolve in parallel with the evolution of new medical and social services, e.g., the child protection system (33). MSP parents may change or come up with new “symptoms” for the child so as to better elicit the desired response from a particular care provider or an institution offering specialized services. Thus, the same child may be receiving attention simultaneously for fabricated physical symptoms from several medical providers and for fabricated sex abuse from therapists and public agencies who specialize in abuse. Careful evaluation and thorough investigation of sex abuse allegations which turn out to be questionable or false will sometimes bring a parent to the attention of authorities for practicing “classical” as well as “contemporary- type” MSP (34).

As with PAS, MSP is most often practiced by mothers, although fathers and other caretakers are sometimes found to engage in the behavior. MSP parents maintain their psychic equilibrium through control and manipulation of external sources of social gratification, including the child and care providers who serve children. Medical and other care providers are sometimes referred to as the “third party participants” in the MSP, because of their importance in carrying out the parent’s agenda, including false allegations of abuse. There are at least four different presentations where MSP and PAS overlap: 1) an MSP mother may, during the marriage, add false allegations of abuse to the child’s fabricated physical symptoms, thus precipitating the divorce; 2) where the MSP parent feels angry or rejected in divorce, manipulating the child’s medical care and involving the child in false allegations of abuse may serve multiple functions including revenge, maintaining the symbiotic bond with the child and preserving the freedom to continue the MSP behavior; 3) a parent dealing with the losses and stress of divorce may respond with MSP type behavior to obtain social support from the child and care providers; 4) an alienating parent may exhibit MSP type behavior by manipulating the child’s medical care for the primary purpose of furthering the alienation agenda (35).

In PAS with features of MSP, the alienating parent may gain legal authority to control and determine whom the child sees and what treatment is given. The child may be taken to the doctor after visits with the target parent for fabricated or induced symptoms which are attributed to abuse and neglect by the other parent. The child is likely present while the alienating parent makes this negative presentation about the other parent to the doctor, who inadvertently lends support to the denigrating account by listening to it, asking questions and examining the child. The target parent may be rendered ineffective to stop this cycle because providers retained by the alienating parent, and who take her assertions at face value, often refuse to talk to the target parent or allow the target parent access to child’s medical records. The result for the child is what Rand calls MSP type abuse. Rand expands Meadow’s formulation of MSP as a complex form of emotional abuse by applying Garbarino’s five types of psychological maltreatment. Research on MSP shows that it sometimes overlaps with other forms of abuse and neglect (36).

Parental Child Abductors

According to Huntington, post-divorce parental child stealing has been on the increase since the mid-1970s, paralleling the rising divorce rate and the explosion of litigation over child custody (18). An abducting parent views the child’s needs as secondary to the parental agenda which is to provoke, agitate, control, attack or psychologically torture the other parent. It should come as no surprise, then, that post-divorce parental abduction is considered a serious form of child abuse. Psychological maltreatment may predominate or be accompanied by physical abuse and neglect. Abducting parents take the idea that the child would be better off without the other parent to an extreme. Clawar and Rivlin found that would-be abductors often felt frustrated in their efforts to gain access to their child through the legal system and felt “forced” to abduct the child (7). Sometimes, they became so convinced of the terrible scenario they were broadcasting about the target parent that they felt no “choice” but to flee with the child and go into hiding. In order to win the child’s cooperation in maintaining concealment, the abductor must continue to brainwash the child with fear of the target parent and what would happen if the target parent should find the abducting parent and child.

CONCLUSION TO PART I

Review of this first portion of relevant literature and research indicates that Gardner’s concept of PAS has been increasingly discussed and referred to since he introduced the term in 1985. Research on divorce since the early 1980s has been progressively converging with Gardner’s work. Johnston’s studies of high conflict divorce in particular suggest that it is not sufficient to lump PAS with high conflict divorce in general. In its more severe forms, PAS is clearly distinctive. It is also more destructive for children and families and can be irreversible in its effects. As the section on alienating parents indicates, the divorce population includes a significant proportion of parents who have’ psychological problems and disorders. The degree to which such problems are expressed in efforts to alienate the child from the other parent has to be evaluated in the total divorce context, including psychological factors of the child and character and conduct of the target parent. Severe PAS is destructive irrespective of the gender of the alienating parent.

Part I attempts to integrate Gardner’s work on PAS with the relevant literature and research under the following topic headings: The Child in PAS; The Target/Alienated Parent in PAS; PAS and its Third Party Participants; Attorneys on PAS; Forensic Evaluation and PAS; and Interventions for PAS, including strategic combinations of court orders and therapeutic interventions, appointment of a Special Master, appointment of a Guardian ad Litem, changing custody, use of hospitalization and other transitional sites to facilitate custody changes, and the appropriate application of sanctions to help certain programming parents to better act in their children’s best interests.

Whether or not one chooses to use Gardner’s terminology, the problems posed by these cases to families, professionals and the courts are very real. Reluctance to consider Parental Alienation Syndrome by name, along with the diagnostic and interventions it entails, tends to contribute to the perpetuation of the problem in a variety of ways. Like any other label, that of PAS has the potential to be misapplied and misused. Whether or not it is the appropriate diagnosis in a given instance must be determined based on facts of the case, corroborated historical evidence and data from multiple sources. An appropriate diagnosis of PAS, including level of severity as Gardner recommends, can make the difference between allowing a case to go beyond the point of no return or intervening effectively before it is too late.

REFERENCES

1. Gardner R: Recent trends in divorce and custody litigation. Academy Forum 1985; 29:2:3-7

2. Wallerstein JS, Kelly JB: Surviving the breakup: how children and parents cope with divorce. New York, Basic Books, 1980

3. Blush GJ, Ross KL: Sexual allegations in divorce: the SAID syndrome. Conciliation Courts Review 1987; 25:1:1-11

4. Jacobs JW: Euripides’ Medea: a psychodynamic model of severe divorce pathology. American Journal of Psychotherapy 1988; XLII:2:308-319

5. Wallerstein JS, Blakeslee S: Second Chances. New York, Ticknor & Fields, 1989;

6. Turkat ID: Child visitation interference in divorce. Clinical Psychology Review 1994; 14:8:737-742

7. Clawar SS, Rivlin BV: Children Held Hostage: Dealing with Programmed and Brainwashed Children. Chicago, American Bar Association, 1991

8. Johnston JR, Campbell LE: Impasses of Divorce: The Dynamics and Resolution of Family Conflict. New York, The Free Press, 1988

9. Johnston JR: Children of divorce who refuse visitation, in Nonresidential Parenting: New Vistas in Family Living. Edited by Depner CE, Bray JH, London, Sage Publications, 1993

10. National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect: executive summary: study of national incidence and prevalence of child abuse and neglect. Washington DC: Department of Health and Human Services 1988, Contract 105-85-1702

11. Stewart JW: The molestation charge. California Family Law Monthly 1991; 7:9:329-335

12. Thoennes N, Tjaden PG: The extent, nature, and validity of sexual abuse allegations in custody visitation disputes. Child Abuse & Neglect 1990; 12:151-63

13. National Council on Children’s Rights: CAPTA revised to provide relief for false allegations. Speak Out for Children, Fall 1996/Winter 1997

14. State of California: The California Child Abuse Neglect Reporting Law: Issues and Answers for Health Practitioners, 1991

15. Gardner RA: The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Differentiation Between Fabricated and Genuine Child Sex Abuse. Cresskill, NJ, Creative Therapeutics, 1987

16. Gardner RA: The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Professionals. Cresskill, NJ, Creative Therapeutics, 1992

17. Gardner RA: Family Evaluation in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation. Cresskill, NJ, Creative Therapeutics, 1989

18. Huntington DS: The forgotten figures in divorce, in Divorce and Fatherhood: The Struggle for Parental Identity. Edited by Jacobs JW, Washington DC, American Psychiatric Association Press, 1986

19. Lund M: A therapist’s view of parental alienation syndrome. Family and Conciliation Courts Review 1995; 33:3:308-316

20. Maccoby EE, Mnookin RH: Dividing the Child: Social and Legal Dilemmas of Custody. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1992

21. Garrity CB, Baris MA: Caught in the Middle: Protecting the Children of High-Conflict Divorce. New York, Lexington Books, 1994

22. Dunne J, Hedrick M: The parental alienation syndrome: an analysis of sixteen selected cases. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 1994; 21:3/4:21-38

23. Rand DC: Munchausen syndrome by proxy: a complex type of emotional abuse responsible for some false allegations of child abuse in divorce. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations 1993; 5:3:135-155

24. Cartwright GF: Expanding the parameters of parental alienation syndrome. American Journal of Family Therapy 1993; 21:3:205-215

25. Tucker LS, Cornwall TP: Mother-son folie a deux: a case of attempted patricide. American Journal of Psychiatry 1977; 134:10:1146-1 147

26. Ross KL, Blush GJ: Sexual abuse validity discriminators in the divorced or divorcing family. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations 1990; 2:1:1-6

27. Blush GJ, Ross KL: Investigation and case managementissues and strategies. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations 1990; 2:3:152-160

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28. Wakefield H, Underwager R: Personality characteristics of parents making false accusations of sexual abuse in custody disputes. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations 1990; 2:3:121-136

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28. Wakefield H, Underwager R: Personality characteristics of parents making false accusations of sexual abuse in custody disputes. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations 1990; 2:3:121-136

29. Reich W: Character Analysis. New York, WR Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Noonday Press, 1949

30. Turkat ID: Divorce related malicious mother syndrome. Journal of Family Violence 1995; 10:3:253-264

31. Spiegel LD: A Question of Innocence. Parsippany, NJ, Unicorn Publishing House, 1986

32. Rogers M: Delusional disorder and the evolution of mistaken sexual allega lions in child custody cases. American Journal of Forensic Psychology 1992; 10:1:47-69

33. Sinanan K, Houghton H: Evolution of variants of the Munchausen syndrome. British Journal of Psychiatry 1986; 148:465-467

34. Meadow R: False allegations of abuse and Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Archives of Disease in Childhood 1993; 68:4:444-4.47

35. Jones M, Lund M, Sullivan M: Dealing with parental alienation in high conflict custody cases, presentation at conference of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, San Antonio, TX, 1996

36. Bools CN, Neale BA, Meadow SR: Co-morbidity associated with fabricated illness (Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy). Archives of Disease in Childhood 1992; 67:77-79

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deirdre Conway Rand, Ph.D. practices clinical and forensic psychology in Mill Valley, California. She specializes in complex forms of emotional abuse, such as severe Parental Alienation and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. She is the author of articles on the latter and of two chapters in the book, Spectrum of Factitious Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Back to Part 1

The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Part I) by Deirde Rand, Piece 2.

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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16 Responses to “Married to the State”

The American Conservative » Married to the State.

Children Abused 4 Times as Much from Mom and New Boyfriend

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Children and Domestic Violence, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights on September 24, 2009 at 3:00 am

Fortunately, legislators are now beginning to see the results of what happens to children when they are left in single mom home, and single mom homes, with boyfriends. Child Abuse statistics as reported by the Department of HHS. It is time for legislators to act to protect children by protecting and insuring dads involvement .

President Obama’s fatherhood initiative bill that failed in 2006 while he was Senator, has been reincarnated by Senator Bayh and it will pass, this time. Although there are some dads that will see this bill as flawed, it is a step in the right direction to bring dads back into relationship with the children and end the cycle of Domestic Violence inflicted on them by the perps who hurt them, Biological Moms and Moms with boyfriends. (BM)

This group, BMs, combined accounts for 44.4 percent of domestic violence against children.

The second group Biological Dads and others (BD), account for 18.8 percent of domestic violence against children. The third group is both mom and dad at 16.8 percent. Children are safer in a married parents home.

The statistics are clear. Children are only marginally more at danger with Biological dad and Other alone by 2 percentage points!!

But with Biological Mom and BF? These perps go up by a whopping 27.5 percent!!!

Statistically, that means after divorce dads and new wife and girlfriend account for 2 percent increase.

On the other hand moms and new husband or boyfriend account for a 27.5 percent increase with biological moms responsible for 22 percent increase!! in violence against their own children!!

Biological Dads = 2 percent increase !!
Bioligical Moms = 22 percent increase !!

Children experience a 1100 PERCENT INCREASE in domestic violence by their biological moms alone.

It is time for legislators and judges to put dads back in homes, and end the terror that children experience when their daddy is gone……..and it is just mommy!

Figure 3-6 Victims by Perpetrator Relationship, 2007

Victims by Perpetrator Relationship, 2007

Victims by Perpetrator Relationship, 2007

This pie chart presents victims by relationship to their perpetrators. More than 80 percent (80.1%) of victims were maltreated by at least one parent. Nearly 40 percent (38.7%) of victims were maltreated by their mother acting on her own.

Child Maltreatment 2007: Figure 3-6 Victims by Perpetrator Relationship, 2007.

Ain’t It Beautiful: How to Sue a Judge

In Activism, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Foster Care, Freedom, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on September 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How to Sue a Judge

How to Sue a Judge

By David C. Grossack, Constitutional Attorney
Common Law Copyright © 1994 All Rights Reserved

Has a judge violated your constitutional rights? Have you been discriminated against by being treated differently than other people in similar situations by reason of race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual preference or political opinion? Have you lost certain rights without a meaningful hearing or even an opportunity to be heard?

Have you been deprived of any other constitutional protection? Have you been subject to Court action for the purpose of intimidating you from exercising an opinion, or practicing your faith? Don’t let them get away with it.

Although it is almost impossible to recover monetary damages from a judge (unless you can prove he or she acted ultra-vires beyond his or her legal jurisdiction) it is in fact possible to obtain relief in equity against a judge through civil rights actions. Equitable relief includes:

  • declaratory relief – (rulings by another judge in the form of opinions establishing the constitutionality or lack of constitutionality of another judges actions.)
  • injunctive relief – a command or order to do something or refrain from doing so.

As a general rule, however, judges cannot be held liable for money damages for acts done in the exercise of his judicial function, within the limits of his jurisdiction, no matter how erroneous, illegal or malicious his acts may be. (48A Corpus Juris Secundum §86) A minority of decisions have held that if an inferior judge acts maliciously or corruptly he may incur liability. Kalb v. Luce, 291 N.W. 841, 234, WISC 509.

Federal Civil Rights statutes, and possibly Bivens actions, appear to offer the best path for redressing constitutional grievances with state and federal judges, respectively, in Federal Court. As a practical matter, such cases will usually be brought by pro se litigants. Neither the politics nor economics of law practice permits lawyers to pursue such cases nor makes them affordable except to a small elite of citizens.

However, lawyers who do successfully sue state judges in federal court in Title 42 U.S. Code § 1983 cases can recover attorney’s fees from judicial defendants provided they can show time sheets kept contemporaneously with their work.

The most important step you have to take in beginning your lawsuit is in writing the complaint that will be conforming to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (available in every Government Bookstore or from the Government Printing Office in Washington, DC.)

Properly drafted complaints need not be prepared by a lawyer. All that is required is a very fundamental understanding of a few basic constitutional principles and a typewriter and paper. Handwritten complaints can also be filed in court.

Each federal court publishes its own local rules which can impose some additional requirements, but essentially there are only a handful of things you need to know. 1. Each complaint has a caption reading “United States District Court, District of (name the jurisdiction e.g. Southern New York or Eastern California.) 2. Each complaint includes a caption indicating the name of the plaintiff, and the name of the defendant. The words “individually and in his official capacity” should appear after the name of the defendant judge. The words “Verified Complaint” should appear on the right side of the caption. Your caption should appear like this:

United States District Court
District of (State)
Civil Docket No. _______

John Doe,
Plaintiff
vs. VERIFIED COMPLAINT
Bobby Roe,
individually and in his/her official capacity as Justice of the Superior Court ) of [*****] County,
Defendant

A couple of spaces below, you must begin to spell out your reasons for bringing your complaint to Court. Make an outline of your case. First, state your “Jurisdictional Basis” in Paragraph I. I usually write as follows:

JURISDICTIONAL BASIS

I. Plaintiff claims federal jurisdiction pursuant to Article III § 2 which extends the jurisdiction to cases arising under the U.S. Constitution. Next you should write Paragraph II stating the precise Statutory Authority why you brought the case. If you are suing a state judge, you will state:

II. Plaintiff brings this suit pursuant to Title 42 U.S. Code § 1983 for violations of certain protections guaranteed to him by the First, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments (select which apply) of the federal Constitution, by the defendant under color of law in his/her capacity as a judge in the Superior Court of (****) County.

If you are suing a federal judge, state:

“Plaintiff brings this action against (name), a federal judicial officer, pursuant to Title 28 U.S. Code § 1331, in claims arising from violations of federal constitutional rights guaranteed in the (fill in) amendments to the U.S. Constitution and redressable pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Narcotics Agents 403 U.S. 388 (1971).”

Be aware that the issue of whether federal judicial officers can in fact be sued under this authority is unresolved, but my opinion is that there is a strong implication in the affirmative based on the language in many cases.

Your complaint should then have a section entitled “Parties”. The next two paragraphs would read:

III. Plaintiff (Your name) is a natural person residing at (Your address), (County), (State).

IV. Defendant is a Judge presiding at (fill in.)

Following this you must now describe your claim in detail, giving legal and factual basis for your case. This portion of the case is entitled “Statement of Case”

What kind of factual pattern would give rise to a successful claim under the federal civil rights law? Title 42 U.S. Code § 1983 reads as follows:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.

The burden of proof is upon the plaintiff to show that the defendant judge acted unconstitutionally or outside of his/her jurisdiction. If the judge engaged in an egregious discrimination against males in a divorce court, minorities in state criminal cases, members of an unpopular religious group in confrontation with government authorities and treated suspiciously in court or members of a “fringe” political group, these situations can give rise to a claim of denial of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.

If a judge permits an ex parte attachment, i.e. seizure of real estate without giving you notice of a hearing in a state court proceeding, this is a deprivation of property without due process, violating the Fifth Amendment as well as the Fourteenth Amendment.

Ex parte restraining orders forcing men or women out of their homes based on abuse allegations in state courts are a primary and rampant example of violations of constitutional rights today, and certainly actionable in federal court.

The first ten amendments of the Bill of Rights are self explanatory. Violations of any of the rights described in these amendments give rise to causes of action, both against state judges under Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and arguably against federal judges in Bivens actions.

Pro se litigants should give a clear and concise description of what happened in chronological order, identifying the judge, the date, time, and place of his or her action, and specifying which acts violated which constitutional amendments.

The complaint finishes with a section entitled “Prayer for Relief.” In such a case you can ask for an injunction ordering another judge to so something, or to refrain from doing something. Successful use of these suits has been made to nullify attachments, end incarcerations, declare laws or court practices unconstitutional and scare the heck out of black robed tyrants with gavels. See Pulliam v. Allen, 466 U.S. 522 (1983).

I often phrase my prayers for relief as follows:

Wherefore plaintiff prays this Court issue equitable relief as follows:

1. Issue injunctive relief commanding defendant to . . .

2. Issue declaratory relief as this Court deems appropriate just.

3. Issue other relief as this Court deems appropriate and just.

4. Award plaintiff his costs of litigation.

Respectfully submitted,

(Your signature)

Your name printed
Your address
City, State, Zip Code
Telephone No.

Statement of Verification

I have read the above complaint and it is correct to the best of my knowledge.

Your signature

Complaints are filed in the Civil Clerk’s Office in the United States District Court for your district.

Federal rules now allow for service of process by certified mail. You will be required to serve the defendant judge and also your state attorney general if you are suing a state judge.

The pro se road will be easier if you study the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, obtain a Black’s Law Dictionary and familiarize yourself with legal research methods. You must also read the Local Rules of the Federal Court where you are suing, and learn Constitutional law fast.

Using a lawyer as a coach is helpful. Bear in mind that your lawsuit is disfavored because it is against a judge. Nevertheless, our system of “justice” is in such tough shape that suits against judges are a socio-political necessity.

Complaints should be photocopied, disseminated to the legislature, the media and political action groups.

Perhaps the cumulative impact of these suits will bring a healthy radical change for the American people.

The author is an attorney in private practice in Boston.

Constitutional Business
Post Office Box 90
Hull, Massachusetts 02045
Tel. 617-925-5253
Fax 617-925-3906
Copyright ©1994 All Rights Reserved

Limited License:
The right to publish this article off-line in print, or via CD-ROM, floppy diskette, tape, laser disk, or any other media, electronic or otherwise, can only be granted by the author and must be in writing. Online usage is unrestricted as long as this article, including the byline, copyright notice, publisher’s address, and limited license, is published in its entirety.

Moms Maltreatment of Children 11 Times Greater Than Dads

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, mothers rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Single Moms, Sociopath on September 22, 2009 at 6:00 am

“What I find sad is the constant denial/skewing of statistics by father’s rights and men’s rights advocates that show moms are just as bad.” – Nancy Carroll aka rightsformothers

Moms are worse, Nancy Carroll…. 1100 percent worse... More fathers are winning custody from abusive moms. The only thing “skewed” is your ability to read FACTS and STATISTICS. Dads are far more protective of children than moms are. Read the statistics below:

https://mkg4583.wordpress.com/2009/09/16/child-maltreatment-2007-1100-percent-increase-by-mom-alone/

Why Custody Labels Matter

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Single Parenting, Sociopath on September 21, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Most family lawyers in Ontario likely received at least one telephone call from a distraught client this winter following the series of national newspaper articles on parental alienation. Many of my clients called with a self-diagnosis: they were clearly “being alienated.” A handful of helpful clients clipped one of the articles out of the paper and mailed it to me personally. Sadly (but somehow not surprisingly) many of my clients had the pleasure of receiving a copy from a former spouse.

The dialogue surrounding alienation has caught the attention of not only the family law community, but also the public at large. Amidst the flurry of attention that it has garnered, we need to reflect on the reality that alienation does not occur in a vacuum. It exists as one of the many problems that lawyers, judges and other helping professionals face when confronted with a high-conflict family.

Although many issues surrounding alienation are hotly contested, it almost always occurs in the context of high-conflict families following a separation. High-conflict families exist and interact in a state of perpetual dysfunction and disorganization, which leads to further emotional and psychological strain.

Alienation or not, high-conflict families are not able to manage their interactions and communication at any level. They require, sometimes on a daily basis, the assistance and intervention of lawyers, judges, doctors, social workers and other helping professionals. They fight about travel, schooling, tutoring, soccer and music.

Tragically, in spite of the significant efforts made to identify and address the causes of conflict in post-separation families, we are confronted with not a decrease but an increase in high-conflict cases, including more alienating parents and alienated children. One of the major problems we face in dealing with high-conflict families arises from the major shift over the last ten years in our attitudes about identifiers and basic concepts of custody and access.

Structured definitions have become passé in the past decade, joint custody or label-free settlements have been considered by many to be the norm and requests for sole custody have become almost politically incorrect. This shift in attitudes is a result of a variety of social and political developments that have fundamentally altered the language of and attitudes about post-separation parenting roles across Canada.

In 1998, the Joint Senate House of Commons Committee on Custody and Access released its report, “For the Sake of the Children.” The report was the result of a political compromise reached when the federal child support guidelines were in the Senate and Senator Ann Cools imposed her fathers’ rights agenda on the process. The report suggested an increased emphasis on the maximum contact principle, a movement away from the language of “custody and access” and a presumption of joint custody in every case.

Although not adopted as law, the report and the fathers’ rights agenda have been highly influential on the public, legal and judicial mindset. There has been an increased preoccupation in custody and access litigation with elevating the maximum contact principle through the language of shared parenting.

Clients often feel pressured by mediators, mental health professionals, judges or their own counsel to agree to joint custody. “Just give it to him and the conflict will end;” “Why would you object?” and “Nothing will change anyhow; you will still make all the decisions in a practical sense” are the common arguments. I have said these things myself. When respected authorities put this kind of pressure on individuals who are already quaking under the emotional and financial costs of conflict, the result is pretty much assured: joint custody or label-free “deals.”

Sometimes spouses agree to these arrangements because they hope that conflict will abate if the other spouse’s role is ratified. Sometimes they believe that there will be few changes to the reality of the parenting roles and that a little joint custody label will not change that. In high-conflict cases, another compromise has been joint custody with the appointment of an arbitrator or parenting coordinator to assist with decisions that cannot be made jointly. Unfortunately, these rationales and compromises are almost always flawed.

Australia adopted radical new custody and access legislation in 2006 that established mandatory mediation of all custody cases and imposed a presumption of joint custody. The result has been  increased conflict and custody litigation. This lesson translates to the issue of labels. Joint custody mixed with arbitration/parenting coordination can often create a forum for increased or continuing conflict by allowing access to a person who can be called, day or night, to referee issues that might actually not arise, or might get resolved naturally, if that opportunity for accessible conflict was not there.

Label-free arrangements can also lead to ongoing conflict and difficulty with third parties. Teachers, doctors and immigration officials require more than the language of “shared residency” or “parenting time.” In practice, many require opinion letters about what the terms mean, or refuse to take direction from one parent because they are unsure. In abduction and jurisdictional issues, the absence of custody can be devastating to an enforcement or Hague Convention proceeding. Police enforcement can also be very challenging without labels that everyone understands.

Sometimes the label the parties have put on their arrangements also matters to judges. In mobility cases, we are instructed by the Supreme Court to give the views of the custodial parent “great weight.” What is a court to make of a label-free parent, or the one who acts as a primary or sole parent but carries the label of joint? Or, when joint decision-making fails or parties become exhausted by parenting coordination, a material change is required and the judge wonders why he or she should change the former agreement, which the parties must have thought was in the best interests of their children at the time they settled.

While it is true that we all had good reasons and lofty ideas when we moved away from structured concepts, we need to re-examine these ideas in the context of high conflict cases. Parents and children who are embroiled in conflict need the certainty and stability that traditional concepts provide. Labels matter.

Martha McCarthy is a certified specialist in family law and the recipient of the Ontario Bar Association 2007 Award of Excellence in Family Law. She operates a boutique family law firm located in downtown Toronto.

http://www.lawyersweekly.ca/index.php?section=article&volume=29&number=19&article=2

Don’t Reason with a Sociopath! Otherwise, known as Parental Alienators

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, Freedom, kidnapped children, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping on September 19, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Don’t Reason with a Sociopath!

I call them ‘crazy-makers.’ You know the type. Charming, articulate, smooth, likable… and cold, calculating, egocentric, and deadly – yes, I said deadly. The above are only a few of the adjectives to describe these psychological predators who target normal people and suck the very life out of them.

For the profile of a sociopath watch this short instructional video

Sociopaths have a perception of the truth that is all their own.

The problem is they are so convinced of their truth, that they have this amazing persuasive ability with others. They are the type who can lie, steal, rape, abuse….and it never happened. You are making things up and you are the one who is crazy. You present evidence that is concrete – they can convincingly explain away your concrete piece of black and white evidence. On the other hand, they have an uncanny ability to manipulate a flimsy piece of paper that is barely legible so that even an intelligent judge will sit there with a blank, glassy-eyed stare, nodding in agreement with them. It beats anything I have ever seen. I think they must have some sort of hypnotic ability.

If you think you can reason with a sociopath or appeal to their conscience, forget it. You probably could if they had one, but they don’t. That is one of the things that makes them so dangerous.

I have a theory that parental alienators are sociopaths. That is what enables them to heartlessly keep a parent from a child, even though there is no real compelling reason to do so. They just want to destroy them.

I personally witnessed this with my daughter who flew 4000 miles from Alaska to Texas just to surprise her son on his 6th birthday only to be refused access to him. All of our appealing to the child’s best interest was to no avail. He even said he did not believe he is harming the child by intentionally keeping him from his mother (typical sociopathic denial). We were naive enough to believe that once he won custody, his controlling ways would stop. Please, if you’re reading this, don’t make that mistake. Like Elizabeth Bennett says – Bullies Do Not Grow Up: They Grow Worse. (Read her article here http://www.bloggernews.net/118363)

Having come away from such an unpleasant confrontation frustrated, sad, feeling powerless, watching my daughter sob, I at first felt angry, then depressed, then angry, then energized – so I started this blog.

I realized, though, after that experience, that I was obsessing over it so much that I was making myself crazy – and that’s when I had the revelation. You can’t reason with a sociopath. They don’t care about your pain – and they never will. They don’t care about what’s best for their kid, and short of a lightning strike to reboot their brain, they never will. Nope. The only way you can deal with a bully is you have to find someone to stop them. And no, I don’t mean a hit man!

The court is supposed to prevent that sort of thing. We shall see.

Anna

Citizens For Family Law Reform: Don’t Reason with a Sociopath!.

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) from Dr Sommers

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome on September 16, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) from Dr Sommers

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) from Dr Sommers

parental-alienation-syndromeImportant Issues in
The Parental Alienation Syndrome

Reena Sommer, Ph.D.

The Parental Alienation Syndrome (P.A.S.) is a burden that a child is forced to bear when one parent fails to recognize their child’s strong need to love and be loved by the other parent.
(Mother is Rural Manitoba – name withheld by request)

Parental Alienation Syndrome: The Problem

The Parental Alienation Syndrome (P.A.S.) is the extreme end of a custody battle gone “real bad”. P.A.S. is a most negative consequence of an increasing number of high conflict divorces. In these cases, children become the victims of a relentless and destructive “tug of war” between their parents. It is a war that children cannot win or defend themselves against. It is a war where the “enemy” (the alienating parent) is someone whom the children dearly love and depend upon for their needs to be met. For children, PAS is about loss, insecurity, fear, confusion, sadness, hopelessness and despair. In fact, some experts consider PAS to be a form of child abuse because:

it robs children of the security provided by the bond they once shared with the targeted parent
it embeds in children’s minds falsehoods about the targeted parent that are injurious to their own psyche and their sense of self (i.e., “Mom/Dad never really loved you”; “Mom/Dad is dangerous”; “Mom/Dad has done inappropriate things to you”).
the process of aligning children against the targeted parent often involves threats, lies, manipulations, deprivation and even physical abuse

For the alienating parents, PAS can have several motivators such as:

feeling betrayed or rejected by the targeted parent
revenge
jealousy
fear
insecurity
anger
money
using the children as as pawns to get a better divorce settlement

Defining Parental Alienation Syndrome

The Parental Alienation Syndrome has been variously defined. But here is the definition I tend to rely upon because it is based on my observations of and experiences with divorcing families:

“The Parental Alienation Syndrome is the deliberate attempt by
one parent (and/or guardian/significant other) to distance his/her children
from the other parent and in doing so, the parent engages the children
in the process of destroying the affectional ties and familial bonds that once existed…”

The alienating process develops over time and the distancing between the children and the targeted that occurs includes some or all of the following features:

.

The alienating parent speaks badly or demeans the targeted parent directly to the children
the disparaging comments made by the alienating parent to their children about the targeted parent can be implicit (”I am not sure I will be able to afford to send you to camp because “Mom” or “Dad” does not realize how much you enjoy it”) or explicit (”Mom/Dad” left us because he/she never cared enough about you to keep our family together”)
The alienating parent speaks badly or demeans the targeted parent to others in the presence (or within audible distance) of the children.
The alienating parent discusses with the children the circumstances under which the marriage broke down and blames the targeted parent for its failure.
The alienating parent exposes the children to the details of the parents’ ongoing conflict, financial problems and legal proceedings.
The alienating parent blames the targeted parent for changes in life style, any current hardships; his/her negative emotional state and inability to function as before and conveys this to the children.
Allegations of sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children are often made.
Alienated children come to know that in order to please the alienating parent, they must turn against the targeted parent.

These features exemplify the diagnostic criterion set out by the late Dr. Richard Gardner in his discussion of the Parental Alienation Syndrome. Dr. Gardner’s early writings are now supported by empirical research on P.A.S. conducted by numerous academics, thus adding credence to P.A.S.’s validity and existence. Nevertheless, there are still some who have chosen to misinterpret Dr. Gardner’s writings by suggesting that he advocated pedophilia and/or placing children at risk with their abusers. This is clearly a gross distortion of Dr. Gardner’s expressed intent as he emphatically and repeatedly stipulates in his papers that allegations of abuse that are made all too frequently in custody disputes must have no prior history, nor upon investigation are they to be found to have any basis. These types of outlandish criticisms are reflective of misguided thinking, ignorance and an ideological perspective that requires a distortion of reality to give it validity

The Genesis of Parental Alienation Syndrome

//
//

It is believed that P.A.S. arose out of changes to the divorce laws in western society. Starting the 1970’s, family courts began to recognize that both parents had rights and responsibilities when it came to providing for their children post divorce. Out of that recognition, the concept of “joint custody” was born where both parents were allowed to continue in their roles as “legal” parents just as they had been during the marriage. Today, joint custody is considered the norm in most western countries. However, along with this progressive move in divorce laws, there has also been an increase in the incidence of P.A.S. – where children have unfortunately become pawns in their parents’ struggles for alimony, support, the marital home and other assets of the marriage. Parental Alienation Syndrome has only recently been recognized in the divorce literature as a phenomenon occurring with sufficient frequency and with particular defining characteristics as to warrant recognition. Today, the P.A.S. as a byproduct of custody battles is attracting the attention of divorcing parents, child protective agencies, doctors, teachers, clergy, divorce attorneys and divorce courts.

The Politics of Parental Alienation Syndrome

Because the Parental Alienation Syndrome has been linked to the increase in joint custody awards, it is also an issue that has fuelled considerable debate concerning the validity of its existence. Opponents and critics of P.A.S. continue to argue that it does not exist simply because of its absence in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Version IV) or the DSM-IV. While there is no dispute that this argument has face validity, it nevertheless neglects the following alternative salient argument: – As with any phenomenon, there is always a lag period between the times it is first identified and when it is fully embraced by the community at large.

There are many examples of this such as:

schizophrenia (it was originally thought that people with this disorder were smitten by the devil)
cancer
attention deficit disorder
dyslexia
HIV and AIDS

There is no doubt that these conditions existed long before they were acknowledged in textbooks or by academic and legal authorities. However, their absence from these authoritative sources did not imply that didn’t exist or lacked validity. What it meant is that for some of these conditions, there was a lengthy lag periods – in some cases, almost a century. Hopefully, this will not be the case for P.A.S. because modern technology makes it possible for the publication of research and transmissions of information to occur much quicker than ever before. But in the meantime, if we are to discount the existence of P.A.S., we are turning our backs on children who are being deprived on their right to love and be loved by both parents. Regardless of the arguments put forth to discount the P.A.S.’s existence and validity, it is difficult to explain how a previously strong, intact, positive and loving relationship between a child and his or her parent quickly disintegrates and transforms into outward hostility toward that parent, usually following separation or some other significant family reorganization involving high levels of conflict.In spite of the divisiveness concerning the validity of the Parental Alienation Syndrome, one issue that few will debate is the fact that too many children are now caught in a “tug of war” between their separated parents.

The Consequences of Parental Alienation Syndrome

Children who are exposed to the ongoing conflict and hostility of their parents suffer tremendously. The guilt they experience when their parents’ first separate, is exacerbated by the added stress of being made to feel that their love and attachment for one parent is contingent on their abandoning the other. Although children are powerless to end the struggle between their parents’, they come to believe that if they turn against one in favor of the other, the unhappiness they experience on an ongoing basis will also end. And if the alienating process is at all successful, its long term consequences for children victimized by it may be even more profound. The main concerns rest in their ability to form healthy and lasting intimate relationships with others as well as how it may negatively influence their self esteem, self concept and general outlook toward life in general. We owe it to children to do what is necessary to prevent this from happening.

© Reena Sommer, Ph.D. 2004-2009 http://www.solutions4pas.com/PASreport.html

No related posts.

via Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) from Dr Sommers.

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.