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Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

Fathers’ Rights Are Fathers’ Duties

In Activism, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on July 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm

by Stephen Baskerville

Separation and divorce destroy children’s lives. It helps to remember this because of the vast industry now devoted to what has been called “good divorce.” This is the trend that seems intent on making divorce palatable and letting parents feel good about destroying their children’s home. At best this is damage control. It is impossible to insulate children from the damage caused by the destruction of their families. Those who pretend we can are lying to themselves and to us. Moreover, the traumas of divorce are almost all exacerbated by litigation. Worse, they are all exacerbated when one parent – usually the father – is marginalized from the children, as is now almost invariably the case.

The reasons why separation and divorce damage children are too numerous to mention. But from the standpoint of fatherhood politics, the most important reasons involve authority.

The very act of separation and divorce, aside from any accompanying behavior or words, itself sends a myriad of terrible messages to children. It says that parents can put their own wishes above the welfare of their children. This is obviously a bad example, which the children can then carry on to their own families. But a perhaps worse effect is to destroy parental authority. No parent who has put himself or herself before their child in such a basic way has any moral authority to instruct, correct, or discipline a child. How can parents instill lessons of selflessness in children when their own actions demonstrate precisely the opposite?

More specifically, it destroys notions of trust, obligation, and fidelity in the child, qualities basic to any family. In effect it says that it is okay to break promises and obligations such as marriage vows when they no longer suit our convenience, it is okay to make up the rules as we go along and, in effect, live by no principles except those that suit our momentary convenience. Again, how can parents instill an ethic of fidelity, obligation, and trust when their own actions manifest the contrary?

Even more fundamentally, it destroys the integrity of the family itself. The act of separation and divorce says that a family is not something from which the child can derive a sense of unconditional love and security. On the contrary, a family can be disbanded at any time at the whim of one member. Even more, it says that a family member can be disgraced and expelled. Especially when it is unilateral (as it increasingly is) and when one parent is marginalized from the children’s lives, the effect is the expulsion of a family member. This is the destruction of the child’s entire world and the source of unimaginable terror to a child. If Daddy can be pushed out of the family, after all, what about me? What security is there in my family if members can be expelled because they do something Mommy or someone else doesn’t like? What if I do something Mommy doesn’t like? What is the meaning of Mommy’s or Daddy’s love if it can be terminated when it is no longer convenient?

Finally, litigation against family members exacerbates and in effect politicizes these messages. It says that the state is a legitimate instrument to punish the child’s loved one who has fallen out of favor. It says that rather than solving problems as a family, we declare a member to be a public enemy and bring the power of the state to bear on him. In an almost literal sense, we declare civil war on our loved ones. Again, if the police can be used to keep Daddy away or throw him in jail because Mommy no longer likes him, what will they do to me?

Perhaps from the political standpoint, the most significant lesson for the child is the firsthand experience of tyranny and oppression, both in society and within his own family. The custodial parent becomes a kind of satrap of the court, and the dictatorship of the court over the family is extended and writ small within the family. The custodial parent tyrannizes over the non-custodial parent, undermining his authority, dictating the terms of his access to the children, talking to him contemptuously and condescendingly as if he were himself a naughty child, perhaps engaging in a full scale campaign of vilification (which similarly mirrors the larger campaign against fathers waged by the state and media). After witnessing this against the non-custodial parent, the children then experience it themselves. With no checks on the power of the custodial parent, the tyranny is naturally exercised over them as well. In extreme (but not uncommon) cases of course this leads to child abuse.

All these messages concern authority – parental authority, paternal authority, political authority — and therefore they are of primary interest to fathers.

When a father participates in separation and divorce, when he engages in litigation, when he even acquiesces in them, he too is sending these messages to his children. When a father takes part in these actions he is participating in the destruction of his own authority. He is taking part in the destruction of his own fatherhood.

Certainly there are times when we must resort to the courts just to be permitted to see our children. But in the long run when we rely on these means, when we allow them to dictate the terms and place of the struggle, we lose and so do our children. Even when these actions are undertaken by our spouses unilaterally, the child is receiving the same message. Then it is up to us alone to provide a positive counter-message.

The literature on “good divorce” offers no rebuttals to these messages. There is a more effective and more constructive alternative.

The Political Alternative

The alternative is to become active politically for the defense of our children and families.

I know this idea immediately raises red flags among many. Images come to mind of strident “activists” (like the dreaded feminists perhaps) screeching about their “rights.” Many men are uncomfortable in this role, in which they have never before seen themselves. Our political world has become such a plethora of competing interest groups all trying to grab their share of the pie that we have forgotten what political action has done to relieve the truly oppressed.

More serious is the common assumption among men that working politically for the rights of fathers and children will divert time and energy from their own individual legal cases and reduce time with their own children while resulting in few tangible benefits in terms of winning custody or increasing visitation. This is a natural assumption, but it is not true.

In fact the opposite is true. Political involvement may be the best thing you can do for your own case and for your own children. Moreover it will be beneficial to you and your children immediately, even if you never achieve the stated goals. It is more effective than all the touchy-feely advice you will get from therapists. And it is more constructive than all the legal help from the scavengers of the divorce industry. This is less because of what it gives than what it demands: It requires qualities that are directly necessary to fathers who have been through desertion, separation, divorce, false accusations, and the rest. Most importantly, it carries messages that can help heal the traumas of children who are suffering from separation and divorce.

Here are some of the direct and immediate benefits of political action:

Political action establishes authority. If you have gone through a desertion, separation, or divorce — especially if your child was abducted from your home or you have been accused of some kind of abuse – your authority as a father has been largely destroyed. Even fathers in intact families have felt their authority take quite a drubbing these days, largely owing to the anti-male climate. If your wife has placed her desires before her children’s welfare by destroying their home, she too no longer has any moral authority to correct a child. Political action gives you the authority of one who has taken the moral high ground and acts out of principle along with others through constructive means for the welfare and establishment of his family and his society.

Political action confers dignity. When you lost your children you lost your dignity and received the stigma of the “evil male.” You unexpectedly joined the ranks of “abusers,” “batterers,” and “deadbeat dads.” Suddenly all those things you assumed about others are being assumed about you. You “must have” done something to deserve losing your children. This is a very difficult stigma to remove, and you won’t eliminate it by cowering behind a lawyer. Men do not hire someone else to fight their battles. Standing up for your rights and those of your children is a way of proclaiming to the world that you have nothing to be ashamed of and that you have done nothing wrong.

Properly understood, political action is not shrill or strident. It is the dignified but uncompromising demand for civil rights: the right to be fathers to your children. No political movement ever has lasting success without dignity, and fathers will get nowhere unless they show dignity both in their families and before the world. No doubt you have already discovered that in the home it is up to you to act maturely and not to quarrel with your spouse, because of the bias in the courts and because your spouse probably has no incentive to be restrained. Why not take this one step further into the public realm and forego the quarrel of a court battle? The same principle applies. We don’t have to hide our actions from our children or anyone else because they are ugly, undignified, shameful, or vicious – as, for example, is beating up on our spouse in a courtroom with a hired goon. We are acting openly in the public realm. We are asking for justice in the court of public opinion. Nothing could be more dignified.

Political action will make you a better father. The qualities necessary for being an effective political activist are the same as those necessary for a good father: sobriety, commitment, fidelity, sacrifice. Demanding your just rights is not a license for belligerence; quite the opposite. All great revolutionary leaders were moral puritans who saw the need for self-discipline. Lenin used to inveigh against libertine communists who would substitute talk for action and initiate a dozen tasks and never complete any. If you don’t like this comparison, consider Oliver Cromwell, who “conquered himself” before he conquered his enemies. Frederick Douglass gave up drinking because he saw it was the most effective method of slaveholders to keep his people in bondage. Martin Luther King used to speak of the need for “self-purification” prior to action. The principle is simple: self-government requires self-control. Alcohol, gambling, womanizing, frivolous pastimes are incompatible with republican virtue. If you can’t give up your sports page or your evenings in front of the TV, your girlie magazines or your nights out with the lads, you’re no use as a fathers’ rights activist. You’re also probably not the world’s greatest father.

Political action is an effective alternative to violence. Without lending credence to the hysteria over “male violence,” let us grant for the sake of argument that fathers may be tempted to become violent when their children are taken away (who wouldn’t?). If you find disturbing thoughts suddenly appearing in your head when they take your children, channel it into peaceful and constructive but determined activity for your children. Martin Luther King used to observe that violence in the black ghettoes decreased significantly following political demonstrations. Involvement in fathers’ rights is an effective way of channeling rage that might otherwise fuel domestic violence.

Political action shows your child you care. You may be caught in the vicious circle of being ordered to stay away from your children by a judge and as a result having them think you don’t love them because you’re not there. This is their natural conclusion and could be exacerbated by Mom’s poison. You can’t tell them it’s because of Mommy or the Evil Judge that you aren’t there, and you shouldn’t; even if you could it wouldn’t matter. Children judge by actions, not words. On the other hand, once your children witness you exercising your civic duty and your constitutional rights on their behalf and on behalf of other fathers and children, they will eventually understand why. They will realize that political action requires sacrifice, and they will admire you all the more and profit from your example. You are also telling the world that your children are so special that their father is willing to sacrifice everything for them.

Political action is an excellent education for your children. Some fathers feel they must not involve their children in their quarrel and fear they may be punished for it. But this is true only because the conflict is personal and litigious; in other words, because it is shameful. Children should always be spared the trauma of quarreling parents and animosity between spouses, whether at home or in court. But exercising your civic rights – indeed, fulfilling your duty as a citizen — is a different matter entirely. This is something your children should see. We make enormous efforts in schools, churches, and civic organizations, teaching children about civic involvement, about constitutional rights and the importance of cultivating a public spirit and of sacrificing private desires for the larger public good. We introduce them to the teachings of Socrates, Thoreau, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. Yet when it comes to putting their ideas into practice by following their example, we are told this is somehow “inappropriate.” In contrast to litigation, when we undertake political action we are not fighting our children’s mothers; we are fighting injustice. What could be more inspiring than to emulate these men on behalf of your children? Children know that actions speak louder than words. The lesson that civic action requires sacrifice, and must be undertaken with dignity, is both edifying for them and something that will make them proud of their father.

Finally, political action will provide your children with the spiritual tools they need to cope with family breakdown. This may not be obvious, yet it is true. But only if it is based on dignity, sacrifice, and love. A politics of hate, vengeance, and demonization is not a fit lesson for children. But a politics of love and non-violence has its origins in the same spiritual values we try to instill in our children in school and in church. No child is too young to learn this lesson. If you take your children to Sunday school (and many people feel this is an important duty of a father, even if he himself has previously not been religious), you will be exposing them to the courageous acts of the Hebrew women, of Shedrach, Meshach, and Abednego, of Jesus himself. These figures demonstrated precisely the qualities children of divorce more than others need to see. Teach them about sacrifice for others, about commitment to a cause, about obligation as citizens, about the power of moral authority, about love to those who hate us, about fidelity to principles larger than themselves.

Martin Luther King, the leading American practitioner of non-violence, used to talk about the latent violence in the system of state-enforced segregation and of the need for a “creative tension” to bring this violence out into the open. We have a similar task. A latent violence already pervades our families which are in effect occupied by the instruments of the state forcibly separating us from our children. We must extract the violence from the system, and we must be prepared to suffer violence ourselves, but we must use none. At some point we may have to adopt Ghandi’s principle: “Fill up the jails.”

No doubt you will be accused of dragging your children into the quarrel. But non-violent political action shifts the quarrel away from the person to the injustice. Our children are already at the center of the quarrel. The have already been dragged in as the chief victims by the belligerent parent and by the state that has invaded their family and set up a kind of domestic apartheid between the custodial parent and the child, on the one hand, and the non-custodial parent. Martin Luther King writes boldly and eloquently of how, despite the false pathos of those who “deplored our ‘using’ our children in this fashion…the introduction of Birmingham’s children into the [non-violent civil rights] campaign was one of the wisest moves we made.”

It is an illusion to pretend that we can shelter our children from a quarrel of which they are at the center and which by its very nature is constantly damaging them. What is important is not that they be sheltered from it but that they be provided with the tools to deal with it and with any crisis constructively. On their own what they will adopt are the tools of withdrawal, guilt, aggression, alienation, or any number of other symptoms of divorce that have become all too familiar. No matter how careful you are they will also absorb your hostility as well as that of your spouse.

The touchy-feely proponents of “good divorce” are right as far as they go when they tell us to how to mitigate these and suggest we “talk” to our children to mitigate these emotions. They suggest you tell your children, “No matter what we do to one another, your Mommy and I still love you.” But consciously or not, the child knows, “but not enough to keep my home together.” You are supposed to tell your child, “What’s happening between Mommy and me is not your fault.” But the child knows that she is the center and “cause” of the quarrel. Talk is cheap, and children know it. No amount of talk, contact group jargon, or therapy sessions is going to save children from the traumas of what their parents do. What we can do is give them the tools to overcome them and to act. These are partly spiritual, but they are also political.

The Bible and the Koran teach that we are all guilty of sin. Creative non-violence teaches that we are all responsible for society’s injustices. Choose the value system you prefer. The point is that these religious and political values teach us how we and our children can channel our inadequacies, real and imagined, into constructive action.

We should tell our children that we all do bad things. We are all sinners, or we are all responsible for society’s injustices, or however you prefer to phrase it. We cannot avoid guilt. What we can do is be sorry for the bad things we do and ask forgiveness. What we can do is forgive those who do bad things to us. What we can do is to love the person while hating the evil they do – the message of Christianity, Islam, civil disobedience, creative non-violence, and every other humane doctrine. We can teach them what the Bible, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King all taught: that “unmerited suffering is redemptive.” We can teach them the one central principle of both religion and political action: that salvation requires sacrifice. If we strive toward this, we will not only have happy, well-adjusted children in spite of the belligerence they witness in others; we may just be permitted to be fathers to them again. Or perhaps I should say that from that moment we again will be fathers.

Copyright © 1998 – 2000 Stephen Baskerville
Department of Political Science
Howard University
Washington, DC 20059

Other pieces by this author

To learn more about Political Action, try:

American Coalition for Fathers and Children

Fathers’ Rights Are Fathers’ Duties.

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/

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

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

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

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

A Kidnapped Mind

A Kidnapped Mind

BOOKS:

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

[BCBW 2006] “Advice”

A Kidnapped Mind (Dundurn $24.99)
Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABCBookWorld.

Because Lying in the Family Court is Child Abuse | MND: Your Daily Dose of Counter-Theory

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, Feminism, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Single Parenting, Sociopath on September 16, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Because Lying in the Family Court is Child Abuse

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

By Amfortas

The Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, Diana Bryant, has recently launched an extraordinary attack on Australia’s internationally regarded 2006 Family Law amendments, by writing to the Attorney-General and asking him to urgently repeal important provisions within the amendments.

According to Ash Patil, President of shared parenting group Fathers4Equality, “These provisions in the family law act were specifically implemented to reduce the epidemic of false allegations and parental alienation that permeate every corridor of the Family Law Courts, to the clear detriment of the innocent children caught in the cross-fire.

But Bryant wants them removed, and fails to explain how the innocent victims of maliciously false allegations would be protected without them.

James Adams adds, “What is more astonishing it seems is that unlike the parliamentary committee that recommended these laws in the first place, the Chief Justice has not consulted widely before making such an extraordinary intervention (in fact she has not consulted with any fathers’ groups at all).

Rightly or wrongly, Bryant will now be perceived to have compromised views on this issue, denying her the opportunity to have played a unifying force in the process of family law reform in this country, much like the wasted opportunities of her predecessor.”

The two provisions Bryant wants specifically removed include:

*the order of costs, at the Judge’s discretion, against a parent who has been proven to have “knowingly” made false allegation in Court,

and

*unspecified actions, at the Judges’s discretion, against a parent who has purposely alienated or deliberately maligned the children against the other parent.

The importance of these provisions Patil explains.  ”These provisions have been specifically implemented to reduce the disturbingly common practices by some separated parents in making contrived and sinister allegations in Court against the other parent, and to otherwise engage in concerted efforts to destroy the relationship between the child and the other parent. This is done knowing full well the children will be irrevocably harmed in the process, both psychologically and emotionally.

Yet it goes on and will continue to go on given human nature, unless we have laws to help it stop.

“So these are ‘good’, modest provisions designed to stop misguided parents from misusing the system and abusing innocent children”  were introduced only after extensive community consultation.

According to Adams “These provisions were agreed to by a bi-partisan parliamentary committee (both Labor and Libs/Nats) that went around Australia canvassing the views of all Australians for over two years.

Finally this committee was so appalled at the extent of institutional abuse in the Family Court that it recommended measures to protect innocent children and parents who were victims of contrived allegations and parental alienation by spiteful ex-partners.

” But Bryant wants to override the will of the Australian people and the will of Parliament, and to completely remove all disincentives against lying in the Family Court.

Really soft penalty for a very serious crime.

Patil, who claims that many F4E members are subjected to false allegations, states that “Proving that someone has ‘knowingly’ made false allegations rather than ‘mistakenly’ or ‘recklessly’ is quite a tall order. The standard of proof in these matters is a very tough hurdle to pass, and as a result ‘knowingly false’ allegations have only been proven in a relatively few cases in recent years.

If they are proved, they may result in a costs order, although this has been rarely applied in children’s matters by the judiciary. “Now given that perjury in any other Australian court may result in 10 years or more jail time, one must be mindful of the fact that this is a really soft penalty for a very serious crime.

It is a provision however that can work as a disincentive, albeit a modest one, in dissuading many parents from lying in the Family Court in the first place.” So these are “good”, modest provisions designed as a disincentive to those misguided parents who may in a moment of weakness be tempted to make contrived allegations in Court.

Measured responses to issues of concern Patil and Adams are frustrated by the logic used by the Chief Justice, and Patil adds that “Bryant justifies the need for these changes by suggesting that some people have misunderstood these provisions.

Even if this is true, her suggested fix is a remarkable over-reaction to an issue that could be addressed through a number of simple measures.” “Given that most parents in family law proceedings are either represented by lawyers, have visited a family relationship centre or have sought government funded legal services, a simple review could identify the cause of this misinformation from within these service providers, and provide an opportunity for corrective measures to be implemented.”

Adams wonders why the Chief Justice needs to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and opines that “a request to the Attorney General to implement an educational campaign to educate parents about these provisions would go a long way in addressing any existing misconceptions, and would be a more measured and effective approach to the issue at hand.”

Adams continues “Given the unprecedented nature of these family law amendments, what is required are sensible, well-measured & ultimately timely approaches to these issues, in order to allow for proper outcomes based research to develop. Anything less than this would put at risk the very wellbeing of those we are trying to protect.”

Broader consultations as a first step Fathers4Equality would like to encourage the Chief Justice to put some thought into what checks and measures she would alternatively suggest be implemented, if the current provisions are removed, to protect children from the devastating damage resulting from alienation and perjury in Court.

Given that lying in the Family Court and parental alienation are forms of child abuse, we stress the importance of carefully considering the implications to the welfare of children if these safeguards are removed.

Secondly and in reference to a recent campaign that has promoted a less than accurate reflection of these new laws, we would ask the Chief Justice to consider making a public statement to the effect, as is the case, that no evidence exists of any escalation of child abuse as a result of the new amendments.

This would be an important statement from the Chief Justice in the interests of an informed community discussion on this matter, and would help ensure that the debate is discussed in terms of facts, not innuendo.

Finally, we would like to draw attention to the increasingly under-resourced and overworked child protection authorities in this country, and the fact that too many cases of genuine abuse are not thoroughly investigated, in part because of the level of false allegations emanating from the Family Court.

It must be recognised that for every hour that a child protection officer is investigating a false allegation, it is one hour less protection that can be given to a child in genuine need, and this is a cost that the children of Australia simply cannot afford. Fathers4Equality would be open to discussing these important issues further with the Chief Justice, if she is willing to accept our invitation.

Because Lying in the Family Court is Child Abuse | MND: Your Daily Dose of Counter-Theory.

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.

HHS Child Maltreatment 2007: 1100 Percent Increase by Mom Alone

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, due process rights, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Foster Care Scam, Liberty, Marriage, MMPI, MMPI 2, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Single Moms, Single Parenting, Sociopath on September 16, 2009 at 1:00 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.

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.

Reforming Family Law: What You Can Do Right Now – Reform Family Law Now

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, federal crimes, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, Marriage, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on September 14, 2009 at 1:00 am

Reforming Family Law: What You Can Do Right Now

by Andrew J Thompson

I began my weekly broadcast this past Tuesday through Talkshoe.com on the Get Your Justice Live network with Lary Holland.  For the rest of this week my office has been overwhelmed with the question: so what do we do now?

I’ve been receiving calls and emails from every corner of the the country from people in tragic situations of their own, shaped by the misuse of the family law system and lack of access to true justice.  This isn’t a problem easily attacked on a case-by-case basis.  If it was, we would have had reform a long time ago.  It’s a problem that demands people bring their cases and make themselves heard in a set of unified voices.

In the past, the system has worked against families systematically and – at least in terms of acting in a destructive manner – efficiently.  Meanwhile, we have been fighting it one-by-one and ineffectively.  It’s time for us to become systematic and efficient in attacking a whole system that has been trampling families’ rights for too long.

I’m creating a new vehicle to enable the system we need to accomplish these ends.  Essentially we need to gather key bits of information from every person within our constituency, to begin sorting out the potential classes of litigants and joinder of claims.

The information we need is straightforward and pretty simple:

  • Basic personal information: name, home address, email and phone;
  • A very succinct description of the facts giving rise to your own claim;
  • The specific Constitutional rights you would assert to be violated;
  • A very brief statement of the remedy you believe would resolve your own issues.

As we learn where the commonality become individual situations can be clearly defined, we can then proceed to put together a class petition, and other claims, primarily in family court.

This is the beginning.  We also need considerable help carrying out the tasks we must in order to succeed.  So we need people to self-identify skills or abilities they have, i.e. legal research, IT skill, administrative support, database management and administration, etc.  With a number of us working together, we will be able to attack the problem more quickly, in essence, to create a rapid response team and legal coalition of activists who will help move our mission forward at “all deliberate speed” – that’s a quote from the United States Supreme Court, by the way.

We also must keep in mind that reform won’t be achieved without costs.  We need help with funding!  If every person will contribute just what they can, we will reach our destiny sooner.  If most of us will trade in a small fraction of what we would have to pay for other legal representation and chip in a few hundred dollars toward the costs, we will move ahead very far and very fast.  If everyone of us contributes at least a few dollars, we will show the tribunals we face that we are committed, serious and irrepressible as a unit.  If just a few people are able to step forward and fund the largest share of the costs, we will show those who would deprive us of our rights that we are entirely capable of taking them on step-by-step throughout intense litigation.

We can bring about the change we need through the civil rights litigation that may be the only avenue of hope for real change in the time we need.  All of our children are growing up fast.  As each day passes, we lose one day in their tender young lives to play the roles we should in helping them be the people we want them to be, and keeping the relationships with their parents in tact in the way they should be able.

Forms will be added to the site very soon.  In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach our office via email at: info@reformfamilynow.org.  Tomorrow’s a new day with much hope and expectation!  We hope to hear from you soon.

Reforming Family Law: What You Can Do Right Now – Reform Family Law Now.

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

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

Danville mother arrested for attempted murder, child abuse

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

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

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

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

Formal charges are expected Thursday.

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

Mothers Who Kill Their Children << Daddyblogger.com

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

March 09, 2009

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Who Hurt the Baby? 55% of CONVICTED child murderers are the biological MOTHERS

In Best Interest of the Child, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Family Rights on September 1, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Now, almost ten years after the report had been manufactured, it still hasn’t motivated any “peers” to review it. It is doubtful that any reputable researcher will ever come forth and be willing to support the extremely propagandistic views presented in the report.

What are we to think of the credibility of The National Center on Child Fatality Review — Once a liar, always a liar?

Based on the report by Dawson, J., & Langan, P. (1994, “Murder in Families, Bureau of Justice Special Report. Washington, DC: Department of Justice, NCJ-143498,” 55% of convicted child murderers are the biological mothers of the victims. That percentage has crept up to 61 percent since then, because violence by mothers against their children is inexorably increasing year after year.

Would anyone expect prospective criminals to restrain themselves if they are permitted to commit their crimes with impunity and if the crimes that they commit are literally invisible?

The male-bashing that is contained in the above quoted excerpt from the article could be excused if the authors of the report weren’t aware of that DoJ report. However, they included it in the references to chapter one of their report. Biological, married fathers of children account for about 6% of convicted murderers of children. (see also “Single-Mother Households — Accomplishments” and “Women were over half of the defendants (55%) in only one category of family murder: parents killing their offspring”)

There is a problem with violence statistics that are based on convictions. Although the dead body of a child can seldom be successfully hidden, our society is only too ready to look for all kinds of excuses when the obvious perpetrator is a woman. We are surprised, for example, when investigations show that specific women killed all or a number of their children in years gone by. A number of such cases have recently surfaced.

There is no telling how many more of such cases go undetected and unsuspected. That is where the hiding of the truth starts. The myth of the innocence of women is so all-powerful that we are virtually incapable of even suspecting that a woman is truly capable of murdering “her” child. But even if a woman is suspected, it often happens that the powers involved in prosecuting her do all they can to disprove that she could have done the deed.

If no avenue of escape is open, and if a conviction is inevitable, then it happens that the murder of a child is downgraded to manslaughter or even to infanticide (a category of crime of which only women can avail themselves), or it is ruled accidental, if at all possible.

The true number of children murdered by their mothers is for those reasons in reality far higher than statistics based on convictions indicate.
It doesn’t make any difference to the murdered children. They are dead one way or another, and nothing will call them back to life.

However, isn’t it in the best interest of our surviving children to recognize that their lives are most at risk when they are with their mothers without the protection by their fathers, especially if a given mother murdered one of her children already?

http://fathersforlife.org/fv/child_abuse_roles_of_sexes.htm