Posts Tagged ‘Non-custodial mothers’

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


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)

“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.


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
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)
attention deficit disorder

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

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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.

The Truth About NonCustodial Parents: An Interview with Rebekah Spicuglia // Co-Parenting 101

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Sociopath, Torts on July 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm

On her blog, NonCustodial Parent Community, Rebekah Spicuglia captions the above picture of her and her son: “This is what ‘visitation’ looks like.”

Think you know what “noncustodial” really means?  Think again, and check out our interview with a woman whom MSN calls a “Mom Inspired to Change History”…

One of your goals in creating NCP Community is to raise awareness about the issues noncustodial parents face.  What are some of the key issues?

Noncustodial parents face many of the same challenges that custodial parents face.  We want to instill our values in our children, ensure they are doing their homework and studying for that big test tomorrow, treating others with respect .  But it is much harder to do when you aren’t in the same house as your children.

Parental disagreements are common, and a noncustodial parent can often feel helpless in decisions ranging from whether or not a child should have a cell phone to medical care.   But once you get past divorce and mediation issues and settle into everyday life, it’s engaging our children’s teachers, maintaining regular communication with our children, and arranging visitation that are the big issues.  Visitation in particular can be very difficult – there is scheduling with the custodial parent, figuring out childcare, trying to arrange playdates when you may not have much of a parenting community to speak of, and trying to make those visits really meaningful for our relationship with our children.

Yet, despite our best efforts and loving intentions, noncustodial parents often feel shut out from our children’s day-to-day life, academic progress, and major decisions.  In extreme cases, there might even be concern about child’s well-being, even child abuse, in the custodial parent’s home.   Societal misconceptions about what “noncustodial” means can wrongly limit a parent’s access to their children’s education/medical records, and parents often do not have access to legal resources or even understand their parental rights.  This can be discouraging for a parent who is truly striving to do the best s/he can.

What are some common misconceptions about noncustodial parents?

One of the biggest issues noncustodial parents face is a lack of understanding generally in society about what “noncustodial” means.  This leads to a great deal of frustration when dealing with authorities, and we regularly find ourselves explaining legalities to people to defend our right to be involved, our right-to-parent.

Just to clarify, there are two kinds of child custody, legal and physical, and there are varied combinations, which can even include a noncustodial parent sharing joint legal AND physical custody.  I do not have physical custody, but I share joint legal custody with my son’s father, which gives me full parental authority under the law.  But someone has to move out of the house, right?   Every divorce naturally creates custodial and noncustodial parents, but the stereotypes of the deadbeat dad/disappearing mom leave a stigma that noncustodial parents are irresponsible or don’t want their children, or worse – that they are dangerous and should be viewed with suspicion.  I have written about this many times on my sit, two examples here and hereIn fact, the majority of noncustodial parents are law-abiding citizens and loving parents who want to be involved as much as possible in our children’s lives.

Recently on your blog, you posted a Globe and Mail article about “parental alienation syndrome”.  The article noted: “Court proceedings are not conducive to peacemaking; they tend to increase acrimony between parents, which is bad for children. Many non-custodial parents simply walk away from an impossible situation, devastated to lose contact with their children, but consoled to know that their children’s exposure to a toxic tug-of-war is over.”  What support is available to parents in these situations?  What resources can they find at NCP Community or elsewhere?

What I loved about that article was the focus on the best interests of the child, which often gets lost in discussions of Parental Alienation Syndrome.  Sadly, many of us have seen how a parent might bad-mouth or poisoning a child against the other parent.  Whether or not people agree on the definition of “parental alienation” or that PAS exists as a “syndrome,” few people would disagree that the problem exists.   Even if both parents have legal custody, the custodial parent is in a position of greater power than the noncustodial parent.  It is much easier to interfere with visitation as the custodial parent – it is unfortunate that withholding visitation is a tactic often used, but when was the last time you saw an amber alert for “child abducted by custodial parent”?

Ideally, parents should be able to find ways to work together to prevent or manage these negative situations by bringing in mediators or planning ahead and building in very specific parenting plans into their custody agreements to prevent disputes.  However, if the situation is very bad, legal counsel may be needed.  NCP Community is a place for sharing strategies and solutions that will help everyone work together for the best interests of our children.

What are some of the unique challenges for co-parents who live a far distance from their children?  What are some ways they “stay close” when they don’t live close by?

There are many reasons a parent might live far away from his/her child – living near family, finding work, or to start a new life – and while it is hard, families can make it work.  In fact it has become easier to keep in touch long-distance, with visitation via skype and flying our kids unaccompanied to visit us.

Most importantly, no matter the distance, children should be able to continue the same quality of relationship with each parent that they enjoyed prior to the separation.  Here are some suggestions for noncustodial parents:

  • Regular phone calls, scheduled & unscheduled, helps keep the lines of communication open and ensure that you are kept in the loop of your chidren’s lives.
  • In conversation, asking specific questions shows that you care and are paying attention, and I find that those are easier questions for children to answer (“how did you do on your test?” vs “how was school today?”)
  • Be creative in your communications and demonstration of your love.  Text messages, emails, cards, care packages…  Keep a stack of cute cards at the ready to send.  Buy things that remind our children how special they are (magnets, pictures, ID-sized notes to fit into a wallet).
  • Communicate with the custodial parent. Again, the more specific the questions, the better.  The custodial parent is a goldmine of information about your child and main decision-maker in your child’s life, so open communication should always be a priority.
  • Don’t be discouraged. Keep trying, and try not to place the burden of your frustration onto your children.  Remember that despite the challenges you face, you are ultimately responsible for your involvement in your children’s lives.

You’ve noted the growing voice of noncustodial mothers, including Karen Murphy in her Motherhood from Afar column at LiteraryMama.  What are some special concerns that noncustodial moms face that noncustodial dads do not (or do to a lesser degree)?

Society can be harsh towards moms who don’t fit a traditional mold.  The assumption that mothers will retain custody of their children after a divorce is so strong that if she does not take custody, her fitness or attachment to her child comes into question in a way that it does not for men.  People wonder if she had her children taken away from her, or maybe she just didn’t want her kids.  These are assumptions that often have no basis in reality.  It may come down to which parent has more resources to offer the children, or which parent has the better lawyer.

What’s most important is that custody arrangements are made in the best interests of the children, and although a child might reside with one parent, that should not reflect badly on the noncustodial mom or dad.  At the end of the day, noncustodial moms and dads have more in common than not– we are just trying to stay involved in our children’s lives in meaningful ways.

The Truth About NonCustodial Parents: An Interview with Rebekah Spicuglia // Co-Parenting 101.

Journeys of Women Without Custody

In Childrens Rights, Family Rights, mothers rights, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment on May 6, 2009 at 10:39 pm

From Ambivalence to a Renewed Sense of Self

by: Annette Pagano, Psy.D.
Member of Board of Directors
National Association of Non Custodial Moms

Through the changing mores of American society, we have become tolerant of non-traditional families and flexible gender roles. When families experience the trauma of divorce, they have to adapt the best they can to altered economic and social circumstances. And while we smile indulgently at the concept of “Mr.Mom,” the bumbling father who gamely throws himself into the difficult tasks of homemaking and nurturing children, we still harshly judge the mother who, for whatever reason, does not have custody of her children. For many, that woman is a modern-day Medea; perceived to have sacrificed her children to satisfy her own selfish wants and needs.

Non-custodial mothers and their image in society are the subject of this in-depth, compassionate study by Annette Mayo Pagano, Psy.D. Through a series of revealing interviews, Dr. Pagano examines the lives of nine women from all walks of life who redefine the role of mother in this non-traditional context.

Buy this book