All too often in the breakdown of a relationship, one person may have reached that decision before the other, and may have delayed dealing with any considered change in the interests of the children. When it is finally communicated to the other partner, it is often seen as a ‘bolt out of the blue’. Fear, mistrust, grief and anger follow very quickly. This in turn sets the scene for a potential ‘high-conflict’ separation and subsequent custody battle.

The existence of parental alienation is all too often present in such battles, and the conflicts that begin to unfold both in and out of the court room are an overwhelming and life altering event for all concerned.

“Professionals will all too often mistake alienation for estrangement.”

At court a ‘best interests of the children’ standard will be applied, that at best, is incredibly vague and indeterminate. ‘Alienating behaviours’ may be quoted in social services reports however within the legal system, both in and out of the court room there is a distinct lack of understanding and appreciation of the damage done by an alienating parent. Professionals will all too often mistake alienation for estrangement. This leads to numerous misconceptions that in turn result in errors in professional decision-making. Many professionals will attribute some level of blame on to the alienated parent for having contributed to his or her rejection.

“The alienated parent becomes an immediate stranger to the life he or she once had.”

For the alienated parent the feeling of loss for children that are no longer in their lives is at times overwhelming. Some alienated parents describe the feeling being similar to that of grief when a close friend or family member dies. The alienated parent becomes an immediate stranger to the life he or she once had and quickly realises that they need for better or worse, to get to grips with their new reality. Even for the more resilient of alienated parents, trying to find the financial, emotional and supportive resources needed to manage each arising obstacle in the best interests of the children is incredibly challenging, both physically and emotionally. The guilt in engaging in other activities and hobbies that provide a healthy distraction for the alienated parent is difficult to bear and even more difficult to articulate.

International research shows us that children do not suffer long term damage when parents separate. However research does show us that children suffer short and long term difficulties when their parents remain in prolonged conflict with one another.

There are numerous arguments for co-parenting (E. Kruk, 2012):

  • Co-parenting preserves children’s relationships with both parents
  • Co-parenting preserves parents’ relationships with their children
  • Co-parenting decreases parental conflict
  • Co-parenting reflects children’s preferences and views regarding their own best interests
  • Co-parenting decreases the ‘mathematising’ of time spent with each parent
  • Co-parenting reduces the risk and incidence of parental alienation

In my particular case, the individual who is continuing to alienate my children against me does not believe in co-parenting. Between us, my ex-partner and I have paid in excess of £8,000 in legal fees. My ex-partner’s intention is to keep my children away from me (I have not seen them for almost a year). My intention is to co-parent, nothing more, nothing less.

To conclude, the emotional and financial costs of pursuing child contact through the courts are incredibly high. I have several more court hearings in front of me. This is the harsh reality of parental alienation and a biased and ineffective legal system.

btg dad


Please Note: We will gladly refer readers to true professionals who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles. 

We are also more than happy to feature quality content by writers; any wish to remain anonymous will be respected.

So if you align with our vision and ethos, have someone to recommend, are someone we would recommend or have something to say on the subject of shared parenting and parent equality in either a personal or professional capacity and would like a platform to have your say or contribute in some way to our cause, please contact us.

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team


The ‘season of goodwill’ is one of many ubiquitous terms seen at this time of year, such terms conjure up memories and feelings of warmth that are synonymous with the coming Christmas period and in most induces a feeling of hope, a spirit of generosity and a kindly approach towards others.

In this day and age when people rightly allow themselves to enjoy Christmas in their own way, be it religious, secular, commercial or all, we are all arguably dragged into this impending ‘season of goodwill’. Whichever way we choose to celebrate Christmas, the result is the same. If you are lucky enough to have a loving family around you, it will normally result in some time off work and time spent with loved ones. The giving and receiving of presents, cards and good wishes is common place for most at Christmas. It’s the time of year that people are smiling more, saying ‘merry Christmas’ to numerous shop assistants and relative strangers.

“This season induces in most, whether we admit to it or not, a spirit of generosity and kindness towards others, however small it may be.”

Charities receive more money over Christmas time than any other time in the year. Whatever Christmas means to you whether you are spurred on by commercialism, religious symbolism and phrases, Dickensian quotes or just nostalgic Christmas movies that are shown on television year after year; whether we like it or not, most of us will be encouraged to think of others more. This season induces in most, whether we admit to it or not, a spirit of generosity and kindness towards others, however small it may be.

However this is not the case for the alienating parent. The parent that chooses to prevent his or her children from seeing the other parent does clearly not ‘buy in’ to this ‘season of goodwill’. In fact the opposite is true, for the alienating parent this is a time of opportunity, but not in the context of ‘Christmas spirit’.

Christmas_PeaceNotPas

As is all too often the case in parental alienation cases, the resident parent, will make false accusations that the alienated parent harmed the children in the past . This in turn ‘kicks off’ a safeguarding referral and subsequent assessment and results in four to five months (in some cases more) of the targeted parent being prevented by the courts of any unsupervised contact with the children. This window of opportunity is key for the alienating parent. If they have not already done so at this point, this is where the alienating parent will all too often build a ‘psychological cage’ around the children, whereby the absence of the alienated parent is presented to the children as the alienated parent actively rejecting the children. The children will be told that the alienated parent has abandoned and rejected the children for a ‘new life’, when in fact the opposite is true. The children will be shielded from the outside truth. An additional key tell-tale sign of parental alienation is when the alienating parent prevents the children from having any relationship with the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins of the alienated parents side of family, this tactic is used to reinforce and secure the ‘false reality’ of what is the psychological hold the alienating parent has over the children.

“The absence of the targeted parent at such a crucial time of the year will be taken advantage of by the alienating parent.”

So we return back to the subject of Christmas. One can only imagine the multitude of emotions the effected children must be going through as they approach Christmas with their unfounded, but potentially entrenched belief that they have been ‘abandoned’ by their absent parent. The absence of the targeted parent at such a crucial time of the year will be taken advantage of by the alienating parent. The ‘psychological cage’ provided by the alienating parent will enable them to continue with this denigration and hatred of not only the absent and alienated parent but also the alienated parent’s side of the family.  Statistically speaking, personality disorders are at the core of parental alienation. As such there is no guilt or shame on the part of the alienator. There is only fear of the truth being found out. Unfortunately it is this fear of being found out that often drives such extreme behaviours.

So how do we as those effected by parental alienation compete with such damaging and abhorrent behaviours? In terms of coping and dealing with such alienating behaviours, the advice is that we do not compete or engage in conflict, but remain compassionate and kind. In essence a dignified approach in the face of overwhelming adversity. In the spirit of Christmas, it could be argued that we should simply allow ourselves to actively engage in the ‘season of goodwill’ with all its positive effects on ourselves and others. To conclude, we can be grateful for those around us and the love and support we provide for one another in such difficult and testing times.

When Charles Dickens’ character Scrooge, wakes up on Christmas morning, he realises he can make amends for his past cruelties:

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” 

Merry Christmas. Peace, love and hope to all.

btg dad


Please Note: We will gladly refer readers to true professionals who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles. 

We are also more than happy to feature quality content by writers; any wish to remain anonymous will be respected.

So if you align with our vision and ethos, have someone to recommend, are someone we would recommend or have something to say on the subject of shared parenting and parent equality in either a personal or professional capacity and would like a platform to have your say or contribute in some way to our cause, please contact us.

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

Below is a difficult to watch but powerful lecture by Dr Jennifer Hardman on parenting stereotypes within the context of parental alienation.

Dr. Harman is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Colorado State University and is the Program Coordinator for the Applied Social & Health Psychology Program.

Poignant points were:

  • How easy parental alienation can occur
  • How parenting stereotypes ‘buy in’ to the unknowing ‘sympathisers’ of the alienating parent
  • Parental alienation being addressed as a form of child abuse

btg dad


Please Note: We will gladly refer readers to true professionals who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles. 

We are also more than happy to feature quality content by writers; any wish to remain anonymous will be respected.

So if you align with our vision and ethos, have someone to recommend, are someone we would recommend or have something to say on the subject of shared parenting and parent equality in either a personal or professional capacity and would like a platform to have your say or contribute in some way to our cause, please contact us.

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

Until I had personally experienced parental alienation at first hand, I was not really aware of its existence, neither was I aware of how often it happens. Furthermore I was certainly not aware of its devastating effect on all those involved, in particular the children.

“I now see the world of parental alienation laid out in front me. A sea of helpless and powerless parents.”

I can recall a news story from several years ago of a dad dressing up as batman and staging a protest on the Buckingham palace balcony. This was in fact an incident that was one of several high profile stunts from 2004, all instigated by the Fathers for Justice campaign group. Reflecting back on the news coverage, such security breaches were called ‘unacceptable’ by the media. Fathers for justice would be called such things as ‘notorious’ and little encouragement from the media was given to the public to look further into this phenomena that we now call parental alienation.

ExcuseforPAS_PeaceNotPas

I now see the world of parental alienation laid out in front me. A sea of helpless and powerless parents, who have been alienated from and denied contact with their children. They are faced with an incredibly costly, biased and complex legal system that does not work efficiently or quickly enough to battle parental alienation. According to many authors on the subject of PAS such as Lowenstein (2007), both social services and the courts lack sufficient knowledge of PAS and underestimate both the short and long term negative effects it will have on children.

Parental alienation normally involves allegations of emotional, physical and sexual abuse being made by the alienating parent against the alienated parent. This is done to justify the prevention of contact between the alienated parent and the children. It is worth noting that such allegations are virtually always disproved (Baker, 2005). The result of such allegations will involve police and/or social worker input. And this all too often leads to the alienated parent giving up the fight for contact with their children (Lowenstein, 2007).

In an age of increasing awareness around mental health, and an increasing number of campaigns bringing the discussion of mental health into the public domain, it is alarming that parental alienation is so mismanaged and underestimated by the various government agencies that are supposed to be working for the welfare and safeguarding of our nations children.

“To deprive a child of a healthy relationship with a parent is psychologically harmful to children.”

Numerous authors on the subject of PAS agree on both the short and long term effects of parental alienation on children. Such alienating behaviours is ‘likely to endanger the child’s mental health and seriously compromise its emotional and psychological well-being’ (Van Rooyen & Mahendra, 2007). The authors also state that continuing to deprive a child of a healthy relationship with a parent is psychologically harmful to children.

Parental alienation is normally perpetrated by particular personality types. During a series of interviews for her book, Breaking the Ties that Bind: Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome, psychological researcher Amy J. L. Baker found that narcissistic mothers comprised a significant portion of alienating parents. She argues that this is important because it implies the presence of a personality disorder in the alienating parent.

So with the above points in mind, I would like to pose a question: With the unethical nature of accusing your ex-partner of a crime against their child they have not committed; with the short and long term detrimental effects on a child’s mental health, can there ever be any excuse for parental alienation as a way to either ‘get back at’ or ‘take control’ from an ex-partner?

btg dad


Please Note: We will gladly refer readers to true professionals who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles. 

We are also more than happy to feature quality content by writers; any wish to remain anonymous will be respected.

So if you align with our vision and ethos, have someone to recommend, are someone we would recommend or have something to say on the subject of shared parenting and parent equality in either a personal or professional capacity and would like a platform to have your say or contribute in some way to our cause, please contact us.

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team