Stopping Parental Alienation Requires Family Court ReformsWritten by: Rob Print This Article
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Parental alienation is a very serious form of widespread child abuse aided and abetted by the corrupt and abusive courts in the United States and Canada. Parental alienation is driven by the psychological problems of parents abused as kids as well as by the government and divorce industry. Courts are commonly encouraging conflict in divorcing families that leads to parental alienation and other long-running conflicts damaging children. From this, they derive income and job security.
In a very real sense, parental alienation is government-backed child abuse. When you see a judge in a black robe, if you are reminded of the grim reaper or angel of death coming to kill your family because that’s its job, you’re not far off the mark. Parental alienation will not stop unless court reforms are implemented that support shared parenting, move away from the adversarial “winner takes all” decisions common today, and put into place support systems that help parents work together for the benefit of their children without repeated conflict-inducing trips back to court.
Parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse against both children and the alienated parent, sometimes called the target parent, and often his or her entire extended family. As parental alienation expert Dr. Amy Baker has found in her research, it causes greatly elevated rates of long-term depression and substance abuse in the children who are victims. The harm does not stop when they become adults, either. A large portion of alienated children will in turn enter into emotionally abusive relationships which result in them being alienated from their own children.
Alienated children frequently are psychologically damaged in long-term ways. They often develop depression, substance abuse problems, eating disorders, and even manipulative behavior patterns similar to their alienating parents. Some compare growing up with an alienating parent as being kidnapped and brainwashed. Of her 40 research subjects covered in Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind, some notable statistics are:
- 70% suffered from depression
- 58% were divorced
- Half of the 28 who had children are estranged from their own children
- 35% developed problems with drugs and alcohol
We have featured two of Dr. Baker’s books in past articles Parental Alienation Book For Middle School Kids: “I Don’t Want to Choose!” and Parental Alienation Can Happen to Adults and In Marriages.
I personally found Baker’s book Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind to be a very worthwhile read because it discusses the impact to the children after they have the benefit of some distance from their abusive parent and can therefore talk more objectively about what really happened to them as kids. If you want to understand what has happened to you as a victim of an alienating parent or could happen to your children, this is a great choice no matter if it is your first or tenth book on the subject. (By the way, the Amazon Kindle version is about $6 less expensive than the traditional printed book.)
At least one study estimates that about 25% of children of divorce are affected by parental alienation syndrome or PAS as it is often called. PAS occurs when the children adopt the alienating thinking of the abusive parent. Many more children are being exposed to parental alienation, however, as far from all of these children succumb to PAS. Further, parental alienation can start during a marriage or relationship prior to separation and divorce:
My ex moved on from trying to damage my relationships with my birth family to attempting to alienate our first child from me starting years before divorce. As Dr. Baker discovered, parental alienation in marriages is common. However, it is not as well known as the most frequently discussed cases which involve divorced alienating parents. I believe from my own personal experience and experiences of friends and acquaintances that this scenario is far more common than is realized. Often children are not aware of the access blocking and denigration being abnormal behaviors for parents. They grow up in these toxic environments from birth. Only when the toxicity grows far worse, such as more extreme behaviors triggered by a divorce, may they start to understand that something is amiss.
Parental Alienators Can Be Mothers or Fathers
The following video features a lady named Erin in Everett, Washington, about how her mother alienated her from her father. Starting around age 13, she was taught to lie about him drinking and sexually abusing her and encouraged to be afraid of him. She also discusses the corruption in the family law courts that encourage the abuse of children for profits. The video was produced by CRISPE, the Children’s Rights Initiative for Sharing Parents Equally, during one of their bus tours across the United States.
Adult Child of Parental Alienation in Washington State
Although the video focuses on a mother who alienated her children from their father, parental alienation also occurs with children being taught to hate their mothers as in a landmark Canadian case in Toronto. In that case, a father alienated a 13 year old son from his mother by the usual hateful emotionally abusive mind games and access blocking (interfering with contact) used by alienators to abuse their children:
Judge Turnbull observed that the father, 54, has repeatedly breached court orders granting the mother limited access to her son. He said that the boy has come to perceive himself and his father as “intertwined and unable to distinguish one’s thoughts from the other.”
As part of his campaign of absolute control over LS, the father dictated toxic e-mails for the boy to send to his mother. He also removed photographs of the mother from her son’s bedroom.
Judge Turnbull also noted that in 2005, the father pursued an assault charge against the mother. As a result, LS, at the age of 10, was required to testify against her in criminal court.
“Frankly, the exercise of such parental indiscretion stuns this court,” Judge Turnbull said, adding that the mother was acquitted.
Jeffery Wilson, the mother’s lawyer, said Thursday that the case is a breakthrough for parents attempting to win back children who have been intentionally alienated from them.
“This is a precedent in Canada – the first time a Canadian court has recognized the lack of resources to deal with the disease of parental alienation and answered it with a private remedy – the Family Workshop for Alienated Children,” Mr. Wilson said.
Rabid Feminists Deny Reality of Parental Alienation
In addition to that Toronto case, another recent one in the news is that of mother Tonya Craft who was falsely accused of sexual abuse and spent two years separated from her kids as part of the parental alienation executed by her ex-husband. There are many other cases involving mothers as the target parent. I personally have met a few such mothers myself and find them credible because of their overall stories and attitudes that kids do need fathers, too. Yet there are many rabid feminist organizations that flatly deny that parental alienation occurs and that parental alienation syndrome is real.
These groups are placing their male-hating politics and father-bashing tactics over the interests of the children. They pretend that any child that expresses dislike for a father must be objective and justifiable and parental alienation cannot ever be the cause because it doesn’t exist. While there is no doubt there are some abusive fathers (and are abusive mothers, too), such a blanket denial flies in the face of the experiences of millions of children who have seen alienation tactics used on themselves. Thousands of researchers and therapists familiar with children suffering from parental alienation also know that parents of either gender can be emotionally abusive and use parental alienation tactics against children.
The motivation for this dishonesty appears to be that parental alienation is usually committed by custodial parents and in the United States, Canada, and many other nations, mothers are the vast majority of custodial parents. This is due to a mixture of causes including sexist laws, sexist judges, and cultural biases, some of which are the direct outcome of rabid feminist organizations lobbying to treat fathers as third-class citizens. These rabid feminists want to maintain this unfair and harmful situation and are willing to lie and sacrifice children to parental alienation child abuse to do it. That they are also writing off many mothers who are targets for parental alienation. Apparently they believe that these mothers fall under the category of “acceptable losses”.
Mothers who are victims of parental alienation should be particularly upset with their hypocritical sexist sisters for this reason. Rabid feminists are their enemies as they support parental alienation and child abuse. Despite the sexism of today’s courts and laws, there are enough cases of wrongly treated mothers that it is not hard to find a mom banned from seeing her kids because of an alienating father. These mothers understand what so many fathers have endured and they understandably don’t like it. Many of them have joined groups with alienated fathers because they know they have much in common in regards to the interests of their children and their own interests. Most fathers in such situations are very supportive of these moms, too.
Court Reform Needed
It’s clear that parental alienation is very damaging to kids and that many children are being affected. So why aren’t legislators doing something about restricting judges from far too often interfering with children’s contact with parents? The answer is money.
Judges, lawyers, and divorce industry professionals find parental alienation profitable and encourage it by their focus on adversarial litigation, custody evaluations, and grossly out of balance allocations of time to each child. These people disproportionately influence legislation through a combinations of means including running for office, lobbying, and campaign donations.
Some alienation is arguably caused almost entirely by the court system. This seems to be what happened with Joal Henke, alienator against Tonya Craft, who had little contact with his kids and a growing child support bill and saw the opportunity to screw over his ex-wife with some other parents who didn’t like her using false child sexual abuse allegations in an attempt to get a more fair outcome for himself, disregarding how much damage it would do to both the kids and his ex-wife. Nobody benefited from this except for the divorce industry and government that derived income and job security from it.
Parental alienation expert Bill Eddy in his new book Don’t Alienate the Kids! Raising Resilient Children While Avoiding High Conflict Divorce advocates refocusing the courts towards balanced time shares, minimizing conflict, and no longer picking “winning” and “losing” parents to help stop parental alienation. He cites how alienating parents were often raised in emotionally abusive households, learned to be emotionally abusive themselves, and may not even be aware of how damaging their behaviors are because they regard them as normal. Further, he believes that a “culture of blame” encouraged by society and the courts focuses on blaming and punishing one parent rather than identifying problems and putting into places solutions that help the overall family system to stop the problems and ensure that children have time with both of their parents.
He’s been blogging about the book since its release in April 2010. He’s particularly firm on the need to reform the family law courts to get away from the adversarial winner/loser system that helps encourage and perpetuate parental alienation:
(from My Alienation Blog)
2) The Family Court Culture of Blame, where parents and family law professionals fight over who to blame for one issue or another. Child alienation is one of the biggest fights these days, as some parents and professionals blame it all on “the alienator” – the favored parent who they believe has purposefully alienated the child against the rejected parent. Other parents and professionals blame it all on the rejected parent as “the abuser” who must have done something wrong, even though the worst behavior of that parent is usually so minor that it just doesn’t fit.
Of course children need protection from child abuse and child alienation, and that is what makes these cases so difficult. We need to address the real underlying mental health problems, rather than making it a contest with a winner parent and a loser parent – which doesn’t help either of them or the child. This parent contest is part of the problem, as it makes it harder to see abuse and alienation, and properly manage them. In many cases, there may be both alienation and abuse.
We need to stop the parent contest, and take a much more broad and supportive approach to parents dealing with a child who rejects one parent – who could be Mom or Dad; who could be the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent. It’s no longer a gender issue. I have dealt with the full range of these kinds of cases, and the full range of professional behavior – some are part of the problem, while many are trying hard to be part of the solution. My focus is on behavior in family court, not who to blame. We all need to take responsibility, including me! We all have made mistakes and need to learn.
If the government and divorce industry were truly intent on helping kids, they would be paying attention to what experts like Bill Eddy, Dr. Amy Baker, and many others have to say about the problems of parental alienation and adversarial divorce. The focus of the courts would be on doing everything possible to ensure that children have significant and continuing contact with both parents, putting in support systems for children and parents, and monitoring and correcting (when necessary) the behaviors of the parents without repeated litigation. Options should exist for even parents who are still together to get assistance to nip parental alienation in the bud. Many, possibly even most, alienating parents are former child abuse victims themselves and have yet to heal from the damage they suffered. They need help, too, but their failure to understand their problems and get help is contributing to broken marriages and alienated children. Such a full family support system approach would be far more efficient than the current adversarial system typical of family law courts. It could head off much of the damage of parental alienation before the children start to align with alienating parents, too, and perhaps help the alienators heal enough that they can learn to alter their conduct substantially.
Our Recent Parental Alienation Articles
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