Posts Tagged ‘Children and Divorce’

Parental alienation.

I read with interest about CAFCASS ‘ground breaking’ report on how to deal with Parental Alienation.  There are many children who on divorce and separation have been subtly or not so subtly alienated from one parent by the other.  The result is that they are ‘frightened’ of or hostile to one parent and therefore don’t see them. The parent who has enabled this or perpetrated it then gets the result that he or she wants which is to have the children all to themselves. Of course the impact on the children is terrible.  To grow up believe in the horror of one parent if they are not in reality, horrific, is not a functioning way to grow up and has an impact on the ability to form adult relationships in due course and an impact on how conflict is managed.

The question is what to do about it .CAFCASS suggest that the alienating parent have intensive therapy and if they are not responsive then the children should go and live with the parent they are alienated from.

I am interested to hear your response and ideas about this.  Did you grow up in a household where you didn’t see one parent because of alienation.  Are you a parent who doesn’t want your children to see you ex? What has been the impact on you?

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Children deserve more.

Recent publicity of the government’s proposals to enshrine in law the importance of children having a relationship with both parents post separation has resulted in controversy.  This controversy has, in my view, deflected from a debate which is fundamentally important in relation to children’s welfare after a divorce.  

Up and down the country there are many cases where fathers win a court order allowing them contact with their children however they often find it is still impossible as courts do little to ensure that the other parent complies. The new proposals are supposed to make it clear that both parents are equally important in a child’s life.

Despite the change in legislation, it is hugely difficult for a judge to say that a mother thwarting a court order should spend a few days in prison or be fined.  No-one wants to send mothers to prison or impose more financial constraints on a family.  Nor do courts want to take children away from their mothers and place them with their fathers as an antidote to alienation.  By the time children are alienated from their fathers, it may be more emotionally abusive to uproot them from their primary home. 

Where children are lucky enough to have two parents, they should not be stopped from loving and seeing them.  That has to be their inalienable right, with the exception of abusive or violent parents.

Most people recognise that an on-going relationship with both parents is fundamental to the healthy development of a child.  It is the few who don’t that cause untold problems.

Will a law change this? I don’t think so.  We need to change attitudes and the way the courts deal with non-compliance. Something needs to be done to ensure that spending proper time with each parent is what actually happens

Mr Justice Wall – impact of parents at war on their children.

Very interested to read Mr Justice Walls’ comments.  I agree that not all parents when going through divorce are truly mindful of the impact of their hostile relationship on their children. We all know that children are used as pawns in the battle between parents, but sometimes the situation is more subtle.  If one parent denigrates the other either to or in front of the children, that child has to do something with that information. The impact is to make them feel that part of them is ‘bad’ as they are made up of both parents.  Usually it means that the child can’t say anything nice about their parent to the other for fear it is not something that she or he will want to hear, so will split things in their mind, always being mindful of what not to say and what to say. Brought up where pesonal truth is not applauded but only what the recipient can tolerate is not healthy for a child.  Parents often feel that they can recruit their children to their view in the name of having a close relationship.  What is ignored there, is that the child loses out on having relationship with the other parent which is essential for healthy development into adulthood.  One parent may feel that is a good thing as what the other has to offer is not good enough.  Usually though, the other parent was good enough whilst married but suddenly acquires a not good enough persona simply through the act of divorce.  It is essential that children are unfettered in their relationship with both parents and that each can encouage him or her in that relationship. That way, guilt, blame, low self esteem and loneliness are not ignited and carried into adulthood.