Monday, October 27, 2008

Helpful tips for a target parent dealing with parental alienation

This is not a complete list of tips and I will add to them as time goes on.

One of the things that target parents deal with is how to cope when you are the target parent. It is very difficult and frustrating being in this position. Your child or children, who once loved you, now seem to hate you. You feel powerless and hopeless. So I hope these suggestions can offer some insight.

1) Make sure your attorney understands what parental alienation is about and has dealt with cases before. Not all states allow the term parental alienation into the court system. This is one area that you get what you pay for.

2) Demand that counseling be ordered in your case. If you cannot get this ordered, then find a counselor that understands what parental alienation is and has dealt with other families experiencing this. If you cannot get your child or children to go, then you go. Not only will you gain insight, but you will be able to vent to a safe source.

3) Do not speak disparagingly about your ex spouse where your child or children could overhear you. Have a rule that you will refrain from any negative speak or outbursts when your child or children visit. Also have skin of steal as you will need it. You are going to tried as a parent with your child or children in their attempts to align with the alienating parent, you will be tried by the courts and you will be tried by friends that attempt to help.

4) Have at least one confidant that you can confide in, so you can vent and gain some insight. Your story gets old to many and many do not understand and their helpful advice will wear thin as well. ( why don't you cut your losses? It is a phase. They will eventually figure it out, give it time. )

5) Read, read and do more reading about parental alienation. Buy books about parental alienation. It is a comfort to know that you are not alone.

6) Maintain contact with your child or children, no matter how difficult and heartbreaking it is. Be it cards, phone calls or emails. They may very well be ignored as well.
Let them know that you will always be there without repercussion.

7) maintain a journal of your feelings. If you do it online, make it private and do not let anyone have access. This is for you and it is cathartic.

8) Document everything. Have logs of when you attempted calls, sent cards,keep email copies, write down any contact you have with the alienating parent and what was said. Have a witness when possible. This most likely will not help you in court, but it may.

9) Find a hobby, get a second job doing something you always wanted to do, get involved in support groups, something to make you feel needed and important. Target parents either seem to get lost in the fight or want to walk away.

10) Do not give up hope. For as cliche as it sounds, I think the child or children will eventually figure it out and you have to be there. You may also be faced with the toughest problem as well and that is to not allow your child to hate the alienating parent for doing what they did.

Now if I can only follow the ten things I wrote about. It is difficult as a target parent.

Parental alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How can someone help when there is parental alienation?

I hear many times, "I wish there was something I could to do to help you." I understand this to mean that the person saying this cares and empathizes with you, but feels totally helpless. Quite honestly I did not have a reply either, because what could they do to help? They cannot attempt to talk some sense into my child or ex spouse. That would be futile. They can pray for my child, ex spouse and myself, which I do suggest they do. I have been thinking about what someone can do when there is parental alienation happening and I have come to offer this.

If you are the friend of a couple that is going through a divorce that has children, a teacher, a school counselor, a school principal, a social worker, a child care provider, a lawyer, a policeman or policewoman, a doctor, a nurse or any other person that has contact with children and or divorcing couples with children, you MUST educate yourself about parental alienation. You must not be afraid to voice a concern. You must not take the attitude of I do want to get involved in their business. If you are dating a divorced person with children and have some apprehensions and have a gut feeling about things, or think you see some red flags, or your friends tell you this person is wrong for you, then listen to your inner voice and some of the advice you are receiving.

Let me for a moment explain why I said the above statement. When I met the man whom would become the father of our child, I was told that he was bad news. I was told to stay away from him. I ignored that advice. He was divorced himself and had children from his previous marriage. What I saw was a man that missed his children tremendously, loved his children and wanted to spend more time with them. I would also hear him talk poorly about his ex wife and heard all of the terrible things she did during their marriage and why she wanted the marriage to end. We are human and most certainly do not like to admit that we could be part of a problem. I also thought that everyone talked poorly about the ex spouse at first, until you reached a point where you both could coexist. I also heard his family members: mother, father, brothers and sisters, openly trash the mother of his children. They were hurt that their son was losing his marriage and his everyday ability to be a father and thought this was just part of the normal grieving process of divorce. I am not sure if this is part of a grieving process, but I think that any divorcing couple should at least be able to say something positive about the other person, especially if children are involved. The degradation of his ex wife were not red flags at first, but after some time, the constant bad mouthing of his ex wife became old. He did not alienate his children by the tactics used by obsessed alienators, but do have to say his relationship with his children at this time is strained to say the least. He did not have the opportunity to be an obsessed alienator. I do believe that he caused his own alienation. I really do not wish to elaborate more about this at this time.

So what can someone do to help? You need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of parental alienation. You need to realize that this is an extremely deceptive form of child abuse that is perpetrated by a vindictive ex-spouse. It is designed to destroy the targeted parent at all cost, even if it means destroying the children in the process. If you are a grandparent that has a child going through a divorce, you need to remain neutral. You need to keep contact with your former daughter or son in law. You need to stop the degrading of the other spouse by telling the person who is making these comments that you will not be a willing party. If your son or daughter is making degrading remarks, you will have to practice tough love. If it is your daughter or son in law making these comments, you must stand your ground that you will not allow these comments to be made. Do not let threats that you will never see your grandchild again scare you. If they are so determined to make good on that threat, your cooperation with them will only result in your heartbreak. If your good friend is going through a divorce you must do the same as a grandparent should do. You cannot sit idly by and think that trashing a mother or father of a child is normal behavior, until the parents reach a point where they co exist. If you think they will reach that point, the damage has already begun.

If you are a teacher or a principal and a parent questions how they can get copies of their child's school pictures, report cards or notifications of parent teacher conferences, sporting events, plays or anything that their child is involved in, comply with this request. That parent most likely is unable to obtain this information from the other parent and the courts are no relief. Do not assume that the child provides this information.

Be aware when a new love interest starts to refer to the children as ours. This could mean nothing sinister, but could also reflect the alienating parents view that they are attempting to replace the child's parent. Listen if a target parent tells you that things have changed between them and their children for no apparent reason. Do not try to pass it off as a stage. Be wary when allegations of abuse arise for no apparent reason. Spouses do not start abuse when the marriage is about to end.

Educate yourself, learn about parental alienation, learn about child abuse, learn about false allegations, listen to both sides if you are able and trust your inner feelings. People that deceive seem to forget whom they have told what story to. Also some of these stories seem almost outright ridiculous. Ask for proof, not hearsay. There WILL be a trail of deception. You may have to search public records. There will be a paper trail.

You will learn that that the target parent can tell you many terrible things about the other parent but will place the best interest of their child first. The target parent can also tell you some enduring qualities of the alienating parent as well. You will also learn that a target parent wishes to protect their child from having to hear anything negative about the other parent. An alienating parent cannot express any positive attitudes towards the target parent. Do not confuse that they may profess that they encourage their child or children to have a relationship with the target parent but they cannot force the child to have one. They are projecting the "independent thinker" upon you. A child does not want to hate the other parent.

To hate the other parent is to hate half of your child. Target parents do not want their child to hate a part of themselves.

Educate yourself about parental alienation. Look for the signs. Children do not want to hate the other parent. Become a voice.

Parental alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Alec Baldwin's book " A Promise to Ourselves"

A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce

With all due respect to Mr. Baldwin, I never envisioned myself purchasing a book written by him. I do not agree with many of his views that he supports. When the widely publicized release of the recording of the voice message he left his daughter hit the media air waves, I was appalled. My first reaction was, you, Mr. Baldwin are the thoughtless pig. This of course was the goal of the media. After I was able to get over the initial shock that a parent would say such things to their child, I was able to think about this recording. Other than hearing degrading words to his daughter, I could hear anger, frustration and desperation in his voice. I wondered was Mr. Baldwin a target parent as well?

Whether one agrees or disagrees, I find it very discouraging that it took a "celebrity" to be affected by parental alienation to have some media recognition. Unfortunately, the recognition that was reverberating worldwide, could provide organizations that believe that parental alienation is junk science.

One of the most difficult things a target parent deals with is having to separate what they think a child old enough to know better should be capable of thinking and doing and what children that are brainwashed are able to do. It is hard to separate that a child of 10,11,13,15,17 or any age who is capable of knowing the difference between right and wrong, is capable of "buying into" the process of being encouraged to hate another parent. This is where that outburst by Mr. Baldwin, although wrong, is also understandable from a targeted parents point of view.

A target parent, which is "usually" the non custodial or non residential parent, no longer has the parenting abilities they once had. They get "awarded" the standard amount of "visitation" with their child and if they are "lucky", they get "awarded" a more generous or liberal amount of time. When did divorce mean that you give up your rights as a parent and if you play your cards right, you can get "awarded" more time with your child? It is a system seriously flawed and this is one of the things that Mr. Baldwin makes a point of in his book.

Most parents do not have to have their divorce and custody cases broad casted into the media spotlight. To experience a contentious custody issue and to be cast into the media spotlight, is an opportunity by an alienating parent more than happy to exploit.

If you thought of buying his book to read all the "dirty details" of his divorce, you will be sadly disappointed. I thought he did a great job of telling his story without having to trash the mother of their child. Something that target parents are told, is to take the high road and to not discuss the details. Without some details, it is difficult to understand how the alienation plays a role now in your own particular case. If you thought of buying this book to read about parental alienation, he does provide some heartbreaking details about what parental alienation does. It also allows you to realize that sometimes a parent just gives up, not because they want to, but because they are fighting a battle they know they will never win. Mr. Baldwin did not give up and he fights. Most parents do not have the financial resources that Mr. Baldwin has to fight this fight. Please do not let that detail deter a target parent from fighting for what is right and that is to be a parent.

The book was easy reading for me. I did not break down in a sea of tears, like some other books I have read and am unable to pick the book back up to continue. This was not said to minimize his book. I did have a few sea of tears moments, especially because I could relate and knew the hurt. His book seemed to not focus on the let's hit the target parent in the heart, but to explain and discuss. Although I hate to admit this, I found an appreciation for Mr. Baldwin after reading this book.

If you would like to purchase his book and to read it, I would appreciate that you click the link I have posted in this entry and to make your purchase. I won't beat around the bush. A target parent's fight in the courts is expensive and exhausting. Your purchase helps.

Parental alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My experience with Parental alienation

How can I write a blog about parental alienation without saying anything about my experience with it? I am pretty private, but my main concern is to protect my son. This is why I have not said anything concerning my case for the most part.

I would have said that my first experience with parental alienation began over 3 years ago, but I now would have to say that my first experiences happened many years ago. Hindsight is 20/20 they say and I believe this to be true. As I can step back and attempt to analyze many experiences, I must say that I have missed many red flags. Some red flags I picked up on, but some I was not sure if they meant anything. The last thing I wanted to do was to jump to conclusions with nothing to base them on except a gut feeling.

I can tell you a date and time, but I won't right now, when I first thought I experienced parental alienation. I had a weekend visitation with my son during his father's summer parenting time. That Saturday evening, my son came and kissed me, hugged me and said he loved me prior to going to bed that evening. This was normal behavior as we always had a close relationship. This would also be the last time that I would hear my son say that he loved me. My ex and I had a transfer location that seemed to work for both of us. That weekend the transfer would be different if I did not mind. I did not mind, but I did need information as to the new location. Somehow I think this was misread as I objected and an alternative solution was suggested. The alternative solution seemed alright with me as long as I was not causing anyone to have to change plans dramatically where my ex was concerned. I was assured that this would work out better. I would realize later that hindsight is 20/20.

What followed after the transfer of my son back to his father's home that summer would hit me like a ton of bricks. Like a car racing down a dark and winding road, I would be broadsided without warning. The impact would be forceful and devastating. You would instinctively throw your arm out to protect your child. You child would be in the back seat with their seat belt on and protected from the crash. The sound would be deafening and the slow motion of the crash would forever play over in your mind as a silent movie. Your child although protected from the impact of the other car would be affected. The aftermath of the crash would take years to reconstruct the details and without a witness be difficult to prove. Welcome to parental alienation.

I can only compare what target parents experience as an analogy to what one could understand as impossible. The target parent is in a boat that is taking on water, they are without oars and about to go over a waterfall, be it Niagara Falls as one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world with about six million cubic meters of water flowing per minute, Angel falls as the world’s highest waterfalls and it falls from a height of 979 meters in Venezuela or Victoria Falls that is considered to be the largest waterfalls in the world. You cannot fight the power. You know your fate and all you can do is pray and fight the power against you. Or you can accept your fate and fade away. I chose to fight to have more time with my son and I chose to fight parental alienation. Little did I know that it is a fight that a target parent can not win.

Parental Alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

False allegations during divorce and custody

I have several theories or thoughts about what happens when one parent decides that they will stop at nothing to win their case. These, of course, are my own thoughts and hypotheses about this and I find that I seek some form of validation to support them.

I came across an article the other day that I thought was interesting.

"False Allegations Of Abuse In Divorce By Reverend Dennis Austin
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of divorces over the last thirty years. Experts estimate that at least half of all marriages will end in divorce. Divorce has an effect on everyone involved, especially children if there are children in the relationship. Many times divorces become very hostile, which results in long courtroom battles.

In recent years, there has been an upward trend to fathers seeking custody rights to the children. Often times parenting plans can be set up with mediation between the two parents but in most cases, the court becomes involved. During custody battles, there is a growing trend of one parent alleging abuse by the other parent. Before 1973, Child abuse was rarely reported to authorities and often times it was covered up. In 1963, reports of suspected child abuse was 160,000 but between 1976 and 1993, the total yearly number of child abuse reports grew from 669,000 to over 2.9 million after the child abuse protection legislation that Senator Mondale sponsored. The passing of this legislation has also resulted in the increase of allegations of child abuse in divorce battles.

In 1975, thirty five percent of all child abuse reports were unsubstantiated, but by 1993, that percentage sky-rocketed to sixty six percent. In divorce, when allegations are made and the police conduct investigations, ninety seven percent of these claims are unable to be substantiated. It is obvious that many allegations of abuse which are reported in divorce situations are false and ninety five percent of those accusers are women. With the high amount of divorces, the percentage of those divorces which abuse is reported, and the percentage of which are unsubstantiated, it shows that children are being used as pawns to hurt or destroy the other parent. These false allegations of abuse, even if proven to be false, can ruin someone's life and have a devastating effect on the children. "

The author goes on to talk about parental alienation as well.

I find it odd that the number of child abuse allegations has risen dramatically and that many of these allegations are unsubstantiated as well. I would say that this increase is proportionate to the number of divorces that occur when there are children caught in a high conflict custody fight between two parents.

Why can the average person deduce this and the courts, children's services and the police not realize that these tactics are a ploy and a scam? Why are the people making such allegations not charged with a crime?

If anyone researches the term parental alienation, they will find that the common theme is the alienating parent will make allegations of abuse to the child by the other parent, drug and or alcohol abuse and mental illness by the other parent. The goal of the alienating parent is to remove or erase a loving parent from their child's life.

Parents that have the best interest of the child at heart are able to put aside their personal hurt of the divorce and realize that children need to be loved and to feel loved by both parents. It takes an unconscionable person who calls themselves a parent to ruin a child's life. No loving parent that places their child's well-being above their own would think to destroy a child.

Parental alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What is parental alienation?

For anyone unfamiliar with the phrase parental alienation, as I once was, it was a term introduced by the late Richard A. Gardner, M.D. There are many so called professionals on both sides of the fence regarding the name parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome. Some believe that parental alienation exists and others do not. Quite frankly I would rather not get caught in the correct terminology, but to educate for what does and can exist in high conflict custody cases.

These ideas are writings from my own personal experience, my observations from reading emails from parents, and my own personal research who have experienced the same thing.

One common denominator that seems to resonate is that the target parent feels as if they were hit by a train on a dark road. You never saw it coming. The aftermath is devastating and something that feels like it will never be repaired to the original state. It is a death, but both you and the child or children are still very much alive. It is grief without closure.

Another common denominator seems that be that the alienating parent is not "right". They seem to have some mental defect and or personality disorder. Of course trying to prove this is futile, because the alienator is a master at the game of deceit. Another common denominator seems to me, is that the alienator has narcissistic tendencies. They may also demonstrate anti social behavior. Alienators seem to have preponderance in the courts as well. They will use the legal system to abuse and harass the target parent.

Although Dr. Gardner coined the term parental alienation, it was associated with mothers. I would rather not write that one gender has greater tendencies to have the ability to alienate a child, but state that both genders are capable of this.

Parental alienation or any other term used to describe the atrocities used by one parent to encourage a child to hate another parent is simply abuse and emotional abuse at that. I would also state that it is the most severe form of emotional abuse that can happen in a child's life.

Can you imagine having the parent that has raised you, loved you, been there for you and shown you unconditional love to be vilified as a criminal and low life? As a target parent to be denied your rights as a parent and as a child to denied the love of a parent, this is a heinous act on the part of the alienator.

Somehow and somewhere the courts, children's services, judges and more will realize this and the laws will change. Until that time, target parents and children that are alienated everywhere will have to have the courage to stand up for what is right. Unfortunately the alienated child most likely does not realize this. It is up to the target parents to stand up, but who will listen?

Parental alienation is abuse! Stop the abuse!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Dr. Phil and Parental Alienation

Thank you Dr. Phil for having a show about parental alienation.

From Dr. Phil's website about shows this week:

"Brainwashed by my Parents" "Friday - October 3, 2008"

"It’s being called the ultimate form of child abuse -- brainwashing your children against an ex-spouse to win custody. Could you be harming your child emotionally and not even know it? First up, Ken is a successful surgeon who says he’s the victim of parental alienation syndrome (PAS). He says he hasn’t seen his 14-year-old son since last October and claims his ex-wife destroyed what was once a loving father-son relationship. Mel Feit, director of the National Center for Men, says Ken’s situation is a classic case of kids being turned against their father, but family law attorney Liz Kates says PAS is a phony tactic used by some men to get out of paying child support. What does Dr. Phil think? Then, Karen lost custody of her children after she was accused of parental alienation syndrome by her ex-husband. Karen maintains her innocence, so why were her parental rights terminated when her daughters accused her ex of sexual abuse? Plus, 19-year-old Demi joins the show via Web cam and says her father verbally abused her mother during their divorce. Now, she fears that her 15-year-old sister is caught in the middle. Find out what you can do if you’re caught between sparring parents. And, meet a father so desperate to see his young children, he kidnapped them from his ex-wife and went on the lam for two years. "

I as only able to see half of the show, but I can tell you that the attorney Liz Kates made my blood boil. What I heard or understand her to imply was that parental alienation may not exist and that in cases where abuse was evident parental alienation was used. Excuse me, that was not the leading question for that response. She obviously has never had first hand experience with parental alienation.

Let me ask you Ms. Kates, have you ever been invited to a baby shower and signed a card and could not finish because of the tears? Have you avoided attending baby showers because this is to be a happy occasion and all you can do is grieve for your child? Are you afraid you would cry and take away from the joy if you attended? Can you watch a movie where the plot of the story is about divorced parents and one parent degrades the other parent? Have you cried because you can relate? Do you know what it is like to wonder what your child is doing? Do you get frustrated because your calls go unanswered, your emails unanswered, that you send to your child? Have you asked your ex spouse for information about your child and are ignored? Do you miss special events for your child because you are not told about them? Do you have a collection of photos of your child but are missing some because you cannot even get a copy of a school photo? Do you have to answer complaints filed in court that are pure BS because your ex spouse harasses you by using the legal system? Do you have to deal with your visitation time, which is sometimes less than 48 hours per month, that has constant interference from the ex spouse? Do you know how it feels when you cannot talk to your child twice in a month, but the ex calls or text messages every few hours when it is your parenting time? Do you feel tremendous loss and grief from not being able to see your child and cannot even explain the grief you feel so others can understand? Do you get angry when people say this will pass? If not, then you have not a clue what parental alienation is about.

You can say that is not parental alienation. I really do not care what it is called. It is WRONG! When one parent uses a child as a pawn and encourages the child to hate the other parent, that is abuse. Pure and simple ABUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wake up judges, courts and children's services. This is abuse. There may be no scars, but it is abuse.

Parental alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

You may be an alienator if....

You may be an alienating parent if.....

You refuse to allow the other parent access to school records.

You refuse to allow the other parent to have copies of school pictures.

You refuse to tell the other parent about school plays, sports or clubs that the child has a program in, knowing the other parent would like to attend.

You refuse to tell the other parent about health/medical concerns of the child.

You call others several times when the child is injured and several hours later call the other parent if the child is injured only because it would be obvious that the child has been injured.

You present yourself and new spouse as the natural parents or the only parents the child has.

You refuse to follow court orders pertaining to visitation.

You refuse to allow visitation with the non residential parent.

You have plans for the child when it is visitation time with the non residential parent so the child feels torn.

You ask the child to spy on your ex spouse.

You question everything that the child did when it was parenting time with the non residential parent in hopes that you can use this against the other parent.

You twist and turn natural anger that a child may have and encourage the child to have more anger towards the non residential parent.

You talk badly about the non residential parent so the child can hear.

You encourage others to support your idea that the non residential parent is "bad" and have them talk poorly to the child about the other parent as well.

You call, email, fax or text message the child several times during a weekend visitation with the non residential parent.

You belittle everything the non residential parent does so the child can hear it.

You bring food to the other parents home so the child can eat, when there is no financial obligation to do so or reason to do so.

You fabricate stories of abuse; physical, emotional or sexual.

You take the child to several doctors to be examined and then tell your story that the other parent abuses them and then get angry when the doctors will not call in social services.

You email teachers telling them the other parent abuses the child.

You tell the child about court dates and expect the child to attend and to lie on your behalf.

You do not punish the child if the child lies, especially if it is about the non residential parent.

You ask the child to gather up their belongings left at the non residential parents home and to bring them back.

You refuse to bring the child with the new shoes on or new outfit on because you bought the new shoes or outfit.


Of course there is "always" a reason for this behavior in the mind of the alienator.

Whomever thinks that parental alienation is junk science or does not exist, has obviously never had to experience this. If we can accept that propaganda and indoctrination works on adults, how can one say that a child cannot be brainwashed?

Parental Alienation is child abuse. Stop the abuse.