Friday, June 29, 2012

what can target parents do about parental alienation?

What can a target parent do about parental alienation? That is the sixty-four thousand dollar question. I wish I had the perfect answer to not only solve, prevent and solve parental alienation, but I do not. I can only write about my experiences, what worked and use ideas from other parents as well as a guide for you.

What has worked for me and others may not work for you. Each case is different, but each case does involve a selfish parent who is unable to let go of the anger and hurt of the failed relationship and uses the children as collateral to control. 

I suggest keeping a diary of some sort. I made a blog that is private and documented my feelings, wrote letters to my son and scanned documentation as proof. This allowed me to separate my documents and print them for my attorney. I also kept a large calendar that I wrote visitations, times and ease or difficulty of transfer on. I set up with my cell phone company to track calls made or received by my son as well as my ex. This comes in handy when claims are made that the target parent does not call or claims are made that your child calls more than what is documented. I made copies of all doctor visits, as claims were made I did not allow my son to visit the doctor. My insurance company also has a website that allows me to document this. I also used a tracking program for emails, since my ex loved to state that he did not receive an email. This program stated when it was sent, when it was read and if it was forwarded by the recipient.  This was helpful when my ex would claim he did not receive an email, but my program showed not only that he read it several times, but he forwarded it. Not only can these documents be helpful to your attorney, you should also share these with your counselor. 

If counseling is ordered by the courts I suggest complying with that. Your ex and child/children may attend one or two sessions and if you are lucky---- more. I suggest continuing with counseling even if the other participants ordered refuse to attend. I first learned about parental alienation because of counseling and was given suggestions of resources to read. 

As a target parent you are going to have to get a thick skin, turn the other cheek, smile when it is painful and be the incredible parent, even when it is most difficult. If you have visitation and are refused, you still need to not only make the effort, but be there at the time stated and not late. As we all know, traffic can be unpredictable and while perhaps acceptable for your job that you will be late due to the unforeseen traffic----as a target parent this is unacceptable and will be used against you. I made several 6 hour round trips knowing my son would not be there when I arrived, but I made those trips and had the proof I made them. If your child is into sports or other activities, you need to attend. While I understand the alienating most likely does not care about these activities, you as a target parent are being held to a higher standard. Being late for visitation or an event, failing to attend an event no matter the excuse will be greatly exaggerated to the courts and your child/children. These exaggerations will substantiate the claims of the alienating parent. 

Do not get into a discussion with your child/children about alienation. You are not going to win this argument. They do not understand what is being done to them and really do not care. Their sense of reasoning is not developed either. If you have visitation, you need to enjoy time with your child without conflict. Do not become overwhelmed with grief that does not allow you to enjoy time with your child. Tell them you love them do things they like and swallow your pride, grief and anger. Call them after a visit to let them know you enjoyed the visit and look forward to the next time. Learn how to text message, set up a facebook page or other social media as a way to connect. Ignore most of what you see if accepted as a friend on these social pages and don’t like or comment on everything your child/children post. Myspace allows you to see if personal messages are read. I do not think facebook allows that. Realize they may not respond to a message either. Do not inundate them with messages either. 

Have empathy for your child. You are asking your friends, co-workers and others to understand and to be compassionate towards you; you need to be the same towards your child/children. You didn’t ask for this and neither did your children/child. Understand that for as much pain, confusion and mixed messages you receive your child/children are receiving the same. 

Read, research, and understand as much as you can about parental alienation. Read blogs, articles, citations and books about parental alienation. Talk to others, join support groups, web boards and more. Communicate! Let go of anger, it holds you down and allows others to control you. Get healthy, do exercise which is a great anger release. Eat healthier; your body will be happier.  This is a new beginning, you did not ask for this so choose wisely. 

Have faith and don’t give up hope. In my case the alienating parent, promised things he could not deliver on. He stated he would always be there to talk to our son. Sure he was there when this case was in the courts, but once he “won” -----things changed. I will never forget being called about 1 in the morning. Needless to say, this was an inconvenient time for me, but it was my son calling. I answered very groggy that morning and our son just wanted to talk. The fact that I listened and did not respond with some glib response meant the world to him. From that point, things started to change for the better. It was not easy. Over time, we have reconnected and I think the relationship is strong. It is NOT the same as it was, never will be.

I have missed several milestones in my son’s life, but at the same time experienced many. I can either be angry about those missed milestones or be happy that I have him back in my life. I could be wrong, but I think many concentrate on what is being missed instead of what is being made new. Letting go of anger is liberating. I think one has to do this. Found a few great quotes:  If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.”  

We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.”

Lastly take time for yourself. Find humor, have a laugh----- get that massage you have wanted, read that book you have placed on the shelf, join the gym, buy that album of the band you like, sing karaoke, take that hike, rent that mountain cabin, drink that bottle of fine wine you have saved for that special occasion, eat a box of fine chocolates…something YOU want and something for YOU! 

We can not stop, prevent or control what the alienating parent is doing. The ONLY thing we can control is how we as target parents react.  Until the courts and judges recognize parental alienation, the only control we have is ourselves.

If you follow my facebook page, you will see that I mix it up with serious posts, quotes, and stories and I also post silly pictures. Every once in awhile we need a reason to laugh. Please allow yourself to laugh. 

Some great resources to start your education about parental alienation:

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Take a break, have a laugh

A picture of shoes and an odd looking cat? WTH? What does this have to do with parental alienation? Absolutely nothing! That's the beauty of it.

I have found that if we do not take time for ourselves to heal, to live and to grow, we lose sight of the small things and most obscure things that allow us to laugh. This was the picture I picked that I just thought was something that could allow us to laugh.

It is important to laugh, at funny pictures, sayings and ourselves. Please take care of yourself and laugh.