NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission. All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.
Read the news coverage and op-eds about our Shared Parenting Report Card at the links below:
March 31, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Here’s a case out of Nebraska that’s noteworthy both for what it is and for what it’s not.
Jesse Coffman and Marcy Nichols were married and had three children, currently aged 12, eight and five. They divorced and, during the pendency of the litigation, Nichols had primary custody of the kids. Coffman received the usual every other weekend visitation. The court found that, generally, both parents are perfectly fit and loving parents and that the children are thriving.
During the divorce process, there was conflict between the parents, albeit not of an extreme nature. However,
“This is the third paternity action commenced by the Mother. The prior actions were dismissed at her request.”
That’s the trial court’s terse way of saying that Nichols misused the judicial system to try to harass and inconvenience Coffman. Now, why he didn’t file his own countersuit so that, if she dismissed hers, his would still be in place and go forward, I don’t know. Still, when they want to, judges can say a lot with a few words and the judge in Nichols v. Coffman did just that.
March 27, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Here’s an excellent blog by Suzanne Venker who’s one of the best observers of contemporary male-female relationships (Suzanne Venker, 3/25/20). Her topic this time is role reversals in marriage and whether they’re likely to work. Put simply, they aren’t. The reason is unsurprising. Particularly once children come along, couples tend to opt for traditional sex roles of Mom the caregiver to kids and Dad the provider of resources.
“There was a time (not that long ago) when few women would entertain the thought of marrying a man who lacked career aspirations. But things have changed. Today, women make their own money. Ergo, the idea that a woman would assess a man’s financial prospects seems unnecessary, and a little, well, archaic.
But it isn’t…”
Indeed it’s not. One of the most persistent behaviors among women is hypergamy, i.e. the tendency to “marry up.” It’s less so now than it used to be, but still, women often respond to ancient evolutionary motivations that find them most attracted to the best resource provider. During most of our evolution, that made sense. Female hominids tended to seek out members of the dominant male hierarchy with whom to mate. Doing so tended to mean a better chance of survival for them and their offspring. And, like most of our evolved biology, that tendency on women’s part is a tough one to ignore, even now when it’s not strictly necessary.
With good reason, I’ve often criticized family lawyers. And why not? They routinely stand in the way of needed, salutary reform of family courts and laws. Worse, they do so to ensure that their paychecks don’t get cut even a little bit. Worse still, they trot out the most tired and shopworn excuses for doing so. Their claims long ago failed to stand up to even minimal scrutiny, a fact they all but certainly know. But they keep saying the same things over and over. And worst of all, they do all that in spite of what’s good for children. Yes, fathers and mothers suffer the slings and arrows of the family law bar, but children take the brunt of it. Time and again, the lawyers tell us all that kids don’t need both parents in their lives. Oh, they don’t say it in those words, but what everyone in the reform movement knows is that standing against shared parenting stands in favor of poorer lives, poorer outcomes for kids.
So I criticize family lawyers. They richly deserve it.
But not all of them do. A few, like NPO’s Ashley-Nicole Russell, stand for what’s right and put self-interest where it belongs – second to the well-being of children, second to the welfare of parents and second to improving the judicial system.
Now comes Nevada family lawyer Marilyn York who gave this Tedx talk that’s about as perfect as it’s possible to be in 14+ minutes. York doesn’t beat around the bush; she nails point after point after point. Every state legislator in the land should watch the linked-to video. So should every judge who hears child custody cases.
March 25, 2020 by Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, National Parents Organization
As of Tuesday, March 24, far more men than women had died from Covid 19. Yet this has barely been mentioned in the public discourse on the pandemic, and comprehensive data on the subject could not be obtained by CNN reporters.
In almost the only public airing of this issue, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, stated at the White House press briefing last Friday, “From Italy we’re seeing another concerning trend, that the mortality in males seems to be twice in every age group of females.” CNN reached out to Dr. Birx for further comment, but without response to date.
Such a sex difference is very large and carries crucial implications for control of the pandemic. For instance, based on Chinese data, the overall case fatality rate -- the probability of dying if one contracts the virus -- is 14.8% among those in their 80’s and older. This statistic has been widely reported and has assumed central importance in discussions on how to control the pandemic.
According to my calculations, this overall number masks a huge sex difference that has been ignored. The case fatality rate for women in their 80’s must be about 8%, while that for men in their 80’s must be about 26% -- more than three times higher. The risk of death for men in their 80’s who contract the virus is thus considerably higher than the risk of death for people with heart attacks who make it to the hospital.
March 24, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, Board of Directors
I’ve been known to bemoan the fact that there’s so little hard data on custody outcomes in family courts. What we have is a patchwork of different studies using different methodologies in different states, each of which of course has different laws. And we have the data maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau. Now, all those point in one direction. They all suggest that equal parenting time orders are pretty rare, that mothers are far more likely than fathers to get meaningful time with their kids and that how kids are treated in court depends to a great degree on where they live. As an NPO study of family courts in Ohio demonstrated, a child in one county may have a good chance of seeing his/her parents equally post-divorce, but the child’s friend three miles away in another county has almost no such chance.
What’s needed is a larger study done in several states with differing laws, differing demographics, differing political inclinations, etc. As a practical matter, such a study would take a lot of money to conduct because it would require a lot of people pulling and coding a lot of files in family courts.
Still, until such a study is conducted, we make do with what we have, which brings me to this data from Wisconsin Fathers for Children and Families. All in all, it’s pretty encouraging.
March 20, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Having misled her readers about the incidence of fathers getting custody of their children in U.K.’s family courts, Guardian editor Sonia Sodha stumbles on to the topic of parental alienation (The Guardian, 3/5/20). Predictably, she’s no more factual with it than with her previous subject.
Recall that Sodha linked to a study by Harding and Newnham to attempt to buttress her theory that family courts are as likely to give custody to fathers as to mothers (Nuffield Foundation, 5/2015). The remarkable fact of course is that it does the opposite. The two researchers were very clear that, overwhelmingly, when fathers got some form of child custody, it was because the mothers with whom they were involved were so deficient as parents that social services organizations all but ordered the dads to seek custody.
It also shows that, in over half the cases studied, the judges ordered that the fathers should have no overnight time with their children at all.
March 19, 2020 by Don Hubin, Ph.D., Chair, National Board of Directors
Parents around the country are struggling with the disruptions to life caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Increasing numbers of schools and daycare facilities are closing—many for the duration of the school year. This poses unprecedented challenges for all parents of young children. And these challenges are magnified when there is only one parent actively involved in the children’s day-to-day lives.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016 more than 60% of families with both parents living together were ones where both parents worked. More than 55% of such families with children under 6 years old were dual income families. This means that, in the majority of such cases, there isn’t the “reserve capacity” of one stay-at-home parent to take on the additional tasks of full-time child care.
These families are scrambling to find ways to manage the novel challenges facing parents around the world. In some cases, these parents will now be working from home which will allow (require!) these parents to juggle child care and work. But many are engaged in work that cannot be done from home. In these cases the juggling of responsibilities presents even greater challenges.
March 17, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
This continues from my previous piece on Guardian editor Sonia Sodha’s, article claiming that it’s a “fallacy” that fathers aren’t treated equally by British family courts. To that threadbare claim she attempts to recruit a 2015 study conducted by Profs. Maebh Harding and Annika Newnham. Her effort fails miserably on many counts as I described last time. It also fails when Sodha tries to convince readers that, even when DV is proven against fathers, they still get custody.
Harding and Newnham examined 174 divorce and custody cases in England and Wales. In a grand total of nine of them did a father who was found to have committed DV get custody. Is that shocking? Outrageous?
For one thing, the study’s definition of domestic abuse is, to use its word, “broad.” It includes physical violence, but also “allegations of any controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour including physical violence, sexual violence, and emotional abuse.” So “domestic abuse” can mean almost anything. Did Dad try, on more than one occasion to get Mom to spend less? To refrain from spending so much time with the heroin addicts down the street? If so, he’s abusive.
March 16, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
When I first opened this article, at the bottom of the page there appeared a highlighted box with the title “When Disinformation is Rampant…” (Guardian, 3/5/20). To me it read like the punchline to a good joke; I literally laughed out loud. Of course the box is The Guardian’s way of trying to drum up donations for its rapidly declining brand, but, given the article that preceded it, it was hilarious. That article, by Guardian editor Sonia Sodha, is as good an example of disinformation as you’re likely to find. Sadly, the box – and the punchline - now seem to be gone.
The title says it all – “The idea that family courts are biased against men is a dangerous fallacy.” After that, those of us who toil in the family court reform vineyard know what’s coming, and Sodha doesn’t disappoint. First she denies that family court outcomes disproportionately treat fathers worse than mothers. More on that later. Next she claims (of course she does) that, when mothers allege domestic violence by fathers, the fathers are given custody. And finally we’re informed that parental alienation syndrome is “junk science.”
In short, Sodha repeats the usual talking points the anti-dad crowd have been relying on for years. Nothing new here.
March 11, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
As two equal parenting bills make their way through the Florida Legislature, this article came out against reform of child custody and parenting time (Sun-Sentinel, 2/28/20). And guess what. It’s written by a family lawyer. Of course it is. Mark Sessums is the President-elect of the Florida chapter of the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers. That means he gains pretty close to all his income from family law cases, which in turn means he profits from clients who fight.
Unsurprisingly, Sessums has nothing new to say about child custody or parenting time. All his arguments are retreads and not a one of them withstands even casual scrutiny.
First, he trots out the tired old claim that existing law is all about the best interests of children, but HB 843 puts parents first.
What utter nonsense. Let’s take the first part of his argument first. It’s true that Florida law, like that of every other state, requires judges to act in the best interests of children when deciding custody and parenting time. The problem is that they don’t do it very often. Why?
March 9, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
The Supreme Court of Ohio has ruled that a father’s consent to the adoption of his child is not necessary if he has missed as much as a single child support payment, or even a partial one. In so doing, the majority of the court ignored the plain wording of the applicable statute, a fact noted by two dissenting justices.
The child’s father and mother divorced in 2013. She received sole custody and he was ordered to pay support for the child who’s identified only as A.C.B. In 2015, the mother married another man who wanted to adopt A.C.B. The stepfather filed a petition to do so, alleging that A.C.B.’s father’s consent to the adoption wasn’t necessary. The salient portion of the applicable Ohio statute requires the father’s consent unless a court
finds by clear and convincing evidence that the parent has failed without justifiable cause to provide more than de minimis contact with the minor or to provide for the maintenance and support of the minor as required by law or judicial decree for a period of at least one year immediately preceding either the filing of the adoption petition or the placement of the minor in the home of the petitioner.
Apparently, the “de minimus contact” part of the law wasn’t at issue. So the only question was whether the father had provided support for the child within the year preceding the filing of the petition for adoption. And that question was answered in the affirmative. In fact, the father had made a child support payment within the week prior to the petition’s filing.
March 6, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote an 8,100-word essay in The Atlantic (The Atlantic, 3/2020). In response, the Institute for Family Studies sponsored a symposium to discuss Brooks’ work (IF Studies, 2/10/20). There were eight respondents, including Brad Wilcox, Kay Hymowitz, Andrew Cherlin and others. All put together, their responses totaled more words than Brooks’ original piece. Then Brooks took about 1,000 words to respond to the symposium’s responses to his article (IF Studies, 2/24/20).
With that small blizzard of words, you might think the august writers would have covered the waterfront. You might think that they’d have pretty well exhausted Brooks’ thesis that “The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake.” But if you thought that, you’d be wrong. Completely wrong.
That’s because not a single one of those nine, highly intelligent, highly knowledgeable people noticed the proverbial elephant in the room. Oh, they know plenty about the sociology of the nuclear family and something about its history and their writings are well worth reading. Plus, some of the symposium members agree with Brooks and some, like Hymowitz and Wilcox, pointedly do not. So, taken all together, the original article, plus the symposium, plus Brooks’ response produced a healthily wide range of thought and opinion.
March 5, 2020 by Lori Grover, NCM, Chair of Rhode Island NPO and Divorce Mediator
For kids, having a high-conflict parent redefines their childhoods and changes their adult lives forever. But even when a non-high-conflict parent understands personality disorders and high-conflict behavior, it doesn’t change who their child’s other parent is, and they and their children are the ones who will need to learn how to manage life with a HCP.
Divorce may seem like the obvious solution to eradicating the chaos and drama of a high-conflict spouse, but when there are children, it not that easy. I often talk with people who live with on-going abuse from a former spouse for years after their divorce is final and struggle to protect their children from circumstances beyond their control.
In many cases HCPs use children as tools to control and manipulate their ex. From false allegations of abuse and claims that the other parent incapable of caring for their child, to refusing or limiting the other parent’s time with their child - there’s no limit to how far a HCP will go to intimidate their spouse to get what they want. These parents may wear the mask of a loving and protective parent in public, but the true motive is to use the child for their own needs. These parents don’t want the day-to-day responsibilities of parenting, they want the attention that comes from buying the most expensive birthday gift and an audience to hear their remarkable stories of accomplishments, whether real or perceived. As I explain later in this article, narcissists don’t see their child as an independent person; their child is an extension of themselves. While this concept may be hard to understand, it explains why high-conflict parents say and do things to their children most of us wouldn’t and why trying to get them to modify their behavior is futile.
March 4, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
The final section of David Brooks’ piece in The Atlantic is painful to read (The Atlantic, 3/2020). Almost every sentence made me want to scream and tear my hair. For example, he recites that, during the earliest days of our country, when Europeans landed in what’s now New England, some of them went to live with Native American tribes, but essentially none of the indigenous peoples lived with the Europeans. Brooks’ conclusion?
When you read such accounts, you can’t help but wonder whether our civilization has somehow made a gigantic mistake.
Well, Brooks may wonder that, but the rest of us who value things like Mozart and living beyond the age of 35 don’t wonder at all. Does Brooks have any idea of how people in hunter-gatherer societies lived? He should look it up sometime. If he does, he’ll no longer engage in such nonsensical musings.
March 3, 2020 by Lori Grover, NCM, Chair of Rhode Island NPO and Divorce Mediator
Read Part I here.
Entitlement. A hallmark characteristic of high-conflict personalities (HCPs) is the belief that they’re entitled to more of everything than anyone else. The assertive or even aggressive nature of these personalities is a mask they wear to hide the deep insecurity and lack of self-esteem that exists at the deepest levels of themselves. Most people in relationships with people with these personalities never understand this deep void in their spouse, parent, sibling or coworker. Instead, their experience is one of confusion, fear, abuse and in many cases, an unknowing enabler. The impenetrable psychological walls they build and their persona of grandeur are mechanisms HCPs use to control and manipulate their environment whether it’s their spouse, child or others. Chaos in the lives of these personalities is as essential to them as having air to breathe.
When there’s smoke, there’s fire. According to the largest study ever conducted by US National Institutes of Health on personality disorders, about 10 percent of the population have either Narcissistic or Bipolar Disorder or both. Among those who met the criteria for BPD, 53 percent were women and 47 percent were men. Among those who met the criteria for NPD, 62 percent were men and 38 percent were women. Among people who met the criteria for one of these disorders, nearly 40 percent met the criteria for both. Such people may appear charming, quite social and very down to earth with a great personality. This is the same mask most high conflict personalities wear in public, but people close to them live with someone quite different. If you blame yourself for not seeing the signs sooner, don’t. These disorders are difficult to diagnose and their behaviors often aren’t apparent until months after a relationship begins.
March 2, 2020 by Robert Franklin,JD, Member, National Board of Directors
This article by New York Times columnist David Brooks is well worth reading (The Atlantic, March, 2020). It provides a huge amount of information and a point of view that demands attention. At the same time, Brooks misses a lot.
His thesis is the family or, more precisely, its decline. Brooks sketches (very lightly) the history of the family and finds that the typical living arrangement for most people during most times has been that of the extended family. That of course is generally true. For countless reasons, extended families – mothers, fathers, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces, nephews, cousins – lived together. That provided a certain security for all involved. If one person got sick, there was someone with the time to care for him. If one person became disabled and couldn’t work, others took up the slack.
Plus, as the social capital theory of child well-being has it, all those relatives made different perspectives on the world, different skills (Uncle John makes really good shoes!) and different resources available to kids and in fact to everyone.
March 3, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Last time I began discussing this article by NYT columnist David Brooks (The Atlantic, 3/2020). It’s title – “The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake” - indicates both Brooks’ thesis and where it jumped the tracks.
As I said before, Brooks extols the extended family as having been the bedrock of human society for almost all of our history. That’s true enough, but where he goes wrong is failing to acknowledge that the extended family only existed because of the nuclear one. All those many aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. came together solely because of their relationships with Dad, Mom and their children.
That’s more than an incidental error on his part, because it leads to Brooks’ subsection entitled “The Short, Happy Life of the Nuclear Family,” in which we find,
For a time, it all seemed to work. From 1950 to 1965, divorce rates dropped, fertility rates rose, and the American nuclear family seemed to be in wonderful shape. And most people seemed prosperous and happy…
During this period, a certain family ideal became engraved in our minds: a married couple with 2.5 kids. When we think of the American family, many of us still revert to this ideal. When we have debates about how to strengthen the family, we are thinking of the two-parent nuclear family, with one or two kids, probably living in some detached family home on some suburban street. We take it as the norm, even though this wasn’t the way most humans lived during the tens of thousands of years before 1950, and it isn’t the way most humans have lived during the 55 years since 1965.
By Clayton Craddock, Chair, National Parents Organization of New York
Why must kids miss out on certain family relationships when parents separate? It’s cruel for children, who love both parents, to suddenly lose access to everything they once knew when their parents no longer want to live together. Does a child’s love and need for both parents suddenly end when parents decide to separate? A couple may no longer want to be together, but a child wants to remain close to their parents. Most children are willing to do what is necessary to be in a relationship with their caregivers as long as it means that they continue to see them as much as possible after separation.
Barring exceptional circumstances, a child’s right to both loving, fit parents should not be allowed to be used as leverage against the other while personal differences are ironed out in a settlement or in family court.
Our culture is due for a drastic paradigm shift. It’s time to stop seeing one parent as the default and the other as just a visitor. These assumptions are often sexist and outdated. If the parents can no longer live together, the next best thing is for the child to have equal time with each parent.
Our current domestic relations law here in New York State makes no effort to require, or even encourage, that healthy, fit, loving parents spend equal time with their child after a separation. Family courts usually pick one parent to “win custody.” However, in the long run, the children are the biggest losers. When one side of their family suddenly is cut off, children have a strained relationship with not only the non-custodial parent, but the extended family as well. For example, they may rarely see their aunts, uncles, cousins and/or grandparents who they used to see frequently. Extended family relationships are often a vital support system.
February 27, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Last time I wrote about the scandalous case of Megan and Andy Carter and their five-year-old daughter Ellie (NBC News, 2/14/20). Ellie had multiple health problems due to her having been born very prematurely. Her many visits to doctors and hospitals and her difficulty combatting an infection drew the attention of Mary Bridge Hospital’s child abuse pediatrician Dr. Elizabeth Woods who seems to have believed that Megan was overtreating the child and withholding care to keep her sick.
Woods’ intervention into Ellie’s parental care resulted in the child being taken from her mother for over a year, Megan’s being charged with child abuse and the Carters shelling out some $300,000 to defend against allegations that were not only unfounded, but contested by other experts. To accomplish all that, Woods made numerous statements under oath that were either untrue or stretched the truth beyond recognition. The judge in Megan’s trial laid into Woods:
Most of Woods’ testimony, the judge wrote, was “without supporting factual basis.” Amini dismissed parts of Woods’ conclusions as “not plausible” and “speculation at best.”
But Woods wasn’t finished. Six months after all charges had been dropped and the family reunited, the Carters got a visit from Child Protective Services. They had a report that Megan was giving Ellie unnecessary oxygen treatments. Who made the report? CPS officials didn’t say, but the only person fitting the description of one of the reporters was Elizabeth Woods.
NPO’s Executive Director, Ginger Gentile, has received an offer to direct a new documentary, not yet titled, that focuses on the promotion of better parenting practices and how society can help children. Because filmmaking is Ginger’s passion and because of her ongoing commitment to promote the well-being of children, Ginger has decided to accept this offer. Unfortunately for NPO, this means that Ginger will be leaving her post as Executive Director of NPO as of February 27, 2020.
During her tenure with NPO, Ginger worked effectively to promote NPO’s mission. She launched the 2019 NPO Shared Parenting Report Card with a press conference in New York’s Lincoln Center which garnered press coverage in the New York Post, Fox News, US News & World Report, and Yahoo. She also opened new NPO affiliates in seven states and brought new leadership to two other NPO affiliates. Ginger also helped us build alliances with a number of state-based shared parenting organizations to facilitate collaborative efforts to promote shared parenting.
We are sorry to see Ginger leave as our Executive Director but we wish her every success in her new endeavors. We know that Ginger remains strongly committed to the mission of NPO and she will continue to serve the organization in an advisory capacity.
Don Hubin, Chair
National Parents Organization
Working with the affiliates of NPO, who are volunteering long hours on raising awareness of the importance of shared parenting has been inspiring. They are turning personal pain into the energy needed to create a better future for their children, and all of our children. I enjoyed working with Chair Don Hubin and the other board members who are strongly committed to creating systemic change.
I am confident that NPO is poised, along with other family court reform organizations, to make divorce and separation healthier for families. Right now there are a handful of states poised to join Kentucky in making Shared Parenting the legal norm. While I am sad to leave NPO, I am happy that I will be able to continue in an advisory role on issues related to messaging and strategy. All of the erased parents who watch my documentary ERASING FAMILY will be encouraged to join NPO to work on legislative advocacy, judicial education and distribute the great research produced by NPO.
Remember, almost everyone supports shared parenting (literally! 93% in the last NPO poll conducted in Virginia) and research says this is best for kids. So by applying effective messaging we will quickly solve this public health crisis of kids not having both loving parents in their lives.
February 26, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Here’s more on child abuse pediatricians (NBC News, 2/14/20).
This time, the story comes to us from Washington State and Mary Bridge hospital. That’s where Megan Carter, her husband Andy and their four-year-old daughter Ellie were put through a legal, medical and emotional wringer over a period of over a year. Megan was charged with medical child abuse of Ellie and eventually exonerated, but not after having been forcibly separated from both her children for a year and spending over $300,000 to fight the case.
Ellie was born at 24 weeks of gestation, i.e. extremely premature. Unsurprisingly, that meant that, from day one of her life, she’s had medical issues. She’s spent a lot of time in doctors’ offices and hospitals. She’s had a feeding tube inserted into her stomach and ventilation therapy to help her breathe.
When she was four, she contracted an infection that her immune system had serious difficulty combatting. Megan took her to her pediatrician multiple times and eventually to Mary Bridge hospital. That’s where she ran afoul of Dr. Elizabeth Woods, a child abuse physician who decided that Megan was engaging in medical child abuse. In this case that meant overtreating the child, much like Munchhausen’s Syndrome by proxy.
February 25, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Joan Meier, are you paying attention? Are your fellow travelers in the movement to asperse the concept of parental alienation?
Here’s yet another authoritative article by a psychiatrist, Dr. Christine Adams, who’s been a clinician for 40 years and a forensic scientist for 20 (Psychology Today, 2/18/20). She’s worked and written extensively about parental alienation. She knows whereof she speaks.
Parental alienation begins long before divorce occurs…
With the birth of a child, each parent forms a bond, or attachment, to the baby. For the alienating parent this bond is based on the parent having his or her needs met by the child. Mostly these are emotional needs. The relationship reverses from one that meets the needs of the child to one that meets the parent’s needs.
In short, the seeds of alienation are planted long before divorce occurs or is even contemplated. They’re planted in the fertile soil that is the psyche of the future alienator who is emotionally needy. The child learns to meet those needs and, when the process of divorce begins, the pressure on the child ramps up.