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December 19, 2016 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Ah, the BBC. When it comes to the rights of fathers and the well-being of children, the BBC almost always gets it wrong. The anti-dad zeitgeist there remains unchanged despite countless people complaining for countless years. And so it is with this article, and that’s the good news (BBC, 11/21/16).

Why is yet another swipe at dads good news? Because the story is about parental alienation. This being the BBC, any story about PA must also be an attack on fathers, and naturally, the linked-to piece follows suit. But the very concept of PA is routinely attacked by anti-father groups, so the BBC’s presentation of PA as a fairly common phenomenon directly contradicts them. Plus, by showing that fathers too can be alienators, the piece knocks the props out from under one of the main objections of PA deniers.

Gender feminists and others opposed to children having real relationships with their dads have long claimed that the notion of parental alienation was created out of whole cloth by dastardly fathers’ rights advocates to deprive “protective mothers” of their children. According to that theory, every child who behaves as if Dad is the spawn of Satan must be believed and the man denied any or most contact. In short, those groups support parental alienation and go to bat for alienators.

Of course the fact that every family court judge and family lawyer has seen alienation by one parent or the other plenty of times deters the anti-dad crowd not a bit. As usual, they’ve got their story and they’re stickin’ to it.

The only problem is that their story is utter nonsense. Alienation exists and judges are often required to sort out what to do when one parent tries to turn the child against the other parent. It’s often the most difficult of jobs for a judge to do. Is the targeted parent truly the beast depicted by the child and the other parent or is alienation at work?

That job isn’t made any easier by the claims that fathers, but not mothers, falsely claim alienation when in fact they’re the bad actors, the child abusers.

Of course the obvious response to the claims of those who deny the existence of PA is that it’s not just mothers who do it. Yes, they’re the more likely to be alienators for a couple of obvious reasons. The first is that family courts give mothers the overwhelming majority of parenting time post-divorce. Since PA is an opportunistic phenomenon – you can’t alienate the child if you don’t have contact with the child – and since mothers have the opportunity more than do fathers, they’re the ones found to be alienators in most cases.

Second, an unfit mother or one who’s afraid of losing custody for any reason, may be more likely to turn to alienation than would be her male counterpart. Mothers tend to place a high value on motherhood and the culture encourages their doing so. Many moms report feelings of humiliation at not being the primary or sole parent, so their motivation to keep fathers away from children via alienation is great.

But no serious researcher into parental alienation would ever pretend that fathers don’t alienate their kids. Some do.

So the BBC’s piece provides one important service; it promotes acceptance of the concept of alienation by showing that fathers can be just as guilty of alienation as are mothers.

Plus, by telling the personal stories of an alienated child and a targeted mother, the article brings home to readers the trauma suffered by targeted parents and alienated kids.

"Emma", now 14, was seven when her parents divorced. Over the next five years, she says, her father succeeded in turning her and her siblings against their mother.

"[He said my mum is] a liar, that everything that's happened is her fault, that she doesn't love us, that she's been a bully towards us," she tells the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Emma's experience is an example of so-called parental alienation - the deliberate manipulation of a child by one parent against the other parent during a divorce or separation.

Two years after their parents separated, Emma and her siblings went to live with their father.

She says he would deliberately block them from seeing their mother, saying she had "been out drinking the night before and had a hangover, so couldn't be bothered to come [and visit them] any more".

"We were just lied to," Emma says. "With me only being nine, to the age of 12, I didn't know [better]."

It’s an irony, I suppose, that the BBC, that rarely has a kind word for fathers (and doesn’t in the linked-to article) should backhandedly strike a blow for them. By making the phenomenon of parental alienation more understandable and acceptable to readers, the article makes it easier for fathers to overcome alienating exes in court. And, since most alienators are mothers, it’ll be mostly fathers who benefit from whatever impact the BBC’s article may have.

The BBC’s misandry helps men. Who’d have guessed?

 

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National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.

#parentalalienation, #fathers'rights, #BBC

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