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Fathers and Families

Parental Alienation is Child Abuse

What You Can Do
November 30, 2012
Top Story
Parental Alienation is Child Abuse
By Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director,
Fathers and Families

Recently, the Detroit Jewish News wrote an informative article on parental alienation: Parental Alienation: Children suffer most from their parents’ inability to resolve conflict in a healthy way. It features one of our members, and another one of our members wrote a heart wrenching letter to the editor in response to the article. Neither chose to be identified. Both are concerned about the potential response of the custodial parent and their children and grandchildren.

During the holidays, parental alienation is particularly difficult for families to deal with. Many of you may relate to the letter one of our members wrote in response to the Detroit Jewish News article. It is a story Fathers and Families hears all too often. One that Fathers and Families wishes to end with shared parenting.

To the editor, Detroit Jewish News:

Regarding your article on ”parental alienation” in the November 8, 2012 issue:

Our family has been plagued by the tragedy of three of our grandchildren being robbed of their father and grandparents because of “unreasonable hatred after … divorce. The contempt is most often aimed at the father.” “Because some parents use litigation as a means of controlling their ex-spouse, the target parent becomes frustrated and depleted, emotionally and financially.”

Our son has spent over a $100,000 in court costs to retain a relationship with his children at enormous sacrifice. He has legal time-share but when he goes to pick up his children ages 9 thru 14 they slam the door in his face. He calls them every day at 8pm, as agreed to and they either do not answer the phone or answer calling him a “liar” and hang up. He has not been alone with his children for over 3 years.

“The child's negativity extends to the other parent's extended family, including grandparents, even if a close relationship existed before.” We, the grandparents once had a wonderful, fun and happy relationship with the children. When the oldest was bar mitzvahed, we were not invited. Our son learned of the bar mitzvah the day before after constant asking to help plan the event and lessons for months.

The children have been taught that their grandparents are evil people that they should not accept gifts or birthday cards from. We keep sending gifts and cards to our son for him to hold until that time that they may “come back to us” and they will know that we never gave up on them.

Although we feel terrible every day for our son’s and our loss of our grandchildren’s love and closeness, we feel a deeper sorrow for our grandchildren’s irreparable harm and loss of a relationship with their father and grandparents. We thank the Detroit Jewish News for opening this subject to the wider community and especially Robert Hack and Richard Victor for their tireless efforts for alienated children.

As Mr. Robert Hack says "Parental alienation is a form of child abuse".

Devoted Grandparents

What You Can Do
By Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director,
Fathers and Families

Rita Fuerst Adams
Rita Fuerst Adams
As many of you know, parental alienation is child abuse. Fathers and Families is working on making shared parenting the norm because we believe this is a solution for parental alienation.

One of the researchers in the field, Edward Kruk, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of British Columbia, has questioned whether or not sole custody is a form of parental alienation. It certainly provides more of an opportunity for it.

Dr. Kruk poignantly asks, “Why are parents with no civil or criminal wrongdoing forced to surrender their responsibility to raise their children?” and “Is the removal of a parent from the life of a child, via legal sole custody, itself a form of parental alienation?”

What can we do?

  • Contact the Detroit Jewish News to thank them for bringing attention to parental alienation and the impact it has on our children.
  • Introduce yourself to the editor of your neighborhood paper. Work with Fathers and Families to place stories and information about the importance of shared parenting and that parental alienation is real and going on in your neighborhood.
  • Send the article to your friends and family to inform and educate them.
  • Encourage your friends and family to sign up for the Fathers and Families e-newsletter so they may learn more about shared parenting and how it is the solution for many of our children’s problems.
  • Speak out about the signs of parental alienation. It may help other families identify the problems they are having so they are better equipped to determine how to deal with it.
In her book Parenting Apart, parent educator and author Christina McGhee gives five key signs of parental alienation:
  • The child has a black-and-white view of his parents, perceiving the alienating parent as good and honest and the target parent as all bad. Negativity toward the other parent eventually turns to hatred and contempt, which is reinforced by the alienating parent.
  • The child mimics accusations and opinions about one parent but denies being coached or influenced by the other parent, insisting the ideas are his own.
  • The childís negativity extends to the other parentís extended family, including grandparents, even if a close relationship existed before.
  • The childís contempt and rejection are not based on actual circumstances such as abuse or harmful behavior, but rather on seemingly unwarranted or unsubstantiated reasons.
  • The child consistently rejects one parent and refuses to see or spend time with him or her, regardless of how close their bond was in the past.
In the News
Ariel Winter’s Father Asks Court for Custody; Mom Agrees

Affordable Care Act Opens Door to Discovery of Paternity Fraud

Scotland: Fathers Marginalized in Children’s Lives by Child Protective Services

NC Governor Pat McCrory: Family Law Reform For Shared Parenting

Scottish Study: State’s Marginalization of Fathers is Child Abuse

Scottish Study: Social Workers Marginalize Fathers Even After Allegations Proven False

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Fathers and Families improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting the child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.

Fathers and Families’ vision is a society in which:
  • Children are happier and more successful because their loving bonds are protected after parental separation or divorce:
  • Children have a natural right to be nurtured and guided by both parents:
  • Society treats fathers and mothers as equally important to the wellbeing of their children:
  • Shared parenting after separation or divorce is the norm:
  • The courts arrange finances after separation or divorce so that both mothers and fathers can afford to house and care for their children and themselves: and
  • Our society understands and respects the essential role of fathers.

Fathers and Families is a Shared Parenting Organization
Fathers and Families is a non-profit organization that is educating the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents and extended families. If you would like to get involved in our organization, you can do so several ways. First, we would love to have you as an official member of the Fathers and Families team. Second, Fathers and Families is an organization that believes in the importance of using social media as a means to spread the word about shared parenting and other topics, and you can visit us on our Facebook Page to learn more about our efforts. Last, we hope you will share this newsletter with other families using the many social networking sites so that we can bring about greater awareness of shared parenting. Thank you for your support.

Fathers and Families
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Boston, Massachusetts 02127-0760
(617) 542-9300
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