The myth of “In the Best Interest of the Child” #TotalReform
When you enter the realm of Family Court and Parental Alienation you will be met by a plethora of people and services using the phrase “In the Best Interest of the Child” which is a myth. Why is it a myth because nothing the court or associated services do is 2in the best interest of the child”. In my eyes it should be replaced with “in the best interest of an easy exit route” should be the new phrase.
Like many of us who have gone through the secret family court and let me tell you it is very secret! Don’t be under any illusion that justice will be served for you and your child as the non-resident parent. You’re probably sitting there thinking you have loads of evidence to prove why you should be in your child’s life and that once it has been produced to the court they will see what you have been through. Yes, that is how it should work but unfortunately, in reality, it does not work like that.
You will be lied to and will meet Social Services and CAFCASS on your journey to seeing your children (or not). Most, not all will be very polite and seem very supportive at the beginning which will give you a false sense of security. Then they will submit their reports to the court which you could say is a knife your back is at the entrance of the court. In order for them to get that report into the court, they need to go through you, with your back in the way. This is the polite way of my saying what will happen when you read your reports.
What I have experienced myself and what I have seen with other members/clients the term “In the Best Interest of the Child” is a myth and a smoke screen to provide you with false security. I wish people would be honest about their assessments and just say as much as we would like to help you. We would rather listen and believe the lies we are told in order to have an easy life and wrap these court proceedings up as quick as possible.
I might not like what I hear but at least they would get my respect and not use the term “In the Best Interest of the Child” to smokescreen me. Parental Alienation is a real probably which most Social Service workers and CAFCASS officers can’t identify. Even when identified they are scared to act upon it which leaves you the loving parent without any options to see your child.
Did you know that Parental Alienation is now recognised by the ICD – 11
The World Health Organisation has included “Parental Alienation” in its new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) which was released on June 18, 2018.
The index entry of parental alienation and estrangement means that the ICD-11 recognises the reality of Parental Alienation for Irish children and families.
Parental Alienation is characterised as occurring “when a child/ren allies himself or herself strongly with the caregiver (the alienating or aligned party) and rejects the relationship with the other parent or parents (the targeted or alienated parent or parents) without legitimate justification despite a previous warm and loving relationship. The primary behavioural symptom is the child’s refusal to have contact with the targeted parent or parents”
Parental alienation and estrangement is described as substantial and sustained dissatisfaction within a caregiver-child relationship associated with significant disturbance in functioning.
The literature suggests that parental alienation disproportionately affects young people whose parents are experiencing high conflict relationship breakdowns and predominantly children in state care or adoption. The effects and outcomes usually have a lifelong negative effect on the child. This is manifested in psychological and physical co-morbidities, including, but not limited to, addiction, crimes and suicide.
Neuroplasticity in children can occur with ongoing negative aspects when the child is taught to adopt a dichotomous (black and white thinking) thought process of one parent good one parent bad programming. The neurological effects can have consequences including psychological and cognitive deficits.
Systemic Family Psychotherapist, Brian O Sullivan agrees that Parental Alienation has been a significant psychological and emotional challenge for young people in Ireland affecting them across their life span and on into their families of creation in future generations for some time now, the inclusion of parental alienation in the ICD – 11 is the next appropriate step.
Parental Alienation Support Worker, Andries van Tonder of APS has said that he welcomed the inclusion in the DSM 5 under different terminology, but is now rejoicing in the knowledge that parental alienation has been officially included in the ICD -11 under the code QE52.
There are thousands of Irish families experiencing parental alienation and asking for help. Formal recognition of parental alienation by the ICD – 11 will encourage further research and resources being committed to combating the problem.
Several other conditions that can be associated with parental alienation are listed in ICD-11. Hereunder are some other applicable codes:
QD5Y Other specified problems associated with finances. (Situation caused by exorbitant legal, court reports and therapeutic fees the parent have to pay)
QD71 Problems associated with housing. (Situation after separation or otherwise caused)
QD82 Problem associated with threat of job loss. (Court attendances, stress related illnesses)
QE03 Social exclusion or rejection. (by community or family)
QE60 Absence of family member. (child or parent)
QE61 Disappearance or death of family member (child or parent)
QE62 Uncomplicated bereavement (due to loss of child or parent)
Why do people alienate? (just a few examples)
Clawar (2014) suggests that the following are some of the most common reasons why parents engage in alienation –
• Fear of losing the child
• Proprietary perspective (ownership)
• Child support
• Loss of identity
• Out of sight, out of mind
• Maintaining the marital/adult relationship through conflict
• Power, influence, control, and domination
• Learned Behaviour
• Personality disorder (borderline, narcissistic, paranoid, obsessive-compulsive)
• Parental omnipotence and malleability of the child
• The Asch and Milgram studies
So, the World Health Organisation can recognise it but the people you rely on in court can’t! I know it’s a really bizarre situation but it is the truth most people don’t want to recognise it as it will add to their workloads and ultimately could end up with the removal of a child/ren due to emotional abuse.
My advice is to keep it consistent when talking to the court and associated services and don’t back down as they will try to tell you that your ex-partner is just being difficult and not PA. You can request in court for a psychological evaluation when allegations of mental illness or personality disorder need to be investigated.
The other key phrases you might also come across is “high conflict” and “complex” which will be used a lot when someone does not know what to do or scared to make a real decision.
IMPORTANT NEWS PEOPLE
We have been approached by a documentary film maker. We have been whizzing emails back and forth to him. We are now at the stage of asking if people would be interested in being interviewed in front of a camera that would make up this documentary. We are only asking those within the CCA community/family. We would love a broad spectrum of stories, circumstances etc. The film maker comes across as very compassionate about what we are all going through. Attached is a form. If you are interested please complete the form and it will give us an idea of everyone’s location, so we can start thinking about the logistics of getting a camera crew and us together. Any questions please do ask, either openly or via PM. Completing the form, is not a commitment to be involved. The forms are simply to help us plan the logistics. Unfortunately this is at the present moment only open to UK residents.
This is not a sob story or for attention, this is my reality and is the reality of many parents who are alienated or part-time. I use the term part-time because we live in a system/society that supports it and even encourages it. I can’t remember a time I was ever offered to have my child on Christmas Day, why because it’s not in the best interest of the other parent!
As long as I pay child support, pay for birthdays and Christmas its win-win for the other parent. I don’t need to be a real part of my child’s life as long as I keep the money rolling in and presents brought that is my sole purpose. Would the other parent think about my being alone at Xmas, hell no as long as they are not alone that is all that matters!
To be honest I have desensitised myself when it comes to Xmas as it is less painful and stressful. It is easier to pretend it is not happening and to rush through it to be over than to get caught up in it. Friends and family know how difficult this time of year is for me but they just don’t get it they just get upset with you because you are not as reliable or as sociable as you used to be.
When your child refers to you as him or he and not dad or daddy it is hard to hear. Then you get photos and videos of what the other parent is doing with your child and you can only sit by on the sideline and watch. It’s hard and very painful to experience and I hope and pray this never happens to you as it really does change you as a person.
I have never ever the night before Xmas prepared milk, cookies/mince pie and a carrot for Santa! I know it sounds very small but to a parent, it’s those small things that really matter. I don’t get to sit and watch Xmas movies and play games with my children. I don’t get to watch panto’s or nativity play’s of my children nor do I get invited too.
What I do look forward to is a cold empty house with no decorations, no children and watching everyone on social media and TV enjoying or pretending to enjoy Xmas. This is my reality every single year and to be honest it probably won’t change. So, excuse me if I don’t feel sociable or
Parental Alienation Psychological Impact on Children
When we think of Parental Alienation we immediately think of the immediate parents and not the children or siblings to the alienation. As parents, all we try to do is protect the siblings with excuses after excuses as we try to protect them from the psychological effects of losing their sibling.
Sometimes we underestimate the extent of damage caused suddenly when a child is separated from a parent or sibling. While surfing online I found a video I wanted you to see from some researches in the US on the effects of a child being separated from a parent.
Inside the Brains of Children Separated from Parents
From the above video, you can see the effects of a child being separated from a parent has on them. Every day a child is separated from a parent for one reason or another but is it a justified reason or is it orchestrated by a spiteful bitter person. A person who cannot see past their own anger then rather see their child happy with both parents in their lives. Can someone’s anger be so much more important than your child’s mental health and well-being?
A child does not ask to be brought into the world that decision is made by two loving parents at the time and regardless of their personal situation that love should always remain with the child and child’s best interest. Then the poor child is dragged through a system of courts and government agencies that cause more stress and strain by the parents, which in some cases do not have a choice.
If one of the parents decides to move away or disappear with the child to spite the other person, why are they not pursued by the government agencies whereby enforcing contact with the bitter spiteful alienator. Why is it so easy to rip a child from a loving home with siblings and grandparents because one side of the family is upset with the other. The law should be onside of the child and the alienated parent to make sure the long-term effects of another person’s actions do not psychologically damage the child and alienated parent.
To sum up what it feels like as an alienated parent who loses a child that is alive is a constant sense of grief! You grieve every day, you feel hollow and that you are just a shell of a person that is waiting to feel complete. Sleepless nights and stress that feels like your head is going to explode with no escape.
Summed up nicely in this quote
“I’d thought those memories would be the ones I always cherished, but as the days and years passed by, those beautiful memories became my pain.”
I just wanted to end this post with a video of how children feel when they are alienated from a parent.
On Tuesday 11th September 2018 the BBC ran a short segment on CAFCASS & Parental Alienation. Although I welcome the airtime highlighting something that fathers have been campaigning for decades on. The BBC did not interview or even feature a father that had suffered or is still suffering Parental Alienation! This is very disappointing and clearly again shows the media bias towards fathers.
Looking at the freedom of information request I have received back from the Child Maintenance Services clearly show the overwhelming statistic that men are categorically the main no resident parent. So if alienation was going to occur it would be against a father and his immediate family. Yet the BBC chose to interview women and also use them for the voice overs on the short piece on Parental Alienation. I am not saying women don’t suffer from it far from it, but during a break up 90% the time the child will stay with the mother.
So, why did the BBC not use any men within the video it’s because we are seen as either less important in a child’s life or aggressive militants. See as a father your not allowed to be seen to be a proactive loving person who wants their children in there lives. We are always seen as the violent perpetrator who should not be around their children and not caring enough to be the main caregiver. This false narrative needs to stop and we are going to put a stop to this media bias against fathers. #TotalReform