Apologies for not writing for a while but have been working.
I am reminded of the old story of King Solomon and his decision. The story recounts that two mothers living in the same house, each the mother of an infant son, came to Solomon. One of the babies had died, and each claimed the remaining boy as her own. Calling for a sword, Solomon declared his judgment: the baby would be cut in two, each woman to receive half. One mother did not contest the ruling, declaring that if she could not have the baby then neither of them could, but the other begged Solomon, “Give the baby to her, just don’t kill him!”
The king declared the second woman the true mother, as a mother would even give up her baby if that was necessary to save its life. This judgment became known throughout all of Israel and was considered an example of profound wisdom.
The point of the story is that it is a wise thing to give the child to the parent that cares, rather than the parent who didn’t contest the ruling. If we now come forward many thousands of years, it appears that the court system has changed again. It now appears to favour one parent instead of both parents. If we look at the story, considering parental alienation, it appears courts are happy to give children to the half of a relationship that doesn’t care and is willing to use a child as a tool to punish/subjugate/control the other parent. I find it interesting that after all this time, the expressions “splitting the baby” or “cutting the baby in half” are sometimes used in the legal profession for a form of simple compromise: solutions which “split the difference” in terms of damage awards or other remedies (e.g. a judge dividing fault between the two parties in a comparative negligence case). But if the courts can divide fault between two parties, why is it that they appear unwilling or unable to defend either party when the other party appears to blatantly disregard the solutions they arrange? I paid for a court order to allow me access to my child, on a fortnightly arrangement. This was to have all been arranged, but the “parent with care” (how I HATE that phrase!!), uses their time, energy and the resource of time, to manipulate the child to not want to go to their fathers, and forcing them to choose. They raised the metaphorical sword, stating that you can take the child if you want, but you can stop the crying.
So I ask, when the parent who cares says “no its ok you don’t have to come with me”, why does the courts not help the true parent? Why are the rules that the courts are so happy to charge you for, not re-enforced? Why are we happy to allow abuse to continue to happen as often as it does?
Every child has a fundamental right and need for an unthreatened and loving relationship with both parents. To be denied that right by one parent, without sufficient justification such as abuse or neglect, is itself a form of child abuse. Since it is the child who is being violated by a parent’s alienating behaviours, it is the child who is being alienated from the other parent. Children who have undergone forced separation from one parent — in the absence of abuse — including cases of parental alienation, are highly subject to post-traumatic stress, and reunification efforts in these cases should proceed carefully and with sensitivity. Research has shown that many alienated children can transform quickly from refusing or staunchly resisting the rejected parent to being able to show and receive love from that parent, followed by an equally swift shift back to the alienated position when back in the orbit of the alienating parent; alienated children seem to have a secret wish for someone to call their bluff, compelling them to reconnect with the parent they claim to hate. While children stated wishes regarding parental contact in contested custody should be considered, they should not be determinative, especially in suspected cases of alienation.
Hatred is not an emotion that comes naturally to a child; it has to be taught. A parent who would teach a child to hate or fear the other parent represents a grave and persistent danger to the mental and emotional health of that child. Alienated children are no less damaged than other child victims of extreme conflict, such as child soldiers and other abducted children, who identify with their tormentors to avoid pain and maintain a relationship with them, however abusive that relationship may be.
So although alienated parents are often forced to make “Solomon’s Choice”, and the law system appears to reinforce this decision, it is fundamentally wrong. How many more thousand years will it take us to learn?