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  #1  
Old 04-01-2019, 10:30 AM
iona6656 iona6656 is offline
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Default WHO considers adding 'parental alienation' to a new diagnostic guide

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/who-co...x07NnqNKXm7z0A

"Mental health experts and law professionals are lining up to label it as a form of emotional abuse that can damage the mental health of children."

What's really interesting in the article is that they're considering, not just outright denigration of the other parent, but the smaller insidious stuff like scheduling conflicting activities.

There's no excuse for this type of behaviour in parents- but I can't help but wonder if some parents do it unknowingly. Something as innocuous as saying "hey- I missed you so much this weekend"- I think can actually stress a kid out, because they could think their absence is a source of sadness for the parent.
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Old 04-01-2019, 10:46 AM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Healthy parents who want to encourage a relationship donít pull any stunts.

I was so happy when I saw this. As a former alienated kid myself (who suffers all the things they say happens) and a spouse of someone who has been alienated, this news is wonderful in my mind.

If they do pass this, it will mean more training and information for judges and lawyers. That means more changes in the court and future orders.

And if you think some of those behaviours are innocuous, you arenít thinking of people intent on hurting their ex. There is a meme out there that says ďI love my kids but I hate my ex moreĒ.

In my case, my mom would be passed out in the house when we got home so we were left worrying she would die while we were with dad. She told us he was going to kidnap one of us from school and take us away. Said he didnít care about us etc. It was terrible.

For my man, it started during their separation. Insisting he couldnít be alone with the kids, scheduling activities on agreed time, telling the kids he was dangerous, calling and texting while they were with him, playing the victim. Lo and behold both kids have anxiety and depression!
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Old 04-01-2019, 11:08 AM
iona6656 iona6656 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
And if you think some of those behaviours are innocuous, you arenít thinking of people intent on hurting their ex. There is a meme out there that says ďI love my kids but I hate my ex moreĒ.
I think the "innocuous" behaviours can come in many forms. One time my dad was super excited to see D2 when she got home from her weekend time with her dad...and because he had been gone for a couple days and hadn't seen her- He said "I missed you SO much today"- I asked him later not to say stuff like that. I mean, he said it in a happy way- but I asked him to say "I'm so happy to see you"...and then I thought I was overthinking it.

Also- I think some parents just don't realize how things can affect kids. At the end of our last co-parent counselling session, my ex said something to the effect of "D2 wants to spend more time with both of us- she's very verbal and can express what she wants- why don't we ask her?" And I almost lost my shit on him because I wonder what he's been asking her. And I can pretty much guess- "Do you want to spend more time with dada? do you want to sleep over?". I told him that D2 doesn't get to decide that now- we do as her parents- and we have to do what's best for her. But we ran out of time. Do I think he's setting out to say harm her? Probably not. Do I think he's stupid and doesn't realize it's going to stress her out if he asks questions like that to a 2.5 year old? Yes.

But from the horror stories I've read on here- and two good friends who are going through it (1 dad and 1 mom) - I don't think either behaviour I addressed above actually fall to the level of alienation that this article is contemplating.

I think every divorcing parent should have to take a "co-parenting without harm" class. It doesn't have to be together. It should be a strongly suggested step by the family courts.
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Old 04-01-2019, 11:31 AM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Default WHO considers adding 'parental alienation' to a new diagnostic guide

As a survivor I can safely say that being told you were missed is one thing. Being told that they were worried you would never come home is a complete other.

There are a few really good books on this subject and a therapist on YouTube who discusses this. They outline what is healthy and what is not.

Your ex asking your daughter those questions isnít concerning per se. I say similar things to my nieces and nephews (do you want to come see auntie? Do you want auntie to come stay with you?) Its when he says ďmommy wonít let you come hereĒ that becomes a problem.

For the most part though, the serious alienating behaviours happen in parents who have full custody. Thats not to say that shared physical custody situations donít have it, just that the opportunity is there.

I donít think you have to worry iona, you seem pretty level headed especially in light of your situation and if your ex tries it, you still have enough resources in place to defeat his attempts.
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Old 04-01-2019, 11:46 AM
iona6656 iona6656 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
As a survivor I can safely say that being told you were missed is one thing. Being told that they were worried you would never come home is a complete other.
...

For the most part though, the serious alienating behaviours happen in parents who have full custody. Thats not to say that shared physical custody situations donít have it, just that the opportunity is there.
In light of what you've been through- I'm really sorry to hear your story, but it's certainly one worth sharing- what do you think the courts could/ should do in cases like yours? Is shared 50/50 custody the way to address it? Forced therapy? What happens when both parents do it?
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Old 04-01-2019, 12:42 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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My case was tough because my father didnt want to be a father which means even if we had been forced to spend time with him, he would have wanted to cancel.

Instead I will use my partners case. His ex insisted that he was the problem. She needed some serious therapy herself. If she had been forced to take parenting after divorce that would have helped. Having 50/50 automatic custody would have helped too. Heck if they had recognized her behaviours through the separation then full custody to him would have cured the problem.

What courts need to do is have parents meet with a trained psychologist first. Then implement a 50/50 situation for a trial of the amount of time it takes to get to the next court date. From there they could have mandatory check ins with all parties (kids, mom, dad).

Alienation is the result of a number of recognized behaviours. Has parenting time been denied? Has one party placed unnecessary demands on time with no proof (false claims of abuse)? Are the kids demonstrating an unwillingness to see a parent with no reason?

You can also see it in affidavits. My partners ex claims he refused to see the kids. She put an email in her package where he clearly asks for a set schedule for the year to make it easier on everyone. Someone who doesnít want to see their kids doesnít say ďlets look at months now and figure out when they expect to be freeĒ. If they were planning a vacation or time to visit out of Town it would have been a no brainer. His ex could plan holiday time away a year in advance. Yet planning time with dad was unreasonable.
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Old 04-01-2019, 02:04 PM
momof2teenboys momof2teenboys is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
What courts need to do is have parents meet with a trained psychologist first. Then implement a 50/50 situation for a trial of the amount of time it takes to get to the next court date. From there they could have mandatory check ins with all parties (kids, mom, dad).
This! Personally I think each parent should be required to take a "parenting after divorce" class and have follow-up and ongoing support from a trained professional.

In my case - which I rarely discuss here - as soon as separation began ex was checked out from parenting. Up until that point he had been involved and active with the boys (although the affair with another scout leader might have been a part of that ) But as soon as he moved out he had moved on. He literally relocated an hour away instead of staying close to the boys. (work/finance was not a factor - he wanted an exciting life in the city) And every time he was sent a version of a schedule for parenting time he would write back and say he would call the boys when he was available. He went from two evenings + eow to one night a week and then to one night a month very quickly. When we had our four-way with our lawyers to get things on paper his lawyer suggested splitting the summer in two or every other week and he said "I don't want them. I need to work". He never improved over time. You can't force someone to be a parent.

The term "alienation" starting coming up after he moved in with a gf. By that time the boys would often (but not always) turn him down for weekend visits but would see him for dinner during the week. They would still go for some of their vacation time but not for the schedule ex suddenly wanted them to follow. By this point both were old enough to decide and they coordinated everything on their own. When he began demanding youngest go back to eow - ds gave it a try. He wanted his dad to be close again. But it backfired when he couldn't get along with his gf. Ds hasn't shared with me everything that happened but from the little he has said the gf has some serious anger issues - and would verbally scream out how much she hated me and how I needed to be taught a lesson and his dad would sit and not say a word. On the final weekend ds stayed over, ex woke up ds early on a saturday morning to go to an appointment. Ex and gf had booked him in to see a therapist specializing in "parental alienation". Ds was completely unaware of what was going on until he walked into her office. Thankfully, the therapist clued in and shut it down. But there was a full-blowout when they all went back home. Gf shouting that she was "building a case" to take his mom down for alienation. Ds was 16yo and seeing his dad (and calling and texting etc) and the drama only happened when he visited his dad's house - so he stopped going.
He still sees his dad - but only for dinner during the week. And his dad often cancels.
Ds had been seeing a psychologist since the separation. He would ask his dad over and over again to come for his appointments. Ex went a few times and then never went back - it was never explained to me why.

"Alienation" legislated...wouldn't help with us. It would only have given ex something to cling to and fuel his anger. But mandatory parenting classes and family therapy - I could only hope that would have helped.
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:36 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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In your case it was not alienation and any good therapist would have seen that.

I also think additional problems occur when new partners who are intent on involving themselves stick their nose in. My father has had two partners since we reconnected and they were both respectful of who we were. I actually really like his new partner (maybe more than him!) and she simply talks to me when I see them in person. We pass messages along through him.

For my partner, I tried to stay a respectful distance but also insisted there was respect for our relationship when I moved in. That means I didnít comment on their relationship, didnít reprimand or enforce, didnít try to be step mommy or anything like that. But I DID assert that I was his spouse and that we were a team. The kids were fine with it and I spent time with them individually. The ex didnít like that and soon comments started about our life together and how quickly he moved on.

There are so many ďasteriskĒ factors to this that it will be difficult in implementing ways to avoid it. Overall though, there are things courts can do as a starting point.

I always get sad when I hear stories of parents who donít want anything to do with their kids. How can you have these people that are a part of you but are just an afterthought in your life? I have a hard time with my father when he plays the victim. I donít want to go back in the past but I do remind him that he is lucky I speak to him after all of the ways he hurt me.
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:06 PM
Tired_Dad Tired_Dad is offline
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I am absolutely amazed that this is finally getting out there! The games some parents play (involving kids, demeaning the relationship, undermining, etc...) only goes to hurt the children the most. I'm not sure if it's immaturity, selfishness, greed, etc... but it's completely uncalled for. The more the public and legal system become aware of the signs and how they affect the children, the sooner a stop can be put in place. I only wish this was something already in place before my children were affected. It's a long, trying road and patience and love are the only things that keep a person sane. I truly hope family law starts implementing some realistic guidelines in the near future. Finger crossed!!
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:38 PM
momof2teenboys momof2teenboys is offline
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In regards to ex's gf - I've been told that she's very jealous of any time or attention ex gives to his kids. Either she is a part of that time or all hell breaks loose. She sent horrible bashing emails to eldest ds after he stopped by their place to go out with his dad. The blowout that time was because he didn't stay and play with her 3yo and now 3yo was upset at him taking her dad away (no bio dad in the picture). Very over the top explosive behaviour. (She's also been referred to as very difficult person, abrasive and in need of a better attitude by more than one justice - she's had a never-ending case posted on canlii multiple times)

That aside....

I don't know if the WHO recognizing the impact this has on children's mental health would have any impact on our family court system today. Family courts here recognize how detrimental this is (though it's a slow and painful process to get anywhere before the damage is done) and there are plenty of family therapists and psychologists that are trained and can work with children in recovering from this abuse. I think lawyers/therapists/judges need to find a way to intervene early and recognize risk factors.
Mandatory parenting classes, early intervention, family therapy - stop the damage (or contain it) before it's too late to go back.
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