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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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Old 11-26-2012, 09:02 AM
kidsRworthit kidsRworthit is offline
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Default Parental alienation: Cdn. study - 1989-2008

Interesting read...

Parental Alienation - Myths, Realities & Uncertainties: A Canadian Study, 1989-2008

Alienation cases have been receiving a great deal of public and professional attention in the past few months in Canada. As with so many issues in family law, there are two competing, gendered narratives offered to explain these cases. Men’s rights activists claim that mothers alienate children from their fathers as a way of seeking revenge for separation, and argue that judges are gender-biased against fathers in these cases. Feminists tend to dismiss alienation as a fabrication of abusive fathers who are trying to force contact with children who are frightened of them and to control the lives of their abused former partners. While there is some validity to both of these narratives, each also has significant mythical elements. The reality of these cases is often highly complex, with both fathers and mothers bearing significant responsibility for the situation.

Many high conflict separations are characterized by both parents denigrating their former partners and failing to support their children’s relationships with the other parent. While all children suffer from such parental behaviour, only a minority of children become “alienated” from a parent as a result of it. When a child resists visits with a parent, all children in the family and both parents must be assessed. Some cases involve emotionally abusive "pathological alienation," caused by the conduct of an alienating parent and resulting in a child having negative beliefs and feelings (such as anger, hatred or fear) that are not consistent with the child's actual experience with the rejected parent. In other cases, however, the child may be "justifiably estranged" due to conduct of the rejected parent, such as abuse or poor parenting. In some cases a child independently decides to disengage with a parent, perhaps due to tensions with a step parent.

complete study:

Parental Alienation - Myths, Realities & Uncertainties: A Canadian Study, 1989-2008 - By Nicholas Bala, Suzanne Hunt & Carrie McCarney -Faculty of Law, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada - 12MAY09

Old 11-26-2012, 09:06 AM
kidsRworthit kidsRworthit is offline
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Default Parental Alienation: Cdn study, Key findings

Some of the key findings of the study:
  • A total of 145 cases were found in this period in which the court made a decision about whether or not there was “parental alienation”, with 18/34 in 1989-1998 having a finding of alienation, and 71/111 in 1999-2008 having a finding of alienation. Thus there was a significant increase over time in the number of cases raising the issue of parental alienation and in the number of cases in which there were findings of alienation, though the increase in the rate of findings (53% to 64%) was not statistically significant.
  • Although courts continue to use the concept of “parental alienation,” starting in 2005, Canadian judges began to recognize that the issue of whether this is a “syndrome” is controversial, and that mental health professionals should resolve this issue, not judges.
  • Mothers are twice as likely as fathers to alienate children from the other parent, but this reflects the fact that mothers are more likely to have custody or primary care of their children; in only 2 out of 89 cases was a parent with only access able to alienate a child from the other parent.
  • Fathers made more than three times as many unsubstantiated claims of parental alienation as mothers, but this too reflects the fact that claims of alienation (substantiated and unsubstantiated) are usually made by access parents, who are usually fathers.
  • In close to half the cases in which the court declined to make a finding of alienation, it found that the child was understandably estranged from the rejected parent due to abuse or poor parenting; in about one quarter of the unsubstantiated cases the court found that the child was not “alienated” from the other parent, but simply wanted less contact. In 11 of the 56 cases where an unsubstantiated, the court declined to order access of a parent who had made a claim unsubstantiated claim of alienation; these were mainly cases of justified estrangement, where there concerns about the safety or welfare of the child in the care of that parent.
  • Court-appointed mental health experts testified in 83% of these cases, and if they expressed a clear opinion about whether or not there was alienation, the court agreed in over 90% of the cases.
  • Party-retained experts testified in less than a fifth of cases; judges are much less inclined to agree with these experts; in only 2 cases did the court prefer the opinion of a privately-retained expert to that of a court-appointed expert about whether alienation occurred.
  • Where the court found parental alienation, the most common response was to vary custody to either give the rejected parent sole (47/89=53%) or joint custody(14/89=16%); whether the father or the mother was found to be the alienating parent, there was not a statistically significant difference in the rate of variation of custody.
  • In more severe cases, courts may both change custody and suspend contact with the alienating parent; this occurred in 9 out of 89 cases (10%).
Parental Alienation - Myths, Realities & Uncertainties: A Canadian Study, 1989-2008 - By Nicholas Bala, Suzanne Hunt & Carrie McCarney -Faculty of Law, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada - 12MAY09

Old 11-26-2012, 09:59 AM
murphyslaw murphyslaw is offline
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May be noted also that high conflict abusive parents are using the term "alienation" to get more access then they should be getting, due to safety concerns.Its now a get out of jail free card for abusers.Mom or dad beats mistreats and abuses in general and the other parent seeks sole custody in the childs best interests.The child has experienced abuse at the hands of the abusive parent and is legitimately afraid of them from past experiences
The abuser screams out alienation in order to gain control over his ex and child.Its really common strategy used by numerous divorce lawyers.Many abducting parents have also tried using this.For every real case, there is going to be many scumbags using it as an excuse for getting even .

Its the same as domestic violence .Instead of victims getting treated with compassion they are being further victimized because of scumbags faking it in order to gain custody.The lack of knowledge in the courts of basic behaviour profiling, is helping only the best con artists ,not those in need of justice.
Old 11-26-2012, 10:10 AM
DowntroddenDad DowntroddenDad is offline
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I don't discount the idea that there are false claims of alienation. But don't discount the idea that there are legitimate situations.

My access is "liberal" with no fixed times. I can see the kids as much as they want, which sounds great in theory. But when your ex accusses you of gambling away your savings on online poker(never played for money ever, never even played in a bar for an entry fee), having started to see your girlfriend before separation(didn't happen), and many more lies, and then the children stop talking to you, or cancel their dates to see you, you have to wonder.
Old 11-26-2012, 01:12 PM
SynGreis SynGreis is offline
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i agree, they will always have people who will abuse the system in order to benefit.

but i know there is genuine cases of alienation such as mine. of course you cannot expect to believe me, but i know the truth and i know alienation is present.
Old 11-26-2012, 01:34 PM
kidsRworthit kidsRworthit is offline
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^^^ Agreed, we all have our stories, and we all know the truth, or different shades of it.

Freshly happening today: my ex (mother) has manipulated our son over the months, and it is at the point where he expressed interest in staying with his mom on my parenting week, while his sister comes to my place for the week.

I clarified to my ex we both have a legal responsibility to ensure our children go to the respective parent for their parenting week. She claims this is what our son wants. We don't have a signed Sep. Agreement (she refused to sign final version of SA) however we have legally documented 14+ months status quo of 50/50 EOW shared parenting arrangement.

If she plays hardball (which she has a record of), your suggestions for practical legal recourse/action to address failure of ex to recognize and respect consistency of my parenting week. Her repeated self-help initiatives (under guise of manipulating our son) are becoming more invasive.

I don't believe this criteria meets test of emergency Notice of Motion.
I want to use this situation to clearly illustrate that my ex is alienating me from our son in further custody and access court proceedings. btw - she moved 1/2 away from children's established community and school area.

Mediation- I contacted court mediation service to queue up mediation service for us. My ex just mentioned she was contacted by the office and if she attended mediation, would I in return allow our son to stay with her this week as this is what he wants. ??? I am floored. Mediation is separate and apart from the right of the child for consistency and to stay with the respective parent for that particular week.
Old 11-26-2012, 01:38 PM
SynGreis SynGreis is offline
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you need proof she is manipulating your son.

depending on the age of your son perhaps the court can take into consideration of what your son has to say.
Old 11-26-2012, 01:48 PM
kidsRworthit kidsRworthit is offline
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At Case Conference, ex asked for private assessment of children: there are no clinical issues, so rejected.

Ex asked for OCL assessment, however Master declined this also as assessment harm (invasive, lengthy) outweighs benefit to court of conducting assessment.

Her claim is that an assessment will truly reveal our 9 year old son's wishes.
He has been continually brain washed for almost 3 months now - shame on mom! So, now CC has concluded, she may seek motion for assessment and we're back to assessment issue again

Her repeated actions pulling our son into the middle of an adult disagreement prove she is manipulative and self-serving. Does a reasonable person 1. move 1/2 hr. away from their children's school area for their own lifestyle reasons, 2. take their child out of school twice on the OP parenting time, and threaten to keep the child in their care unless concessions are met?
Old 11-26-2012, 01:54 PM
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Tayken Tayken is offline
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W.C. v. C.E., 2010 ONSC 3575 (CanLII)
Date: 2010-06-22
Docket: FS-07-101
URL: CanLII - 2010 ONSC 3575 (CanLII)
Citation: W.C. v. C.E., 2010 ONSC 3575 (CanLII)

My emphasis added...

[68] These indicators were set out in Appendix A to Dr. Fidler’s report as Pathological Alienation: Warning Signs of Behaviour Exhibited by Child, Alienating Parent and Rejected Parent, which is reproduced below.

Child Behaviours:
➢ View of parents one-sided, all good or all bad; idealizes one parent and devalues the other
Vicious vilification of target parent; campaign of hatred
➢ Trivial, false and irrational reasons to justify hatred
➢ Reactions and perceptions unjustified or disproportionate to parent’s behaviours
Talks openly to anyone about rejected parent’s perceived shortcomings
➢ Extends hatred to extended family and pets (hatred by association)
➢ No guilt or ambivalence regarding malicious treatment, hatred, etc.
➢ A stronger, but not necessarily healthy, psychological bond with alienating parent than with rejected parent
➢ Anger at rejected parent for abandonment; blames him/her for divorce
➢ Speed is brittle, a litany; obsessed; has an artificial quality; affect does not match words; no conviction; unchildlike, uses adult language; has a rehearsed quality
Stories are repetitive and lacking in detail and depth
➢ Mimics what siblings report rather than own experience
➢ Denial of hope for reconciliation; no acknowledgement of desire for reconciliation
Expresses worry for preferred parent, desire to care for that parent; or, defensive denial that child is indeed worried about parent

Alienating Parent Behaviours:
➢ Allows and insists that child makes decisions about contact
➢ Rarely talks about the other parent; uninterested in child’s time with other parent after contact; gives a cold shoulder, silent treatment, or is moody after child’s return from visit.
No photos of target parent; removes reminders of the other parent
➢ Refusal to hear positive comments about rejected parent; quick to discount good times as trivial and unimportant
➢ No encouragement of calls to other parent between visits; rationalizes that child does not ask
➢ Tells child fun things that were missed during visit with other parent
➢ Indulges child with material possessions and privileges
Sets few limits or is rigid about routines, rules and expectations
➢ Refuses to speak directly to parent; refuses to be in same room or close proximity; does not let target parent come to door to pick up child
➢ No concern for missed visits with other parent
Makes statements and then denies what was said
Body language and nonverbal communication reveals lack of interest, disdain and disapproval
➢ Engages in inquisition of child after visits
Rejected parent is discouraged or refused permission to attend school events and activities
➢ Telephone messages, gifts and mail from other parent to child are destroyed, ignored or passed on to the child with disdain
Distorts any comments of child that might justify accusations
➢ Doesn’t believe that child has any need for relationship with other parent
➢ When child calls and is quiet or non-communicative, parent wrongly assumes pressure from target parent, or that child is not comfortable with target parent; evidence of bad parenting; does not appreciate that child is uncomfortable talking to alienating parent about target parent
Portrays other parent as dangerous, may inconsistently act fearful of other parent in front of child
➢ Exaggerates negative attributes of other parent, and omits anything positive
➢ Delusional false statements repeated to child; distorts history and other parent’s participation in the child’s life; claims other parent has totally changed since separation
Projection of own thoughts, feelings and behaviours onto the other parent
➢ Does not correct child’s rude, defiant and/or omnipotent behaviour directed towards the other parent, but would never permit child to do this with others
Convinced of harm, when there is no evidence
False or fabricated allegations of sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse
➢ Denigrates and exaggerates flaws of rejected parent to child
➢ Says other parent left “us”, divorced “us” and doesn’t love “us”
Over-involves child in adult matters and litigation
➢ Child required to keep secrets and spy or report back on other parent
➢ Child required to be messenger
➢ Overt and covert threats to withdraw love and affection from child unless other parent is rejected
Extreme lack of courtesy to rejected parent
Relocation for minor reasons and with little concern for effects on child

Rejected Parent Behaviours:
➢ Harsh, rigid and punitive parenting style
➢ Outrage at child’s challenge to his/her authority
➢ Passivity or withdrawal in face of conflict
➢ Immature, self-centred in relation to child
➢ Loses temper, angry, demanding, intimidating character traits, but not to level of abuse
➢ Counter-rejecting behaviour
➢ Lacks empathic connection to child
➢ Inept and unempathic pursuit of child, pushes calls and letters, unannounced or embarrassing visits
➢ Challenges child’s beliefs and/or attitudes and tries to convince them otherwise
➢ Dismissive of child’s feelings and negative attitudes
➢ Induces guilt
➢ May use force to reassert parent position
➢ Vents rage, blames alienating parent for brainwashing child and takes no responsibility

[69] Dr. Fidler explained that these are behaviours that are commonly seen as taken from a review of the literature on alienation. They are not listed in any particular order and there does not need to be a demonstration of all of these behaviours for there to be alienation.

[70] Dr. Fidler also referred to Appendix B attached to her report as Processes and Strategies Used by Alienating Parents, which is also reproduced below:
1. Badmouthing of the other parent’s qualities, parenting, involvement with child; may or may not include abusive behaviour (reduces parent’s importance to the child).
2. Other parent sometimes portrayed as dangerous, e.g., harmful, angry, mean (instils fear and rejection of the other parent, fosters dependency on and need for protector in alienating parent).
3. Other parent portrayed as having abandoned the child, as not loving or caring for the child (creates hurt, resentment, emotional distance, fosters dependency on the alienating parent).
4. Withdrawal of love: love of alienating parent is conditional upon the child’s not showing positive feelings or desire for the other parent (fosters child’s insecurity, dependency, need to please the alienating parent, and feeds their narcissism).
5. Minimizing actual and symbolic contact with the other parent (eradicating the other parent from child’s life and awareness).
I would caution anyone from bringing forward an allegation of "parental alienation" and to review the above case law to see what really is involved.

An unsubstantiated allegation is not the "truth" even though you swear an "affirmation to the truth" and put it in an affidavit. You may "feel" like you are being alienated but, I am sure that with such a laundry list as presented in case law, you can align anything you "feel"/"believe" is happening but, it probably is not parental alienation but, a child struggling with the conflict of separation and divorce. Which, is the result of two people who can't get along and put their children's best interests first.

Good Luck!
Old 11-26-2012, 02:15 PM
kidsRworthit kidsRworthit is offline
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^^^ Great case and insightful behaviours.
I understand that if the laundry list is long enough, most people will be able to align their own situation to alienation.

Yes, children navigating through separation and divorce, and struggling with their parent's conflict IS the issue. I've written my offer to settle, although my lawyer didn't advance my arguments to my ex's lawyer. In our son's best interest, I am prepared to follow: a. extracurricular activities (hockey) in school area (3rd year), or 2. no organized hockey at all in mom or dad's area. (proved too problematic for child, and takes the fun, friendship and exercise element out of the experience = not in our son's best interest)

Received my whopping first lawyer's invoice, and I recognize I am unable to continue in this manner. I will re-do offer to settle and ask that it be formally presented (with his insight). Tayken - can you clear your inbox so I may private message you?
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