The recent decision of the World Health Organization to recognize the alienation of parents highlights a controversial concept little recognized in this country.
The condition, which occurs almost exclusively in the context of a highly violent breakdown of a relationship between two parents who are in dispute over child custody, has been included in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases, which will enter into vigor. In early 2022.
There is no policy in Ireland on how to define, detect or resolve parental alienation. In general, it is where a child strongly aligns with a father and rejects the other parent without justification and despite a previous love relationship.
Without any explanation for the rejection, the suspicion is that the preferred parent has “poisoned” the child against the other. However, critics argue that parental alienation accusations can be used to protect parents who abuse them.
Another layer of complexity, at a time when there is more emphasis on listening to the child’s voice, is the notion of “brainwashing”.
But recognizing how alienation from parents could be at stake in family disputes would be a start since early intervention is essential to prevent long-term effects for children who turn against one of the parents. The perpetrator may be the mother or father, both the children and the father rejected being victims.
Brian O’Sullivan, a family psychiatrist working in Dublin, says, “It’s a concept that is often misunderstood.” He hosted a recent conference at Trinity College Dublin to raise awareness of the situation among social, legal and mental health practitioners and enable “conversations and discussions about parenting – and more importantly, what isn’t.”
The initial position must be to ask whether there are good reasons for rejecting the child’s parents, such as abuse or neglect. “If the answer to that question is yes, then it’s not weirdness, it’s something else,” he emphasizes. Nor does it apply in a situation where a single parent may be unavailable to a child working abroad for prolonged periods of addiction, or for years without contact.
O’Sullivan argues if the parents in their previous family case were descendants, to argue too quickly to establish that judges and other professionals could easily be trained.
At the lighter end of the spectrum, it is one parent who defames the other parent in front of the child. Paying attention to this and providing information about potential psychological harm is enough to remedy the situation.
“Most parents will find themselves motivated to change behavior quickly and move their children in the first place,” he says.
At the extreme end of the spectrum, however, is “one parent who is determined to remove the other parent from the child’s life. The parents are reluctant or unable to pursue the child’s developmental needs in this conflict.” “Required.
“In the most serious cases, we are talking about psychological and emotional child abuse and need to see it in the way and it needs to be answered with all other forms of childhood abusive.”
Even if a family law judge understands a parent’s passion, he is pushing on what he can do about it.
“At the moment there is no public funding for a solution,” says O’Sullivan, who advocates for the introduction of the Family Bridge program in severe cases. Emerging in the US 30 years ago, it is a four-day program designed to help divorced children. Has a 96 percent success rate in reuniting children, and is used in various jurisdictions.
Effects of parental dissociation on a child may include clinical depression, anxiety, fracture attachments, suicidal ideation, suicidal intent, alcohol and substance abuse, premature sexual activity, and educational underachievement. “It happens during a child’s lifetime and they travel to the next generation of families, so when these children go on to become parents, this pattern repeats.”
Historically, parental disassembly was considered something that happened only for the father. O’Sullivan has worked with the underprivileged parents for almost 10 years, and before she was all a father, in the last four years she has almost all the mothers.
Parental disassembly can be more fraudulent for women, which they feel, they have less voice. “In this country, there are hundreds and hundreds of mothers who have erased their children’s lives for no good reason,” he says.
When a father tries to reproduce a mother, she will often be accused of physical abuse and neglect; Mothers try this, they probably blame the father of sexual abuse and neglect. In any case, the strategy is likely to succeed, because, in true service, investigating and investigating allegations, which can take up to a year. “At that time, innocent, innocent parents are not allowed to interact with that child, so different acts are perpetuated,” O’Sullivan says.
Dr. Waterford Institute of Technology Rosin O’Shea and Drs. Family law system can contribute to breaking the relationship between one parent and child in a research project conducted by Cited Connelly. They use the term “parental estrangement” – it aligns parents with a significant conflict between parents and children and separates parents from rejecting others.
With the consent of the minister, two researchers had registered 360 cases in the Family Law courts for 14 days between March 2017 and April 2019. In cases where access to children was a problem, they identified 24% of controversies and parental displacement arising in the parental shelter. 13 percent
Rather than being a gendered phenomenon, it seems that the primary carer is in conflict with other parents, O’Shea explains. Often the same mechanism that the judge has to address is to order the report.
In partnership with Waterford-based Arch Mediation, partner O’Shea says, “Then the situation is strengthened.” “If a parent is blocking access to other parents, he will remain standing until this report is complete and he will make an arrangement himself. Even if the first parents do not intentionally try to eliminate their parents, they are the same effect as the father Or the mother does not see the child. We still have little regard for the interests of the children. “
The most effective way to resolve parental dissociation or estrangement, says O’Shea, is family mediation, which will break down barriers to starting a parenting system. “Waiting 12 months for a report to come to court is a little uncomfortable for children.”
Depending on the maintenance or access involved, they have noticed how the court works due to a violation of the court’s order. “When it came to maintenance, they were pretty tough,” O’Shea says. Almost half (48 percent) violations of maintenance programs, which were brought by all women, resulted in summons or warrants and two of their parents in prison.
“When that consumption order was breached, the same power of sanctions was not enforced.” Less than three (29 percent) of access apps breaks, which were brought by all men, resulted in the summons or a warrant and some were given jail.
Both she and Connolly believe that families need to be removed from the court and advocate compulsory mediation. Meanwhile, O’Shea says, “When applying for a breach of the order,” a beautiful piece of law that is used, “says, that means Section 60 of the Children and Relationship Act, which gives the judge not only the compensation period and/or the cost of the order. Parents also urge parents to attend time with their child to attend one or both parent mediators, a parenting program, or counseling.
Parental alienation is not a term used in Women´s Aid, says service manager Gillian Dennehy, “but it is something we find used against the women we work with.”
If a woman has to flee her home due to domestic abuse and cannot take the children with her, the father can prevent her from seeing them and there is a battle for access and custody. “The longer it lasts, the more rights he gets because the children will be with him longer,” says Dennehy, while the mother is at a disadvantage for access because she has no home.
Even women who stay with an abusive partner for the sake of children may find that they turn against her, she says, because they “believe in the abuser father’s script” and may also feel more secure about him.
In Women Aid, they wonder how criminal and family courts can act so separately that they apparently do not relate the abuse of a woman to the potential danger to her child. “Family courts are issuing access orders when there is an ongoing criminal case that is very worrying in terms of risk to the mother and the child.”
We know that abusive parents can kill the mother and children, so it should not be seen as separate, argues Dennehy. “There should not be a presumption of contact.”
Courts may wish to request supervised contact, but there are no supervised contact centers, despite a successful pilot project of two in Dublin, from 2011 to 2013, which were closed due to lack of funds.
Women who believe it is not safe to let their children access access can be listed as an alienation exercise for their parents. Abusive men, Dennehy adds, “will often cry wolf and become the victim to get what they want and it is scary how much is happening.”
Nine-year-old Mary kissed her mother goodbye on school’s way 11 years ago, her father was going to collect her later to spend a week with her. “I didn’t know I was kissing this last,” says the mother, Sheila (not her real name), who believes her daughter has become a victim of parental descent.
She left her husband after the threat of physical violence. The business owner, she did not search for maintenance, established her home and “never stopped watching her from a young man”
Everything was fine until he got into a relationship with another man. When she and her daughter lasted more than 90 minutes, she says that her former child will not travel to see or agree to meet halfway in the way.
Then from the blue, she asked him whether he could take his daughter for the first week of Easter school holidays, which was a part of the access agreement.
Mary painted her mother in the middle of that week and said she had spent such a nice time and had not seen her father for so long, she could stay for a few days. Sheila agreed reluctantly but stressed that she had to come home after the end of the weekend.
There was no sign of Mary on Monday and Sheila couldn’t pick him up on the phone, so she told her local Garda station with a court order that she wanted her child back like a custody agreement.
Garde found him and Mary in the social work department of the nearby city, where a social activist told them to ensure that the child was not at risk with his mother. After driving local domestic workers to Sheila, Gardi said that the child had to return to his mother.
“The next thing she was yelling to me was ‘I hate you; I don’t want to be with you.’ I was standing there watching. The social worker said, ‘Don’t allow your daughter to talk to her mother.’ , But he was encouraging it. “
Mary went with her mother shortly after the arrival of Sheila’s father. “She will not see me, she will not talk to me, so my father had to come and have to calm him for a week.”
A court hearing was scheduled and when she came, she asked her own barrister what she had done to the child. A report alleges that Sheila was physically abusing Mary.
Sheila discovered that her former child was brought to a professional who “wrote about complete rubbish pages and pages about me, I have never met”. However, on the basis of that report, the court flipped the access order – to give it to Mary every other week.
Why was Sheela dismissed why the judge alleged that if it is believed that he is an abuser, would he give his child the end of the weekend? It defied logic. She was told that she could appeal the decision.
So began the compilation of court hearings and other reports. “Nobody was asking why a kid was saying this,” says Sheila. (Her mother later complained that Mary had complaints about her mother as a pre-teen that she was forced to work and was in bed by 8.30pm.)
But then it felt that the child was not forced to see his mother if she did not want to. Mary is now a young adult and the absence of contact is ongoing.
Meanwhile, Caroline (not her real name) is another mother who is still fighting to see her two teenage children. She has not seen her son in five months and has less time with her daughter – even though she has a court order with her four nights a week.
Nothing has been said about the violation of the order and it is said that children of those ages can not be forced to return to their parents. She believes she was “brainwashed” during her ex-husband’s accusation of having an inappropriate mother, without success, by testifying in court to Trusla, Tulala, Garda and her current partner in court.
Caroline, parents, and parents, like many parents, are in touch with similar circumstances, but she adds that “without the mandate of implementation, we are on a lost fight”.