Breaking the chains that bind…

Karen Woodall

In the run up to Fathers Day in the UK we seem to have a plethora of new initiatives being launched by the old guard in the field of fatherhood and family separation.  Whilst F4J are hanging up their bat suits and launching a helpline and calling for a Minister for men and boys, Families need Fathers in England are launching a new charter.  Meanwhile in Wales, Both Parents Matter AKA FNF Wales are flirting with Maypole women and wondering whether a joint application for funding to the DWP has any legs (no change there then).  Much as it pains me to say it, it looks like business as usual for dads in distress in this run up to fathers day.

I have worked in this field for the past 23 years and this week I spent a bit of time looking back at the history of the way that…

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When Alienated Parents Give Up

Parental Alienation

When a parent endures parental alienation, various emotions materialize.  Some are angry and others feel helpless.  On the other hand, a number of rejected parents evolve into dedicated empowered advocates, but just as many are depleted both physically and financially. Some parents may ask, when do I let go? Clearly, alienated parents (also known as rejected parents) are grieving parents.  In 2002 Dr. Richard Gardner wrote, “For some alienated parents the continuous heartache is similar to living death.” Sadly, for many rejected parents, the sorrow never ends.

Most are familiar with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grieving.  First is Denial.  Denial is not recognizing reality.  As noted by Dr. Gardner (2002), denying reality is obviously a maladaptive way of dealing with a situation.  In fact, denial is generally considered to be one of the defense mechanisms, mechanisms that are inappropriate, maladaptive, and pathological. Obviously, it is hard to deny that…

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Watch with mother: gender and the prevention of the best interest of the child

Karen Woodall

A quick follow up on my last post now that mother and son in the transfer of residence case in the UK have been found (it seems mother gave herself up to the police). My major concern about this case is that it will now be affected by the gendered reactions in the media and society as a whole.  It seems that when fathers try to raise concerns about the family courts they are considered to be either bitter, revenge seeking or controlling but when mothers raise concerns, suddenly everyone is listening and feeling sorry for her. This is the gendered aspect of this case,  the gendered assumptions that society makes about men and women affect our responses to such situations.  Thus, if the mother has had her child removed from her for some it must be because she has done something really really bad (because mothers who lose their…

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