Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Importance of Dads
There used to be a concept in the law known as the tender years doctrine. According to this doctrine, there was a presumption in the law that mothers were the more fit parent to have custody of children. The tender years doctrine no longer exists and today, in contested custody cases, fathers have an equal opportunity to obtain custody of their children.
Today, there is a growing concern that many fathers are experiencing, which is the concept of parental alienation syndrome. Psychiatrist Richard Gardner has been at the forefront in dealing with this issue. Dr. Gardner describes parental alienation syndrome as when children are preoccupied with unjustified and exaggerated deprecation and criticism of a parent, usually the dad. Marc J. Ackerman, Andrew W. Kane, Psychological Experts in Divorce Cases, 1998, Aspen Publishing, page 238. BLUE BOOK Typically, the mom will brainwash the children into believing that the dad is a bad parent who does not love them. Mothers who attempt to brainwash their children and therefore alienate them from their fathers will use sarcasm, lies and harassment. For example, a mom might tell the children that their dad does not give her enough money to support them. The children will actually start to believe that they will have to go without food, clothing and shelter. Id at 239. This fear can increase the children’s hatred towards their dad. Dr. Gardner opines that because joint custody arrangements have grown in popularity in recent years, which results in children spending more time with their fathers, that women are now at a disadvantage in contested custody disputes and, accordingly, they are more likely to attempt to alienate their children from the father. Id. Your attorney should be familiar with this syndrome and should further know how to combat it. If you feel that your wife is alienating your children from you, then you need to act quickly and speak with an attorney. Not only will your children suffer, but you there could be a permanent wedge between you and your children.
- Nearly 34 percent of all children live without their biological father.
- Nearly 27 percent of all children live in a single - parent home.
- Nearly one - third (33%) of all births in the year 2000 were out of wedlock.
- Father’s who reside with their children, on average, are more likely to have close, loving, respectful and enduring relationship with their children as opposed to those who do not.
- Approximately 40% of the children who do not live with their fathers have not seen their father at all during the past year.
- Children who do not live with their fathers are, on average, at least 2 - 3 times more likely to be poor and use drugs.
- Children who do not live with their fathers are, on average, at least 2 - 3 times more likely to experience educational problems in addition to health and emotional problems.
- Children who do not live with their fathers are, on average, at least 2 - 3 times more likely to be victims of child abuse and to engage in criminal behavior.
- Children who do have their involved and loving fathers in their lives are more likely to achieve success in school, have positive self - esteem and exhibit normal and healthy social behavior.
- Children who have uninvolved fathers are more likely to engage in high - risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy and criminal activity.
As you can see, there are few things more important to children than to have caring, involved and loving fathers. You should make sure that your attorney has the experience and knowledge to effectively fight for your rights as a father... rest assured your wife will.