Enough with the parent alienation accusation if it’s not true.
There is nothing that infuriates me more than fathers claiming that mothers are alienating their children from them, when they are not.
Most single mums that I know (including myself) are of the opinion that our children benefit from both their parents in their lives, and do whatever they can to encourage that based on their children’s age. Of course there are cases where mothers try to keep their children from their father (and vice versa), and sadly this commonly has to do with control, or getting back at each other, rather than what is in the best interest of the child. But often it is for genuine reasons which may include violence, substance abuse or mental illness; where it may actually not be safe for children to be with that parent at that point in time.
When a parent tries to keep their child away from the other parent, for no substantiated reason, but to simply hurt the other parent, that is not fair on a child. There are large fathers’ rights organisations such as The Fathers’ Rights Movement and Dads in Distress that help men in these situations.
The Fathers Rights Movement (based in the United States but they have followers all over the world) are “passionate about empowering fathers to stand up for their rights and educating the public and family court system about the importance of fathers in society, as well as bringing greater awareness to the imbalance and injustice that effects the rights of fathers”.
Dads in Distress is a brilliant organisation (based in Australia) that seeks to prevent harm to one another and “encourages men to continue with emotional and financial support of their families for the sake of their children”.
These organisations are fantastic for men who are truly hard done by. The trouble is, a lot of men who are genuinely NOT hard done by, are feeding off the energy from these groups. And this, I find really troubling. I see it time and time again.
In Australia, the courts really do endeavour to rule on what is best for the children, although at the end of the day it still depends on the Judge that you have on the day. I have sat in on court hearings, where in one instance a man who had a very bad drug addiction was still encouraged to have contact with his kids (albeit under supervision; but contact nonetheless). And his youngest child was under two years old. But the Judge believed that it was best for the children to still have contact with their father. In this situation, is that right? I don’t know. Every situation is different. But at least he wanted contact with his children.
Then there are fathers who don’t make any effort at all.
I have spoken with a lot of women who spend so much time trying to get their children’s father involved in their children’s life. They are constantly the one initiating contact with their ex, and trying to encourage phone calls or visits with the other parent, and it appears the men have no interest whatsoever. They don’t answer the phone when their kids ring (or bother calling back) or don’t turn up when they are supposed to spend time with their children, and it is the children who lose out. It’s not fair on these kids who are then left wondering why their daddy doesn’t want to speak to them or see them. It is heartbreaking.
But some of these men then get fed by organisations such as The Fathers’ Rights Movement or Dads in Distress and claim that their children’s mums are alienating them. This is what infuriates me. I know there are so many wonderful wonderful fathers out there, but there are also a small percentage that claim they are being alienated as a parent when they are not. There are probably mothers that do this too. Either way, I find it really sickening. Are they in denial? I don’t think that they want to admit to anyone, or even themselves, that they have not stepped up, and taken some responsibility. It is not fair of them to claim that they are hard done by when they haven’t done a thing to initiate a relationship with their children, and it shocks me how common this actually is.
It is up to us as parents, as single parents, to take responsibility and initiate contact with our children. We are the adults, it is up to us to ensure that we have the relationship that we want with our children. We shouldn’t be relying on our ex partners, or children for that matter, to wait for this to happen, and then blame them when it doesn’t happen. So to these people: step up and take some initiative.
And if you are on the receiving end of this, don’t blame yourself. I had to deal with this situation for two years and it made me so sad. I used to regularly receive a line of up to 10 text messages with photos like this.
It was perplexing because it was the complete opposite of what was actually going on. I spent two years trying to get him involved – flying interstate so my daughter could see him, trying to arrange Skype calls, and sending photos and updates – only to be ignored 90% of the time. But it also devastated me. But you can’t control what other people do or say. What you can control is how you respond. I still, on occasion, get these photos sent to me but I don’t let them bother me anymore because I know the truth, and I know it doesn’t matter what I do, he will find another way to try and get to me. And in actual fact, he has really stepped up now, and I am grateful that my daughter has a good bond with him now.
Keep doing what you’re doing. I think it’s very important to encourage a relationship with the other parent, and all the women I know who are being accused of parent alienation are actually doing the complete opposite. They are doing everything they can to encourage a relationship between their children and their father. But at the end of the day, you can only do so much, and it will be your ex who loses out as he is not putting in the effort to build a relationship with his kids.
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