We must stop turning children against divorced fathers.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
I have been working with a Mum going through a difficult divorce who has 3 children. She is bitter, angry and furious that her husband had an affair with his young secretary and split the family up.
She is incandescent that she had to leave their family home and had to move to a smaller house near the children’s school.
She began our sessions berating her Ex, slagging him off in front of her children and turning them against their Dad by constantly reminding them of how awful her life is now, how he broke up their happy home and how he is a nasty person. She then began refusing to allow him to see the children regularly and made it very difficult when he did by arriving late to hand overs and changing times and arrangements suddenly without warning as punishment for what he did to them.
Their father is desperate to see his children on a regular basis and found himself constantly begging his wife to honour their agreement, trying to mend some very broken fences and battling to keep himself actively involved in his childrens’s lives.
In his sessions he often broke down in tears. He has taken responsibility for what happened but felt it was between him and his ex wife to try and sort out some sort of working relationship for the good of their children.
I worked hard to help the Mum move towards putting the needs of the children first.
We used my 5 Step Self Esteem Process to build back her confidence, release her anger and to see the damage she was doing to her children which helped her to see her life in a more holistic way.
She is beginning to work her way from anger towards more acceptance of the situation and is learning to see how important the children’s father is to their well being and how it’s not healthy to make him pay by not being involved in their lives.
Of course it’s not easy but the children miss him, love him and want to see him.
Divorce is a process NOT an event and while some mothers seek revenge by using the children as pawns in the middle many of course, do not. Going through a divorce is never easy, particularly if there are children involved and where I can offer support is by helping parents make sense of their emerging new roles and helping them make sure that their children are not unduly damaged by the events.
I found the article in The Telegraph interesting around this subject where thousands of divorced fathers are eliminated from their children’s lives because of the ‘implacable hostility’ of mothers with custody.
‘The story made headlines last October. Left-field events like this happen so rarely that they almost always get onto the front page.
A High Court judge in London ordered that a 10 year-old girl should be removed from her mother’s care because the girl had been systematically estranged from her father by her mother’s “ranting” against the man.
Ruling that the mother’s conduct was manifestly harmful for the daughter and contrary to her long-term interests, Mrs Justice Parker observed that the child had been manipulated into believing that her father did not want her; and she ordered that the girl should be taken into the care of social services as a half-way measure towards placing her in her father’s care. The court heard that the girl was likely to be resistant to being reunited with her father without such interim measures.
To the national media, this story stood out as an extraordinary moment, reversing normal prejudiced assumptions that a mother will give children kindly care while a feckless father swaggers off over the horizon.
Men’s and fathers’ groups saw the case in a different light, however. To them, it reflected a phenomenon that they see all too frequently – the elimination of fathers from their children’s lives by unmitigated, unscrupulous demands on the children’s loyalty on the part of the mother with custody, along with the unremitting denigration and belittling of the father.
Click on the link to read more http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/fatherhood/11342027/We-must-stop-turning-children-against-divorced-fathers.html