Parental gatekeeping is a necessary strategy to protect children from parents suffering from alcohol or drug above or committing violent or neglectful acts. In those scenarios, the other parents have the right to restrict contact.
In their post-divorce lives, mothers and fathers may not be at their best. The simplest of misunderstandings can become blown out of proportion. However, many ex-spouses outright sabotage the relationship the other enjoys with the children.
Parental alienation is a sinister aspect of post-divorce life. While some parents mean well and feel regret the slightest alienating action, others are on a path of destruction.
Children of divorce are innocent bystanders and casualties of divorce. They are innocent bystanders, as one household becomes two. They face uncertainty, if not fear of the future. Their best interests should come first.
Parental alienation is tragically born from custody-related conflicts between warring parents refusing to negotiate. However, in "winner-take-all" battles, the "winner" rarely takes "all."
Neil Jones knows firsthand about parental alienation. He has not seen his daughter for two years due to what he deems "brainwashing" by the child's mother. As a father who has been kept away from his child, he can relate with people who also struggle in their attempts to reconnect with loved ones. He understands the frustrating barriers they face on a daily basis.
A common strategy employed by the alienating parent is to limit contact between the target parent and the child. Holidays - Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Birthdays - are special times. They not only rekindle past memories of times enjoyed by the parent and the child but offer opportunities to create new memories. Alienators violate parenting plans. They take advantage of ambiguities in court orders to deny the target parent time with the child. The child acclimates to the new "status quo" and before long, the alienator insists that the target parent's time be reduced to what's now "status quo."
Parental alienation can have devastating consequences. More and more courts around the country and internationally are condemning alienating behaviors and taking action to remedy the matters. In part 2 of my 2-part article on parental alienation, I discuss what can (and should) the courts do to intervene in a situation involving parental alienation.