The personal is political as the old gives way to the new

This has been quite a week in the world of  family separation politics and, as expected, the battle of the sexes has begun to escalate dramatically.  I tried very hard not to comment, but the events that have unfurled have been so astonishing, that I cannot help but make a few, (very carefully chosen) observations.  I say well chosen because as always, in the field of family separation, the political is extremely personal and I know that anyone who does jump in to have their say can very easily come out the other side feeling as if they have been mauled by a rottweiler.

This week has seen Louis de Bernieres commenting in the Daily Mail on the difficulties that fathers face when the family separates.  I listened to Louis, on Radio 4 and found him to be so much like other men that I work with in this situation.  Heading into the family justice system, many fathers believe that they will, upon being heard, get a fair outcome and that their relationship with their children will be protected.  Heading out of that system, I meet dads who are often in a severe state of trauma, bewildered by what has happened to them, uncertain how to go on in life, depressed because of the way that they feel discriminated against and unable to believe that no-one can see what is happening.  As Louis says in his Daily Mail article;  ‘There was, however, a time when I was utterly bereft. For some months, I was helpless with rage and frustration and an overwhelming sense of injustice, always aware that any extreme expression of my despair would inevitably be used against me in order to show that I was unstable.’

This week also, the continuing rumble between F4J and Gingerbread over the (non) existence of evidence that the Family Courts serve the best interests of children, has lead Gingerbread to put a position statement on their Facebook page which, in summary says something along the lines of  –

we are in favour of contact where it is safe for children but have look at our research paper which says it isn’t easy. That’s why we are supporting the Children Act 1989 as it stands because the paramountcy principle is the evidence that the family courts deliver the best outcomes for children.

and by the way we were one of the founding members of Kids in the Middle Campaign, with Relate, Families need Fathers and the Fatherhood Institute.

So that’s alright then. The Children Act as it stands is the proof that Dick Dastardly F4J are looking for and Gingerbread are, after all, on the side of everyone. Also,  being women, and therefore of a more delicate disposition,  isn’t it about time we all stopped having a go at them?

Jolyon Maugham from the Fatherhood Institute thought so.  He galloped into the battle this week demanding that purple pests F4J stop harassing Gingerbread and their staff.  I had been feeling a little admiring of Jolyon up to that point as he tweeted his disappointment that Gingerbread were perpetuating the same old outdated stereotypes around family separation in the debate about shared parenting.  I began to wonder whether the Fatherhood Institute might, after all, possess a whiff of testosterone.  This delusion however was not to last,  as all too soon, the real Jolyon emerged on his charger, to rescue said Gingerbread damsels, who were clearly distressed by the persistence of  trolls on their Facebook page.  Clearly, for the Fatherhood Institute, it’s just not cricket to be too challenging or too demanding. Either that or the guilt of his tweets overcame him.

On another subject, the Fatherhood Institute also posted an article this week asking why a father of a child, whose mother died in childbirth, was not automatically given the child to bring up.  Reading this, I almost fell off my chair in amazement.  I can’t decide whether the chaps over at FI are being deliberately dim or whether they think they are asking a question that no-one knows the answer to.  The issue being debated was why a father does not have the same automatic right to a relationship with a child as a mother, in this case, a baby, whose mother had died in childbirth.  This father had had to undergo assessments and the child had been put into temporary foster care whilst his right to be his child’s father was determined by social workers.  FI couldn’t seem to understand why.

To help them out, here goes.  The reason why that father was not automatically given PR and the child to care for is that the law that governs family separation, starts from the premise that fathers may not be safe  and therefore need to be prevented from automatic rights to a relationship with a child. Hence the fact that unmarried fathers have to apply for Parental Responsibility or be granted it by their child’s mother,  unless she agrees to him putting his name on the birth certificate. And the reality is that Institutes that are supposed to be set up to further the interests of fathers, supporting organisations like Gingerbread, leads to  the perpetuation of the same unequal system that got us into the kind of mess that leaves a father having to fight for the right to bring up his natural child.  In short, this mess was created by the kind of belief system that sees men as dangerous to children and a Fatherhood Institute, one would have thought, would not only be alive to this, they would be challenging it all the way, not asking vague questions that appear to be designed to make us believe that they are.

And it needs challenging because over at the cosy club that is Mumsnet, the extreme end of the women’s rights movement seems not only to be alive and well, but flourishing.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with radical feminist beliefs, let me give you quick summary.

I was a radical feminist in the days when it first came alive as a thought process and way of life.  As a former initiate,  I am aware of the way in which this particular movement deploys smoke and mirrors to persuade its followers to believe that all men are violent bullies and potential rapists.  Women in relationships with men are viewed as collaborators by this particular sisterhood and the Mumsnet gang appear to label these women ‘handmaidens.’ (For the uninitiated, that is a reference to the book the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, a book described thus – In a dystopicly polluted rightwing religious tyranny, a young woman is put in sexual slavery on account of her now rare fertility ).  In Rad/Fem world therefore, all women in relationships with men are in sexual slavery.

Whilst I am no longer  interested in listening to or reading the writings of  women who are as enslaved in their own tyrannical beliefs as those they think they are liberating women from, I was curious to see what was going on over at Mumsnet.  Alerted to the existence of this particular thread by F4J reporting them to the Police for gender hatred, alongside the almost surreal idea that Mumsnet were harboring such a viperous nest, curiosity got the better of me. Wandering onto the thread, I felt as if I were entering the days of my youth, back in the seventies and early eighties.  Posts declaring that ‘all women are to be believed without question’ and arguments that women cannot be guilty of misandry whilst men retain all of the power over the state, finance and business along with various unpleasant rants along the lines of the queen of radical feminism herself Valerie Solanas abounded.  I half expected to see SCUM Manifestos to appear up there at one point.

Mumsnet apparently went into meltdown on Tuesday night this week with uproar ensuing after posts were deleted and Mumsnetters were cautioned on their use of language and tendency to stray into defamation territory.  F4J were the butt of much of this vitriol, which resulted in the report to the Police and, whilst things seem to have calmed down a bit now, the extreme wing of the women’s rights movement continues to have their say, here’s one from last night –

‘women who hate men have no power or cultural endorsement to inflict their hate on anyone other than the odd individual. Such women tend to stand out in society and suffer consequences for their views/behaviour.  Men who hate women have the whole structure and culture of society excusing, and sometimes actively reinforcing, their actions.’

Try telling that to Louis de Berniere and the thousands of other fathers out there who struggle with their relationships with children because of the lack of power and cultural endorsement wielded by the women in their lives.

In family separation, the old feminist adage ‘the personal is political’ comes perfectly into play.  The personal in this field is most definitely political and the power, invested through the legislation created in the boiling pot of seventies feminism, is most certainly in the hands of women.  Examining family separation through a gender lens clearly demonstrates that fathers are at a disadvantage when it comes to relationships with children after family separation.  Examining the legislation, it is clear that it was designed to be that way.   From the dad who cannot claim any rights to bring up his natural child, to the father who is reduced to the role of secondary helper to be deployed when strategically necessary, the intention is to put the power and control over children into women’s hands.  In rad/fem world, a dad is a dispensable device and if they could be reduced to an iDad, as introduced by F4J this week, so much the better.  I thought that this type of blinkered bigotry had died out as we, original radical feminists, grew up.  I hoped that the conspiracy theories and the constant analysis of everything that is ever said by any man, at any time, was just part of a youthful movement that pushed real oppression out of the way.  In the days when women could not leave relationships because they were likely to lose care of their children, this kind of feminism might have had a place, I said might.  Now it just seems like the poisonous pedagogy of old, embittered women, who have indoctrinated another generation to believe that boys become dangerous when they reach puberty.  But on Mumsnet?  Astonished? Much!

These are, without doubt, changing times and when the old gives way to the new, there will always be a fight.  As I have said on previous postings however, let us not be deceived by the notion that this is about good  women and bad men.  Whilst F4J are portrayed as the bullying baddies as they push to make us aware of the reality of 21st Century, fatherless Britain, one only has to take a look at Mumsnet threads to see the kind of bullying that really makes your hair curl.  Mumsnet is supposed to offer advice and support, by mums for mums. But this kind of nastiness is not about helping people become better parents and it doesn’t do anything for children affected by family separation either.

And so, as the fight goes on and at the end of such a tumultuous week, I thought I would round off with something for the folk who believe that all dads turn dangerous or deadbeat after family separation and for those who think that children’s best interests are being served by the family courts.  For all those who contribute to keeping the status quo, for those who want the fight to be fair and those who think that a few nasty comments on a Mumsnet thread are not harmful.  For all of you, this is why change is necessary.

This week I reunited a ten year old boy with his father.  This little boy has not seen his dad for four years and, whilst he was nervous, he was also curious and as he waited he asked ‘what does he look like, does he look like me?’  This little boy was wearing the T Shirt his dad had sent him during the period I was working to re-establish the relationship between them.   His dad was waiting in another room, his heart ‘bumping through his chest’ with emotion at finally being able to see the son he was parted from after family separation four years previously.  A bag of presents, things he had kept for his son over four years sat at his feet and food to share was on the table.  After half an hour, the boy was sitting on his dad’s knee, his dad’s eyes full of tears but his face full of love and smiles.   This man had, for four years, been portrayed as  dangerous and this boy, for four years had been made to feel afraid of his father.  Four years of court hearings, allegations and more allegations.  Four years of thwarted contact orders and four long years of missed out on love and affection.

This is a man who is subject to the legislation that was brought about forty years ago.  Legislation which requires that he proves that he is not what he is alleged to be and, if he shows any feeling about the accusation, it is viewed as proof that he is.  This is a man whose relationship with his child is not viewed as being his natural right by too many people, even though he was married to the mother of his child and even though he holds parental responsibility.

The boy put his arms around his dad’s neck and said, ‘I love you dad, I missed you.’  It was almost more than any of us in the room could bear.

I wish I could say this case was rare.  I can’t.

I wish I could say that this man had been prevented from being with his son because he was violent, dangerous and abusive. I can’t, because he was none of those things.

101 Comments

  1. Great article Karen

    I had a meeting with CAFCASS yesterday and after 4 and a half years of hell what you said above about sums my situation up.

    Keep up the good work

    God Bless

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  2. We said and it was an absolute shambles at MumsnetHQ (Isn’t MNHQ such a Dads army phrase?) some of the posts by the Mumsnet faithful were bile and disgraceful insinuating that absent Fathers were child molesting monsters and that all the figures on parental alienation were wrong.

    I now understand just how frightened the radfems are over at Mumsnet because if the new 50-50 phsical custody proposals become law they’re pretty much finished as a political unit.

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    1. I think Stu talks about the 50-50 custody proposals in his comment. That is not something that we will see in our country, but we will see change in terms of a statement about the need for children to have a meaningful relationship with both parents and we are seeing a move to support collaborative parenting by this government.

      I was shocked by some of the stuff going on over at Mumsnet, I had thought that kind of stuff had died out. Its as dangerous as the Misogyny that they purport to detest, one day they may grow up and see that, I just hope that they are not able to damage children before they do.

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  3. Hi,

    Excellent Article. From someone who has fought over 2 years to see my child, I fully sympathise with all fathers who face the same struggle. Lets hope things get sorted out soon.

    Michael

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  4. Karen, thank you so much for speaking out on behalf of all children who are subjected to the ravages of the Family Court system.

    Equality is worth fighting for and I hope you don’t come under attack yourself for speaking out.

    John
    (Father of 2 who I haven’t seen for 9 years)

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    1. I am likely to get something of a mauling John and, whilst it is always risky speaking out when there so many people ranged against this subject, I am doing so because to not do so would be to contribute to another generation of children losing out. I hope that one day you will see your children and that when you do, they too will know how much they have missed out on, I am sure that they will. k

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  5. This brought a tear to my eye because I am a human and able to apathise and also because the situation of the man at the end has some similarity to mine. I am a science teacher and Head of Department at a very successful school and yet am denied access to my daughter due to Parental Alienation. Fortunately this did not work with my son and we have reasonable access to each other. The sytem is vile, plain and simple, vile.

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    1. And as you demonstrate Steven, it is not the truth that dads who are denied a relationship with their children are crazy, dangerous or abusive. This is about every day dads, this is about successful dads, this is about dad next door. This reality has to be illuminated so that those who point and say ‘its only the dangerous ones that get stopped from seeing their kids’ are shamed. One day all this will seen for what it really is. I hope I live to see that day. K

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    2. Hi Steven,
      I am a sort of flip-side from you. I have been able to see my daughter but not my sons. 15 years later it is still the same. PA and the system (courts & social services) backing it up is so cruel. Perhaps some day…………..

      Michael

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    1. Your girls are lucky to have mum and dad in their lives Emma, they will grow into women who value and respect men and women and the relationship between them. What we all need is balance in our lives and kindness and fairness. Thank you for reading and sharing. K

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  6. You are a saint, Karen. In 2010 I was reunited with the son I hadn’t seen for 7 long years, so I understand some of the emotions that must have been bouncing around that room. My thoughts are with the father and his son.

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    1. Nick,

      The case I am talking about is one of many that I work with. I have heavily disguised it as I don’t want to fall foul of the confidentiality clauses that govern my work in the courts.

      I so wish I could say that the work that I do is only with the rare cases but as your story shows, reunification after years of estrangement is a common experience for too many dads. It is also an experience that mums go through, but the numbers of mums is far less and they are far less visible to us because of the stigma that they suffer in our gendered society.

      Thank you for saying I am a saint but I’m not really. I just cannot stay silent and let another generation of children be damaged as wave upon wave have been over the years that I have been doing this work. One day we will look back in shame.

      K

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  7. Nick,

    7 years, that is hard it must have been very special moment to see your son.

    Karen,

    Karen I am running out of superlatives I will think of some more as I keep reading your excellent blog.

    Alan

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  8. Karen, thank you on behalf of thousands of good dads for speaking out. I’m at the beginning of the process and pray every day for my daughter to get her dad back. Without people like you raising awareness, change will be even slower and kids with loving dads will miss out on time they will never get back.

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    1. Gary, I hope that change is on the way fast enough to ensure that your daughter does not miss out on too much more of her relationship with her dad. Stay strong and healthy, she needs you to. Sending support, K

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  9. 1.
    Gingerbread…what a shower.

    Firstly, they are a club for single mothers. If you want to be part of the club, you must make yourself a single mother. It’s not a bad club, it does good things…taking kids to the seaside when in a lot of those cases those kids would never see the outside of the inner city. But like so many other similar clubs and supports for single mothers, you have to meet the criteria to be one of the ‘in’ crowd. Mums can swap dad for a series of clubs. And it is within these clubs that pernicious advices and the phone numbers of the nastiest local dad-hating lawyers get circulated. Those kind of mums are far less concerned with the contempt of court laws than the dads are. By pooling their collective knowledge they are years ahead of dad by the time they have delayed his forced access to court.

    2.
    exposemisandry said:
    “I now understand just how frightened the radfems are over at Mumsnet because if the new 50-50 phsical custody proposals become law they’re pretty much finished as a political unit.”

    There is no plan by the government to promote 50/50. They have not defined “shared parenting” either but, as a possible light at the end of the tunnel, there is case law to suggest that the judiciary do not consider every other weekend to be shared parenting. So we are looking at somewhere in between the current state of 20% as a best outcome and 50%. If we get bang in the middle (35%) then we match Australia. If a father gets that at the first hearing or in mediation because mum knows it will be ordered at the first hearing, be satisfied. It’s a massive leap, out of purgatory for our kids, and a massive leap towards 50%.

    3.
    Gingerbread rhetoric:

    “….we are in favour of contact where it is safe for children.”

    There are two types of access to children. One is a meaningful relationship. Where that is refused by the mother with or without good reason, dad goes to court and, if he is lucky, he gets contact. Contact is the poor cousin of a meaningful relationship; it bestows none of the usual benefits for the child which are associated with a meaningful relationship. If the contact includes overnight stays then there are no safety issues. If there are no safety issues the court had no reason to deny a meaningful relationship where it was sought. A meaningful relationship starts at 30% and increases in quality up to 50%. Take more than that and over-exposure starts to taint the picture. Less than 30%, as the Government knows from a Green Paper of 2003, is “not much use.”
    So, for Gingerbread to state that they support ‘contact’ shows them in their true light, as
    perpetrators of the current status quo.

    Furthermore, lets analyse the next bit of the same recommendation:

    “…..where it is safe for children.”
    This is to suggest that contact with fathers might not be safe and the entire anti father industry, which they are a part of, is justified. What it disguises is that maternal abuse outweighs paternal abuse. Twice as many mothers kill and abuse children as biological fathers. And the risk to the child is increased by 700% when……..(drum roll)……the child lives in a single mother household, outside of a shared parenting arrangement.

    3.
    Fancy some more analysis of rhetoric from the Gingerbread bullsh*t factory…?

    “That’s why we are supporting the Children Act 1989 as it stands because the paramountcy principle is the evidence that the family courts deliver the best outcomes for children.”

    The CA 1989 is the worst and loosest piece of legislation ever to be drafted. It is Alice in Wonderland Act 1989, where anything can mean what anybody wants it to, at anytime, and change on a whim, without evidence, anytime later. It is played out in administrative courts, the lowest of the low, with poorly qualified and poorly skilled lawyers and judges who are not good enough to play in the higher courts. If family or children were as legally valued as commerce, property or proper legal entities such as an adult person, the whole game would be played in a higher court. Then, it could be advocated and judged more skillfullly, by properly trained lawyers and judges, and much tighter rules of play, because it would be a game that matters. In law, families and children are pretty worthless, so they occupy the lower courts and are the subject of contempt by a class of professional leeches who are not required to be properly trained or tell the truth to the court, or judge according to any checkable standards. So there is the backdrop….the whole game is played on the court that the important games are not played on.
    How is the paramountcy principal ‘evidence’ of anything? It can mean anything and everything. A judge with three days family law conversion training, who has just rubber-stamped a few bankruptcies and TV licence defaulters in the morning, toodles off and earns £400 an hour equipped with a ‘paramountcy principal’ which he will retrospectively suffix all to all judgments regardless of validity, regardless of research, regardless of the likely outcome. The paramountcy principal is anything but; it is a euphemism; a lazy bastard legal cop out, and there is zero evidence that family court judges use it to deliver the best outcomes for children. The Ministry of Justice admitted as much in November 2011 when it produced a document that sought to find evidence of family court outcomes, only to find that none had ever been recorded. They had to buy research to try and see what their own outcomes were….they could only find one paper which touched on 30 or so cases, and did not do that very well. An academic, legal and government conspiracy over the last 30 years has prevented such longitudinal, quantitative research in the UK, which is why we look to the rest of the world for such, (www.sharedparentingresearch.info) whilst awarding false kudos to the home grown academic fraudsters who grossly manipulate the boundaries of qualitative research to claim ‘children do not need fathers.’

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  10. Dear dear Karen, I have to you are a wonderful writer and your words had me in floods of tears and I am not ashamed to admit it. Whoever this father is I know instinctively the emotions he has had to deal with and the pain he must have suffered. Even as I write this I find it hard to hold back my tears for the joy I feel right now for this good man and father and for his loving son. I envy him, if envy is the right word, how I long to be reunited with my son too. Nevertheless it makes my heart full to know that with your caring help he has come out of his nightmare, a nightmare that he should never have had to endure in the firts place. I don’t want to make your head swell Karen, but I have to say you are a one off and such a breath of fresh air to many fathers, (please accept this, although I haven’t put it very well.)

    On reading your article it is plain to see that so many women fail to understand the imbalance and unfairness of the system towards fathers, and yet it is so blatantly obvious to see.What I fail to understand though is why so many women are intent on keeping this unfairness going, what is the motive in in keeping good fathers from thier children? I don’t hate women, in many ways I have to acknowledge that they have many qualites superior to men. However when it comes to divorce, separation and then having to enter into the family court areana, on balance, I believe they have more of a propensity than men to seek somekind of revenge, for whatever reason, men don’t on the whole This is my opinion, I may be wrong, but on meeting many fathers who are battling to see thier children they mainly have had the same experience and opinion, we don’t want it this way, really! In truth all we want is to see our kids. Eventually, after battling through the courts for many years, as I have, you come to realize that slinging mud is pointless and so very unneccasary. To do so shows a lack of emphasis on the child’s welfare, it was a game I refused to take part in. Even though my ex did her damndest to discredit me I much prefered to hold on to a good conscience, which I still have. You mothers who may be alienating your children, please think about what you are doing, think about the child’s future and what effect this is having on them. You may be rubbing your hands in glee now, but what goes around comes around! Yes I know that fathers can alienate as well, but on the whole the figures don’t show it, because they rarely get custiody to do so, it is evil anyway whatever the gender. Just give us a chance, we are not all potential rapists and child abusers, we are loving fathers who dearly miss our children, more than you could ever realize. My heart bleeds for all the children out there that have been taken from an innocent parent. God I wish it wasn’t like this, how I wish I could see my son. God bless you Karen, and Elliott.

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  11. You are the best Karen. Tears are rolling down my cheeks. What a wonderful success story for one dad and one little boy.

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    1. Stay strong and healthy and keep your mind well, the process of 9 years in court will take its toll, you are not alone, people understand. Sending support. K

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  12. Thank you for this beautifully written and heartfelt article. As a step-mother that has been separated from my step-daughter, and living with my husband who daily is experiencing the pain, anger and absolute frustration of being falsely accused by an ex-wife of abuse (this is now the 2nd time around, the 1st time around, she withdrew the false allegations, but it still resulted in denied access for 3 months ) and not seeing his daughter for 7 months, this really struck home. I believe our laws in South Africa are, believe it or not, more progressive than the UK, as father’s have equal rights, but what the law says in theory and what happens in practice are 2 entirely different things. The law still sides with the mothers, even if they themselves are engaging in emotionally abusive behaviour like parental alienation. I had tears in my eyes after reading this.

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    1. Tracey, as you show, there is the need for change all around the world. Family separation is a horrible process, it is painful and difficult and brings out the worst in too many people. We need care services, support for both parents, help through the worst times so that both parents can recover and return to doing what their children need them to do, which is be mum and dad. Sending support to you and your husband. K

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  13. What a moving article, thank you. I am amazed that this is allowed to happen. Children need to have a relationship with both parents.
    If it’s not ‘safe’ for the child I can understand a dad being denied access but surely this is the exception rather than the rule and women too can abuse children!
    This law is shortsighted and does not have the child’s best interest at heart. Children need their dads. I know from experience of separation how important my daughters relationship is with her father. We need to look at the bigger picture here, the impact on society. This is ‘unbalanced’. It’s time to work together to create a World where relationships matter, where men, women and children are ‘valued’.

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    1. Julie, I could not agree more, ‘a world in which relationships matter and where men, women and children are valued,’ nothing more, nothing less, will do. K

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  14. i believe that most men who campaign for father’s rights, would also consider themselves equally sympathetic to the cause of equality for woman within our society (myself included). If the Pankhurst’s had been alive today they would have understood and supported a father’s right to be treated equally within the law.
    The sad fact however, is that there exists an element within modern feminism that does not want such equality with men but rather superiority over men. This to me is gender fascism pure and simple and it needs to be challenged every step of the way.
    That said, I don’t believe for one moment that this is the general view of most woman and indeed many woman actively campaign alongside their male counterparts within the father’s movement.
    Finally, thank you so much for writing this article it is spot on.

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      1. Yvie – yes it is frighting how ruthless and cruel a parent can be in using power and control games to hurt an ex by using their children against them. It is a credit to your son that despite everything he has managed to retain his own sense of humanity

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    1. Paul, you are right, this is not about superiority of one over the other, its about true equality and the valuing of girls and boys and men and women.

      Woven into the fabric of our society however is a thread of belief that it is women who must conquer the glass ceilings and rise to the top of our society and that men are preventing them from doing that.

      That is far removed from relationships with children and the idea of family but the same beliefs come into play in this field too. Here, women should be in charge, and men, who want to be involved in the care of their children are usurping their position. As Gingerbread so eloquently put it in a Newsletter when they were called One Parent Families –

      ‘The other parent is like a secondary resource, best utilised when strategically deployed.’

      That’s dad, to you and me!

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  15. Karen. wonderful article which just sums up how it is and that the rad/fems are alive and kicking and that the system is truly anti dad. I have a daughter who is nearly 18 whom I have not seen for 11 years due to mum alienating her against me and moving 600 miles away. I have paid in excess of 60k child support. My requests to see her, have a pic of her have all fallen on deaf ears. I don’t have the money to fight in court, but I will hang in there and continue to write to my daughter and send her cards. I wondered, do children in situations like this ever overcome the alienation and re-establish meaningful relationships with the targeted parent? I just hope that she will realise how much I have loved her and have tried to be a part of her life.

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    1. Yes, they do, Rich – I’m the proof. Stay strong – it’s the cards and letters which prove you haven’t given up. Keep active on the internet – Twitter, Facebook, etc. With me it was keeping the same mobile number.

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    2. Yes Rich they do and, for the parent that has caused the rejection, the risk is that they will be counter rejected when you and your daughter are reunited. This is something I tell all aligned parents in my work, be very careful because what you have done to your child is cause the inability to relate to two parents, when your child seeks out the other parent, you will be the one that they reject.

      Also, when children realise what has been done and many of them do, their shock and horror at the way in which they were allowed to reject a parent or caused to reject a parent can mean that they stay estranged from the parent causing it for a very long time.

      Keep writing, keeping sending cards, as Nick says keep active on the internet, make sure that there are many different ways of contacting you. There is a high possibility that she will come and find you, she is entering the period when many alienated children start the search for a parent and seek to be reunited. Stay strong, stay healthy, keep your mind well and never give up.

      K

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      1. Thank you so much Karen. I long so much for the day when this will happen. It just defies belief that one parent cannot put the childs emotional needs above their own.

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  16. Karen. Fantastic article, which just about sums it all up! Been through over three years of hell since my ex wife went taking the two youngest of our four children. Such is the power of maternal brainwashing, that not only has my youngest daughter been completely and deliberately alienated from me, but also from her two elder sisters, and elderly grandparents. I have been through all the correct channels to try and protect her from this harm, yet none of the relevant agencies will accept that my daughter has been emotionally abused or do anything about it, despite reports quoted by NSPCC saying that such abuse is probably more harmful than any other. Like many others commenting, all this makes me distraught, frustrated and very angry, but I have to hold it together so as not to be branded imbalanced. Something needs to change, and hopefully soon.

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    1. Jeff, we will soon be launching our Family Separation Clinic to help all parents in your position. We will make as much information and advice available online as possible to offer parents help in tackling the incidence of deliberate efforts to undermine relationships. I will alert you to it when it is online. We will also have support forums to assist parents going through it to stay sane and well and healthy, something we know is necessary for everyone affected because it takes such a toll on your health and well being. We will have parents who have been reunited with their children assisting us to give advice and support. Change will come. K

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  17. , read and write to you from the U.S. While our systems are slightly different, fathers here do indeed suffer the same types of stereotypes. My experience has been however that the individual court and judges assigned to a case can make all the difference. I have two different judges working with my children. One has refused to award me custody despite ongoing admitted physical abuse. The other actually apologized to me for not being able to allow me completely unfettered access via phone. However, the social/child protective services seem to be in lockstep against fathers, much like in your country.

    I am glad to see that you have a concentrated national effort here to change things. In our government, we are forced to work state by state, county by county, court by court, as the laws may vary in ever single district. The only arena the Federal government has addressed is punishing fathers who have been unable (and yes, in some cases unwilling) to pay child support. The one glimmer of hope we are seeing is pushback from females who are becoming step-parents and witness firsthand the wreckage our court system creates of relationships. We can hope that with the support of more and more females, fathers will be taken seriously, if not as equals. And mothers who do actively work against natural and loving relationships will be increasingly spurned by both genders.

    Let me echo appreciation, Karen, for looking out for the best interests of children, regardless of parental gender. You do much credit to yourself and the court system in which you are able to work.

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    1. Thank you for the view from the U.S Scott, I think that you have some excellent approaches and some poor approaches, depending upon the state that you find yourself in. As a much smaller country, the UK may make some unified changes more swiftly.

      I agree with you that those women who see their partners suffering are very quickly able to understand where the imbalances are and what the problem is.

      I hope that you do get better outcomes in your own case Scott, stay strong and focused and healthy and well. You are not on your own. K

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  18. My ex used the human arsenal that is our children to torture and punish me for our failed marriage. I suffered feelings of loss, despair, frustration, worthlessness, humiliation, anxiety and fear to name but a few. My sympathies go out to those ( mainly men) who have to suffer this abuse.

    According to the Directgov website, “domestic violence does not just mean that your partner is hitting you. The abuse can be psychological, physical, sexual or emotional.
    Domestic violence can also include many things, such as the constant breaking of trust, psychological games, harassment and financial control”

    I therefore wonder if it is an idea for a hero or two to make a point and take the matter up as one of domestic abuse in a criminal court, because, in my view domestic abuse is exactly what is going on when children are used in such a way…..is this feasible?

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    1. Nicola, as you testify, this is not just an issue that affects fathers, it affects mothers too and the horror of having your children used against you and turned against you is unbearable whichever gender you are.

      I think your point about seeing the systematic use of children as weapons as a domestic violence matter is interesting. My concern about it would be that domestic violence as an issue is so deeply gendered that it might be difficult to persuade anyone that a woman who uses her children is being domestically violent, whilst it might not be as difficult to persuade people that men using children in that way are domestically violent.

      Its a complex issue but I am thinking around your suggestions because I think that there is something in there about coercive control through the use of children…

      K

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  19. That is awesome!!!!!!!!!!! Put a tear in my eye, i am going through a similar situation, its been four and a half years of not seeing my two sons, the counselor working with my sons says the time is nearing for the moment you spoke about at the end of your article. After so long it is easy to lose faith that a moment like that could actually be on the horizon, thank u for the vision.

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    1. Todd, I hope that the same moment happens for you, it sounds as if the time is coming and you have a counselor helping you to get there which is excellent. Change is possible, stay strong and focused. K

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  20. To understand Gingerbread’s position, you need to understand who their client group is. They define single parents as parents with residence and, importantly, it is only those parents they represent. This means they CAN’T express a balanced view on the topic – they will always lean towards protecting the status quo (because that is where the interests of their client group lie). Sadly, because they do an awful lot of good work, this fact alone prevents them from making a sensible contribution to the debate.

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    1. Jolyon, Thank you for your comment, it is very welcome.

      I agree with you that Gingerbread cannot give a balanced view, however this does not stop them from proclaiming that they can and do.

      Their use of their own research on ‘contact’ for example, their use of research by other academics who are all working from the same standpoint, is a classic example of them misrepresenting their own findings as the ‘truth’.

      I have absolutely no problem at all with Gingerbread representing their constituents. for those single parents who are caring for their children alone 24/7, I agree that they do some excellent work and we will always need them.

      The problem is that Gingerbread seek to portray the whole of family separation as being just one thing – mothers, abandoned to care for children alone by reckless, feckless fathers who won’t pay maintenance. Their deliberate use of stereotypes and their misrepresentation of the reality of family separation is spread far and wide, most recently it could be observed in their swamping of the House of Lords during the debate on Welfare Reform.

      If you watch the debate it becomes clear that the Lords fell for the notion that all single parents are cash strapped and starving, whilst all dads are avoiding their responsibilities at every end and turn. Gingerbread are doing everything that they possibly can to prevent the government from changing the Child Maintenance System to promote and support private agreements and are blatant in their use of stereotypes to achieve that.

      I consider that Gingerbread’s stance has contributed to the decades of repeated inter-generational family breakdown and that it must be challenged if children are to truly enjoy a balanced relationship with both of their parents after separation.

      I hope that the Fatherhood Institute can understand and will support the push for an approach to family separation which is based in reality and which supports mothers and fathers to come through the difficulties and rebuild strong parenting relationships with their children.

      Our children need both of their parents all the way through the experience of family separation and beyond and to keep dads in the picture things are going to have to change.

      Whether we like it or not, we are all going to have to accept that fathers matter as much as mothers and that it is not about mothers ‘gifting’ permission to dads, its about respect for the other parent in a child’s life and finding a way to keep that relationship strong and enduring.

      Its about removing the endless blocks and barriers to fatherhood that keep dads jumping through hoops to be dad.

      Its about seeing the value of fatherhood as being more than money.

      And of course, where those dads do not step up, its about all of us working together to make sure that they do.

      This is an equalities issue, and an urgent one. By that I do not mean that children should be shared equally, I mean that motherhood and fatherhood should be valued equally for the different things that they bring to our children.

      I hope that the Fatherhood Institute will indeed push for that kind of change, our children need it desperately.

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      1. Karen,

        Speaking personally, with one proviso, I’m not aware that the Fatherhood Institute is any different a body from that which you say it should be. As you know, the Institute is focused on every aspect of fathering. We work with local and central government, with employers and with parents, at all stages of parenting, starting before birth. We help midwives, educators, legislators, policy makers, employers and fathers and mothers ensure that fathering is promoted, enabled, supported and valued. We have a very broad spectrum of work.

        Relationship breakdown is, obviously, an aspect of parenting and of fathering. Speaking as a barrister, as a father of three, and as someone who cares deeply about gender equality, I am deeply sceptical of claims that judges successfully give voice to the paramountcy principle. I am sure judges want to be gender neutral, I am sure they think they are gender neutral, but I am also sure they are themselves unwitting victims of gender constructs. Anyone who follows me on Twitter – or who has read my comments on Gingerbread’s posts on Facebook – ought to be able to see for themselves that that is my view. In the future, I mean to publish in the legal professional press on the issue.

        Speaking as Chair of the Fatherhood Institute, I can see that relationship breakdown is an aspect of parenting that engages men and women in an acute way, but (and this is my proviso) it is only one aspect of parenting. And, although I cannot speak for the Board of the Institute generally, given the presence of a number of other charities and pressure groups that focus exclusively on this aspect, given the resource limitations that the Institute has, given the breadth of the Institute’s work and given the highly charged nature of debate on this issue (it is a source of mild curiousity to me that, from a position quite opposed to Gingerbread’s, I have nevertheless received threatening tweets from F4J not to mention criticism from you) I do not believe it would be right for the Institute to engage in this sphere more than it already does.

        I am the father of three young children – and my relationship with them is, along with my relationship with my wife – the most important thing in my life. Although I have no experience of it, I believe I can understand the pain of those – usually fathers – who are denied a relationship with their children. But judicial attitudes – for it is those we must change – are symptomatic of how society views the roles of mothers and fathers. The Institute retains its principal focus on the illness – and not this one awful symptom of it.

        Jolyon

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    2. Jolyon, thank you for this detail. I am aware of the work of the Fatherhood Institute in all its facets and I am also aware of the significant involvement that it has had in the arena of family separation through its Kids in the Middle campaign in which it joined forces with Gingerbread, Relate and Families need Fathers.

      I note that the Institute does not see itself as having a major part to play in this current highly charged debate and, of course, I note that you were, last week, making it very clear that you opposed Gingerbread’s stance. As we progress towards real and significant change, there will be a real fight to keep the old ways and many of us are going to come in for criticism. My only criticism of you was that you felt that Gingerbread needed rescuing. In this kind of arena, where mothers as well as fathers groups are capable of dealing out the very worst in terms of behaviour, I felt that Gingerbread could stand up for themselves.

      I am pleased to hear that the FI is concentrating upon the ‘illness’ But I disagree with you that the issue that needs to be dealt with in this particular symptom is the Judiciary. Having worked with the Judiciary, I find many of them to be far ahead in terms of their understanding of what is happening to mothers and fathers as they separate than those who are working with the families in the court system. Judges are not making decisions about children’s relationships with their fathers in isolation. Judges are making decisions based upon court reports from CAFCASS officers, Social Workers and Court Experts. All of whom are subject to their own gendered ideas about what is good for children. Judges are also making decisions based upon the ways in which solicitors and barristers conduct a case. In my view it is not only the Judges who are in need of consciousness raising, it is the myriad of people within the court system.

      Similarly it is the workforce that touches the lives of separating parents. Our work in Childrens Centres shows us that many of the people who work there understand what the real issues are that parents face, but they do not know how to help parents to work collaboratively together. And when the resources in childrens centres are provided by Gingerbread who advise on their fact sheets that

      ‘Sharing care can affect the amount of money that the non resident parent has to pay to you and it may also affect the benefits and tax credits you are entitled to’,

      it becomes possible to see how too many parents get pushed into conflict and too many end up in the courts instead of working it out together even though they are living apart.

      We need a paradigm shift and I hope that the work of the DWP and the DfE in the move towards supporting collaborative parenting will bring that about. But I can see that Gingerbread and other groups concerned with the rights of mothers will work hard to prevent it. I speak up on this subject not because I believe in the rights of fathers or mothers but because of the work that I do in the courts and with children across the UK who are suffering.

      We need change urgently and a Fatherhood Institute must understand that under the current conditions, those fathers who are enjoying their family lives now are going to be those dads who struggle to maintain their relationships with their children if their family separates. This is not just a symptom, it is a catastrophic consequence of the lack of value for fathering which is woven right through the fabric of our society. To cure the illness we must all stand up now and support the changes that the government are bringing in, to fail to do so will be to fail another generation of our children.

      Best regards

      Karen

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      1. Karen,

        Thanks for that thoughtful response, which I appreciate. I will sign up for, and speak up for, much of that. I have and I will.

        But just to set the record straight, I have not sought to “rescue Gingerbread”. That is your characterisation of what I said.

        The comment that has provoked such unhappiness (from you and F4J) was:

        “‎@Nadine, can you say, publicly, that however strongly F4J’s supporters feel about this issue they under no circumstances should engage in any behaviour which harasses or threatens Gingerbread or its staff? And that if they are found to be doing so, F4J will sever all links with them?”

        I make no apology for this statement. I wasn’t “rescuing” Gingerbread from trolls. I was inviting F4J to dissociate themselves from any threatening behaviour (an invitation they have declined – indeed they have responded by threatening to sue me). I am no apologist for Gingerbread’s position – I believe they are profoundly wrong – but I also know they also care about children and mothers and even fathers (however haphazardly they demonstrate the latter) and they, too, are entitled to have their say, even if I disagree with it.

        Kind regards,

        Jolyon

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    3. Thank you for this further thinking Jolyon,

      To address the argument and the criticism over your tweet to Nadine directly.

      Having read much of the ‘stuff’ that has been flying about over the past week I cannot determine anything in it that I would constitute as harassment of Gingerbread by F4J or its supporters. You may have other evidence but based on what I can see I would not construe it as harassment. If it were, then the stuff that is posted on Mumsnet about F4J would also be harassment and I don’t think that anyone from F4J is claiming that.

      If you had also called upon Mumsnet to desist in their allowing of unpleasant and plainly derogatory comments about men and boys, (which through that thread’s support of Gingerbread was, my view, linked,) then I would not had anything to say.

      My question is always, why is it OK for mothers/women to perpetuate the notion that men are damaging/abusive, but not OK for fathers/men to point out that women too can be the same.

      I can’t speak for Nadine, F4J have their own approach. I am interested though in the ways in which we play out our gendered expectations in a field that is overwhelmingly slanted towards the support of motherhood. Whilst fatherhood can be lambasted, ridiculed and stereotyped and its seen as a bit of fun, any suggestion of the same about motherhood is immediately seen as evidence of the dangerous nature of masculinity.

      The truth is that men and women can be equally vicious and equally unpleasant to each other but in the field of family separation, where mothers hold most of the power, it is fathers who suffer. That reality can make some people very sensitive to being accused of harassing the people that they feel cause the problem in the first place.

      This is such a critical time in family separation politics. Having been involved in this for two decades and having seen the devastating impact of our current legislation on our children, I can hardly believe that the chance of real change is coming where fathers and mothers might be valued equally for what they can bring to their children’s lives.

      There is a different way, mothers and fathers can be helped to work together, the government has made clear statements that they are going to make sure that happens, I am supporting it every step of the way. For the sake of all of the children who lost their fathers because of outdated gendered policy, and all of the children we can stop that happening to in the future.

      Best regards

      Karen

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  21. Great article Karen. As a recently separated mum of 2 boys, I bought your book, and have come to view very passionately that our justice system is doing a terrible dis-service to our children, in the name of women’s rights. Thankfully my sons have a good man as a father, and we are able to put the boys’ needs in terms of access first, and are sharing that 50/50….. Even though we continue to bicker over money, but the children don’t know that, and never will. Your article choked me – that poor man, and his poor poor boy…. I have nothing but contempt for women that allow their bitterness and selfishness to override the needs of their children – children needs dads just as much as mums.

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    1. Poppy I really admire your attitude. As a grandmother I see at first hand how wide the gulf can be between two separated parents. I will try not to be biased but my son wants to share the children 50/50 and he wants to be friendly towards his ex. His ex. is not interested, 50/50 means less money for her. It would not be so bad if she behaved fairly as everyone is entitled to their own point of view and she may not be completely comfortable with 50/50. However, false allegations are the name of the game with my ex.dil which makes it very hard to sustain the good relationships which are so essential for the well-being of the children.

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      1. Thank you Yvie – I feel for paternal grandparents too – it seems they so often miss out completely and that is a huge tragedy for all concerned. I wish you the best of luck and hope the ex-dil will realise that more money for her is coming at a huge cost to her children.

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    2. Poppy, I am so pleased that you are sharing your children’s lives in this way and if the book helped you I am really glad. As a mum it takes real guts to be able to put a 50/50 shared care arrangement in place, the messages we hear all around us are that children need their mothers and mothers should be caring.

      But children do well in shared care situations, and really well when parents can work together as you and their dad are clearly able to. Maybe you could write up your top tips for being a shared care mum and we could share them with other separated mothers, we get so many mums who want to do it but find that they don’t know how.

      I talked to a young mum this morning, she has a young baby and she and the baby’s father have just separated. What she wanted to know was how to keep her child’s dad in her life and how to support that. She told me her daughter was staying over at her dads house one night a week at the moment and that whilst that felt scary, she could see that over time that will progress to two and three nights a week and that she could go back to work and get on with her life outside as well as being a mum. Her daughters grandparents on her dads side are supportive and her own parents are supportive of that arrangement. WOW, I said, you have really done something special.

      We can do it, it is happening already, mums and dads can share care and provision for children, it doesn’t have to be the way we are told it has to be. Change is possible, our children will thank us for it.

      Let me have any top tips Poppy and we will get them up on the Centre for Separated Families website.

      K

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  22. Hi again Karen. I just had to come back again, because I aways like to follow the postings and comments. It is obvious on reading them that they are all in agreement that fathers are being systematically prevented access to thier children and unfairly. It is by keeping in touch with blogs like yours that you come to realize just how far reaching these problems are. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of fathers here in the UK who are living in hades (as Louis De Berniers put it). I have come to realize the enormity of the injustices going on here in our so called free society, How on Earth can this be happening! But what’s more puzzling is why are our politicians idly standing by and doing absolutely nothing about it? The evidence is as plain to see as the wonderful nose on Karen Woodhall’s face, and yet we are still where we are, still in the darks ages of Cafcass and Family court denial, full of mother positive bias. The system carries on as though it is oblivious to a fathers equality of rights. Karen if the message is not clear now, it never will be, perhaps our MP’s don’t want to see, or is it that they are to complacent and lazy? The postings here should all be collated and sent to the Childrens Minister, Mr Lougton, and also to Charlie Elphicke, who I know cares to some degree. Surely our newspapers cannot ignore all these postings here which all sympathise with the plight of fathers. Karen I think you should send them, ALL OF THEM, to the Daily Mail, it was they that published Mr De Berniers latest article, perhaps they may be interested? I am so encouraged by what I read here, there is some sort of hidden strength out there, that binds all we fathers together, I feel it in my heart. You Dads Im with you all in spirit, keep strong and keep loving the ones you miss, no matter what!. Karen for Prime Minister, I say!

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    1. Take heart Paul, change will come, the government has signalled changes and we are making sure that people see how many children are losing out on a parent and how things have to change.

      Not sure I would make a good Prime Minister though!

      I will be in touch this week to follow up on our previous conversations.

      K

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  23. Hi Karen, Before i go into my story id first like to say how i came to your blogspot i read an article about f4j founder Mat O’Conner slinging mud at a barrister something about you making a joking statement about their organization anyway iv been reading all day mainly on your blogs and posters comments and i will say it has been a pleasure to read your stuff, this article you write above brought the tears on that i have kept back for so long, on to my current affairs, at the start of this year is the 5th application to the courts to get access to our two children now aged 12/14, the first application was way back in 2004 when i was granted PR (oh how i can say this Tag means diddle squat) i was also given staying contact for the holidays and three weeks over the summer hols i travelled 500 miles round trip to collect then another 500 miles to take them back, pick-up and drop off went badly most times i was shouted at by their mum swore at, this became so bad i had to stop the car down the road just so i could give our children a cuddle and say our goodbyes as it became impossible to do this outside the mum home, my contact with our children was always a very happy experience and on the summer holidays the children would always ask for a bit longer however it was only granted to them once that was in 2006 after that summer visit the mum refused any more contact and in September 2006 i was back in court, the judge asked us if we would try mediation i agreed and so did the mum and an interim order was made so i could go and see the children in her house for a few hours in this visit to there house i was asked by my ex if we would ever get back together and i point blank said no the reason i never hesitated with this answer was the fact i had received abuse from her for many years and yes violence had played a major part of her systematic onslaught of abuse
    i had lived with her and our children for 4-5 years prior to separation in 2004. i had been brought up a family man and respected woman passionately and at the onset of being kicked and punched i didnt know how to react to this abuse so i just stood there and took it most of the time other times i would try and calm her down but this just made the matter worse and i soon became to the notion that staying out of her way was the best result, this was a quick fix and by no means tackled the wrought of the problem but hay i was spared a beating so this became the norm, it became an intricate pattern my ex would run by throughout the day and so i became aware of the times to avoid her at all costs, it may be an idea to tell you i had never had a girlfriend in the past that treated me in this way and thought i could handle it in the long run. (i was very wrong) i met her aged 25 she was 27 after just one month i started getting hit and it became as regular as coffee and tea, to cut a very long story short the abuse did start to affect my mood and i became depressed and cut off from the rest of my family as this was her controlling way i had to choose between her and my parents i choose her to try and affirm her i loved her but again this was a quick fix and became obvious no matter what i did to assure her it was never going to be enough.
    its easy to look back in hindsight and see what i should of done from an early date of our relationship i should of walked out the door and never turn back but at three months she became pregnant with whom i thought to be my child, and the night i came home from work to see the test in her hand i wanted to look pleased but the look on her face i knew i was in the shit this night my nose was broken i was kicked in the balls and strangled to the point i went blue then punched in the face after this attack she started to punch her stomach at this point i tried to stop her and grabbed her arm i was them punched in the face several times more and this at this point i had had enough of this horror and got out of there and went to stay at my bedsit, i let her have the weekend to calm down before i would go and see her, when i did go back there on the Monday all her things had gone and she had left. partly relived that no more will i get hit on but partly anxious about the pregnancy, about two months passed and i got a few letters from her saying how sorry she was for what she had done to me and how she wants me to go and live with her at the address she is living at to this day i replied by saying she has to change her ways and has to promise never to hit me again in temper of course this was easy for her as it always had been and did become the route-en id get beat on then apologized to saying it will never happen again and so the pattern continued you could call me a sucker for punishment or a mug but i see that i had to try for the sake of the child and always hoping that she could mend her mood swings. well we went on to have another child my son and and whilst i can appreciate to bring another baby into this environment is well not a sane thing to do i held a glimmer of hope that it could change things between us(again i was wrong) as the children grew i became attached to them on a level that many livin dads feel there was total love and respect between us so much so it was me the children came to if they got hurt for a cuddle or had a question about something or to play a game, this bond between me and the children i feel the mum felt threatened by and this was why she would seek to argue with me about anything and everything now dont get me wrong i can argue like the rest of us this is human nature but never would i become violent towards the mother of our children but to here the idiocy of the topics i would have used against me for means of an argument were mind blowing to say the least, if i laughed it was wrong if i defended myself it was wrong if i went to the bedroom on my own it was wrong every time it made no difference the police would be called and i would be removed, i sit here and think about the times i was forcefully removed from the home for no reason other than she wanted me out of the home at the time accounted for around 6-7 times over the course of our relationship and each time thereafter i would be asked back after about one to three months had passed sometimes using the children as an excuse to get me back through saying they miss me and she cant handle them on her own. in 2004 i made a stand not to go back to her again it was no good for me or the children to continue with this bouncing in and out of their lives in the way it was happening. i was told by my ex because i said id never go back to her that i will never see the children again and if i do i will have to take her to court so i did and up until this final court proceedings there has never been an accusation of DV but now there is and apparently its backed up by a woman’s group report outlining our children our victims and the mum is a victim of DV from the hands of the children’s dad this report has come from the YMCA of the area she lives and to be frank the children did witness a few arguments but by no means any violence from me to them of their mum, my daughter has openly expressed she wishes to see me and we had been in contact over facebook for the past two years but mum found out and has deleted her account so as it stand i have not seen our children since September 2009 due to reasons of banging my head at a brick wall in the court not doing anything to persuade the mum to toe the line and let the children see dad it would seam court orders are no deterrent to disgruntled mums that go out of there way to block assess however since i know that my children do want to see me yes my son does to from what my daughter has told me but as ar as mum goes my son hates me even though there is no reason for him to hate me other that the influence from the mum poisoning his mind, i have not spoke to my daughter since September 2011 at witch point
    i started the process of applying for contact again but this time im self litigating and have research immensely on law and rights for the children through ECRC and from the human aspect ECHR but also many case studies. with respect to the abuse i received i feel it will land on deaf ears and would be looked at as though im accusing of the same to counteract her allegation but i have looked very closely at Narcissistic parental alienation and the mum fits all the criteria for such a case how i go about this as a self litigator quite frankly is beyond me so im going as a platonic notion of what’s best for the children as at the moment i do know the children are still wetting the bed at there age that’s a concern their failing at school and probably wont even make average grades and my daughter has been in plenty of trouble with the police and both children have had far to much time off off school though illness and as such the judge has appointed the children parties to the proceeding under the guardianship of CAFFCASS, i would also like to say that in 2009 i applied for residence as the children wanted to live with me and i truly believe they would still wish for this to happen even now after so much time has lapsed but back in 2009 i lost as the judge who at the time was a different one than who we have now but on the recommendations looking at why the children would wish to live with dad they came to the notion the it was because the children were on holiday syndrum and mum said a pack of lies saying she was getting a job to provide them with a better future this just never happened she has never worked ever, i had always sent cards and gift to the children but in 2007 after i said to say i would not get back with her items i had sent to them they never received and items i had sent up before this time went missing and even smashed up in front of them and i believe this to be the real reason the children are suffering so baldly at the moment there are of coarse many many other issues that if i went into all of them i could do my own blogg so ill finish up for now and say thanks for your blogg and for us to be able to comment its much appreciated. keep up the good work your doing im bookmarking your site for future reads. if you feel there is any info that may of be helpful at all in relation to self litigating then please i would be more than grateful to you or anyone in passing this on to me. very kind regards.
    Steve 🙂
    ps: i apologize for the lack of full stops :D.

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    1. Stephen, your story is tragic but sadly not uncommon and my heart goes out to you and your children.

      My ex-wife was fine with shared residency of our 3 children for the first 3 years after we got divorced, Then however I started a relationship with a new partner who I have now been very happily married to for the past 9 years. You can probably guess what happened next. After my ex had finished screaming and shouting at me down the phone for over an hour when I told her about my new girlfriend, she then decided that I was no longer a fit parent to share care of the children and took me to court for residency of. This was done for pure spite and vindictiveness. The interesting thing was that she had started seeing someone else before our marriage was over and I suspect that because this new relationship did not work out for her she was very jealous of me finding any happiness

      . I then rather stupidly did not contest her application for residency as I believed that eventually she would calm down and things would settle back to normal-how wrong was I.
      From that day on, every issue regarding the children became a war of attrition and I would be regularly screamed at and verbally abused upon collecting the children for my now once a fortnight so called contact (God I hate that word they are my children as well).

      I eventually adopted my new wife’s children following the tragic death of their own father (who we incidentally had a good working relationship with while he was still alive). and had 2 children of our own. My children from my first marriage were delighted to be having new siblings but were not even allowed to mention their names at home. My ex also told them that she wished that my wife and her babies would die in a house fire or car crash. I have to say that if the boot was on the other foot i would never have treated my ex in such a cruel and disgusting way

      Anyway I could go on but I just want you to know that there are many good people out there both men and woman who would really feel for you if they knew of your tragic story. It’s just a pity that the family courts have closed their minds to the plight of the thousands of good Dad’s that there are in this country of ours.
      Best wishes to you and your children
      Paul

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    2. Steve, don’t worry about the lack of full stops, I am, myself a random user of punctuation!

      Your story is utterly tragic and, in my view, is the outcome of the deeply gendered DV legislation that sees women as victims and men as perpetrators.

      Can I ask if you have ever had any assistance in recovering from what sounds like a horrendous ordeal over time. Have you ever been in touch with Mankind Initiative for instance?

      Here is their website in case it is helpful http://www.mankind.org.uk

      As Paul says, there are people out there who understand and I am glad that what I write is helpful to you to read, I know how many men suffer in silence and the fear and terror that this brings to your life.

      I am going to write something about parental alienation shortly and we are developing our new service called the Family Separation Clinic which will launch in April. We are going to put as much information about PA and how to raise awareness of it in court as we can. I will notify on this site when it is ready to go.

      In the meantime, keep as healthy as you can and keep your mental health strong, read and talk to others who have been through it. Know that you are not alone in this, other people have gone through it and it helps to share.

      K

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  24. No all feminists are raging misandrists. Unfortunately many are, and this particularly branch of feminism – ‘radical’ feminism is invariably centered in the academic world. A key feature to be found about ‘radical’ feminists is that they invariably profess extreme-right, and often religious fundamentalist viewpoints, typified by their endorsing of the work of Mary Daly; a religious fundamentalist who coloured her work with rampant homophobia and misandry. ‘Radical’ feminism has little time for Marxism, and stragely-enough little time for women – particularly women who aren’t lesbians, or who have children, or run families/households. Such women are regarded as being the lap-dogs of The Patriarchy/The Illuminati (the terms have in recent years become interchangeable).

    Misogyny as well as misandry, together with extreme racism and homophobia inhabits the far end of ‘radical’ feminism.

    The US site RadFemHub presents itself as a spoof web site – taking the very worst of feminist stereotyping – not least the man-hating misandry, and then boosting-it to Nigel Tuffnell 11. In the link below, the ‘radicals’ loony paranoid aspect is displayed to the world – with a theory of ‘Trauma Bonding’ – the idea that relationships are formed with males (PIV – penis-in-vagina) through the trauma of penetration. The concept is discussed, albeit in the limited fashion that accompanies ‘radfem’ reasoning. Strange ideas about mammallian evolution can be found in the responses, together with stock comments about the rape culture, and the belief that all males are pedophiles. As many feminists have a fear of modern science, they tend to fall-back to religious concepts and theories as an alternative.

    http://radicalhub.com/2012/02/08/its-the-trauma-bonding-talking/

    Yet ‘radical’ feminism is just one particular branch of feminism, which is a broad and wide church.

    Mumsnet, started by Justine Roberts and Carrie Longton has long-maintained forum sections for feminists. Unfortunately the ‘loony’ branch of the feminists caucus have long taken hold, and discussions often feature allegations that all men are rapists/pedophiles, together with the traditional mistrust of science.

    It hasn’t been all bad though. A website I assist in editing – Dramatis Personae – http://www.dramatis.hostcell.net – An Indexed History of Family Justice & Child Protection has received two contributions from feminists who have found the particular form of feminism on MumsNet too weird to stomach.

    For instance the entry for http://www.dramatis.hostcell.net/Index_g/index_g.html#GowatyP – Patricia Gowaty discusses the fear of modern scientific concepts that many feminists profess. This index entry was largely written by two feminist ‘refugees’ from MumsNet in the UK.

    In the US and UK many radical feminists, bereft of a comprehension scientific reasoning are increasingly attracted to extremist religious fundamentalism and the paranoid conspiracy theory view of the world spouted by the likes of David Icke. This can be regularly seen when those who dare to disagree with the prevailing view in feminist debates are accused of being ‘conditioned’ by the patriarchy – in a similar way to how the Icke crowd determines anyone who disagrees with them is obviously ‘mind-controlled’ by TThe Illuminati.

    Another entry, contributed only late last year by a MumsNet refugee who identified a religious fundamentalist element amongst UK feminists, is to be expanded into a multi-page chapter-by-chapter analysis of a seminal feminist text ‘Child Sexual Assault: Feminist Perspectives’ (2001). For the moment we have just a short entry concerning the books contents, wrapped into a larger entry about a book from 1994 called ‘Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse’. The entry though is significant, providing a roadsign to the influences on misandrist feminist academics in the UK;

    http://www.dramatis.hostcell.net/SRA/RAINS2/TREATING4/treating_4.html#feminist – Feminist endorsements for ‘Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse’

    The section is significant in that it identifies a tendency in British feminism to engage in witch-hunting – a concept that challenges the modern view that feminists reckon the victims of the witchunts that ran in Europe/The American Colonies were an early effort at ‘gendercide’ by the Patriarchy.

    Although not connected with MumsNet, late last year the site received a contribution from a leading US feminist who felt her work would be best presented on ‘Dramatis. The subject matter is perhaps the most explosive to be found on our site, revealing a homophobic core lying at the heart of modern US feminism. Since its original publication the subject has attracted the most data and comments from visitors;

    http://www.dramatis.hostcell.net/SRA/RIDDELL/riddell.html – Dr. Myra Riddell – the betrayal of the US gay community by feminists/lesbians

    Finally there are two entries that reference the easily-seen man-hating tendencies in British feminism, and in particular the effort to cast males as physical demons on planet Earth.

    http://www.dramatis.hostcell.net/Index_I_to_K/index_i_to_k.html#ItzinC – Dr. Catherine Itzin.

    http://www.dramatis.hostcell.net/Index_I_to_K/index_i_to_k.html#KellyL – Dr. Liz Kelly CBE

    Both of the above refer to serial misandrists within UK feminism, both of who collude (or in the case of Dr. Itzin, colluded) with far-right religious fundamentalists in an effort to bolster their cases.

    Comments, observations, corrections and contributions are always welcome to the site.

    Rachel Livermore
    Associate Editor
    http://www.dramatis.hostcell.net
    Dramatis Personae – an Indexed History of Child Protection & Family Justice

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    1. Rachel, thank you for these links which I shall read through and digest, I am astonished at the continued existence of this kind of thinking and I will take a look at your site, thanks for posting. K

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  25. Karen, as I write this message I find myself in floods of tears. I, like so many others find that it doesn’t take much these days to re-open the emotional wounds of 4 years separation from my children. The almost surreal world of family court hell that I have found myself in has left me with deep emotional scars that I imagine will take forever to repair.

    The story of this father and son’s happy ending is the dream outcome that keeps the vast majority of us ‘family law veterans’ alive, and not ‘ghost dads’ like far too many have tragically become. I find it an almost impossible task to describe the utter despair in losing your own flesh and blood for no reason, to an unaccountable, abusive system that we call family law. This whole secret world carefully hides behind a star spangled banner suggesting that it is ‘working in the children’s best interests’ and yet harms more families than anything has done before it.

    To lose ones children carries more pain than any other torture known to mankind, and yet in the eyes of the Judges, Cafcass and solicitors alike, we are deemed mentally unstable if we dare mention this. We are not allowed to mention how much we love our children, because Cafcass inform us that this is emotionally damaging to them, and if we do, again we are mentally unstable. In my own case to date I have had 2 psychiatric assessments at mothers request that both came back as perfect. 1 Court ordered psychotherapist assessment that very obviously favoured mother’s miss-truths, and whom felt that I had most probably deceived one of the country’s leading psychiatrists and therefore felt it necessary that I undergo another psychiatric assessment with his colleague from the tavistock institute (legal aid have refused to subsidise this)

    Sadly, to the ill informed – from what I have written above, it would be easy for the reader to judge me on the very notion of ‘actually’ having to have assessments, rather than the reality, the outcomes of such reports, but unfortunately this is not the case with Cafcass etc who use this very notion to prevent me from seeing my children. To say that I am suspicious of the Courts motives is perhaps an understatement, and I can’t help feeling that the Judge in my own personal case will not get a good night sleep until he has found a psychiatrist willing to deem me mentally unstable – which of course will just about justify the way in which me and my dear little children have been treated.

    Karen, I wrote the above in order for others to understand what some parents have to face in order to be part of their children’s valuable little lives. It is a system that without doubt has failed thousands of children, and affected millions of lives. What intially begins from the actions of a bitter ex-partner very quickly moves into the hands of the family court arena. In the words of a Canadian Judge ‘There is no system ever devised by mankind that is guaranteed to rip husband and wife, or father, mother and child apart so bitterly than the present family court system.’ Sadly this is just a small part of the hidden world of family law, and a system that very few people would ever know about unless they were unfortunate enough to experience it.

    I personally believe that in order for change to truly happen then one of the first hurdles would have to be awareness. People have to realise exactly how abusive the system has become before it can be repaired, and for that reason and for what you are doing I place YOU Karen on the very highest pedestal – an inspiration.

    To sum up, I don’t think anybody could explain the tragic loss of a child in a more heart breaking way than Kate McCann ‘A torture, a slow painful death’

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    1. Alan. I am heartened to read your response, simply because I do not now feel so disappointed that psychological assessments were refused in my own case, because clearly from your experiences, even if they had been ordered, and I know mine would have been A Okay, it seems the very fact of being subjected to such an assessment would have been detrimental to my case no matter what the outcome!!!!
      It is rather ironic that in my complaint to Cafcass, they did eventually uphold the majority of the points raised, including that psychological assessments (of child, both parents, and ex wife’s partner). Of course, having upheld my complaint meant nothing, as for the recommendations that Cafcass should have implemented originally to take then be carried out, I would have had to start all over again in the family court, attempt to jump the same hurdles, and no doubt experience the same bias and thus disappointment. Their recognition that the involvement of an experienced psychologist was required was too late, the damage had been done.
      The main reasons psychological assessments were requested was to expose the fact that my youngets daughter had been brainwashed, and hence totally alienated from me, their elder sisters and entire paternal family by two individuals, her mother and new partner, both who were supposedly trained child care professionals. Another reason was to determine if that new partner was indeed a fit and safe person to be around my children, which along with various other worrying incidents, followed a particularly bizarre incident in June 2009 when due to his own guilt at having abandoned his own children, and as a result become estranged from them, he came to my home drunk at midnight and launched a sustained and very violent attempt to break with the clear intent to be violent towards me, and my two eldest daughter, who were terrified, as was I.
      He did at least eventually receive a conviction for this, which Cafcass seemed to overlook, and not consider of any real concern, even though my two youngest children were clearly living with their mother with this man. When Children’s Services later became involved, they seemed similarly unconcerned by this incident, saying that what he did at my home that night made him no less suitable to be a parent to my kids, than I would be if I had them in the car with me when caught for and convicted of speeding. A bizarre analogy, even more so as I have no motoring convictions, and for an experience social worker to make such a comment was just incredible!!!!!
      However, this leads into another point, that once more than one agency become involved, non actually appear to investigate the welfare of the children, assuming that if they are with ‘mum’ then they must be safe and well, and each commenting that the others had raised no concerns. In my case the social worker dismissed my concerns about my youngest daughter having been a victim ‘parental alienation’ on the basis of what she herself admitted was ‘only a brief chat’ with my daughter. I will be at the final stage (panel hearing) of the complaint about this and the appalling attitude of the social workers towards not just me, but also my elder two daughters, in a couple of weeks. I intend to take copies of Karen’s article, and if anyone present starts telling me, again, that there is no bias against Dad’s in the system……I will sling them each a copy of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  26. Dear Alan, your bravery moves me and your unquestionable love for the children you are denied a relationship with shines through. I will, if I have to do this until I am a very old woman, work to see this kind of horror stopped. One day we will look back in utter shame. Sending my ongoing support, your children do love you, keep that in your heart and your mind. Each and every child I have reunited with their parent reminds me that they do not choose this, it is chosen for them and their love never goes away, even if it seems to at times.

    The system is broken and it must be fixed, change will come, I am sure of it. Stay as strong as you can, you are not on your own. Sending my support to you. K

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  27. Thank you to all who shared support its much appreciated 🙂 and as others have said Karen your work is a force to be reckoned with and so today i have sent links to this blog to the judge in control of my case to his email address i have for him. its true we never give up on the hope that just maybe someone will see what is happening within the system and make a stand to bring around changes that so need to be adjusted, and on this note i will say the new judge in my case did show concern that our children are still having regular accidents and this alone is sure show there is something drastically not right within our family division and of coarse i’m being blamed for everything by the mum saying the repeated applications to court is having a detrimental effect on the children, but how much can one woman pit blame on a dad that doesn’t live or see and hasn’t seen face to face for over two years their failing at school is my fault their illnesses are my fault their miss behaviour is my fault and now the accusation of DV is the latest twist as an attempt to cover all reasons why the children are having such hard times, it was just this morning i have found the forms to apply to the courts to have my ex convicted for what she put me through but as i sit here and yes i do want justice but this really isn’t the grand plan i expected to have to go with as all i want is to be a dad for our children, but as it stands any accusation is an accusation and has to be not taken lightly even though i have had the children on staying contact for many years before this ludicrous allegation has been put to the court via this report through YMCA so its not been put forward under oath and this i feel i will ask for on the next hearing to have that statement regarding DV to be sworn on under oath, as soon as this is done i will then ask the judge to put me on trail for the crime as i will then set about sorting out proving my innocence. you see from where im sat now i see it that any decision the judge makes with regard to contact will always be decided in the context that DV has played a part and will proceed with caution and any contact could very easily turn back to supervised at a contact centre and so i have been forced to play the trump card in this systematic game that’s being played out for the future of our children’s lives its not right but its being forced, if the question to be put on trail for the crime i haven’t committed is denied me then i will have no choice but to file the paperwork to have my ex charged for what she did to me. in the 8 years throughout all court appearances not once have i resulted in slinging mud at the respondent never question the conditions that were slapped on the orders and some were just out of this world like my nephew Luke aged 18(who had been living with me since he was 14) at the time was not allowed to have any contact with our children even though they got on so well and to this day i still think about how i was ever supposed to prevent them having any contact being that i live in a two bedroom house and of coarse that order was broken for obvious reasons. all the other problems i found hard to deal with was the wealth of information our children openly gave to me and yes without any coercing needed at all what stuck me from very early on was the trust the children had in me to tell me things that had been done to them things that they were called at home and general ill treatment towards them, with some thing i had heard made me boil inside and two particular incidents i could not ignore an assault on my daughter at age 10 and the smashing up of my sons Christmas present i bought him in front of his this i was told on summer holiday and after i text my ex saying i was going to report her in the morning and the next morning came i rang social services and to my astonishment they were expecting my call i asked they why and was told the mum had been on the phone earlier and they are not getting involved as it was tit for tat i just couldn’t believe my ears and i then sent my ex another text to witch i was the arrested for harassment and got a warning from the police. another visit both my daughter had the worst infestation of nits i had ever see eggs right down the shaft of the hairs she was irresolutely plastered with them and my sons legs were so flee bitten he looked like a dot to dot picture along with shoes that were so tight on his feet he was complaining of them hurting so i took him out to sports world and bought him new trainers and took my daughter to the Dr’s to get treatment for her hair this was under my name and its on record that nit treatment was issued and im going to pull this info from the Dr’s to supply the judge, my daughter jewellery i had bought her had gone missing when she was at school the bracelets were at home in her draw she didn’t know how to tell me but i assured her i still love her and i will save all presents my sons too for when i see them next, so every birthday i cant send them anything as i know they wont receive it this is probably one of the hardest thing to come to terms with, the gatekeeper keeping things from the children that should be enforced to give them what’s rightfully theirs and to damage a child’s toy in front of them is unforgivable, :*(

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    1. Steve, do you have any assistance in your case? What you are describing sounds so concerning that I think that you need to have some kind of help. Do you have a Mckenzie friend at all? Let me know K

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      1. Hi Karen what i have written on here is just the tip of the iceberg the whole 6 years had dragged me down so much suicide seamed the feasible release both for me ant our children but in 2009 i went to my Dr’s and asked for some counselling witch i attended just three session i know i could of done with more but i felt like i was just making the sadness worse so i stopped and focused all my concentration on research and law i bought a copy of “Jane Fortin, Children’s Rights and the Developing Law) its now outdated but taught me a lot.
        No i have no help at all it would seam its me against the world that being said i have looked into Mckenzie friend but the very nature of distance would make it difficult to sustain an ongoing friendship also i know that a Mckenzie friend are not allowed to litigate and i would have to have the permission of the judge and respondent to say its would be acceptable to allow he/she in the court room as a witness and i know my ex will oppose it, so far i have had so much mud slung in my direction i spent 4 years overlooking the real issue and spent most of my efforts defending against those accusations and allegations in the knowledge that i was expected to do just that for prof i was safe around our children, this time around my minds set is from a different angle totally i have wise’d up to this tactic she is continually using, the two year brake from all the courts and anger from her has helped me recover it also was to give our children a rest bite from all the problems that came with the court orders, our children never stopped wanting to see me but they understood why i backed off and also was well aware of mums blocking motives that caused most of the lack of visits, in july last year i seen things on my daughters facebook account that i had to think very carefully about and for two days i never slept with worrie, she had made friends with a man of 37 years and had got into chats with him to the extent i was disgusted and physically sick and i knew i had a responcibility to her and new the implecations of reporting the conduct of her behaviour but i reported the man to the police and informed the socail servises about what i had seen and sent them the evidence, the NSPCC sent a referal too so it would defo be dealt with, i made a statment for the police here in yeovil that may i say were wholehartedly on my side seeing i was trying to protect our daughter from danger, but her mum was outraged of the fact i had been talking to my daughter behind her back and trid to get me in trubble with the police again sending a altered order saying i was braking the law by communicating with my daughter over facebook i rang the police to ask him about the law and the order he had recieved and his words were from what he can see from the order is that i have broke no order at all and he doesn’t even know why he was sent a copy as it was the peterborough police that was dealing with the case so i rang peterborough police and got nowhere with them they refused to tell me anything other then they had spoke to the man in question and my daughter and the matter is not being took any further so i rang the social servises and spoke to the inital woman who was apointed to my family and she said the mum seam more concurned about me talking to her daughter and was furious over this, but right now she was not on the case anymore as it had been handed over to a long term social worker, i was givin her name and i rang her to get some info about what was happening with our childen and she never answerd the call, for three weeks i tried to get in contact with her every day at this time i was i bit anoyed about her not retuning any of my calls then one day in the fourth week she answered my call (shocked and somewhat stunned) i asked her about how far thing have gone and i was refused any information dead i asked her why and all she kept repeating was there is a confedentuality clause and incidentally the case is now coming to a close, this is how it was left me not knowing anything, not even if my daughter was upset about me reporting her. but as time has passed i have realised that under the freedom of information act 2000 and the data processing act of 2006 i have a right to this info regarding my family so i filed an aplication online requesting this info and they sent me a hard copy in the post stating i have to fill this in saying what i request and pay a £20 fee then send this to them for them to process, at presant im still waiting for this info to arrive, this is just another brick wall i am jumping over as the last 8 or so years at every step of any corapondence there are brick walls we need to either walk around or jump over all the while the children just continue to suffer and iv come to the conclustion that all person’s who SHOULD care don’t care its like the Authorities are brain washed into not seeing whats in front of there eyes, its ironic that if all the dads like me have to go through the hoops we do just to have minimal time with our children and we see how hard the system makes it, for one its no wonder dad give up or dont even try and two if we can see how wrong the system is and how it should be set right then all i want to know is why does the likes of david cameron jet off to america for a trip instead of sorting out the mess alreday here in this country its sending a huge message out that they dont give a hoot, and another major issue is maitanence i have payed maintanence all my childrens lives and yet they still get sent down on a visit scruffy so where is the money going cos im sure it aint being spent on the children. if i ran this country id make two changes strait away one being if contact is blocked then so is maitanence full stop, and two ( this could be a strange one for you or other reader to see) introduce lie detectors in high conflict cases full stop. i feel we are at a time that changes have to be made and fast and hard the whole society needs shaking up and waking up to this nightmare that has become.
        i have been researching deeply into narcissism and parental aileination and have a link you may be intrested in.
        as it stands our children are fast comming to an age where they will vote with their feet :~) and as i am pretty safe in the thinking this will happen through what has been done to them, it will never bring back all the lost time thats been missed, i know im good for them and will work hard with them to help them get back to a normal way of living. the hard thing to stomach is whats happening now and has happened since they were 5-6 years old.
        One this i would like to say is how close this info is to the likeness of my ex and for years i had no idea what was wrong with her and this has opened my eyes and had helped me to come to terms with her condition and this has able me to forgive her as a human that had a traumatic childhood herself void of any love, she doesn’t know i know what she is all about and this has also able me to approach the courts in a different way and that is no mater how much mud is slung in my direction i refuse to rise to it with a notion of defence or retaliation in any form, that saying i have to play the process out by ear and just pin my hopes on the judge seeing through what my ex is hell bent on destroying and then to make the appropriative actions to help our children recover, if however i feel its going down the drain then as i said before i will have to use the trump card and set about proving my innocence in the crime court as after all i have nothing left to lose as iv already lost everything.
        here is the link plus a few more you might like to add to your new site Family Separation Clinic :~) Steve :~)

        https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BypP5tNaxQHWZmFmZGYyY2UtYjg4My00YWE4LTgwZDktNDQ1ZGZlZDk5YzI4/edit?hl=en_US&pli=1

        if the first link don’t work then just vist this link and click the direct link

        http://sharedparesearch.blogspot.com/2011/07/david-and-collette-summers-2006.html

        http://www.parentalalienationcrisis.org/

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  28. Just thought I’d throw this in.
    Liz Trinder ( who I believe you have mentioned before, Karen), carried out an interesting peice of research on Maternal gatekeeping. It’s “Maternal Gate Closing and Gate Opening in Postdivorce Families.” (Journal of Family Issues Oct.2008)
    One paragraph is worth quoting:
    “Although mothers in the sample varied in their attitudes to gate work, they all presumed a distinctive and central maternal role rather than a position of parental equivalence and interchangability. Mothers positioned themselves as child care experts and family managers…Similarly, whereas the maternal bond was considered to be unbreakable, father- child relationships appeared contingent.”
    I think that the trouble men face in Family Courts is that a lot of the judiciary and Cafcass officers share these values. Hopefully this will change, but don’t hold your breath!

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    1. Hi Mark, yes I am aware of Liz Trinder and also of the notion of maternal gatekeeping and that many people associated with the family courts seem to consider that this is a natural thing because mothers are indeed more experienced and capable simply because they are women. Its an absolute problem in my view and perpetuates the idea that men cannot or do not care. I would like to see a longitudinal study carried out of mothers and fathers aspirations for relationships with their children, what they would like and how they would like to do it, I consider that this would reveal that whilst most mothers do indeed see themselves as the natural carer, many would like to share the care too. Its a complex field and too much to go into on one thread but maternal gatekeeping is something I come across again and again in my work with families. K

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  29. Excellent article Karen. I had been posting on and off on Mumsnet for years, I am a mum of boys. About six months ago I wandered into the feminism section, and simply could not believe the hatred and bile that was being written. I searched on the web and read some Radical Feminist websites, it was enlightening to say the least.

    Armed with my new knowledge, I decided to try and debate their anti-male stance. No chance, they piled in en mass to belittle, deride and mock everything I had to say. They were immovable in their belief that women are oppressed victims, unable to think for themselves, and that any woman that didn’t subscribe to their doctrine were not to blame because clearly, the patriarchy had such a hold over them, that their thoughts weren’t their own. Well that’s convenient isn’t it. I was also called a misogynist, which seems to be the staple term for anyone who doesn’t agree with their beliefs, regardless of gender.

    I can’t believe the vitriol that was directed at F4J on Tuesday. They reminded me of the worst school bullies that I had to endure at school. It’s great to mock the mainly decent men who’s lives are destroyed by the family law courts isn’t it? Utterly unforgivable behaviour.

    I have noticed the RadFem’s are also all over the Mumsnet relationships board, ordering women to leave their husbands at the slightest whiff of a problem, oh and of course, take their children with them. They are an insidious presence, agenda driven, and totally backed up by MNHQ who do absolutely nothing to stop them.

    In fact, it’s fairly obvious to me that MNHQ actively encourage their agenda, in light of Tuesdays debacle when MNHQ posted a statement to the RadFem’s denouncing F4J as insignificant nuisances. Go to the Mumsnet Site Stuff board and see for yourselves, to anyone reading this comment.

    I used to consider myself a feminist, but in light of way feminism is becoming more and more radicalised, I don’t want to be associated with this movement any more. It doesn’t want equality, it wants supremecy, and it’s leaving scores of children damaged in its wake. Not good.

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    1. i think that the real point is that true feminists do understand the arguments for equality and that is what they believe in. The Radfem lot on the other hand are something else altogether and what they believe in is their own superiority over men These so called radfems are nothing more than gender fascists

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    2. Hi, I have just been looking today, cripes I thought this stuff had died out years ago but there it is alive and kicking. Some of the stuff I read today made me feel really sad and some of it really angry, but a lot of it made me anxious. If this is what separating mothers are reading, little wonder we have so many families unable to make arrangements that are right for children. K

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  30. Regrettably the ‘radfem’ lot aren’t a small minority.

    We have Athens access now and perusing the academic papers of the 1990s and early 21st century on child protection/family justice is a terrifying prospect; the degree of misandry is incredible – most of it geared towards determining that all males are pedophiles, and women with children, the very same. Many of those very same academic papers helped determine the nature of the Family Court system in the UK (and US) today.

    That’s perhaps the aspect that many women don’t quite comprehend yet; the feminist community hates their guts, as much as males. For the most part the decision to deny shared parenting is to initially punish the father (for being male and therefore part of the patriarchy) then the child (for being a kid basically) and the mother – who will either be vulnerable to social workers intervention at some later date in the future, or will have to explain to the child-now-adult why she denied them seeing dad. In essence it is vindictiveness driving the system, but vindictiveness on a grand scale, buttressed by a sort of faux academic foundation.

    Beyond that though, women with children still thought-of as ‘bovine’ by many feminists. In the past some of the MumsNetter’s have attended feminist conferences to find them somewhat lacking in creche facilities. They haven’t quite figured-out why; you can certainly be a feminist and be a mother, but don’t expect many of your fellow feminists to even spit on you if you were on fire.

    An aspect that has remained surprisingly for us is the manner in which many UK feminist academics will, sometimes rather than commission new and original research, will rather reference the work of religious fundamentalists. This was Catherine Itzin’s particular obsession, to the point where she packed one particular book and one research document for the Home Office, chock-full of ‘fundies’.

    The degree of collusion between modern UK feminists and fundamentalists is perhaps the most shocking element our history has uncovered to-date, but some of the material to be published later this year, based on academic papers and published books is simply jaw-dropping.

    Rachel Livermore
    Associate Editor
    http://www.dramatis.hostcell.net
    Dramatis Personae – an Indexed History of Child Protection & Family Justice

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    1. ‘That’s perhaps the aspect that many women don’t quite comprehend yet; the feminist community hates their guts, as much as males. For the most part the decision to deny shared parenting is to initially punish the father (for being male and therefore part of the patriarchy)’

      Precisely. RadFem’s absolutely hate women who don’t conform to their standards. How ironic, that the women they pretend to defend, are derided for their choices and classed as misogynistic.

      RadFems seek only to punish men, for the outdated notion of ‘male privilage’ and ‘patriarchy’.
      I know for a fact, that should I wish to leave my husband (I don’t btw), I can do so, set up a new life with a new man in tow, cut him out of my children’s lives and bleed him dry in the process. Privileged isn’t he. How the hell can this be right? RadFems are utterly deluded, they have no real concept of the lives of millions of ordinary women. They are solipsistic in the extreme. They are damaging society in so many ways, and are destroying all the hard work of equality feminists before them.

      Why am I so concerned? I have young sons, that’s why. Boys and men are being discriminated against as never before. If the current family system remains, what will happen if my son’s relationship breaks down and they have children? What if they are denied contact? I can only hope and pray that they don’t experience the same misery as the men Karen talks about.

      When I identified as a feminist, I wanted equality, the right to be treated in the same way as men. I wanted motherhood to be recognised as valuable in society, for women to be given the same job opportunities as men. I wanted men to have the right to be a stay at home parent, and to be valued for chosing to do that. I wanted respect between men and women, and for them to have equal rights as a parent.

      Radical feminism has no interest in equality. They only care about socially engineering men to behave in a way that they deem to be acceptable. To be Stepford husbands. They bulldoze their way into the media, politics, daily life and no-one seems to care or notice, aside from a small minority. This small minority then gets heckled and derided for daring to speak out against them.

      Radical Feminism is a growing concern. Women need to realise the damage that is being done in their name.

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      1. Patholicallyunpc.wordpress.com is the very best laugh I have had on this subject for years. I will be following the diary of the Perpetually Peeved from now on!

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    2. Hi I’ve been reading some stuff on the site today. I remember the SRA era, I was on Orkney when the children were taken into care. I was a good friend of a teacher on the Island and she said then it was completely crazy and hysterical and linked to a recent visit by Valerie S to Sutherland. I will read more tomorrow but I feel as if my eyes have been opened even more than they already were. K

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    3. Rachel is too modest – every page of Dramatis Personae is jaw dropping and eye opening (you can imagine my expression as I read it).
      Is there anyone the radfems don’t hate? They are particularly nasty about male homosexuals and male-to-female transexuals. The allegation that men are paedophiles was first aimed at gays, before becoming inclusive of all men.

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  31. I dare say this will eventually get picked up nationally
    http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/9585931.Dad_in_dock_over_pervert_fears/?ref=fbrec
    but in case not I am sure there are thousands of men who for the reasons identified by Karen can understand the frustrations of this father brought on by being prevented from seeing his daughter, whilst knowing that her mother had introduced a stepfather into her life who is a convicted paedophile!!!!
    My own two youngest children have been left by the Family Court in Worcester living with a stepfather who tried to break into my home one night to be violent towards me and their elder two sisters. Non of the agencies involved have shared my concern about this, nor seem to consider it a problem that due to this man, for the last three years my now sixteen year old daughter has been unable to have a proper relationship with her Mum, or indeed with her younger sister, whom has been totally alienated from me and her entire paternal family now for over two years.
    Mention the words ‘parental alienation’ to Cafcass or Children’s Services and they look at you as though you are speaking a foreign language, then scoff at the possibility that a mother would ever inflict such emotional abuse on her children. The crazy thing is, they don’t need to believe me, or even listen to me, my now sixteen year old daughter has tried to tell them that is what has happened, but Social Services would not even speak to her, and Cafcass treat it as though the mother treating her so badly, is not the same woman entrusted with the care of her younger siblings.
    A question for you Karen if I may and if you still have time to read the growing number of posts on this article, is there any point in Dad’s like me approaching their local MP about the overall situation, and if so are their any pointers that you can give as to what ‘tack’ to take when doing so, since eventually I feel I owe it to others following behind to raise the issues in the hopes that for them things will be different.

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    1. Jeff, whilst I don’t think that local MPs on their own have a lot of clout, the time is right to add your call for change. I think a detailed and carefully worded account of what has happened in your case and a visit to your MP’s surgery would be a good first step. Ask your MP what he is doing to support change in family law and the development of collaborative services for separated families. Leave with with your detailed account. It may not change anything in your own case and it may just be a tiny step but unless the reality is flagged up the people in power in as many different ways as it is possible to utilise, no-one will ever know the extent of the suffering. K

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  32. I am convinced that 50/50 default shared care by law is the best way to go. It would not suit everyone and parents would have to work out between themselves which was best for their children. I really do believe that if this were the case, it would stop a lot of the bitterness between parents and the frequent and costly court appearances. The benefits system structured as it is can only serve to drive a wedge between parents. When the mother loses money because dad has the children something has to be radically wrong. This is not in the best interests of the children as they are caught in the middle of this.

    Although my son has unequal shared care at the moment, his children have asked if they can stay more. He has consulted a solicitor for the present shared care agreement to be amended to 50/50.

    The result of this was an ex parte attempt by his ex wife, which did not succeed. The lies and false allegations which accompanied it were sick-making. They have since been withdrawn by his ex. My son has said he is willing to try mediation for the sake of the boys. I think he will find in realitity that going forward, even for the sake of the boys, will be extremely difficult after what has transpired.

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    1. Yvie, it sounds as though your son has got a Judge who ‘gets’ what is going on so at least the ex parte application failed.

      Mediation is as good as the understanding of the mediator mediating, if you get what I mean. There are some superb mediators and there are some dismal mediators.

      Top tip is, before you agree to have a mediation session, interview the mediator. Ask them what their success rate is, ask them what they would class as success, ask them whether they believe that children benefit from relationships with both of their parents, ask them what their views are on children who move between two homes. Ask them about their views on how children do in shared care situations. A good mediator should be able to talk to you about all of this before they begin the mediation process. A mediator who refuses to or sees this as you being adversarial or difficult is not someone to put your trust or your money on.

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  33. Thanks Karen. Both my son and his ex. have already had one session of mediation. This was in January. Since then his ex. has said she cannot get time off work for the joint session. The Hearing was therefore postponed until April. I think my son felt comfortable with the mediator.

    Solicitors and their high charges do sometimes come in for a bit of stick, but I have to say the speed at which my son’s solicitor acted to prevent the ex parte hearing was amazing. He would have been lost without her in view of the onslaught of false allegations.

    My ex.dil had previously tried a prohibited steps order against my son. That failed too as he got his shared residence order at that hearing.

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  34. (blush)

    We can’t claim to be any sort of competant resource on the subject of shared parenting. Then again, maybe not being competant is enough these days (http://www.channel4.com/news/how-competent-are-expert-witnesses – How competent are expert witnesses? Channel 4 News,Tuesday 13 March 2012)!

    But there is some fantastic work being performed these days to pick apart the dogma and poor research that underpins much of the anti-shared-parenting institutions. Karen is one producing the opposing quality research, plus the likes of Robert Whiston FRSA (https://motoristmatters.wordpress.com/) who has a particularly ability in being able to discern duff research methodology and duff statistics.

    Poor standards in academia have precided over a willingness to allow religious/political or gender dogma to trump proper analysis and research. Any report, academic paper, textbook or research generated in social sciences, particularly from feminists, should be treated with suspicion until its core source data, research methodology and references are thoroughly checked.

    Unfortunately the tendency to be lazy, leading to the simple repeating of already-disproved work, dominates feminist academia, which being saddled with poor epistemology routinely produces particularly poor quality. Dragging (radical) feminists, kicking and screaming to a world where they are able to be able to think, research and write rationally to a high standard of quality is probably impossible, not least because many of them have determined deliberately to maintain poor-quality standards in their work. This they justify as being an effort to avoid ‘patriarchal’ Enlightened scientific methodologies.

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  35. wonderful thats all i can say. as you will know i am off to court.

    its ironic that men have to face the witches ducking stool- society used a certain logic and social instrument against thousands of women to reinforce mysoginy and now its the other gender who face the same in terms of their relationships post separation with their children.

    I cant tell CAFCASS nor the court what is happening with my children because i will be seen as contriolling andf angry. despite the fact that i could write a book about PA i have to play a certain game.
    my ex loves the children and vice versa. that is as it should be and for my chuildren that is the best and only road.unfortuntly this will not be reciplocated.

    this week i took my 12 year old to football training. he regressed as he used to do many times especially when when we parted . he presented as an 8 year old would. its a sign of his anxiety and this will no doubt this will be more so the case pre court.there are many things i could write about both boys but i will spare you all the discourse.

    its interesting Karen what you said about the alienating parent. I know two cases where adult children have shut out that parent as adults.one a mum and one a dad. its not a good outcome but it is as you say a risk. i got a handle on it myself as a child with my mother..

    my neice alienated her 12 year old son from his dad when they split up. her son was a baby recently she found a letter under his pillow saying “dad you must hate me”.it has brought home to her the importance of his dad and they are now starting to have contact slowly but surely.

    i suppose it comes down to where would you rather be?

    its ironic that the move to change is driven by the centre right. It galls me as an old fashioned Cubanista that those who i thought would be driven by a sense of justice are silent.

    you have your paralell with the 70s feministas. my sister is one. when i told her my ex assauted me (more than once) it was excused as an angry womans perogative.

    no matter where the winds of change originate a child who is allowed to love a parent and vice versa. just one.how wonderful?

    it is not a victory for it is not a battle.it is not a war. it is a small heart broken that is being mended perhaps? a small heart that will sleep much easier tonight.
    such moments cannot be bought nor can they be sold. those who are part of that are humanity at its finest.

    god bless you and thank you. .

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  36. Very moved by your article and wish my ex, with whom I worked for shared parenting of our three well adjusted kids, would read this and realise how lucky he is! Unfortunately he doesn’t.

    P

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  37. This blog is brilliant. A real explanation of the horror which continues around the family law system within the UK.

    I’m a dad, kept from his 4 year old daughter for 3 years now. To read the last paragraph of your blog, brings tears to my eyes. I have 3 children and love them equally. I’m also a single parent, even though I hate that label! It seems I must use that label to describe my situation.

    I am a Dad first and foremost, I don’t want any other title just DAD will do fine. I live in hope the experiences of the Dad mentioned in your blog one day becomes reality for me. It brought tears to my eyes to read, but does give me a little hope that one day the hatred will take second place to the love of the child we created together. I don’t hate my ex, but I do hate what she has done to the relationship between my daughter, myself and her (half) sisters and paternal family.

    I have a proven track record of parenting, parenting as a divorced parent for the period of 10 years with no problems throughout. However I find myself at the hands of people who’s only intention appears to be take my daughter from me, harass me, ridicule me, accept lies as truth, call me abusive, call me crazy, call me just about anything they can think of on the day. (Despite a finding of fact hearing clearing me of all allegations) They have taken my confidence and disposed of it, leaving me a different person. The one thing they cannot take is my LIFE. There not having it!! I’m a DAD! My children need me!

    So in summary the legal profession, the courts, the government should all hang their heads in shame until such time reform of this outdated system recognises the damage it’s causing. Not just to parents but the children those parents made!

    Thank you Karen for giving me a glimmer of hope in your blog today.

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  38. Hi Im a Dad, im so sorry for your lose and to the extent you are a living parent but this is not thought of in the place that it should be namely Family courts, i have had 8 + years going through the court system due to contact blocking by my ex, until she left me i was a hands on dad that cared very much of the happiness of our children, you name it i was involved much to our children’s enjoyment, sadly though the adult relationship broke down and before i knew it she had left me forcing the children with her to leave, and so i had to go to court to get contact, needless to say i was very naive is as much i thought the family courts would do the right thing for the children and for about 5 years i was granted contact although at first i had to prove to them i was capable of careing for the children, i did this with ease and even though the time from them going to the first visit was about 2 years children aged 5 and 7 on that first visit in the caffcass office within 30seconds we were getting on like we had never been apart and so the reporter told the courts i was fine in the presents of the children and i was granted PR for them and also got staying contact with them at our home, as time passed the children started saying things to me about wanting to come and live with me and how they were being treated at home by mum as soon as i made it knowledge to the mum about the concerns i have from what i was being told the contacts started being blocked and when i took her back to court i had allegations made against me saying i was getting information out of our children about mums private life, but still i was granted contact again but this never lasted long before blocking became the norm again and i went back to court again at no time did the courts add a penal notice to the order forcing the mum to adhere to the order but on the few visits i did get the children were increasingly asking for me not to take them back to mum’s and it got to the point i decided to apply for a residence order in early 2009 and despite the caffcass officer stating the children wish to live with dad and even though i have everything necessaries for them to move and carry on into normal living, the judge decided to grant mum the residence order against the wishes of our children saying that the reason the children were expressing these wishes were due to the fact they were in holiday syndrome and also said that it would be far better to bring up the children in a strict environment and them went on to slap many conditions to the order of contact for me to abide to, this was in July 2009 and i had to contact the mum one month prior to the next contact to arrange the next pick up, so i did contact her one month before to arrange the stay and on this call i was swore at shouted at in front of the children and upon hearing the children in the background clearly asking mum to stop shouting at dad down the phone and sounding quite anxious the phone got put down on me, this left me in worry but refused to ring again that day and so i tried the next day and again i was swore and shouted at down the phone and then hung up on only this time the children were not in the background, as this was the 4th visit to the courts over 6 years i had come to the conclusion that this is hopeless and decided to end all the grief the children had had over the duration of these years the mum had told the courts that the children don’t want to see me any more and this kinda made the decision for me. so this is how it was left in august 2009, in September 2009 my daughter searched for me on facebook and sent me a question asking if i was her daddy i replied asking her about her family and we then knew she had found me and we started to communicate regularly sometimes every day after school until one day she said mum is getting suspicious and will have to stop coming to the library everyday so i said that’s ok and would enjoy any time as long as she wont get into troubled for it, were now well into 2010 and my daughter had stopped coming onto facebook for about a month and then about may time she came back on and the first thing she said was how sorry she was for not coming on to talk but mum found out and grounded her and she has to be very careful not to get caught as mum was well moody over finding out she has been talking to me over facebook, i reassured her she was doing nothing wrong if thats what she wanted to do is stay in contact but i do understand about her getting into trouble with mum and not to risk that i said to open another account and we could chat on that new account as mum had forced the password out of her and she was worried if mum got back on the account and seen we are chatting again and so this went on for months and it all came to a head in august 2011 when i seen chats between our daughter and a 38 year old man that i had no other choice but to report this to the social services because of the content and i knew that by doing this i would loose the contact between us but i was not prepared to let this go just so i could keep our contact and so i reported it and social services became involved and the police to which i got no feedback at all (nothing) this to me as the father who is loved and missed to be kept in the dark with respect to the well-fair of the children is discussing, and so i lose my only contact via facebook as the mum deleted her account just after she had sent me a message saying i have no right contacting her children and in doing so im breaking the law, might i add i have broke no law as i took the order to my local police station an asked them if any law had been broken and i get the “not at all answer” and in relation to my reported crime they took a statement from me to send to the police where the children live ( a long way a way ) so im now nearly up to date this is my 5th application to the courts and iv been to the first hearing in January and was asking for contact to be reinstated but here’s the but, i am now being accused of DV the children are in this report from the YMCA that they too have suffered from DV at the hands of their father, this is ten zillion miles away from the real truth in our relationship that started in 1996-2002 i was the one beat on and she has a serious temper problem but now that this allegation has been put to the court i feel this will have dire consequences on any future contact and i have since this knowledge done much research into DV allegations and its affects in courts and as such any true allegation i say will be looked at as a counter allegation and this then will be dismissed and then only use the first allegation, i think its safe to say its a shitty (sorry ) mess, our kids are now 12 and 14 and are being made parties to the proceedings but by caffcass being their guardian and from what i have read and experienced first hand of caffcasses work it doesn’t look pretty, our children are failing at school are still bed wetting, have emotional issues and school attendance issues and if that’s not enough have been in trouble with the police in their area all this i was made aware at the first hearing in January, and top this off with the mum blaming me for everything, my one glimmer of hope i have is that the judge said to her that i have had no direct contact with the children and with all these problems the children are having there must be something wrong somewhere and said to her at the children ages to still be having toilets issues he is quite concerned about and ordered a section 7 report. my daughter has openly said she wishes to have contact with me but nothing was said about my son but i feel as he was younger he was more susceptible to the constant alienation the mums put upon him but was also said in the first hearing that the last few months his behaviour at home has become much more aggressive, i guess at the end of this i should try and get a point across to any reader going through hard times like mine is NEVER GIVE UP ON THE HOPE, LOVE YOUR CHILD/REN WILL ALWAYS HAVE FOR YOU UNCONDITIONALLY, GOOD LUCK AND PEACE BE WITH YOU!
    Steve

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    1. I gave up trying to toilet train my 5 year old, who constantly had brown stains in his pants (she always sent him without underwear to make me buy more) after I got the extensively-perjured domestic violence order (withdrawn once perjury was proved). The allegations about having “an unnatural interest in his anus” was just too repulsive to stomach, and an indication of how far she was willing to go with the false allegations. Having seen man after man jailed or entirely denied access for as much or less, the toilet training was left entirely to her and we just put up with having to wash his clothes separately. My wife and I were just tired of the stress of dreading the arrival of the cops if he were to tell her I had been helping him clean up. The wholesale unquestioning acceptance of false allegations is simply destroying non-custodial parents’ ability to parent.

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  39. If you show emotion, you’re unstable, and if you don’t you’re cold and emotionless and unfit to nurture a child. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

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  40. All about me. and the 5 major points i feel need to be implemented for a better outcome of our children’s future’s

    1) Looking for the best, I have always looked for the best in people even if they have shown to be bad in the past, i believe in always giving the person the oppertunity
    to mend their ways.

    2) Respect, I am quite in nature and believe that people diserve respect at all times regardless of how they operate within any one given domain.

    3) Judgement, I am non judgemental (just learnt this within my own problem people circle) but as a whole any stranger, i see them as equal to me no matter
    how high up the rank i am or them, i make an allowene for the very bad people that commit murder,rape,and invasion of dignity ect: for these people
    i prey for.

    4)Forget then forgive, I understand that in life nothing is strait forward and we learn to react to different situations acording to how we feel, this has been one of my
    biggest lessons in my life and looking back i see i made some drastic disicions in respect to my situation, and have learnt that this lesson
    never ends for any of us, and my faith in Jesus has tault me we get many chances to change our future’s. and whilst some of my actions in the past were the
    wrong ones i know and do repent these and always will, with this i know Jesus has forgave me and in turn he asks for us to forgive and forget (some of
    us find this the hardest lessons to acheive) i have also found it hard to forget my trespassers, but to this end i think i have found through
    reasent aqaintences and life expeireances to forget and in turn you can forgive, i have always found forgiveing easy but that forgetting was hard,
    and see now that you cant have one without the other so i have learnd to forget then forgiving will come not too long afterwards (i believe this
    will now stay with me for life and therefore i say forget then forgive is my 4th on my list in All about me.

    5)Help and serve, Throughout my life i found myself to helping anyone who asked or needed it, when i was little i would go to the old peples bugalows to ask
    if i could help them by cutting the grass for them, many said thats very kind of such a young boy, but i also got something out of it ( i loved the lawn mowers)
    after leaving school i joined the work force and very soon i found there were some not very nice people in the world and my kindness was soon taken for granted,
    given that i had a strong belieff of always helping where i could i became an easy target for what i now see to be takers in life, however at the time
    i would believe what i was being told and as such i helped in the way that was asked for, be it giving money doing an unpaid job going out of my way even if it was
    inconvieniant to do so ect: many years passed like this and i found myself justifiying to myself that the help was infact needed so continued through
    life like this ( i feel lifes expeireances has tought me well and as such some would call me gullibal and easly led) thats ok i dont mind as the sence of worth
    i felt for helping people out grew on me even if i got no thanks for it. this could be coupled with number 1) on this list as throughout my life i helped
    people in the knolage that that everybody is good in some form of another, however in recent years i have come to the understanding that some people
    will never be good this does saden me somewhat as it would seam no matter how much you reach out to help people some people are just unreachable.

    6) Teach, this one you may wonder about but bare with me i have a talent that some can see shine from me. 5 years ago was when it was shown to me by my 12year old
    nephuew mathew, i had my children down for the summer hollidays and i popped over my sisters so the children could play and we arranged for my sisters
    4 children aged 8,9,12,13 my two were 7,8 to stay at mine for two weeks, yes 6 gotta laugh hay :~) anyhow we were all in the lounge playing on the game concole
    taking turns, convesations was toing and frowing and as you can imagine i had many questions fly in my direction about many subjects all of witch i answerd with ease,
    i had a very big garden and in the day they would all go out in it playing water fights and chase, tig ect: in the evening we would all settle down chatting and
    playing on the console and just before bed we’d watch a movie this went on for about week n a half, we had no fighting at all, all were very calmb and polite.
    when we were sat one evening mathuew looked at me and said uncle Steve can i say something? i said sure whats up? he said ” in the week and a half we have been at
    yours i can honestly say i have learnt way more in these few days here with you than i have learnt in at least the last two years at school”, natrally
    this made me feel good so i asked him how is this so he replied ” well all your answers to our questions for a start were easy to understand and you never
    passed on any of them you know so much about life and things” “also you are so laid back you dont get angery or even shout mum shouts all the time”
    i replied ” well your mum does have a lot on her plate at the momment as there are lots of children living in you house” he and his brother and sister
    all said yes but you have 6 children to deal with now and not once have you lost your temper” i said to them that we are all differnt and for me i see there is no
    reason to raise my voice to get what i want done, life is all about compramize and to show that a child is being listend to by answering them in an approprate
    way so they understand and can process. This just comes natrually to me and have done it eversince my childen were old enough to understand things, i teach by explaining
    about something i see and this then promted questions i could then answer, i see it like a game if you say something about something a child can see but doesnt understand
    how its works or the reason for it and things like that. and this is why i feel this should be in the list.

    To address the wetting issue I would like to tell you what provisions I took to help them tackle this problem, back in 2007-8 and 9 when I had the children on staying contacts I worked hard with them in stopping the bed wetting.

    My efforts to help them succeed dry nights included:
    1) Reducing the intake of fluids 2 hours before bed time,
    2) Waking them up and taking then to the toilet at the same time each night.

    This made them feel so much better as they woke up dry and very happy and in turn I praised them witch encouraged them more If however they did have an accident I never said anything about it and just cleaned their bed sheets. On summer stays the accidents would reduce by around 90% according to the children.

    To address the behaviour problems I will say that on the times I lived with the children their behaviour was not really a problem in as much as I was their to address and deal with any rising tension’s between them, I always applied a fair response to a problem and explain why I took such action so the children knew the reasons and understood my explanation and accepted it, sometime with a grumble and if this happened I would explain some more until they seen it was right and accepted it.
    I believe in being fair at all times and this was no exception when I had then for staying contact, they soon learned and knew that my response would be a fair outcome and as such if any problem arose with either of them I would be approachable to help sort out the issue. It was dealt with by talking not shouting and included inclusion of all concerned and compromise, this in turn dissolving any issue quickly and amicably so our holiday could continue in joy and peace.

    The 5 major changes I would like to bring to our children’s lives in respect of aiding and bettering their future’s are as follows:

    1) To tackle their toilet training head on by applying the method I was using on staying contacts as described above.

    2) To help the children attain at least the national average with regards to academical achievements by applying home studies of reading, writing and math equations and project’s with learning skills integrated, I believe this can be done in such a way where the children could have fun problem solving tasks applied in and out of the home and at every level of growing up only to be limited by imagination. also to work in partnership with the school to help them achieve this.

    3)Life skills are a very important part of every aspect of growing up and I would like to see our children do well in this area by applying cookery lessons and hygiene standards within the kitchen at home, I found these two life skills to be very important throughout my life, and I’m at a level where im confident I can pass on the necessary utensils for them to exceed in this area.

    4)P’s and Qs, Manners and values, all these are free to own but also easy to forget, it is easy in todays society to just let the children do as they wish without consequences, however I have a strong belief that Manners maketh the man and P’s and Q’s cost nothing and have always insisted they are used in my home, This is a good foundation on witch to teach children good morals, values and respect between fellow humans witch also aids them on good communication skills.

    5)Bringing up children is not easy and I make no mistake in admitting this but however, I see and understand that people change and so do interests
    as nothing is strait forward in life, and as such routines cant always ride over the top of everything else that’s going on. What I have learnt over the years is we do need to rely on compromise within the structure of living, and as such I reserve this number for all eventualities that will arrive and so use and show the skill needed to carry forward to the next faze.

    Sadly at my directions hearing the judge refused all i asked for (it was the old judge not the one i thought was going to be sat in on our case) i don’t think he even read my email to the judge i sent with above info in it, the judge just rubber stamped the supervised contact at a center :~( we’ve come 4 steps forward and 5 steps back its a sham :~(

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  41. Wes i thought i had problems mate i feel so sorry for you! in my own case i’m just waiting for an allegation of this type to fly in there its the last allegation to make it a full pack of cards these woman should be hung in public for what they are doing to our children! There i’v said it and do stand by it too “they should be hung in public to humiliate them along with the men who have full residence and do this kind of trick to alienate the kids from the mum should be hung in public.
    i know i may get hit by some that may read this but i think its the only option left for such disgusting humans that abuse the children in this way abuse the ex and the courts all abused by the sycophantic parent. i’m shocked as to how many cases are becoming apparent seams like an outcry and maybe all family cases should be psychologically tested for all PD’s at least then the judges would have to hand who is warped and who is sane before it came to be in front of him/her. i say this because for 12 friggin years not one person has seen the mother’s true colors and i feel they never will, “children’s best interests” what a JOKE. you can lead a horse to water but you cant make it drink!

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