The Terrorised Child: The Ideological Distortion of Parenting

One of the themes which is bubbling up from the media reporting of parental alienation in recent weeks is the ideological viewpoint that children have the right to decide whether they are ‘keen on’ a parent or not.

Accompanying this ideological viewpoint is a new phrase, which has also recently been seen bubbling up from the pens and mouths of those who hold the view that a child’s right to choose whether they have a relationship with a parent after separation is paramount.  This phrase is ‘pro-alienation’ which is used to reduce the status of anyone who is concerned with parental alienation in any way, to that of a fanatic who cannot be trusted.  It is a well worn strategy used for decades by academics who believe that they are somehow more objective than the rest of the world, forgetting conveniently that every word they ever write, in every study they ever produce, funded by every penny they ever attract for their wisdom, is funnelled through a standpoint perspective which is formed from a) their own experience and b) their own internalised drivers.

Those who call people ‘pro-alienation’ are those who live in their own psychologically split world of good and bad, where their views and standpoints are good and anyone who does not agree with them are bad.  As such these people when they use the phrase ‘pro-alienation’ do nothing more for the debate than reveal their own internal biases.  Whilst they are busy labelling everyone ‘pro-alienation’ (whilst pretending that they are uniquely impartial because of their research work), what they are really doing is revealing themselves as ‘anti-alienation’ with all of the attendant denial that brings.

What happens to the unsuspecting public however, when they are confronted by this ever so reasonable argument by such eminent researchers who present themselves as impartial, is that they are drawn into the pro/anti argument about the issue of parental alienation.  Couple that with a dollop of CAFCASS telling us that the subject is controversial and about two parents in conflict and the core message, that inducing and maintaining the psychologically split state of mind in a child is abuse, becomes diluted and lost in the ensuing ping pong game of pro/anti argument.  This is a classic tactic of feminists, in which the core reality of a serious issue is overwhelmed by the pro/anti women argument.

In my time I have worked for the UK government alongside heads of feminist driven charities and I have seen how this tactic swamps any kind of real debate for change in favour of keeping the focus always upon women first.  In one such scenario, where a colleague and I raised the issue of situational couple violence and the responsibility of women for their own contribution to the prevalence of this, we were shouted down as being anti women making everything we had to say null and void.  In another such scenario a deeply unpleasant academic wrote to Nick to tell him that because he had raised the issue of women’s violence in the home towards men and children, he was ‘a very dangerous practitioner’.  Other academics have dismissed the reality of mothers being alienated from their children as ‘the unintended consequences of feminist driven social policy’ and with a shrug of the shoulders have told me that so long as most women are in control of the kids after family separation, those unintended consequences are unfortunate but an acceptable level of risk.

Those unintended consequences are the children whose lives are seriously damaged by being alienated from their mothers and the mothers whose lives are reduced to a ghost like existence on the edges of their child’s lives. On the other hand, the intended consequences of feminist driven social policy, which is that most mothers assume the role of gatekeeper to the relationships their children have with the outside world, are presumably the utopian dream of such academics.

Forget the number of kids killed by their mothers, forget the risks to children from the mental health problems suffered by their mothers and forget in its entirety the impact of the loss of a relationship with a once loved father and paternal family.  None of that matters in the ideological world of the standpoint academic who pretends that she is impartial.  When you hear the phrase ‘pro-alienation’, switch on your counter intuitive listening device and hear the words ‘anti-alienation/pro-feminist’ and you will understand that what this person is doing is attempting to devalue the reality of what is happening to children, in favour of upholding the rights of women.

I have watched this week as Liz Trinder has rolled out this phrase and others like it to diminish anyone who makes an effort to argue with her.  I have also watched Branwen Jeffries of the BBC, valiantly try to justify her use of Trinder in her piece for the News at Ten.  What Jeffries doesn’t realise is that her piece touched the surface of an issue which has been taken on so powerfully by the parents who suffer the rejection of the psychologically split child, that Trinder’s faulty reasoning won’t wash for much longer.

CAFCASS, who have long relied upon Trinder and Mclean and Hunt et al, for the justification of their denial of parental alienation, have now rolled over and are seeking a way out of the mess they have made in the past two decades of denial of parental alienation.  Two decades in which the repeated upholding thousands of children’s ‘decisions’ to cut a parent out of their lives after family separation has left generations of children damaged.   Perhaps CAFCASS see the writing on the wall and realise that the game is up and something has to be done, perhaps they are genuine to some degree in what they do (although if they were one would expect a whole lot better than the obfuscation and misleading commentary produced in their recent podcast), whatever it is, a split between CAFCASS and their pet academics is clearly opening up.  What comes next will be a few more years of pro/anti alienation argument between CAFCASS and the anti-alienation brigade, whilst the rest of us get on and do the work we know is needed to provide resolution to the families affected by parental alienation.

Feminism spawned the whole ‘voice of the child’ agenda, which overburdens children and distorts the family hierarchy.  After several decades of attempting to throw men out of the family, the shift to putting the burden on a child by giving them the right to decide that they are ‘not keen on’ a parent has become the next tactic of choice for the ideologues.  Parenting after separation should not be viewed through an ideological lens  and  feminism and any other ideology has no role to play in the healing of family schisms and splits.

And calling anyone who is concerned about the pathologically split state of mind in a child of divorce  and separation,  ‘pro-alienation’  as a way of promoting an ideology in which the child is given responsibility for deciding what happens in parental relationships, is simply wrong.

The science of parental alienation is well established.  The existence of the pathologically split state of mind in a child is evidence that pressure is being placed upon them and that there is a need for further investigation.  And in that investigation, the needs of children for healthy parenting take precedence over parental rights.

That is our starting point for doing this work, that is the driver that anyone concerned with the wellbeing of children of divorce and separation holds central to everything we do.  There is nothing controversial about this subject other than the conflict generated by people concerned with parental rights.

Terrorising children through the destruction of the family hierarchy and then burdening them with decisions which are not theirs to make, is child abuse.  It is using children to further the rights of women and ignoring the unintended consequences of mother alienation as being an acceptable by-product of a feminist agenda and anti-alienation campaigners don’t want you to know that.

Which is why they use splitting to fog the reality.  Because whilst ever  parental alienation is conceptualised as a conflict between two parents or a pro/anti issue, the truth of the matter is hidden from public view.

The truth of the matter is that this is a child mental health issue  which is now accepted in the family courts in the UK and Europe and recognised as an urgent issue to address.

And in addressing it we accept all of the responsibilities of adults who care for children and all of the duties that are attendant with that.

We do not terrorise the child by over empowering them and we do not abandon the child to the ‘choices’ they make because of the defences they are forced to develop in the post separation landscape.

We act on our knowledge and we are courageous enough to bear the responsibility for that so that children do not have to.

And there is nothing controversial about that.






15 thoughts on “The Terrorised Child: The Ideological Distortion of Parenting

  1. Hi Karen, can you tell me if there were any actions agreed at EAPAP conference to educate judiciary more, esp District Judges in the regions outside of London?
    If cafcass are going to continue to be difficult to work with, then I can only see that judiciary need training more instead.


    1. Hi Ally, yes indeed – EAPAP is already convening a training programme for the Judiciary across Europe including the lower courts in the UK from 2019. We are on it – our next planning meeting is in Strasbourg in November and I am meeting with our film maker from the conference on Monday to discuss edits of an introductory film clip for Judges – to use this as a way of engaging the Judicial Studies Board in England and Wales with a training next year. We are rolling this ball as fast as we can now K


  2. Regardless if a child is left to make their own decisions, they are inherently impressionable and typically have a desire to appease. So for pro-aliention/feminists to use this argument is essentially to say ‘we think the child be able to make their own decisions, which are really just my expectations that I’ve impressed upon them’ . I think what is also missed is that it is very difficult for children to wrap their head around separate homes, particularly given their developmental stage. It’s not fair to expect a child younger than 10yo to completely grasp parental separation as a ‘big’ picture, because in those early stages they only know “I love my mom and I love my dad, but they live in different homes”. It can be very difficult for them to transition that affection from one home to the other until they fully develop the spatial thinking stage of development. So, again, without that continuity and cooperation between homes, leaving a child to make such a decision is setting them (and their relationship with other parent) up for failure.


  3. Another insightful and brave article, Karen. Bucking the dominant ideology is always risky, I pray you don’t become the modern day Erin Pizzey – who likewise spoke the truth of a different “flavor” of abuse which was also couched in the perverse language of ideology.

    This blessing (sic) the children with live-altering decisions, I see this as core to the intransigent nature of alienation. By putting them in the decision spot, they become complicit in the result, they now own it, rather than the puppet master who has abdicated/concealed their true responsibility. So – how do the children regain their authenticity, how do they ever “come back”? I know you, and others, have written about the grief and guilt that would have to be overcome for their authenticity to return, I wonder how many would/will have the introspection to even begin that painful journey?

    Oh – to take children away from a loving parent, and then to convince them that it was “their choice”! How obscene! Saddled not just with the horrible decision to make, but with the lifelong guilt that will bring with it. Is this the hand-off? The creating of guilt, grief, and then the shame that seems so core to the disorder?

    I had a ring side seat to this process – I never knew it for what it was. What a horrible thing to foist upon your children.

    God Bless you, I feel the attackers are marshaling their efforts…

    Thank you.



    1. Don’t worry about me Peter, I’ve been saying and doing this for a long time now and I am still standing 🙂 Not only standing but starting to push the ball up the hill at a faster pace than ever before.


  4. Why am I not surprised CAFCASS and the feminist elite are playing the same old game. ….. The good news is that in my view the worms starting to turn and out in the real world people are starting to see these self obsessed lot for what they really are. We all need to keep the faith and stay strong, as difficult as that it is.


  5. What about us as grand parents – 7 years since sons wife from Ukraine stopped all contact between 4 beautiful loving grandchildren and myself. Jealous, manipulative evil. if does not get her way with my son threatened to take children to Ukraine. Coercive control against the children – now deemed to be domestic violence with 5 year prison sentence. Time it was acted upon.


  6. Not sure if you are aware, but the article you wrote has been republished in a site called kiddiemom. It’s a dot com. They have reprinted content from other bloggers without their permission. they have listed the author as Supermom community.


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