The Dandlebear Bridge

A Dandlebear is no ordinary bear. A Dandlebear is specially made for children whose parents do not live in the same house. A Dandlebear is small and quick and can send messages without talking. A Dandlebear looks after little children. Dandlebears live underneath bridges. Some of the bridges lead from mummy’s house to daddy’s house.Continue reading “The Dandlebear Bridge”

Going underground: into the world of the alienated child

First real day of sunshine and I am thinking about the way in which we survive cycle after cycle, the downward spiral into winter and the way in which the myth of persephone in the underworld plays itself out in our lives over and over and over again.  Born as we are, in a cyclicalContinue reading “Going underground: into the world of the alienated child”

Launch of the Jersey Centre for Separated Families

The Jersey Centre for Separated Families was formally launched on 27th February at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier.  Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham and ex Children’s Minister, spoke at the launch about the need for community based services and the importance of ensuring that the needs of mothers and fathersContinue reading “Launch of the Jersey Centre for Separated Families”

Sowing the seeds of doubt: first stage empathic responding with an alienated child

We are discussing empathic responding with an alienated child at the moment. So far we have looked at the concept of walking a mile in your child’s shoes in order to understand the different pressures placed upon them.  Last week I asked you to find a photograph of your child and put it somewhere prominentContinue reading “Sowing the seeds of doubt: first stage empathic responding with an alienated child”

Preparing for empathic responding with an alienated child

I said that I would post about using empathy to respond to an alienated child this week and I have been thinking about that and how to best structure this.  It has taken some thought because alienated children are, as many of you will know, incredibly difficult to deal with at times, being variously, overContinue reading “Preparing for empathic responding with an alienated child”

When children reject you: using empathy to challenge the alienation process

One of the most painful experiences for targeted parents is when the alienation process begins to escalate and children begin to become difficult, challenging and sometimes downright obnoxious. We may not be familiar with the child who is overly empowered within what is called a ‘fused dyad’ with the other parent and so when thatContinue reading “When children reject you: using empathy to challenge the alienation process”

Stories from the transition bridge: Polly plays ping pong

I get a lot of emails asking for help with older children who are emerging from ‘alienation’ and so I thought I would share with you Polly’s tale. Polly is a twenty year old woman who has not had a relationship with her father for the past eleven years.  Polly was separated from her fatherContinue reading “Stories from the transition bridge: Polly plays ping pong”

Step parenting in the post separation landscape: not wicked and not always to blame

Two tragic deaths of children have been reported recently, responsibility for which have been attributed to mothers and in one case a step father.  Two needless deaths which could have been prevented, one of which at least was predicted by the biological father of the child. In the twittersphere, I have been watching with interestContinue reading “Step parenting in the post separation landscape: not wicked and not always to blame”

Attachment disorder arising from family separation: not in the best interests of the child

Attachment disorders arising from upholding a child’s decision to reject a parent after separation The Family Courts are often presented with the phenomenon of a child who no longer wishes to see a parent after separation. This phenomenon, which arises after family separation is one which presents serious challenges for the courts. Use of instrumentsContinue reading “Attachment disorder arising from family separation: not in the best interests of the child”

Children on the transition bridge; Annie’s story

Annie is just 24 months old, she is doing well and has started to attend nursery for the first time. This new world, which she skips into every Friday morning, is widening her experience and challenging her internalised world. From her mother and her father, to the wider world of other children and other adults,Continue reading “Children on the transition bridge; Annie’s story”

On dignity, equality and respecting the difference between us

As the weather has heated up so it seems has the impact of what I have recently been writing.  The last post about the Bad Men Project being one which has particularly stirred things up.   I admit that I can, at times, write with a somewhat sharpened pen.  But the reactions to my latest pieceContinue reading “On dignity, equality and respecting the difference between us”

You can’t push the river; mindfulness in relationships with your children after family separation

One of the biggest problems that we encounter when working with family separation is the neurological impact of the separation itself on everyone concerned.  Family Separation is a ghastly experience, it rips apart the family system, devastates all around it and attacks the nervous and endocrine system in everyone concerned.  This charging up of theContinue reading “You can’t push the river; mindfulness in relationships with your children after family separation”

Stories from the front line: surviving alienation – D’s Story.

By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it.  Franz Kafka  Today a wonderful thing happened. I had taken my two boys 10 and 12 to a local pitch and putt with two of the eldest boy’s friends. We had a picnic and later they played tag around the play area.Continue reading “Stories from the front line: surviving alienation – D’s Story.”

Reuniting with your alienated child – a spring message of hope

This week has been something of a milestone in my work with alienated children and their parents and, whilst it has been a somewhat exhausting week, I wanted to pick up my pen and write a few lines of hope for all parents coping with living apart from their children. My working week began withContinue reading “Reuniting with your alienated child – a spring message of hope”

Rediscovering the Lost Ones; Transgenerational Haunting and Alienation

Truly the universe is full of ghosts, not sheeted churchyard spectres, but the inextinguishable and immortal elements of life, which, having once been, can never die, though they blend and change and change again for ever. –H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines This week I have been concentrating on thinking about the area of my workContinue reading “Rediscovering the Lost Ones; Transgenerational Haunting and Alienation”

Crossing no man’s land; supporting children in transition

Having listened to Woman’s Hour this week on the issue of shared parenting, I was struck by the ways in which two very different shared care arrangements were portrayed by the parents concerned.  Working as I do, with families experiencing separation, I know that one of the greatest difficulties facing parents can be how toContinue reading “Crossing no man’s land; supporting children in transition”

Suffer the little children; and as adults, they still do

Having just completed a ten day round training trip, during which we have had the pleasure of meeting parents as well as practitioners, I am focused at the moment upon the stories that we have heard along the way. Stories that are sad, stories that are difficult to listen to and stories that are upliftingContinue reading “Suffer the little children; and as adults, they still do”

Why gender matters: balancing support for mothers and fathers after family separation

In the midst of what is actually a momentous time of change in family separation politics I thought it might be useful to revisit the things that we have been saying at the Centre for Separated Families for the past decade or more.  The kind of things that we have long ago grown tired ofContinue reading “Why gender matters: balancing support for mothers and fathers after family separation”

Parental alienation: part two – treatment routes

Parental Alienation, as a story of our time, is most often encountered in families where litigation is high and ongoing. Cases in the UK courts, which have dragged on for years, often end up intractable and at a complete stand still because no-one knows what to do. When a child is alienated and the familyContinue reading “Parental alienation: part two – treatment routes”

Understanding parental alienation – part one

Parents who are afraid to put their foot down, usually have children who step on their toes… chinese proverb Parental Alienation is a story of our time. It is a story of divorce and separation and of the lack of support that families suffer as they go through one of the most devastating life changesContinue reading “Understanding parental alienation – part one”

Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder

When the daffodil trumpets start to open up, it’s time to think about Mother’s Day again. For many families, this is a day when children make cards and dads remember to take them shopping for presents. For separated families, it can be a day that is as complicated as Christmas or birthdays. A special dayContinue reading “Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder”