Our children have no way of really understanding how their parents sacrificed for them. Especially not in a war being fought in family courts with lies and parents and step parents bidding for children with money and privilege as if they are real evidence of love.
A wide screen TV, no matter how cool the model, has never made up for the lack of real connection in people’s lives. It is, at best, a temporary distraction. They can never give a person purpose or grounding or ever feed their soul through the long dark night.
There are all kind of real parents out there making sacrifices for their children that their children will never know about or understand. It takes the courage of the real mother in the story of the Bible’s, King Solomon where he had to determine parentage. When he finally said he could not know who the real mother was and that the only solution was to split the child in two, one woman begged him not to do that and said the other woman could have the baby, she would withdraw her petition. King Solomon immediately knew SHE was the real mother. Today moms and dads are doing the same thing all over the world. They withdraw themselves as contenders for the sake of children who are being used as emotional footballs by the other parent. They say, ” no more court,” they accept the child’s hateful words without defence, words fueled by lies and by the insecurity and hate of the other parent. Those victim parents hurt terribly, but they do it in quiet, bleeding from wounds that will never heal. They choose to put the child before their own pain.
No-one is saying all alienated parents are perfect. No-one should be saying custodial parents are perfect. There are no perfect parents. We are all just people who are learning as we go, trying to do our best.
Our children are stressed. Adopting the language of the parent who holds them captive is often a survival skill. They just want to avoid any further drama and pain When seeing the other parent, having any relationship with the other parent, causes the imprisoning parent to fly into a rage that the child bears the full brunt of . . . . it is easier just to say,”Yes, I hate mom/dad. I never want to see them again.”
That way the child gets a new iPhone and everyone goes for ice-cream.
A child learns to give up their feelings for the other parent, but what the imprisoning parent does not see, is that with every chunk of those feelings that are torn from the child, they are tearing parts of the child as well. Issues of being loved, of being wanted by our parents, are the things nightmares are made of. It is essential to our wellbeing to make those connections, even though none of us have perfect parents, even though we all have parents who are going to make mistakes in their lives, who have maybe made BIG mistakes … we still need them.
Smart parents know how to turn mistakes into teaching moments. Those moments carry a lesson and an example of how the child should deal with their mistakes. Only the cruelest of people will take a person’s mistakes and use it to destroy them, especially when their own mistakes are not that much different from the ones they are pointing at.
And that is not to even address the grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who have to mourn the loss of the child in their lives, long before the child is even dead. The reality is most of these kids will grow up, and short of some miracle, they may never understand that what they were told was a pack of lies and they were just a pawn in a game of hate for the imprisoning parent. An adult can meet his/her family and have an adult relationship but they have missed out on all the nuances of family that add to our foundation, our sense of who we are. Families share a journey through their formative years. That journey, and the people and experiences we are exposed to form each of our bases for building ourselves and understanding the world around us. You can’t go back and try to add those in later in life. We are stained by our constant thoughts and those are built on our beliefs and life lessons and reinforced with repeated actions. We act in a way that supports our beliefs. Our parents, our family give us those building blocks.
And I wonder about a whole generation of kids raised without their one parent. Those kids being told that their parent is all kinds of horrible and then learning that we deal with life by lying and avoiding tough situations. Kids that have been taught they get gifts and prizes for agreeing with those in authority over them. Kids that think money and things are what matters in this world or that parenting is about being able to give your child “things.”
We all seem so comfortable in the middle of our disasters. There are those who are part of the problem and those trying to make a change and then there is the vast majority of people who are busy shopping, thinking it does not impact them, or that those trying to stop it are overstating it, or just that they need to get to the mall before it closes. Everyone carries on until it reaches a crisis point and then people demand to know what is being done and why didn’t someone do something earlier. None of this finger pointing fixes anything of course. Eventually laws and programmes will have to be enforced to address it, meaning all those who really are not part of this have to live as if it is. We will not help ourselves. We want laws that fix problems. We want programmes to be put in place. As long as we do not have to accept responsibility.
And that is the whole reason we are where we are, with this issue and all others that face us. The answer is not out there. It is not our politicians, or our laws, or even our churches and faith that are going to save us. We have to insist that each of us take total responsibility for ourselves and teach our children to govern themselves with discernment, integrity, and absolute honesty. You cannot compel a man to care, with laws. He must care from within himself. He must care so that he can govern his own actions. You cannot teach people to love by teaching them to hate. Hating others only teaches hate and teaching a child to hate is setting him up for a miserable life.
Those parents who are trying to do the right thing, choosing their children’s hearts even when they sacrifice their own, have no place in our family courts. We continue to hand kids over to parents who are abusing them with Parental Alienation Syndrome. We continue to have coffee with workmates who tell us how they ‘ stuck it to their previous partner and kept him/her from seeing their child,’ and we sit there and congratulate them or say nothing as if this is great. We have family dinners where generations of the imprisoning parent trash the non-custodial parent and feeds into the plotting of how to keep the child from them. If someone were telling us how they were beating their child, would our reaction be the same? Would we laugh? Would we encourage the imprisoning parent to keep doing what they are doing? Of course not.
Parental Alienation Syndrome is Child Abuse.
There will be real and lasting consequences for all of us.
And it is a choice to see what is happening around you, to care enough to do something, or to head over to the mall before it closes.