Family feuds, like the Hatfield-McCoy War of 1863, have lasted a lifetime, or at least until everyone was dead. I am tired of high conflict divorce. It seemed hopeless and it never occurred to me we might someday outlive most of this abuse. I want to stand by Karen Copeland and all the other British Columbian parents who also have every cause to feel tired. Parents who work with Abbotsford’s pediatricians and specialists on care plans for children with chronic illnesses. Parents who spend many days each year, sometimes including Christmas Eve, in family court. Parents who have been alienated from their children for years. Parents who feel like they have given up simply because they stop for respite or to help their own elderly parents. We don’t think of it when our children are babies, but we usually spend much more time caring for our parents than our children.
A few people gently say to me, “You haven’t gotten too far. Wouldn’t it be better to quit talking about parental alienation?” When it first happened, it was excruciating. I couldn’t stop talking about it. But now I have found more peace. And of course it would be better for all these vulnerable parents to recover some strength, but their children are the primary victims of these types of struggles and need support and care, sometimes lifelong care. And in those cases I hope parents find some support and respite.
There is a wonderful Internet meme from history and divorce websites that lifts up tired parents. It points out that Adolf Hilter, like other heinous abusers, made us feel that if he just created enough chaos he could do anything. That there was no hope. But Winston Churchill, like other inspirational leaders, made you think YOU could do anything. And like, other community leaders, the Right Honourable Mr. Churchill, was not particularily partisan. In fact, he went with which ever political party he thought would achieve the most good. Mr. Churchill stood up to abusers and inspired a nation, and the entire commonwealth, to never, never, never give in.
And a special encouragement to fathers, because 92% of divorced dads are not treated like caregivers. Men are told that they can be called parents if they feel it in their hearts. This is the most powerful law in family court. It is used only to assign maintenance support, but never to assign parenting time. Men are told reproductive rights belong to women, not to humans. Men are told that children need money, not parents. Even though Canada’s honourable courts declare children need money, they have never advocated for men to protect their assets, or until recently, even their inheritance, for their children. Men are told that they are deadbeat, even violent characters and their lives are expendable. These ideas are sad discrimination and heart-breaking child abuse!
Canada’s attempt to maintain this greedy divorce industry, even includes promoting same-sex divorce starting in 2005. Gay divorce is suddenly less lucrative since marriage equality, or more correctly divorce equality, came to the United States in 2015. Now we all have the equal right to live in poverty and misery. The Canadian Revenue Agency and provincial Ministers of Finance refuse to advocate for divorced men, despite a statutory duty to do so. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous People
refuses to advocate for boys and men, except as it might impact adult indigenous women and their families. Although the Revenue Agency is happy to advocate for itself against the suggestion it concealed Canada’s Child Tax Benefits from fathers for decades, or that it overlooked tax loopholes or maybe outright evasion by some of these desperate dads. Ministers of Finance routinely look for a share of this undue enrichment even today.
British Columbia’s Attorney General has a joint initiative with the Mayor of Abbotsford called Zero Tolerance Against Men to fight against domestic violence. This policy ignores the fact it was an Abbotsford Grandmother who was involved in murdering her daughter over a twisted definition of honour. This ignores the 13% of men that London’s Abused Womens Society claim suffer intimate partner violence or the more than half million Canadian men StatsCanada reports annually alert police about family violence. Disregarding violence against men and boys has the appearance of hypocrisy and injustice.
Zero Tolerance Against Men also ignores the 70% of Indigenous Canadians who are missing or murdered boys and men and their families. Turning a blind eye to missing or murdered Indigenous men and boys has the appearance of supporting murder. I urge our Honourable Attorney General of British Columbia to stop discriminating against an entire gender and their families. Instead, create a joint initiative with Fraser Health and the other health authorities for Zero Tolerance Against Prostate Cancer or Suicide or even even better, Zero Tolerance Against Child Abuse. And support the inclusion of men and boys in the National Inquiry into Missing or Murdered Indigenous People.
Child abuse, like any other public health issue, public interest issue, or public security issue, creates life-long effects and deficits, which increase health spending, school spending, and prison spending, with a major impact on all costs, because these developmental problems are life-long.
Abbotsford teachers, principals, school trustees, and parent advisory councillors have been fighting to conceal mental health issues and school safety issues since 1998 because they believe it would be a huge public relations disaster and parents would move to schools without safety issues. The problem with this wrong-headed theory is obvious: teachers, trustees and judges have been the only professionals failing to acknowledge childhood mental illness at ALL Canadian schools. Some teachers unions have asked for pay increases, grudgingly admitting school safety issues exist. Judges are being sent to school to learn about child development. In approximately 2014, we changed vast swathes of Canada’s education laws and child protection laws to stop teachers from barring parents from school on the argument someone might have a restraining order against them. If any teacher bars you, claiming there is some restraining order somewhere against you – ask them to prove it. If the school district or school board says they can’t prove it, but you are still barred from school – ask the police to help you and your children.
Kids need support to facilitate community partnerships among families, students, law enforcement agencies, education systems, mental health and substance use disorder services, family-based mental health services, welfare agencies, health care services (including physicians), faith-based programs, trauma networks, and other community-based systems; and establish mechanisms for children and adolescents to report incidents of bullying or plans by other children, adolescents, or adults to commit violence.
It’s not only important for someone’s overall well-being, but not having this kind of support would definitely influence how students do in school. The wide-spread pain and social isolation created by Canada’s judges and educators is the exact opposite of family connections. The denial and coverup of child metal health concerns and school safety issues by teachers and judges is also the essence of the word stigma. Can you think of a few other words for this coverup and lack of support?
What are you doing in your community and workplace to be a good neighbour? At the Directorate of Agencies for School Health (DASH-BC), they say they believe that by promoting neighbourly values in their relationships with their colleagues and partners, they are better positioned to build healthy school communities. But the truth is parents are in the best position to deal with issues like Canada’s opioid crisis, bully crisis, or any other mental health concerns or childhood issues. It’s NOT only teachers that children remember for a lifetime. It is ALL the people from their childhood and especially their first teachers – their parents. Both teachers and Canadian courts have utterly overstated and overstepped their authority and ability to improve public health. It is vulnerable parents who need help finding child health resources, not teachers or lawyers.
April is the month when we focus on treatment and prevention of all types of child abuse. April 25th is when we focus on Parental Alienation Awareness.
IT’S ALMOST APRIL 25!
Join or start a Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) or Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE) branch in your province or territory & learn campaign and messaging tips to grow prevention in your community this spring.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. It’s a great opportunity for us all to build awareness and educate community members on how to prevent abuse. And today is the day. As you decide what kind of prevention or awareness campaign will best serve the members of your community this Child Abuse Prevention Month, we’re here to help with ready-to-go campaign ideas and messaging tips that work on the ground.
Given that our government doesn’t plan on fixing our broken systems any time soon — the Canadian Association for Equality is proud to announce that we opened the doors to Canada’s first Centre for Men and Families in 2014 — Toronto now has a home dedicated to the health and well-being of boys, men and their families.
Since it opened, visitors and calls to the centre have been non-stop. Fathers needing help regaining access to their children. Mothers seeking tools for their boys struggling to stay in school. Men in desperate need of counselling and peer support.
We need your help to keep the momentum going — please join us and make a donation today. View our video message at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVeyJ4hovYo or view PAAO’s message at http://www.paawareness.com/
A Hopeful New Approach To Divorce in 2017
Here we are in the middle of December and Canadians are dealing with snow from coast to coast to coast. The holidays are a time to appreciate friends, family, and food… but they can also add to stress, especially for families facing endless divorce proceedings because it’s really hard watching your parents split up. His Honourable Lordship Mr. Justice Brownstone in Toronto, Dr. Edward Kruk in Vancouver in Canada and the National Parenting Organization in the United States are all reporting on the significant amount of animal and human research that proves that parental loss can be fatal to living beings. I relate this serious public health problem to Failure To Thrive disease. By definition, failure to thrive is when the efforts of a living being to continue life, internally or externally, ultimately cease.
Medically, when a child is diagnosed with failure to thrive, their weight gain and rate of growth is said to be significantly less than that of other children or babies within their age range. Although Failure to Thrive can be caused by an array of developmental conditions such as cerebral palsy, down syndrome, and birth defects, there are also significant studies that show how emotional deprivation plays an important role in the thriving nature of infants and children regardless of their medical condition.
This type of research shows that parental loss either by death or divorce can be a serious adverse biological or acute health problem for children by creating fatal imbalances in blood chemistry and serum hormone levels, including Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), Growth hormone, Oxytocine, Thyroid hormones, C-reactive protein levels, and Thyroid Stimulating hormone (TSH). The Endocrine system is the master switch controlling many of our mind and body systems, which is why parental interference or loss can be so devastating to child health. The classic example of emotional deprivation leading to intense social pressure and extreme and even fatal social isolation are orphanages with no sensory stimulation, nurturing touch or even palliative care services within the institutions and childcare settings. Of course Canadian parents immediately think about our one thousand divorce judges and their false suggestion that our Divorce Act provides them with the authority to routinely apprehend children without evidence of abuse, creating our public health crisis for children of divorce. For children who believe they caused the divorce, blame contributes to anxiety and intense distress. Here’s the journal report New Approaches to Divorce by Vittorio Carlos Vezzetti.
There is related research being published in January 2017 that talks about the “cycle of abuse.” This research proves that early, effective treatments in child maltreatment cases can break the cycle of intergenerational abuse. This research also looks at transmission mechanisms of abuse from one generation to the next, the prevalence and the characteristics of this child abuse. A maternal history of childhood maltreatment is thought to be a potent risk factor for child abuse and neglect. Ms. Bartlett et al from Tuft University in Massachusetts found that when mothers had at least one report of childhood maltreatment (substantiated or not), the odds that they maltreated their children increased by 72% (OR = 2.52), compared to mothers who are not maltreated, but the odds were considerably lower when we limited analysis to substantiated reports. Yet the likelihood of children experiencing multiple maltreatment perpetrated with their mothers identified as perpetrators increased over 300% when mothers had a childhood history of multiple maltreatment. Research like this may completely change Canada’s divorce courts who will now have an important role to play not only in identifying transmission factors, but also in using this kind of information to develop prevention and intervention strategies that can truly break the cycle of abuse. Hopefully these new approaches will also end our present arbitrary and unjust child apprehension system that until now has rarely created prevention or public health orders. In some public school hallways in Abbotsford, unaware public health nurses have been directly involved in thwarting this type of awareness and prevention work. Perhaps medical and nursing schools, like law schools, need to more fully address this important public health problem which leads to potentially avoidable mortality. As I have written before, the potential years of life lost (PYLL) for our children is almost an entire lifetime. Here’s the journal report Child Abuse and Neglect by Jessica Dym Bartlett, Chie Kotake, Rebecca Fauth, and Ann Easterbrooks at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
There are only 130 days until International Parental Alienation Awareness Day and Bubbles of Love Day on April 25, 2017 when we will all get another chance to work together to stop this cycle.