For the Good of the Child: Part 3

Written by on October 15, 2007 in The Healing Journey with 0 Comments

Part 1, Part 2

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I agree with the article in the 1st part of this series regarding the controversy around the so-called “Parental Alienation Syndrome”.

I have no doubt there are parents who will use their children as pawns in the war between bickering adults, but there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that abusers (who can be incredibly crafty in their manipulation) have, also, latched onto this “syndrome” to point to the natural negative reactions to abuse by children victims and/or adult victims as “proof” of alienation.

So what do you do, if your child has to have contact with an abusive parent who inflicts no black and blue marks or shows any evidence of sexual abuse?

If you suspect sex abuse, then get to a counselor and medical doctor fast. They’ll have to take it from there.

The most important thing to do as a parent of a child whose other parent is emotionally or psychologically abusive, when it’s not possible or even advisable to totally keep a child away from that parent, is to be the truth teller.

I’m not talking about telling your side of the story. A child doesn’t need to know those details. They do need to know the overall truth about a relationship. It’s cruel to tell a child everything is all right, when you know you’re heading out the door. A child usually knows anyway, but they still look to you for validation. If their world is going to fall apart, don’t let their trust in you be one of the things that gets shattered.

As parents, one of our most important jobs is to help define reality for our children. We acknowledge and give names to our children’s emotional states. We affirm whether something in their outer reality is good or dangerous. They look to us for that. Nowhere else is it more crucial to be honest about our children’s world than when it’s falling apart.

But they don’t need details of who did what to whom. They do need to know when it’s over.

Be committed to the truth. No exceptions. If a kid hits your kid, you’re not going to say, “Oh, you know they really love you.” Why would you do that if the child’s other parent is the one swinging the fist?

If someone manipulates your child or puts that child down, it would be a transgression to your child to dismiss that or your kid’s feelings. The same goes for the Mom or Dad who treats your child in the same way. Don’t sugar coat it.

This is not badmouthing the parent. It’s naming the truth. You’re not saying the parent is a jerk. And the nature of children with their parents being what it is, doing so, even if it’s true, can make the child defensive toward the abusive parent, justifying not only the parent but the behavior. You don’t want that!

Keep your comments focused on the action. Say the treatment was hurtful. Define what it is. The child will draw their own conclusions about the abusive parent. The most important thing is that the child realizes and knows deep within themselves that being treated with anything less than respect is not okay. Period.

That is your gift to them.

Wednesday: Part 4 of the Series
Part 1, Part 2

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About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, uses spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. She's a long time traveler on the healing journey and has a lifelong love affair with the creative process. .

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