Monday

Parental Alienation in The Hochs' Rachel House: This is How They Get Down in Texas, Legally

The following article was in the St. Pete times. There are few articles that question parental alienation syndrome because writers are typically harassed and threatened by father's rights groups. My commentary is indented in blue.

Controversial disorder at center of bitter custody cases

By Susan Taylor Martin, Times Senior Correspondent
In Print: Sunday, May 23, 2010

HARPER, Texas — Deep in the Texas Hill Country, off a rutted road with a sign that says "Deer Processing,'' sits a three-bedroom mobile home.

This is the Rachel House, run by Pamela and Bob Hoch. Dozens of kids from all over the nation have been brought here for days, even weeks with the goal of making them like a parent they fear or despise.
Days or weeks? Is there any data on how long it would take a child from disliking or hating a parent, to liking or loving him/her? Is the length of time different for various age groups? What methods are used?
"The children are expecting an institution, not this,'' says Pamela Hoch, gazing out over the 5-acre spread an hour-and-a-half from San Antonio and 22 miles from the nearest bus stop, pay phone or sheriff's office. It is a hard place to find — and a hard place to run away from.
So, this place is isolated. The child is separated from the parent with whom he/she had the closest bond, and then brought to an institution in the middle of nowhere, to reside with strangers and a parent that the child dislikes or hates. According the the Rachel Foundation, the child can be brought by the custodial parent (which will be the parent that won the case, likely previously non-custodial), or by court-order. Can the child refuse this treatment--since it is the child that is said to be suffering from the syndrome? This sounds unethical. (When three children in a Canadian case refused to go to Richard Warshak's parental alienation syndrome treatment center, the two youngest children were given psychological evaluations and then sent to foster care in the interim) (In yet another case in the UK, a 12 year boy, who hates his father and says he will run away and go on a hunger strike, is going to foster care after being removed from his mothers' care after the judge decided that the mother has not been fostering a relationship between the boy and his father)
At 2,400 square feet, the Rachel House is big enough that a child and estranged parent can have separate bedrooms, yet small enough that they have little choice but to spend time together watching TV, eating meals and, presumably, talking.

The idea is that the child will eventually realize the parent isn't so bad.
And what parent is going to act up in this environment? This is akin to supervised visitation.
Though the Hochs say they have successfully reconciled many kids and parents, it is impossible to verify their claims because the Rachel House is not regulated by any state or federal agency. And its approach is rooted in the controversial notion that the kids they see have a mental disorder: parental alienation syndrome.
What constitutes successful reconciliation? And if the Hochs believe that the children have a mental disorder, how are they likely to treat them?
The term was coined in 1985 by New York psychiatrist Richard Gardner. He described it as a disorder that causes a child to vilify a parent without reason. It often arises, he said, in bitter custody cases in which one parent brainwashes a child against the other parent by making false accusations of sexual abuse.

Proponents of the theory are pushing to have PAS included in the 2012 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the "bible'' of the psychiatric field. So common is parental alienation, they say, that it could afflict 1 percent of American children. That means 750,000 children could potentially be deemed to have a mental disorder — more than are considered autistic.
And so it went from being exclusive and rare to being more common than autism.
"We don't want to label kids unnecessarily, but these kids are not reacting in a normal way,'' says William Bernet, a Vanderbilt University psychiatrist. "We're talking about kids who have a false belief, a little like a delusion, that the other parent is an evil, dangerous person. To me that looks and sounds like a mental disorder.''
Take note of this psychiatrist's name. Investigate his background and affiliations. He is saying that these kids are lying because their truth is different from his. How are these kids not reacting normally? Have they been compared to similar kids under similar circumstances?
But PAS is fiercely rejected by many child advocates. They call it "junk science'' and a tool used to help parents accused of sexual abuse — usually fathers — win custody of their kids.

PAS "is not geared toward helping the diagnosed individual, but assisting a third party — an estranged parent — with a legal or personal goal, and thus appears more to reflect a political agenda than a bona fide mental health disorder,'' says psychologist Joyanna Silberg, executive vice president of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence.

Classifying PAS as a mental disorder could lead to higher health costs as providers rush to cash in on therapies not now covered by insurance. Among those that could benefit are providers like the Hochs.

The couple say that 93 percent of the kids they have dealt with show an improved relationship with a previously reviled parent. But some children who have gone through the program say they were threatened and cut off from the parent they loved.
We need to see evidence of this 93%. Open up the books.
"You can't just open a facility with no accreditation, no oversight and say, 'This is what we do,' especially when you're dealing with vulnerable children,'' Silberg says.
Obviously you can do this, at least in Texas. One must also wonder how this was possible since Pamela Hock did not become a United States citizen until 2008 (Rachel Foundation Spring 2008 newsletter).
Hero to fathers

The controversy over Rachel House and parental alienation syndrome is fanned by what many consider the outrageous ideas of the man who inspired both.

A onetime Columbia University professor, Richard Gardner thought society is too harsh on adults who have sex with kids.

"What I am against is the excessively moralistic and punitive reaction that many members of our society have toward pedophiles . . . far beyond what I consider the gravity of the crime," he wrote in 1991.

Though he called pedophilia "a bad thing,'' Gardner argued that it's common in many cultures and that children might be less harmed by sex abuse than by the "trauma'' of the legal process.

In the late '80s and early '90s, Gardner was widely quoted in counterpoint to what some felt were sensationalized allegations of sex abuse in day care centers. He was also a well-paid witness in custody cases, almost always appearing on behalf of the father.

Gardner contended that sex abuse allegations arising from divorce are usually false, made by a vindictive mother trying to cut off a child from the father. His typical advice: Kids should be forced to see the estranged parent, and judges should punish the "alienating'' parent.

Those views made Gardner a hero to the fathers' rights movement and an anathema to child advocacy groups.

"The premise that you can improve a relationship with a parent through force and coercion and isolation from the preferred parent is simply erroneous and unethical,'' Silberg says.

In 1998, a Pittsburgh high school student, Nathan Grieco, was found dead with a belt around his neck after complaining that his father had caused him and his brothers "endless torment'' in a custody fight. A judge, acting on Gardner's recommendation, had threatened to jail the mother if the boys refused to see their father.
More on Nathan Grieco here: http://www.post-gazette.com/custody/partone.asp
"These children need coercion,'' Gardner had said.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette detailed the case in 2001 — the year Gardner testified in Tampa in a custody battle.

John M. Kilgore, a Brandon doctor, had accused his ex-wife of poisoning their two daughters against him to the point they refused to see him. The oldest had even changed her name.
Poisoning against and brainwashing are pseudonyms for parental alienation, which gets around the whole legality issue.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ralph Stoddard allowed Gardner to interview all four family members, ruling that PAS had gained enough acceptance in the scientific community to be admissible as evidence.
Is gaining enough acceptance equivalent to scientifically based and rigorously tested? How do judges get away with using pop-psychological theories without being sanctioned?
But once Gardner got on the stand, his testimony was so biased in favor of the father against the daughters that the judge rejected it.

While interviewing the girls, Gardner "was really trying to get them to admit the facts were as their father saw them,'' Stoddard said.
But wouldn't any person on behalf of the father being doing the same thing--in counseling/therapy...at the Rachel House? (as the father saw them, or as the therapist wants to see...)
The Tampa case underscored what critics say is a major problem with classifying parental alienation as a mental disorder: It is hard to determine the cause of the alienation, who is to blame or even who has the alleged disorder.
At this point, the cause of parental alienation is insignificant. Proponents just want all people to acknowledge the idea of it so that it gains more acceptance in the community at large. Take Amy Baker's research (and book) for example.
In his ruling, Stoddard said both parents "were pretty much equally scoring out in their bad behavior.''

Few knew of the judge's rebuke, and Gardner continued testifying in cases until 2003. At age 72, shortly after failing to appear in another Florida courtroom, he repeatedly stabbed himself with a steak knife.

"Let's pray that his ridiculous, dangerous PAS foolishness died with him,'' Richard Ducote, a New Orleans lawyer and child advocate, said at the time.

But the idea that a parent could brainwash a child to hate the other parent had its believers, including Pamela Hoch.
And other believers would include supporters such as:
  • United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention
  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
  • International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC)
  • Association of Missing and Exploited Children's Organizations (AMECO)
  • Missing Children's Network Reseau Enfants Retour Canada
  • Polly Klass Foundation
  • Children's Rights Council (CRC)
  • St. Peter's Episcopal Church
  • St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Kerville
  • Darnestown Presbyterian Church
  • Dr. Med. Wilfrid von Boch-Galhau
  • Peggy Braun, CPA
  • Alan Conley
  • Jack G. Ferrell, Jr., PhD
  • Philip Kaushall, PhD
  • Marsha Gilmer-Tulis, MSW
  • Ursula Kodjoe
  • Betty Mosty
  • David Motley, Esq
  • Nicia Oakes
  • Jeffrey Opperman
  • Linda Shay-Gardner, Esq
  • Jim Stephenson
  • Jane Tyler-Ward, PhD
These names were listed in Rachel Foundation newsletters. There should be an investigation into these organizations and individual people.
Biblical roots

A former music teacher, Hoch, 58, says she herself was an alienated parent whose first husband turned their four children against her by falsely claiming she belonged to a religious cult. A judge agreed that the father had "deliberately poisoned'' the children's minds, and in 1991 gave Hoch custody of the two youngest kids. (The others were deemed too old to be successfully reunited with her.)
And what is the rest of this story?
The case drew heavy media attention and led to Hoch and Gardner meeting as guests on a TV program. Partly on his recommendation, she became executive director of a foundation that spread information on parental alienation syndrome.

But Hoch says she didn't want to talk about alienation; she wanted to find a "solution.''

In 2000, she and her new husband, Robert Hoch, started their own nonprofit organization with $50,000 from the U.S. Justice Department. The Rachel Foundation gets its name from a Bible verse in which Rachel weeps for her descendants' exile.

"Your children will return,'' the Lord tells her.
Oh, yes, a biblical basis. Great selling point. What is the rest of the quote and what context is the story?
Parents who go through the program must have legal custody of their kids, though Pamela Hoch acknowledges that most parents they deal with "have been accused of something.'' The Hochs don't do any checking but rely on the courts to ensure that sex abuse allegations "have been clearly investigated and negated,'' she says. Referrals come from various sources, including court orders and websites.
How convenient.
At first, the Hochs operated out of a church parsonage in Maryland. One of their early "reunifications'' involved a 14-year-old boy who had been on the run with his mother for nearly a decade after she accused her ex-husband of molesting him. (He was not charged.)

In 2000, the FBI arrested the mother for child abduction. Father and son spent weeks in a hotel suite. Each had his own room, separated by a room with a couch where Pamela Hoch slept.

"In the daytime, we would play games designed to help us learn about each other,'' the son, now 23, said in a statement to the St. Petersburg Times. "For example: Write 10 things you like about your father so far . . . Things you don't like . . . Finding positive memories we had of each other.''

A 2002 Readers' Digest story suggested the reunification had been a success: Rather than run errands with Hoch one day, the son went shopping with his dad.

But the son says his experience with the Rachel Foundation was traumatic.

"I was well aware of parental alienation syndrome already, but I had to hear about it probably every day I was with the Rachel Foundation. Pam would tell me how my mother was disturbed, manipulative and selfish, had deprived me of a life with my father, who would tell me of the life I might have had with him.
And so the cure for brainwashing is....brainwashing?
"The Rachel Foundation is a scary organization. It's taken every day of my life since to put myself back together in a way I see fit.''
Parental alienation theorists do not believe that children's voices should be taken into consideration because it usurps the parental role. Examples of this thinking can be found in the many speeches/lectures that Richard Warshak has given. The view of the psychologist (which is typically aligned with the father) is what holds weight in these cases, meaning, what the psychologist thinks is wrong with the child's primary parent, what the psychologists thinks is wrong with the child, how the psychologist thinks it should be resolved...
Treatment disputed

The Hochs say they decided to leave Maryland in 2004 because the church didn't renew their lease. Records show the couple owed $2,546 in Maryland state income taxes.

They weren't in Texas long before a controversy erupted.

A New Jersey man who claimed his ex-wife was a "parental alienator'' won custody of his two daughters in a 2004 court order and took them to the Rachel House.

At first, "they were very withdrawn and alienated toward their father,'' Pamela Hoch says.

A month later, they were doing "very well,'' she says, and even baked him a birthday cake. But the girls gave a different view when they testified last year on behalf of a Georgia woman fighting to keep her own daughter from being sent to Texas.
Baking a birthday cake is such great evidence of improvement.
The Hochs "told us that if we didn't obey our dad and if we didn't agree to act happy with him that we would never see our mom again,'' testified Kelli Carr, now 17.

She said she and her sister weren't allowed to eat until they agreed to say positive things about their father.

"How many days did you go without being fed?" the judge asked.

"Just the first two days, because then my sister and I just started . . . making things up.''
This is what threat therapy is. This is also reeks of child neglect and abuse.
Pamela Hoch calls the claims "ridiculous.'' The girls' mother, Stephanie Carr, sued the Hochs in 2005, but a judge recently dismissed the case for lack of prosecution. Carr's lawyers said she let it lapse because she had regained primary custody of her daughters and was short of money.
The claims can be called ridiculous--the question is, is it true? A federal investigation should have been pursued on behalf of the children so that their mother did not have to finance this case.
Soon after Carr sued, the Hochs declared bankruptcy. Their Chapter 7 petition made no reference to the Rachel Foundation. It showed Robert Hoch as "retired'' and Pamela as the $1,833-a-month music director of a local church.

The couple say they didn't list the foundation because they didn't draw a salary.

"We spend a lot of our own money,'' Robert Hoch says.

Questionable ties

On its most recent 990 form, which nonprofits annually file with the IRS, the Rachel Foundation claims an impressive track record:

"Since 2000, reintegration services have been provided to over 1,000 families, 450 legal and mental health professionals and 241 organizations and agencies.''

The Hochs say that 44 parents and 59 children have attended "intense'' programs, either at the Rachel House or in other residential settings. The parent who accompanies the child is responsible for costs that include $75 per person a day in room and board and up to $1,500 a day for "professional reunification/reintegration services.''

Verifying the foundation's claims, like its 93 percent success rate, is stymied by the absence of any regulation. That is a huge problem, critics charge, especially as the Hochs consider expanding the Rachel House concept nationwide.

"I'm just blown away by the lack of information,'' says Andrew Vachss, a New York lawyer who represents only children, not parents. "I can't imagine a judge approving of a child going any place that isn't monitored.''

Others are concerned that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, largely funded by U.S. taxpayers, has referred cases to the unregulated foundation and its controversial programs.

''It's a very dubious association,'' say Eileen King, regional director of the advocacy group Justice for Children.
Dubious doesn't even begin to describe it. NCMEC is operating quasigovernmentally with little oversight and some of the biggests payouts to CEO Ernie Allen utilizing taxpayer money for missing children, some of whom aren't missing.
The Rachel Foundation's website says it gets referrals from the children's center. But the center says it has referred no families there since the Hochs started charging for their services in 2004.

The foundation falls through licensing cracks because it is not a hospital, group home or mental health facility — all of which are regulated by Texas. Professionals connected with the Rachel Foundation are licensed, but several have run afoul of regulators.

The former clinical director, California psychologist Randy Rand, is on five years' administrative probation for "unprofessional conduct'' in child custody cases in Orlando and California.
See more on Randy Rand here http://www2.dca.ca.gov/pls/wllpub/WLLQRYNA$LCEV2.QueryView?P_LICENSE_NUMBER=12137&P_LTE_ID=725
A former member of the foundation's advisory board, J. Michael Bone of Orlando, lost his Florida mental health counselor's license in 2007 for failing to act in the child's best interest in a custody case.
See more on John Michael Bone here http://www.thelizlibrary.org/therapeutic-jurisprudence/bone.pdf
A Texas psychologist who has worked with the Rachel Foundation was put on probation for failing to disclose a DUI arrest and submitting a custody report with "numerous inaccuracies.''
That would be Jack Ferrell http://rachel-foundation-lawsuit.com/images/Jack_Ferrell.pdf
And a California psychologist who has been to the Rachel House several times to help the Hochs does not have permission to practice in Texas, state regulators say.
Can anyone identify this person?
Does it even exist?

Criticism of the Rachel Foundation reflects a broader concern — there is little solid research to determine if parental alienation syndrome really exists.

PAS is "highly controversial, and part of the reason for it being controversial is that there is no accepted definition or criteria for having the disorder,'' says Mitchell Kroungold, a Clearwater psychologist.
It is a catchall diagnosis. See here /2010/05/ever-expanding-parental-alienation.html
He notes that there can be valid reasons that a child refuses visitation with a parent — "separation anxiety,'' which often occurs with young children; or the preference a child feels for the parent who shares similar interests such as horseback riding or camping.

Kroungold, who has evaluated dozens of troubled families, says it would be unprecedented for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to include parental alienation as a mental disorder.

"All of the diagnoses in this manual are disorders that exist within an individual. My understanding is that when parental alienation is occurring, it's a family dynamic. It's describing the nature of communication and dysfunction in a family, and I think that's a major distinction as to why it's not in the manual.''
Which is why PAS theorists are, yet again, trying to reformulate the title. First it was parental alienation syndrome, then parental alienation, then parental alienation disorder...
The Hochs say they consider PAS a symptom, not an illness itself, and no longer use the term because of the controversy. "We really don't care what they call it,'' Pamela Hoch says. "We focus on behavior.''
A symptom of??????
But critics say the Hochs' methods of altering behavior are highly questionable.
The question is, what are their methods? If they are unregulated, they don't have to have a set of guidelines to follow. They can operate in secret.
"There are scientific standards and practice standards for how to go about delivering therapy to children,'' Silberg of the Leadership Council says, "and nothing I've seen from the Rachel House follows any known standards about the delivery of mental health care.''

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Susan Taylor Martin can be reached at [email protected]

Or maybe, the therapy looks like this:
Therapy with the father should not be spent focusing on the primary problem (I.e., sexual molestation). Instead, therapy should be spent "talking about other things" as the goal of therapy is "to help people forget about their problems"

Gardner, R.A. (1992). True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse . Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics. (pp. 585-592)

International Bullying With Kids As Pawns: Is This What Child Abduction Looks Like? Another Mother Demonized by the American Media

This story has as many twists in it as the David Goldman and Bruna Bianchi Story. Interestingly, it also has a couple of similarities. First, these cases involve the family courts in the State of New Jersey. Second, the wives have not been able to speak for themselves, so we have the father being represented by the media.

Let's break down the stories as reported in the United States. Please make note of the language that is utilized and the structure of that language:

In a March 6, 2010 NBC New York article entitled, NJ Dad Fights for His Children After Wife Flees to Korea:
"I suspect they are in Korea but i'm not sure," says Mendoza.

He says his wife took the children, then disappeared into her native country of South Korea
The father (Mendoza) doesn't really know where his kids are but says that his wife (Shim) took the kids (from where) and hid out.
Shim allegedly convinced Mendoza to move to a town south of Seoul. He says they were hurting financially so he returned to America to wait for his family that never showed up.
The father was convinced to move to Korea but the monetary payout wasn't what he was seeking. He went back to the U.S. to wait? So in the meantime, what was he doing? Did his wife say she wanted to return to the U.S.? Did she say that she would?
Shim tells the court and Korean authorities a much different story.

"Mrs. Shim, the mother, was told by her 5-year-old son there was some type of sexual abuse by the father to the 2-year-old daughter," said Shim’s attorney Christine Bae.

Mendoza denies the charge, asking why, if she believed it, his wife fled rather than show up in court to gain legal custody of the children.
The father denies the charge? Or the allegation? And why would the mother flee? She was in Korea, wouldn't the question be why would the father flee, especially in that Korea is non-signatory to the Hague Convention? Why not pursue his children in Korea?
Mendoza says his wife has allowed him to chat with his kids once a month through Skype, but he’s had no contact since his wife's arrest.
Once a month since when?

In a March 7, 2010 in a New York Post article entitled, Musician mom held in kidnap: New hope for desperate NJ dad:
A globetrotting concert violinist who absconded with her son and daughter in South Korea last year was arrested in Guam last week, sparking hope for a New Jersey father who has waged a ferocious court battle to get his children back.
Globetrotting? The father is also a musician who has traveled the world.

Absconded with...in...? The mother did not abscond with her children TO South Korea--which would mean that she left somewhere (presumably New Jersey) with the kids and fled to South Korea. She fled IN South Korea.
Shim was busted Wednesday as she arrived at the airport in Guam, a US territory.
Busted? A little dramatic, no? It would be reasoned that this woman knew Guam was a US territory and thus travel there would pose a risk, if she felt she had something to risk.
Shim's arrest is the latest turn in Mendoza's custody battle, which has been mired in global politics and red tape because Korea does not observe the Hague Convention governing international custody battles.
Is the red tape because of the Hague Convention, or something else?
The nightmare began in February 2009 for Mendoza, 47, when at Shim's request he took a temporary teaching position she had arranged for him at Suwon University in South Korea. Shim told him she wanted to expose their children to her country's culture.
And so we have here that the father agreed to move to South Korea.
And a month into the trip, Mendoza realized his salary was only half of what his wife had promised. So in April, he flew back to the United States, hoping to earn enough money to move his family back to New Jersey.
And then the father decides to return to the United States, without his wife and children, for economic reasons.
Two days after he arrived home, his wife called him, saying he had molested their daughter and shouldn't return to Korea, Mendoza's web site says.
And here we have allegations of sexual abuse involving the father.
Shim vowed to raise the children on her own and said she had taken over his Korean teaching position.
The mother takes the job that the father held--the same job that seemingly didn't pay him enough money.
The devoted dad flew back to Korea in May and found that the apartment where the family had lived was cleared out.

Mendoza visited the US Embassy in Seoul to report that his wife had kidnapped their kids, he says. He was also questioned by Korean police about the abuse allegations, but was released without being charged.
Nothing mentioned about what the Korean officials said about the mother and children.
Mendoza took his fight to New Jersey courts, where, Brandt said, a judge awarded him full custody of the children.
Father returns to the U.S. and is awarded full custody of the children in absence of the mother and children in that New Jersey courtroom. What did the father say to the judge? What evidence did he provide? How was the mother noticed of the hearing? Did she have enough time to respond? If you make a kidnapping accusation in a New Jersey courtroom are you automatically given full custody of your children without any investigation into the matter?

In a March 12 article entitled, Dumont father battling wife in international custody case; kids are in South Korea:
Now, authorities are preparing to bring Shim to New Jersey to face charges that she kept their son and daughter in South Korea without Mendoza’s consent. Bergen County prosecutors have also charged Shim with interfering with custody, a second-degree charge that carries up to 10 years in prison.
When is consent or lack of consent established? What is the time frame? And how is this proven?
But not long ago, Shim told Mendoza that she wanted to move to Korea for a time, having lost interest in the conservatory and having become impatient with life in the Western world, he said. Mendoza said he reluctantly agreed to live there for a year.
The father agreed...for a period of one year. This would mean that the father violated the agreement when he moved back to New Jersey.
Mendoza worked as a music teacher and Shim worked part time while taking care of the children, and she seemed happier than she had been in Dumont, he said.

Soon, however, Mendoza found out that his pay was half of what he had expected, he said.
Realizing that he was not making enough to support a family of four, and fearing that a prolonged absence from the United States would jeopardize his teaching jobs here, he decided to return briefly and lay the foundation for a permanent move back to the U.S., he said.
The mother was happy in Korea despite what the father depicts as an income issue. The father was concerned with money and status in the U.S. Was this a marital agreement or a unilateral move on a hope and wish that his wife would follow suit?
Mendoza’s attorney, Galit Moskowitz, ...Scott Laterra, another attorney for Mendoza...
The father has two attorneys.
...Shim filed a criminal complaint a few days before Mendoza left Korea, and then told him about it after he arrived in the United States.
This would mean that the child(ren) alleged sexual abuse before the father even left Korea, but that the Korean authorities had not yet contacted him.
Last week, Superior Court Judge Alexander H. Carver issued an order finding Shim in contempt of court and issued a warrant for her arrest.
Remember his name.
Bae said the children are now with their maternal grandmother in South Korea, and stressed that Mendoza knows exactly where they are.
The children's whereabouts are known? This sounds like a NCMEC case /snark.
Mendoza said he has been able to talk to the children once in a while over the phone but has lost touch for the past three weeks.
Previously he said he talks to them via Skype on a monthly basis. If the mother is in prison/jail, how does he expect her to continue to facilitate this?


In a May 28 article entitled, Violinist to remain in jail until kids returned: judge:
A globetrotting violinist who was arrested in Guam months ago after she absconded with her two young children in South Korea will remain behind bars until the children are returned home, a Bergen County judge said today.

"She remains arrested under my orders," said Judge Alexander H Carver, of Si Nae-Shim, who did not appear in court.

He reiterated that she would not be released until the children are brought home.
The mother has not even appeared in court yet. The judge doesn't want to hear her, he only wants to see the kids returned to New Jersey. The mother has not spoken, therefore she has not been heard. How can the kids be ordered to return to the U.S. based upon the decision of one judge and one party--the father? Why not order the father to return to Korea? What gives New Jersey and the United States all of this power? Remember his name, again, Bergen County Judge Alexander H. Carver.

Will the U.S. will bully South Korea based on this case, just as they did Brazil (using economic sanctions)? Will father's rights continue to trump children's best interests? Will father's rights groups try to bully South Korea just as they are doing to Japan (regarding the Savioe case)? Will South Korea bow down to the United States Hague Convention? Or will the hypocrisy of the United States and their treatment of women and children finally be exposed on an international level?

Sunday

San Bernardino Sun Newspaper Endorses James Hoskings Instead of That Lying, Baby-Killer Judge Robert Lemakau

It is amazing that many people continue to support Judge Robert Lemkau after he repeatedly referred to a mother as lying in court, which resulted in her child getting killed by his bitch-ass father (who also killed himself and put the whole ordeal on his Facebook page). All public officials that have come out in support of Judge Lemkau need to be booted out of office as well. Please name names, people.

Hosking, Stull best for bench

Posted: 05/19/2010 07:21:58 PM PDT

Elections for San Bernardino Superior Court are typically simple, quiet affairs. This year, however, the race for one seat has been anything but quiet and simple.

Judge Robert Lemkau, who was appointed to the bench in 2007 after more than three decades as a prosecutor, including 13 years trying cases against accused child molesters and killers, faces a challenger in the June 8 primary following a visitation ruling that some say led to the shooting deaths of a 9-month-old boy and his father.

We endorse Lemkau's opponent for Office 11, Deputy District Attorney James J. Hosking, an experienced narcotics and auto theft prosecutor.

Lemkau, who works the family court docket in Victorville, has said he made the right decision to deny a mother's request for a restraining order against her son's father, noting that nothing in court records indicated the man was a threat to the boy.

Transcripts in that fateful visitation hearing, however, reveal Lemkau was impatient and disrespectful - not the fair and impartial arbiter of justice we'd expect.

Lemkau has apologized for his behavior in court and expressed sadness at the deaths of Stephen Garcia and his son Wyatt.

Though we have no reason to doubt Lemkau's remorse, we cannot support his continued presence on the bench. We understand that Lemkau's ruling is not solely responsible for baby Wyatt's death - ultimately, the blame rests with Garcia, who shot the boy before turning the gun on himself - but his treatment of Wyatt's mother surely contributed to the tragedy. His behavior indicates a lack of judgment - the very thing we elect judges to exercise.

Thankfully, Lemkau is opposed by a prosecutor with a proven track record who we believe is ready for the transition from bar to bench.

Hosking, who has worked for the San Bernardino County district attorney since 1999, has handled misdemeanor, juvenile delinquency, narcotics (including stints as the lead attorney for the marijuana suppression unit and the multijurisdictional methamphetamine enforcement team) and auto theft cases.

He is introspective with an "Old Testament sense of right and wrong," as he put it. We commend his willingness to break rank and take on a former fellow prosecutor, and note that he did not take lightly his decision to challenge a sitting judge. It's this kind of thoughtfulness that reinforces our belief that Hosking will be a fair and reasoned judge, and we believe a good addition to the bench.

In the races for the remaining two open seats, county prosecutor Lynn Poncin is running unopposed for Office 31. Her colleague, Supervising District Attorney Victor R. Stull, and family law attorney Edmund L. Montgomery are squaring off for Office 29.

We support Stull, who tried cases against accused murderers, drug offenders, sex offenders and robbers before taking on supervisorial duties in the District Attorney's Office.

We appreciate Montgomery's dedication to helping troubled families, and applaud his service for the past 10 years as a substitute judge in San Bernardino's courtrooms. We are certain that those involved in matters as heart-rending as divorce and child custody disputes benefit from Montgomery's compassion.

But we like Stull's breadth of experience in the District Attorney's Office and his impressive record - he was instrumental in charges being brought against Rickie Lee Fowler, suspected of setting the devastating 2003 Old Fire in Waterman Canyon that burned 91,281 acres of brush and timber and destroyed 983 homes.

Stull's solid reputation is bolstered by his intelligence, patience and wisdom, and we believe he will draw on these strengths to make fair rulings in a variety of cases.

Although it's uncertain whether Stull or Hosking would be assigned to hear criminal cases - courtroom assignments are given by the county's presiding judge - we are confident that their experience, knowledge and commitment to the justice system will serve the county well.

Friday

The Ever Expanding Parental Alienation Theory: Amy J. Baker's Research Revisited

As previously discussed by F. Bessette, Amy Baker's participants were mainly recruited via internet advertisements:


Nothing wrong with this method. However, the wording could lead to a biased selection:

1. She introduces herself as a research psychologist, versus a researcher.
2. The word manipulated is loaded. How does she define it or how do her participants define it?
3. The word alienated is loaded. How does she define it or how do her participants define it?

And so what kind of people responded to her ads? Who was represented? Baker gives us some information in her research entitled, Patterns of Parental Alienation Syndrome: A
Qualitative Study of Adults Who were Alienated from a Parent as a Child
.

40 participants were utilized (a large sample size for a qualitative study)

The age range was from 19 to 67 years old (keep in mind that they are reflecting on their childhood.

37.24 was the average age for women and
42.73 for men
in rounding ages mode=40

just some maybe useless information!!)

15 men and 25 women (interesting gender distribution)

29 of the participants reported that their parents divorced during their childhood. (This ranged from from birth to age 13, with an average of 5.76 years and a mode of 2. What about the other 11 participants? )

34 cases in which the mother was the alienator
6 cases= father

**There is no information about the parents'/children's economic status [pre-divorce, post-divorce] which may give us information on class issues. There is no racial or ethnic information which may give us some background on cultural issues.**

Baker's goal #1:
to determine whether there were people who identified themselves as having been alienated from one parent due to the other parent’s actions and attitudes.
She notes:
Although these data do not provide any benchmark for determining the actual prevalence of the phenomenon in the general population, they do provide evidence that there are people who believe that they have had this experience.
There are also people who believe they were raped, impregnated, and abducted by aliens. There are people who believe Tupac Shakur and/or Elvis Presley are still alive. There were people who thought the world would end in 2000. All of their evidence says/said so. What mattered in this study was not there was something called parental alienation, but people's beliefs about their recollections. This study did not involve proving anything. It was exploratory in nature.

Baker's goal #2:
to determine whether there were different types of parental alienation experiences or whether they all followed the same general outline.
So she might be trying to expand on the previous literature. Innovative.

This is what Baker found:

PATTERN 1: NARCISSISTIC MOTHER IN DIVORCED FAMILY
all portrayed their mother as self-centered, demanding a high degree of attention and admiration, and not able to see them as separate individuals...a woman who was charming, dynamic, and preoccupied with having her own needs met rather than meeting the needs of her children.
Picture portrayed does not necessarily equal reality. A mother (or any parent) more concerned with her own needs against her children's own best interest would essentially be neglecting her children. In what ways did the participants in Baker's research describe the children being neglected--emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually? Each is very different.
it can be surmised that these narcissistic mothers cultivated an emotionally enmeshed relationship with the participants when they were young children that appeared to serve their own need for love and admiration rather than to promote the emotional health and growth of the participants.
Enmeshed is an overused word--heavily saturated in psychological literature--that tries to malign the relationship between mothers and their children. The opposite of enmeshment is detachment, which is also pathological according to psych theory (yes, these are theories, not laws). It is easy for strangers and those without a vested interest in the relationship to pathologize other people's family dynamics. Perhaps it would serve psych researchers better if they were to perform ethnographic studies--become a part of the family and observe--in order to determine how what has been classified as maladjustment may serve to benefit the family in various situations.

Baker goes on to say:
Maternal narcissism appeared to fuel the alienation in at least three ways. First, despite the powerful personality presented to the world, narcissists tend to feel empty inside and easily become enraged at the first sign of humiliation or abandonment (Masterson, 1981). Therefore, it is quite likely that the end of the marriage triggered in these women feelings of shame and rage that became directed towards the husband.
Pure speculation. (Then again, who ever said what was presented in research was fact?) If the marriage's end was a result of the husband's actions, is that shame and rage unwarranted? Could we also not apply the same humiliation or abandonment and/or shame and rage to the father because he now realizes the extent of his actions? Could the father be the narcissist?
This is certainly consistent with the fact that the participants recalled a steady stream of badmouthing about the absent father following the divorce. These men were referred to as cheaters, gamblers, rapists, alcoholics, and abusers in front of the participants.
This is almost laughable (not at the children's pain though). Might we want to consider that these fathers were in fact the names that were used, or that the behaviors they exhibited matched these names? No. This research wasn't supposed to verify or dispute this. The focus is on the mother's actions, rendering the father's potential behaviors as invisible. And who gets to decide what a mother should or should not tell her child or what is or is not age appropriate? Psychologists?
Thus, the alienation may have been partly motivated by revenge, as if the mothers were saying, “If you don’t want me you can’t have the children.”
Speculation. What if the mother was saying, "Your display of character has caused such a disturbance and is evidence of your utter disregard for the children."
A second underlying motivation of the alienation fueled by the mothers’ narcissism appears to be anger towards the children that they wanted to have a relationship with the father even though he had rejected the mother. This is consistent with the fact that narcissists generally have a hard time understanding that others (including if not especially their children) have separate feelings and experiences of the world (Kernberg, 1976). For the narcissist, if she is angry with someone, the children should be as well.
Was the mother angry because the father rejected her or because the father abused her [or the children]? Big difference. How would we know, decades later? If a mother is not to speak of the father being a drunk or cheater, is she supposed to speak of him being physically or sexually abusive? And if so, when should that information be divulged? On the other hand, if the father is the narcissist, wouldn't he have a hard time understanding that others (including his children and maybe his ex-wife) have separate feelings and experiences of the world? How might he display that narcissism? (hint: by claiming parental alienation)
Third, the narcissistic mothers might have felt especially alone and fragile following the divorce and might have relied more on their children for comfort, companionship, and reassurance than before. Seen in this light, the time the children spent with the father under these circumstances would have been experienced as a profound loss. Many narcissists do not know how to be alone, as they need an audience to make them feel real and to reassure them of their grandiosity (Golumb,1992).
Speculation with misogynistic undertones. This particularly pathologizes mothers who do not re-couple after divorce and choose to focus on [rebuilding] the relationship between her and her children (which is vital if they were previously subjected to abuse). And then, as I previously stated, would the same thing apply to the father if he is indeed the narcissist (doesn't know how to be alone and thus re-partners quickly, garners support from his parents, then decides to take interest in kids now that he has an audience)?

Moving on,

PATTERN 2: NARCISSISTIC MOTHER IN NON DIVORCED FAMILY

There were 8 cases in which "parental alienation" was displayed in an intact family--no divorce, no custody battle--the parents and children lived in one household. I have asked this question repeatedly--Does parental alienation occur in intact families?-- and I have stated that these so-called alienating behaviors occur in "regular" households (see Parental Alienation in "High Conflict" Divorce: Questions We Must Ask). According to Richard Gardner, founder of parental alienation theory, this isn't parental alienation. According to Baker, it was like this:
The primary technique entailed confiding in the child about the inadequacies and failings of the father.
Confiding implies that it was some sort of secret between the mother and child. Was this the case?
Much of what was shared with the participants about the father was designed to make them feel anger or resentment toward him and protective of the mother, furthering the alienation.
Is this a fact or opinion and how can we know? How do we know that the child did not carry these feelings on his/her own and look to the mother for mutual support?
It is also possible that the mother was not able to maintain an adult relationship in which emotional honesty and compromise would be necessary. Perhaps these mothers turned to their children because having the unquestioning adoration of a child was more satisfying and less demanding than a mature relationship with another adult.
Horrible speculation. Furthermore, how does one carry out a mature relationship with an alcoholic or cheater? The emotionally dishonest person would be the one with the negative behaviors that are ruining the family, not the person who cannot communicate with him.


PATTERN 3: COLD, REJECTING OR ABUSIVE ALIENATING PARENT

According to Richard Gardner, if there is bona fide abuse, there is no parental alienation (although with Gardner's encouragement of sexual relations between fathers and their children, his categorizations are questionable). According to Baker, it was like this:
Rather than a “fabulously close” or “excellent” relationship, as the participants in pattern 1 and 2 described having with their mothers, the participants in pattern families were physically, verbally, and/or sexually abused by the alienating parent. Sixteen cases fit this pattern, three in intact families and 13 in divorced families.
That is 45% of the divorced family participants and 27% of the intact family participants fitting into this category. And these are people who elected to reveal this information.
In half the families the alienating parent was alcoholic in addition to being physically, emotionally, sexually, and/or verbally abusive and in five cases the father was the alienating parent.
That is out of 40 families, 20 of them had alcohol abuse issues on top of other abuses. And out of the total of 6 cases in which the father was considered the alienator, 5 were physically, emotionally, sexually, and/or verbally abusive (83%) (I'm unsure whether I am interpreting Baker's statement correctly as it is rather unclear).
The alienation occurred not through the alienating parent winning the child over through charm and persuasion, but through a campaign of fear, pain, and denigration of the targeted parent.
This is what has been described as Domestic Violence by Proxy or Stockholm syndrome. Interesting, Baker didn't offer these terms as possibilities however she chooses to repeatedly align mothers with cults throughout this research, and then, makes this statement:
Thus, parental alienation syndrome can take different forms.
because her (and others PAS theorists) ultimate goal is the expand the definition of what constitutes parental alienation syndrome/disorder. And she doesn't try to hide her m.o.:
Narcissistic mothers as alienators may present different clinical opportunities than alcoholic physically abusive fathers. The first scenario is the one commonly envisioned and described when parental alienation syndrome is discussed (Gardner, 1992). However the field needs to recognize that there is more than one type of parental alienation syndrome

...it appears that it may be time to broaden our understanding of parental alienation syndrome.
.
She also notes:
...alcoholism, maltreatment, and personality disorders co-occurred
in most of the cases included in this study.
And yet it appears that the focus is still parental alienation; therefore, it is a mask, a distraction from dealing with the real problems inherent in the select families in which PAS is said to exist.

And here Baker gets down to the nitty gritty of this research where she fills in the gaps with the true motivations for PAS theorists:
Second, determination of personality disorders should be taken into account when devising methods for overseeing visitation schedules since such individuals are not likely to comply with court orders. People with narcissistic personality disorders tend to be arrogant and, therefore, are likely to devalue authority figures and emphasize their own ability to make judgments and decisions (e.g., Golumb, 1992; Hotchkiss, 2002). Without real teeth in a visitation or shared parenting order, it is not likely that such a person will comply. The legal system has developed measures for tracking and enforcing payment of child support; it is now time for methods of ensuring compliance with visitation to be developed as well.
Personality disorders, Visitation enforcement, and Shared parenting all thrown together on the backdrop of child support. No surprises here. Amy Baker appears to be advocating for punishment in suspected (or assumed) cases of parental alienation.
A second notable finding from this study is that parental alienation can occur in intact families. The majority of the attention to parental alienation syndrome has emerged from the legal system in response to problems dealing with high conflict divorces, custody disputes, and false and real allegations of parental alienation (Darnall, 1998; Warshak, 2001). To date, there has been minimal if any attention to the fact that parental alienation can occur outside of the legal system.


Third, alienation occurred in some of these families that were not involved in post-divorce litigation. Again, the typical parental alienation scenario discussed in the field is that of a family involved in intense and chronic legal conflicts around custody and visitation (Gardner, 1998). This was not always the case.
These findings are not notable. And it leaves a major question unanswered: If PAS occurs in intact and non-litigating households then what would be the likelihood that this occurs in a significant amount of other households? The greater the likelihood, the less pathological it would be. Maybe it is a natural phenomenon.
...one of the participants who did not fall into the three patterns reported that the alienating parent was the non-custodial father.
But Baker would prefers to explain it like this:
Despite the fact that the targeted parent lived in the same household, the participants rejected them, avoided them, denigrated them (in their hearts and mind) and essentially lost out on the experience of having a healthy rewarding relationship with that other parent.
See Parental Alienation and Loving Relationships: Questions We Must Ask

And Baker would like to get everyone involved:
Likewise, teachers, social workers and other mental health professionals who come into contact with parents and children should become versed in the patterns of parental alienation syndrome and the strategies parents use so that they can identify them when they are present.
Will they be mandated to report it just like other child abuse suspicion? Will Social Services or Child Protective Services get involved? Will this lead all other families into court and into protracted litigation? Will every family get a third person embedded into their family life..aka Parent Coordinator or other Court Whores? And at whose expense--the parents or the government?
Fourth, the parents who were the target of the alienation appeared to play a role in their own alienation. In some cases these parents were passive and uninvolved (even when living in the same household) and did not work particularly diligently to establish and or maintain a positive and meaningful relationship with their own children. Many did not write letters or make phone calls to their children during periods of non-visitation, they did not attend school events and sporting competitions, they did not follow through on planned visitations, and in some respects appeared to be casual about their relationships with their children.
So, is this considered parental alienation, too? Who is the alienator?

Baker adds:
...it must be noted that these reports were made by the adult children, and because they were children at the time of the alienation, they may not know everything that the targeted parents did or tried to do for them...
without mentioning that this same disclaimer (delimitation?) can be applied to the knowledge the children/adults may NOT have about why the mother behaved as she did.
The final finding that emerged from a review of these cases is that the alienation was not always completely internalized.
And so, by according to Richard Gardner, this would NOT be parental alienation either.

This marks the end of Amy J. Baker's research. In this study, she never defined what parental alienation meant. She interviewed the participants herself and didn't specify whether she personally analyzed the data for content/themes, or not. These things matter.

Baker tries parallel the concept with cultism, and explains that PAS isn't in the DSM, similar to other syndromes that took time to get it in. A similarly appropriate parallel would be to the former catchall diagnosis of female hysteria...which then went to be called somatization disorder and then conversion disorder. The field of psychology operates in this wish-washy manner because it is based on "theory" (opinion).

Another important thing to keep in mind is the demographic data provided at the beginning of Baker's study. Go back and re-read it above...........





In the study, Baker states:
Section two focused on memories of the marriage, the participant’s relationship to each parent until the time of the separation/divorce, how the participant was told about the separation, who moved out of the house and a description of the custody/visitation schedule through age 18.
I have provided you with enough information and emphases throughout this post to let you put this together on your own.

****

In performing a study in this manner, Amy Baker tried to expand the definition of parental alienation syndrome by using people's beliefs so that the the people could define parental alienation as it meant to them:
the interview aimed to understand in a focused way the subject’s every day life world as it related to parental alienation and the meaning of the alienation for them
This is a magnificent selling point to society at large. PAS theorists have struggled with trying to separate from Richard Gardner not only because his definition was limited (to "high conflict" divorce with mothers as the main alienators), but because of his pro adult-child sexual beliefs. ie:
Special care should be taken not alienate the child from the molesting parent. The removal of a pedophilic parent from the home "should only be seriously considered after all attempts at treatment of the pedophilia and rapprochement with the family have proven futile."
Gardner, R.A. (1992). True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse . Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.(p. 537)

The child should be told that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. "The sexual exploitation has to be put on the negative list, but positives as well must be appreciated"
Gardner, R.A. (1992). True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse . Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.(p. 572)


Older children may be helped to appreciate that sexual encounters between an adult and a child are not universally considered to be reprehensible acts. The child might be told about other societies in which such behavior was and is considered normal. The child might be helped to appreciate the wisdom of Shakespeare's Hamlet, who said, "Nothing's either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
Gardner, R.A. (1992). True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse . Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.(p. 59)
However, the broader the scope of parental alienation, the more watered down it's definition becomes. If any child (and parent) can suffer from parental alienation in any circumstance, what makes it abnormal? How is it a mental illness?
DSM stands for “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” and is published by the American Psychiatric Association, the professional organization representing United States psychiatrists. The DSM contains a listing of psychiatric disorders and their corresponding diagnostic codes. Each disorder included in the manual is accompanied by a set of diagnostic criteria and text containing information about the disorder, such as associated features, prevalence, familial patterns, age-, culture- and gender-specific features, and differential diagnosis. No information about treatment is included.

Please stay tuned for part 2.




See Also: Amy Baker and Parental Alienation Syndrome: Is This What Scientific Research Looks Like?

Psychology and Parental Alienation: Closer to Science?

Wednesday

The Catholic Church Wants Moms to Die

Certainly the title of this post will seem extreme, but it was how I felt when I read this:

Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix wrote in a statement, ""If a Catholic formally cooperates in the procurement of an abortion, they are automatically excommunicated by that action." Note that the Catholic Church doesn't automatically excommunicate priests who sexually abuse children.

"We always must remember that when a difficult medical situation involves a pregnant woman, there are two patients in need of treatment and care; not merely one. The unborn child's life is just as sacred as the mother's life, and neither life can be preferred over the other," the bishop wrote.
You can read the entire piece here http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/05/19/weekly-pulse-excommunicated-approving-lifesaving-abortion

The goal of religion becomes ever so much more clear.

See Also: Quebec Cardinal Denounces Abortion for Rape Victims

Working Fathers Can't Enjoy Spending Time With Their Children

Research just totally blows me.


Time with the kids more fun for mum than dad

* Stephen Lunn, Social affairs writer
* From: The Australian
* May 20, 2010 12:00AM

ARE fathers more selfish or just more honest than mothers?

Not only do dads spend less time with their children, they don't enjoy that time as much as mums do, new research reveals.

Twice the number of fathers say they "sometimes or less often" enjoy spending time with their children than mothers, a report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies finds.

AIFS research fellow and author of "The best start: Supporting happy, healthy childhoods" Jennifer Baxter says when fathers were asked whether they enjoyed spending time with their children, 28 per cent said they "always or almost always" did, compared with 40 per cent of mothers.

As well, 21 per cent of dads said they "sometimes or less often" enjoyed the time spent with their kids, compared with just 11 per cent for mums.

"Dads often have that added pressure of long work hours. They're there in the mornings when time is so rushed and at dinner when there's so much going on, so that stress of combining work with the hard parts of the family day may be spilling over into their level of enjoyment," Dr Baxter told The Australian.

"Then on weekends, there is for both parents that tension of wanting to spend time with each child to build the specific relationship, but also not to neglect the family as a group, and somewhere in there wanting to find some time to pursue their own interests.

"It can potentially taint how a parent feels about time with their children."

Dr Baxter says part of the answer to why dads are less satisfied with their time with children is that they are more honest about it than mothers.

"Certainly it's possible. There's a very strong ethos that mothers must love and care and nurture their children . . . while fathers might be more inclined to admit when things aren't going well."

But she stressed that quality of parental time rather than quantity was a far more important factor in children's development.

The study is based on questions from a tracking study of the attitudes of 4000 people.

The study also found children spend far less time alone with their father than with their mother.



Who knew that dads spend less time with their children than moms?

Who knew that dads were pressured to work long hours while moms....hmmm...I don't know...sit home and twiddle their thumbs all day?

Who knew that when the weekend comes, dads were conflicted about how they would spend their free time?

Who knew that dads were more honest than mothers because mothers are pressured to say they enjoy spending 24 hours of the day with their children?


Then again, at least in the U.S., it doesn't appear that unemployed fathers enjoy spending time with their children either.



These aren't even the clinchers. Here they are right here:

1. The study also found children spend far less time alone with their father than with their mother.

and

2. quality of parental time rather than quantity was a far more important factor in children's development.


Oh shit, so much for that 50-50 shared parenting after divorce argument.

Tuesday

Say What, Michael Lamb?: Two Parents Not Required

The following article has my commentary inserted within. I am utilizing it because Michael Lamb was a long time fathers' right researcher, or at least fathers' rightsters seemed to cite his research frequently. But at some point, it appears that Lamb fell off their bandwagon. I wonder what they call him now: a feminist pansy?

Single moms' sons can succeed, new research shows

By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY

Conventional wisdom is that boys who grow up without fathers are at greater risk of problems, from doing poorly in school to substance abuse.
And people should probably pick up some books on the subject of "conventional wisdom" and see how ignorant it can be...and how it changes like the wind. In fact, blaming conventional wisdom is short-sighted. We have been brainwashed as a nation, by a campaign, to believe that father-absence is pathological. Think about it: from t.v. shows to print...from profiling serial killers to teenage delinquents...from social science doctrine to Christianity--all which amazingly is entangled in groups like Fathers and Families.
So how does that account for the high-profile successes of standouts such as presidential candidate Barack Obama, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and others who were reared by single mothers?

Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois, tonight will accept the Democratic presidential nomination. Phelps just won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics. They — as well as Tour de France-winning cyclist Lance Armstrong, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and actor Benjamin Bratt — are just some of the accomplished men who grew up in single-parent households for most or all of their youth.
Notice, in this article, they only cite two individuals, Obama and Phelps--as if this were some type of new age idea that single mothers could produce successful sons. There are countless others. See here and even this list is limited to those who are famous or household names. Is celebrity status the only thing that defines success?
For decades, researchers have said children from two-parent families do better than those raised by a single parent. That's still true, they say. But newer research pokes holes into that all-or-nothing approach, says fatherhood expert Michael Lamb, a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge in England.
This is the propaganda I'm referring to. As long as this two-parent research has been out there have been studies explaining that it isn't that simple: Children do better when they have a combination of factors present, which is not exclusive of a two-parent household. Not two mention that this old research really doesn't mean any two parents: They mean a woman--the biological mother, and a man--the biological father, married and living together...It really is that specific. No other familial arrangement counts!
"The key point is yes, there is a risk," he says. "But it's not really a risk inherent in the single-parent family, per se. You can't assume that every child raised by a single parent is going to have difficulties. The majority don't."
Aha! Just as you cannot assume that a two-parent household is inherently better.
Lamb says that decades ago, researchers were concerned about risks to children, and "their concerns were driven by a lot of cultural assumptions, which led them to propose kids are better off in the traditional family."
Cultural assumptions...social engineering, racism, classism, sexism....same pot.
"The evidence, on the whole, hasn't supported that, but the beliefs have persisted in society," he says.

Another expert on fatherhood, sociologist Tim Biblarz of the University of Southern California-Los Angeles, says the evidence shows economics plays a significant role in the risk for negative outcomes, such as poorer grades and lower educational attainment, substance abuse or poor social adjustment.

"Those who grow up with single mothers with adequate socioeconomic resources tend to do well. The children of poor single mothers are more at risk," Biblarz says. "Many of the results that say that kids are at increased risk for negative outcomes have to do with economics."
Yes. And yet the government (Department of Health and Human Services) continues to dole out money in the millions for researchers to look for the answers...instead of doling out millions to go to the direct support of these low-income families (which equals single women with children).
According to the most recent data for 2007 from the U.S. Census, 8.4 million boys under 18 were living with a single mother. That's 22% of all boys in that age group in the USA.

Lamb says children do better if they have a good relationship with the in-home parent, as well as if the parents have low conflict; if the parent has economic resources; and if children have individual resilience to adverse circumstances.

"What's important is not whether they are raised by one or two parents. It's how good is the relationship with the parent, how much support they're getting from that parent and how harmonious is the environment.
But our government and court system would rather the children have half-assed relationships with both parents who are in "high conflict" because maybe, two half attachments is like one whole one. Just like two homes are better than one!!
"In the case of Obama, his mother was not particularly well off, though she was well-resourced intellectually and had been to college and had supportive parents," Lamb says.
So yeah, take that and compare it to a mother living in the hood with barely enough money to put food on the table, and no extended family to help her. The Marriage Initiatives folk will tell this mother to marry her babydaddy. Problem solved!
Michael Kimmel, a sociologist and gender studies expert at Stony Brook University in New York, says the resident parent has a huge effect.

"We see constantly children of single-parent families who thrive because the parents are so devoted because they're compensating for the absence of the other parent," he says.
Okay, there is still something wrong with this view. How about the mom isn't compensating for the "other parent"...she is just parenting. Furthermore, you can't compensate for something that never existed.
But Biblarz says the idea "that boys in particular need fathers in the way girls need mothers" doesn't hold true.

"I can tell you there's almost no evidence supporting that," he says. "For a variety of reasons, children who grow up with single fathers, for example, are at higher risk than those who grow up with single mothers for either sex."
But that doesn't stop Fathers and Families, and like groups (especially religious ones) from repeating their mantras.
In the case of swimmer Phelps, mothers such as Debbie Phelps have the right approach, says Peggy Drexler, author of the 2005 book Raising Boys Without Men.

"Phelps was born with a gift that his mother nurtured," says Drexler, an assistant professor of psychology at Cornell University's Weill Medical College in New York City.

Such mothers "don't hold them back," she says. "They encourage their talents, and drive and encourage independence and a sense of adventure."
And that's what mothers do...when they have the resources.


For the Children

UPDATED AGAIN

When we talk about doing things for the children, in the best interest of the children, do we really have the children's long-term interest in mind? Will children of today grow up emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy? And who is the right person to make this decision?

We know who the wrong people are: judges and the tools of the family court. And we assume that mothers, in general, are the ones that should make this decision, though society and the court system thwarts this at every step.

But what about when the mother is dead? Who decides for her and her children?

Ask yourself this, if you were to be killed today, would you want your killer to get custody of your children? Would you want your killer's parents to get custody of your children (Grandparents lose adoption fight to parents of man who murdered their daughter)? We've seen both of these scenarios happen.

This following story is about a dead mother having funeral services with, and getting buried next to, the coward who killed her. This was her boyfriend and father of her children. The mother of this murdered mother is responsible for this set up. She insist that it is for the the children.

This is what justice for victims of domestic violence often looks like. What message does this send society? What message does this leave for these children?

Ahoskie father upset daughter killed in murder-suicide will be buried next to killer

WTKR-TV3

6:30 PM EDT, May 4, 2010

Ahoskie, N.C. - The father of a domestic violence victim says his daughter's own family is victimizing her again by burying her next to the man who killed her.

The father of the victim reached out to NewsChannel 3 about his ex-wife's plans to combine the funerals for his daughter and her boyfriend who killed her.

Video: http://www.wtkr.com/videobeta/f0b98420-63a9-4db7-ad8a-581c14203446/News/Milton-Smith-does-not-agree-that-a-joint-funeral-should-be-held-for-his-daughter-and-her-killer

Milton Smith wrote, "I think this is very disrespectful to the Smith family and to the community for this man that killed my daughter to even be in the same church as my daughter. I would like to get someone to stop this funeral. I need your help."

"If Treeshanda knew that he was in the same church with her she would turn over in her casket," Smith said.

"I would like to see this funeral stopped."

Milton Smith is not prepared for a joint funeral tomorrow - for his 28-year-old daughter, Treeshanda Smith, and her 34-year-old boyfriend, Anthony Moore. Ahoskie police say Moore shot and killed Smith before killing himself.

"You think the last time you will ever see your daughter you don't want to look at him and he is the one that put her there," Milton said.

Milton says it was his ex-wife's idea to have Treeshanda and Anthony's funerals together for the sake of their two children. He wants the plans changed before tomorrow.

"Maybe they can take Tony and carry him to another church," Smith said.

Milton says his daughter's boyfriend killed her in a jealous rage. In 2006 he was arrested by Ahoskie police after she took out a domestic violence warrant. He says Treeshanda was trying to move on without Anthony. Milton says he has tried to plead with his ex-wife to change her mind. He even called the funeral home for help.

NewsChannel 3 spoke with Treeshanda's mother's side of the family off camera. They say they are thinking of the 5 and 10-year-old children. They say they are having the two buried at the same time in the same place so the children won't have to go through two funerals.

Milton said his ex-wife also has plans to have Treeshanda and Anthony buried side by side.

Smith added, "You going to take the man that killed your daughter in the same church at the same time and you gone bury her with him?"

Milton says it will be painful to visit his daughter's grave knowing that her killer is buried right next to her.

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How old are these children? Will it be completely devastating for them to attend two funerals instead of one? Is it necessary that they attend their mother's killer's--their father's--funeral if they were to be separate?

Understand the argument that the mother is dead, and this is just a body. Understand that children need not suffer any more than they already have, or already are. Understand that in life, women are continuously judged (in the literal sense and otherwise) for how much they place their own interests beneath their children (this begins with conception)--but women do not reap any benefit from society at large for this sacrifice. Understand that for men, there is no such standard.

Does what is played out in life have to be repeated in death?

Again, what does this teach the children?



On another note:

Grandparents lose adoption fight to parents of man who murdered their daughter

SHEILA BURKE Associated Press Writer

1:39 PM CDT, May 10, 2010
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has decided the parents of a man who murdered his estranged wife can adopt the couple's 9-year-old daughter, as opposed to the slain woman's parents.

The decision involved a custody battle over the child of a man who opened fire at the Tennessee Department of Transportation headquarters in Jackson in 2005. David Lynn Jordan was sentenced to death for the murders of his estranged wife, Donna Renee Jordan, and two others.

The unanimous decision held that people who don't have physical custody of a child can still adopt. The girl had been living with her mother's parents when a Madison County judge said her father's parents should be awarded custody.

Justices found that it was in the best interest of the child to live with the paternal grandparents because they had more financial and social resources.