I get a stream of complaints about “parental alienation” in Connecticut, the attempt by one parent to minimize or eliminate the other parent’s role with the children. Every year, two or three of these cases come to my attention. Clearly, Connecticut has a problem with parental splitting or even alienating behavior.
The case of Tauck v. Tauck provides court evidence of splitting behavior. Court records show that in 2005 allegations of child molestation were filed against the father; in addition, it was claimed that he had downloaded child pornography onto his laptop computer. During the trial, it was found by Judge Abery-Wetstone that Mr. Tauck could not have downloaded the images because he was out of the country, and the child molestation charges were entirely unsubstantiated.
The damage to children from splitting or alienating behavior is enormous. They are being denied a relationship with their parent. Studies have shown that children without one parent are at much greater risk of behavioral problems, poor school performance and incarceration.
Connecticut judges, DCF, family relations officials need to do a better job of recognizing signs of splitting and alienation. These include:
The aggressive parent fails to encourage the child to have a
relationship with the other parent. Failure to actively promote this important relationship in the child’s life is often the first indication of destructive splitting behavior to follow.
A parent penalizes the child for spending time with the other parent.
A parent refuses to allow the child to spend time with the other parent.
A child who previously had a positive relationship with a parent refuses further contact.
One parent cuts off direct contact between a child and the other parent. Phone calls, letters and emails are unanswered.
Protective orders are being used as a tool to prevent visitation.
Judges and other professionals need to make it clear not only at the outset but repeatedly throughout the proceedings that such behavior will not be tolerated. More so, they should question each party as to how they intend to assure the other parent has an equal role in their children’s lives.
Post your experiences with splitting or alienating behavior here. We are particularly interested in hearing from adults who experienced this as children.