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Recognising those who fight for fathers’ rights


We approach April 25 when the world will come together to commemorate “International Parental Alienation Awareness Day”. ChildWatch has been a major contributor for the last seven years to this awareness. However, we must thank those who have worked tirelessly in this field. Such as Dr Richard A Gardner who coined “Parental Alienation Syndrome” back in the 1970s.

Many other professionals who have followed, Dr Amy Baker, Dr Reena Sommer, Dr Richard Warshak, Dr William Barnett, Dr Katherine Andre, Dr L.F Lowenstein, Dr Michael Bone, et al, have assisted families, Governments and courts around the world in dealing with these types of situation.

Many may ask what “Parental Alienation Syndrome” is. Dr. Richard Gardner provides us with his definition: “The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. When true parental abuse and/or neglect is present the child’s animosity may be justified, and so the parental alienation syndrome explanation for the child’s hostility is not applicable.”

Shawn (a father, not his real name) tells us of his heartfelt life situation, just like many others like him in Bermuda. Shawn has been alienated from his child for the last four years. For the first three years of his separation, he has tried to work with his former wife to allow him in his child’s life. He has requested and begged and begged the mother of his child, even with some assistance of friends, asking her to allow him to spend time and to have a relationship with their son. However, their efforts have been fruitless. Unfortunately, after much frustration he decides to seek legal counsel, and has brought the matter before the courts in this past year.

The frustration has now become worse as another year has gone by with no resolution in sight and he still has not seen his child. With great recommendations to the court, the court has allowed Shawn to finally see his child, but he has to have supervised visitations. The only reason for the supervised visitation was because he has to reestablish bonding with his child, very interesting.

Also, interesting was that during this process, the child was asked if he wanted to spend time with his father, which the child said yes. We believe that this was very distasteful and inhumane to ask a young child, if he wants to spend time with his parent, as children love both of their parents. After all this frustration, time lost not being allowed to be with his son, caused by the mother out of revenge because their relationship had failed. Now, Shawn has been told that he has to wait even further, as he was put on a waiting list, before his visitation takes place. What message are we sending to the parents of Bermuda? Do we really want father involvement and male role models?

Also, we must not forget the hard work and dedication to Sarvy Emo (Canada), Robin Denison (USA) founders of “Parental Alienation Awareness Organization” (PAAO) and the organisation, who have brought this awareness around the world for the past eight years.

We send kudos to all that have contributed over the years by assisting families, and by bringing international awareness, since many children are better off today because of these efforts.

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Published April 22, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm)

Recognising those who fight for fathers’ rights

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