Archives for category: parenting

Measures being trialled to prevent ‘parental alienation’ feature penalties including permanent loss of contact with child

 Parental alienation is estimated to be present in 11%-15% of divorces involving children.
 Parental alienation is estimated to be present in 11%-15% of divorces involving children. Photograph: Alamy

Divorcing parents could be denied contact with their children if they try to turn them against their former partner, under a “groundbreaking” process being trialled by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass).

The phenomenon where one parent poisons their child against the other is known as parental alienation, the ultimate aim of which is to persuade the child to permanently exclude that parent from their life.

Cafcass said it had recently realised parental alienation occured in significant numbers of the 125,000 cases it dealt with each year.

Sarah Parsons, the assistant director of Cafcass, said: “We are increasingly recognising that parental alienation is a feature in many of our cases and have realised that it’s absolutely vital that we take the initiative. Our new approach is groundbreaking.”

The new approach will initially give parents the chance to change their behaviour with the help of intense therapy. Alienating parents who do not respond will not be allowed to have their children live with them.

In addition, contact between the parent and child could be restricted or refused for a number of months. In the most extreme cases, the alienating parent will be permanently banned from any contact with their child.

Parental alienation is estimated to be present in 11%-15% of divorces involving children, a figure thought to be increasing. Other research has found that about 1% of children and adolescents in North America experience parental alienation.

UK judges are increasingly recognising the phenomenon. One wrote about a case where she was forced to transfer residence to re-establish a relationship between a child and an alienated parent. “I regard parental manipulation of children, of which I distressingly see an enormous amount, as exceptionally harmful,” she said in her summary.

Parental alienation occurs on a spectrum from mild to extreme, all of which can be extremely damaging to the children involved. Experts admit they are only now beginning to understand the range of ways it manifests itself.

Parsons said: “We have reached a much clearer position on parental alienation recently, which we want to send a very clear, strong message about.

“The current, popular view of parental alienation is highly polarised and doesn’t recognise this spectrum. We want to reclaim the centre ground and develop a more nuanced, sophisticated understanding of what’s going on.”

Parental alienation occurs almost exclusively when parents are separating or divorcing, particularly when legal action is involved. It is, however, different to the common acrimony between divorcing parents and is internationally recognised as a distinctive form of parental psychological abuse and family violence, undermining core principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN convention on the rights of the child.

In the US and Canada, “parenting coordinators” are ordered and supervised by courts to help restore relationships between parents and children identified as alienated. In Mexico and Brazil, alienating a child from a parent is a criminal act.

Until now, cases of parental alienation in the UK have relied on Cafcass caseworkers recognising incidents on a case-by-case basis. Many parents, however, say their experiences of alienation have been missed or compounded by the social work and family court system, often leading to permanent estrangement from their child.

From spring 2018, all frontline Cafcass caseworkers will be given a new set of guidelines called the high conflict pathway, which will itemise the steps social workers must take when dealing with cases of suspected alienation. The pathway will spell out exactly when children should be removed from the alienating parent and placed with the “target parent”.

The guidelines, which will also affect how cases are dealt with in family courts, were sent out at the beginning of this month to judges, lobby groups including Families Need Fathers, experts, doctors and lawyers for a three-month consultation.

Alongside the guidelines, Cafcass has developed a 12-week intense programme called positive parenting, designed to help the abusive parent put themselves in their child’s position, and give them skills to break their patterns of behaviour.

A trial of it will start shortly, with 50 high-conflict families being sought across the country. After an evaluation in spring, the programme will be rolled out nationwide.

If it does not work, psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health experts will be brought in. If the alienating parent continues to perpetuate the abuse, however, contact with their child will be limited to supervised visits.

In extreme cases, care proceedings will be initiated and the parent will lose contact with their child. “Our priority, however, is to preserve the relationship with both parents,” Parsons said.

Jerry Karlin, the chair and managing trustee of Families Need Fathers, said Cafcass’s new approach was “very welcome news”.

“The demonising of a parent has long been recognised as damaging the child not only at the time of separation, but reaching into his or her adult life,” he said. “Parental alienation is identified as the single biggest issue among those who come to FNF seeking help.”

Case study – Robert (not his real name)

“I’ve lived through and witnessed the inexorable alienation of my older daughter over the past five years, which has culminated in complete loss of contact. I will not have seen or heard from her for three years this coming January. We had a fantastic, loving relationship for the first 12 years of her life.

“I know from what my younger daughter has told me that in numerous insidious and not so insidious ways, my ex-wife put an intolerable amount of stress on my eldest daughter. It eventually became too emotionally traumatic for her to see me. She eventually sent me a short email, saying she wanted to break off all contact with me. I’ve not heard from her since.

“The pain of being subject to parental alienation as a target parent is a truly soul-destroying thing to live through. In my darkest days, I can remember being out driving at night and thinking that maybe I just wouldn’t turn the wheel when I came to the bend with the high stone wall. This is a horrible form of child abuse that is struggling to get out from under the rock of prejudice and ignorance.”

 

Source : Divorcing parents could lose children if they try to turn them against partner : The Guardian

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Biological, behavioral improvements follow parenting classes

Date: November 7, 2017
Source: Ohio State University
Summary: Cutting back on yelling, criticism and other harsh parenting approaches, including physical punishment, has the power to calm children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a new study.

Cutting back on yelling, criticism and other harsh parenting approaches, including physical punishment, has the power to calm children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a new study.

Researchers from The Ohio State University evaluated physiological markers of emotional regulation in preschool children with ADHD before and after a parent and child intervention aimed at improving family relations. Changes in parenting — including less yelling and physical discipline — led to improvements in children’s biological regulation.

“This is the first study to show that improved parenting changes kids biologically,” said Theodore Beauchaine, the study’s senior author and a professor of psychology at Ohio State.

“The idea is to change family dynamics so these highly vulnerable kids don’t run into big problems down the road, including delinquency and criminal behavior.”

The study appears in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.

Parents of 99 preschoolers with ADHD received parenting coaching — half during 20 weekly two-hour sessions and half during 10 similar sessions. The parents learned skills including problem-solving, positive parenting techniques and effective responses to their children’s behaviors. Meanwhile, their children met with therapists who reinforced topics such as emotional regulation and anger management.

Before the training began, parents (usually moms) and their children engaged in play sessions that included an intentionally frustrating block-building exercise. Parents dumped a large container of blocks on the floor and were told not to touch the blocks and to coach their children on how to build progressively complex structures.

During the exercise, the children were tethered to equipment that recorded their heart activity. Abnormal patterns of heart activity are common among children who have trouble controlling their emotions, including some children with ADHD, Beauchaine said.

After parent coaching was complete, the researchers had families return to the lab for retesting to determine if the training sessions led to changes in parenting and heart activity among children.

Reductions in negative parenting were found to drive improved biological function in children. Increases in positive parenting had no effect.

The researchers also observed each parent and child during a 30-minute play session in the family home and video-recorded positive and negative parenting approaches. Positive parenting included praise, encouragement and problem-solving. Negative parenting included critical statements, physical discipline and commands that gave children no opportunity to comply.

Less-harsh parenting also was linked to improved behavior in children, a finding that bolsters previous research in this area.

“Negative interactions between parents and children have a big effect on kids,” Beauchaine said.

Greater improvements in parenting were seen in those who had 20 weeks of classes, versus 10. Regardless, the intervention was relatively short, Beauchaine said.

“Just 20 weeks to observe this much change is somewhat surprising,” he said.

Children in the study all struggled primarily with hyperactivity and impulsivity, as opposed to inattention. Most of them — 76 percent — were boys, which is similar to ADHD rates in the general population. Families were participants in Beauchaine’s work with collaborators at the University of Washington. One limitation of the study is that it did not include a control group of parents and children who did not receive lessons.

Beauchaine said it is important to recognize the tremendous parenting challenges that moms and dads of children with ADHD face.

“A lot of times, these young kids and their parents don’t like each other much. We strive to change that. It’s challenging for parents, because these kids can be hard to raise,” he said.

“The idea is not to blame parents or kids, but to look for ways to help them both.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by Ohio State University. Original written by Misti Crane. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ziv Bell, Tiffany Shader, Carolyn Webster-Stratton, M. Jamila Reid, Theodore P. Beauchaine. Improvements in Negative Parenting Mediate Changes in Children’s Autonomic Responding Following a Preschool Intervention for ADHDClinical Psychological Science, 2017; 216770261772755 DOI: 10.1177/2167702617727559

Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. “Keeping harsh punishment in check helps kids with ADHD, study finds: Biological, behavioral improvements follow parenting classes.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2017. .

Nurturing a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be very difficult, as they need distinctive discipline techniques that are not the same as other children. Otherwise, you may risk unnecessarily excusing your child’s behavior, or become too severe in punishment; you must perform the intricate task of balancing between these two extremes. Experts in managing children with ADHD confirm that disciplining such children can be a challenging job. However, parents, caregivers, teachers, and others can discipline their children with ADHD based on patience and consistency.[1]

 

Source: How to Discipline a Child With ADHD (with Pictures) – wikiHow


Nadia Clarke writes about the damaging impact that cuts to her personal budget will have on her life.

Source: My Rights | Publications by date | Library | The Centre for Welfare Reform


Parents know: Tantrums are the worst. If you’re nodding your head knowingly, then you’ve seen/tip-toed your way through more than […]

Source: Mom Horrified By Toddler’s Public Tantrum Until Old Lady Said 5 Simple Words.


I knew there was something my child was struggling with, and all I had to do was understand what his behavior was telling me.

Source: When I Realized Why My Son Melts Down At Home But Not At School | HuffPost


John Lewis’s decision to remove gender labels from its children’s clothing has sparked a row. About eighteen months ago, the store redesigned its labels –

Source: John Lewis gender-neutral clothing sparks row – The i newspaper online iNews


Our new columnist, Catriona Moore asks how councils can get away with breaking the law when it comes to providing inclusive summer fun

Source: Fighting for my disabled child’s right to summer fun – Special Needs Jungle


The new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) now refers to Asperger syndrome as “Level 1 Autism,” also informally called “high-functioning autism” (HFA). However, this only applies to the U.S. In the rest of the world, the disorder is still referred to as Asperger syndrome. So, I will be using these two terms interchangeably, because they are fundamentally the same disorder with two different names. Having said that…

“Parenting Children and Teens with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism” is a 4-part downloadable eBook (along with audio instruction) designed to help parents of Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autistic kids who are experiencing behavioral difficulties. The program contains prevention, identification, and intervention strategies for the most destructive of autism-related behaviors.
Although Asperger’s is at the milder end of the autism spectrum (i.e., high-functioning autism), the challenges parents face when raising a child on the autism spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an “average” child. Complicated by problematic behavior, the Asperger’s or HFA child is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels, unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child’s special needs.
The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” children and teens do not take into account the many issues facing a youngster with a neurological disorder. Meltdowns, shutdowns, aggression, sensory sensitivities, self-injury, isolation-seeking, and communication problems that arise due to auditory and sensory issues are just some of the behaviors that parents of these young people will have to learn to control.
Parents need to come up with a consistent parenting plan ahead of time, and then present a united front and continually review their strategies for potential changes and improvements as the Asperger’s or HFA child develops and matures.
Kids on the autism spectrum possess a unique set of attitudes and behaviors:
Social Skills— Social conventions are a confusing maze

 

 

Source: My Aspergers Child: Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism


A widely used questionnaire designed to measure anxiety flags the condition in children with autism.

Source: Standard scale identifies anxiety in children with autism | Spectrum | Autism Research News

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