Some dads do it tough at Christmas

Many dads miss out at Christmas. Photo Eve Jeffery.

Many dads miss out on their children out at Christmas – but more importantly, their kids miss out on them.

Story & photos Eve Jeffery

Christmas can be a very emotional and lonely time for many people. Especially for fathers who the court has ruled unfit or in circumstances too impractical for them to spend even a few moments with the people they love the most – their kids.

It is estimated that up to 21 men every week take their own lives because the distress and loss of becoming alienated from their children becomes unbearable.

Exonerated by the legal system but false accusations from their ex-partners keep these dads from their kids, even at Christmas. Photo Eve Jeffery

Exonerated by the legal system but false accusations from their ex-partners keep these dads from their kids, even at Christmas. Photo Eve Jeffery

Last week The Echo met with a group of men who say that, even though they have been exonerated by the legal system, the false accusations from their ex-partners in relation to their children have done irreparable damage to their kids and their ability to have fair access. Though there are also women who are kept from their children, the vast majority of parents who are separated from their families are men who suffer terribly in a largely gender-biased system.

These four men, who between them have been kept apart from ten children between the ages of three and 15 for a total of almost 20 years, say they have been falsely accused of everything from sexual violence toward their offspring to domestic abuse of their ex-spouses, their families and their ex’s new partners.


Christmas gifts that one dad has been waiting since 2013 to give to his daughter.

Alientaed-Dad's-Photo-Eve-Jeffery-9W6A4499One of the dad’s ‘access’ is a solicitor’s post box, to which he can send a Christmas, Easter and birthday card – tokens that he says end up in the bin before his child sees them. This helps create, according to Richard A Gardner, who coined the term, Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a disorder in which a child, on an ongoing basis, belittles and insults one parent without justification owing to a combination of factors, including indoctrination by the other parent.

Spokesman for the group Alex (not his real name) says that the system is all too willing to listen to the word of a mother over that of a father and when lies – up to and including the manipulation of expert witnesses – prove false, the women are not ­being punished by the court.

When added to constant and often inexhaustible requests for financial support for children they never get to see, this is, in hundreds of cases a year, the last straw.

The system is not always easy, circumstances are not always cut and dry and the ones who are missing out the most are the kids.

If you need help with getting access to your children, please visit these websites: Children in Crisis –the Family Law Reform Coalition or the Eeny Meeny Miney Mo Foundation.

11 responses to “Some dads do it tough at Christmas”

  1. Peter says:

    7 suicides daily in australua. 5 are men and roughly 2/3 are due to children custody matter.

    • Richard Grenville says:

      Completely untrue. Produce just one Coroner’s Inquest Report which states any father committed suicide because he had no contact with his children. The major reasons for male suicides from studies are mental illness, loss of employment, loss of position/ status etc. Stop peddling this nonsense and mythology.

  2. This story, which is short, sad, and very true, explains how parental alienation plays out during the Christmas season. If readers know an alienated parent, give them extra support during this difficult, painful time.

    • Richard Grenville says:

      In the vast majority of instances, alienation of a parent from their children is self-induced, usually as a consequence of the violent, abusive behaviours towards their children and the other parent.

  3. Single parent says:

    If a court has made a ruling against a parent it is for very good reason. These decisions are not reached lightly and it is difficult on everyone. This article is very unprofessional and inflammatory!
    I’m disappointed to read such biased reporting. Injustices occur for many but to say that a woman can make up accusations is irresponsible!

  4. Ebony Purnell says:

    I feel so deeply for men are in this position, some men do not deserve to have contact with their kids, but most, in difficult positions do! I would have not wanted to have any contact with my own dad because he is no good on too many levels. That’s why I want as many dad’s who are ok to have access regardless of the situation they find themselves in.
    When dad’s really wanting to be involved then it takes a women who is willing to make sure the connection between their kids happen.
    Please do the right thing by your children even if things have been hard during a brake up or arrangements are hard.
    Try and find a way to meet with their Dad, for the sake of the kids, at some point during the Christmas week! It is worth It and may save trauma later!
    Just thinking about what is right for your family situation is the best way forward!

  5. Lucy says:

    I agree with ‘single parent’s’ comment above. If a court makes a ruling against a parent it is for a very good reason that is in the child’s best interests. I am shocked that the journalist writes about “Parental Alienation Syndrome” without researching this term. This is junk science at it’s worst with no peer reviewed statistical data to back it up.. It was a term coined by Richard Gardner – a psychiatrist with paedophilic tendencies who committed suicide in 2003. The term “Parental Alienation Syndrome” is not even allowed in the Family Court of Australia.

    Jess Hill – this Year’s Walkley Award winning journalist published an article titled “Suffer the Children” in “THE MONTHLY’ Magazine November 2015 that provides a comprehensive report into what is really going on in the Family Courts of Australia…/jess-hill/suffer-children

  6. Jason Hofer says:

    “Parental alienation” is a real problem and our family is suffering from it. The biggest problem is that legal and mental health professionals cannot tell the difference between a child who is authentically rejecting a parent and one who has been manipulated and exploited into rejecting a parent. If they could make that distinction, there would no longer be any controversy.

    There is a psychologist in California who has spent the last seven years studying “parental alienation” from the ground up. He has found that it is composed entirely of pathologies that already exist in the current mainstream psychological literature. The proper clinical name for it is “pathogenic parenting”, which is defined as “parenting behavior that is so aberrant and deviant so as to create/induce a psychopathology in the child”. The revolutionary aspect of this is that, using this model for “pathogenic parenting”, therapists *can* tell the difference between an authentic child and a manipulated child.

    Children who are being abusively manipulated into rejecting a parent will always display the following three textbook psychological symptoms:

    1. Attachment System Suppression: The child initiates a *complete* cut-off of a relationship with a loving, normal-range, non-abusive parent.

    2. Personality Disorder Symptoms: The child presents with a narcissistic and/or borderline personality disorder, but *only* in regard to the rejected parent. The five narcissistic personality disorder traits that must be present in the child’s symptom display are:

    – Grandiosity: The child sits in a grandiose position of judgement of the targeted parent as both a parent and as a person.

    – Absence of Empathy: The child displays a complete absence of empathy and compassion for the targeted parent.

    – Entitlement: The child expresses an entitled belief that the child’s every desire should be met by the targeted-rejected parent to the child’s satisfaction, and if these entitled expectations are not met to the child’s satisfaction then the child feels entitled to exact a retaliatory revenge on the targeted parent

    – Haughty and Arrogant Attitude: The child displays an arrogant attitude of haughty contempt and disdain for the targeted parent.

    – Splitting: The child’s symptoms evidence the pathology of splitting in which the child displays a polarized perception of his or her parents, with the supposedly favored parent characterized as the ideal all-wonderful parent whereas the targeted parent is characterized as the entirely bad and worthless parent

    It’s also possible that a child may show the following three anxiety symptoms along with or instead of the narcissistic disorder traits:

    – Persistent Unwarranted Fear: The child will display a persistent and unwarranted fear of the targeted-rejected parent that is cued by either the presence of the targeted parent or in anticipation of being in the presence of the targeted parent.

    – Severe Anxiety Response: The presence of the targeted parent almost invariably provokes an anxiety response which can reach the levels of a situationally provoked panic attack.

    – Avoidance of Parent: The child seeks to avoid exposure to the targeted parent due to the situationally provoked anxiety or else endures the presence of the targeted parent with great distress.

    3. Delusional Belief: The child holds to the belief that the rejected parent is a bad and abusive parent, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, and even in hypothetical situations where the cut-off parent is “cured” of being bad.

    Therapists who understand child development know that a child cannot spontaneously develop any of the above symptoms naturally, let alone all three. This combination of symptoms can only be artificially induced in a child by a psychologically abusive person who is close to that child. It then becomes the obligation of the therapist that has made the diagnosis to report this fact to the proper authorities.

    To learn more about this revolutionary new model of “parental alienation”, please read and view Dr. Craig Childress’ work, 90% of which is freely available online:

  7. Richard Grenville says:

    “Father’s Rights are Supreme, Paramount, and Inalienable in the Family Courts”. Irrespective of whatever crimes he has committed (even murder, rape, or paedophilia) and that the children have completely rejected him for his neglect and ill-treatment of them. [Parental Self-Alienation].

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