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Parent/Child Contact Problems Between Separated Parents

January 14, 2018

(My response to the Washington Post article, They were taken from their mom to rebond with their dad. It didn’t go well.)

Sometimes the issue is him. Sometimes the issue is her. Sometimes the issue is him AND her.

I do see people who are violent and I do see people who have remarkably distorted views and act inappropriately even though consistent with those distorted views. Sometimes such people do have children together. Sometimes the situation involves only one parent with a serious problem whose problem affects the other parent and children.

All I know, these are the most challenging of cases and the disputes are so significant that even those of us who seek to help can wind up tarnished in the aftermath.

I remember a psychiatrist colleague in the 1980’s at the children’s mental health center where I was employed saying our success rate with the seriously disturbed kids we were treating then was abysmally low. Thousands of dollars were spent on treatment with public money. No one called us gold-diggers though and no one said we were only seeking to help them to line our own pockets.

These days our treatment in support of helping separated parents where there is conflict over the relationship and access of the children between them remain unsuccessful too. However, we are asked to wade in. We are asked for the best our judgement and expertise may provide.

Because of the intensity of the opposing views, we are bound to frustrate to the point of anger those people where our views do not align with their own. Then we too are vilified.

I don’t for a minute think the term Parental Alienation is the issue as it is made out to be.

The issue remains that in the dispute over child/parent contact, we the professionals and courts may never know with full certainty that which transpires privately. Further, we may never satisfy with one decision people who present with such opposing views. Thus complaints will be made, rightly or wrongly.

Everyone involved is at risk of harm in these circumstances. The kids, the parents and those who had sought to be helpful.

My heart goes out to those who find themselves in these circumstances.

I no longer wade into these court battles. I will teach how to live more peacefully to those who are amenable. Sadly, no guarantees. Please don’t tell me I am in it for the money.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW for counseling and support – to build your successful practice


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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

One Comment
  1. daveyone1 permalink

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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