When marriages go sour, it is the children of parents seeking divorce, who invariable find themselves in a middle of ugly courtroom proceedings, which amongst other things, decides their custody issues. The interim period, which can drag on for years, gives rise to a lesser known concept of Parental Alienation, where one parent is denied access to meet them.
On Monday, the NCPA forum has over 90 members in Mumbai. Pic/Ajinkya Sawant
It was three years ago, that Manoj Gandhi (40), an executive, employed in a private firm, brought the international movement, NCPA Non-Custodial Parents Association is a forum of mother’s & father’s, which celebrates April 25 as Parental Alienation Day in 25 countries across the globe, to the shores of Mumbai.
On Monday, the forum, which has over ninety members in Mumbai and nearly 500 all over the country, gathered outside the Bandra Family court and took out a car rally all the way to the High Court to create awareness of their plight.
According to Gandhi, most people do not know about dilemma of a parent, who has been denied his or her basic right to meet their own flesh and blood. “We need all the help we can get to educate and make aware to the public the effects of Parental Alienation, which is the process, and the result, of the psychological manipulation of a child (of divorced / separated parents) into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards other (targeted) parent and its family members. For first two years, i could meet my daughter for only four hours in a month. There are worst scenarios than mine, where the case has dragged on for over eight years - the father won the case, but it was challenged and by the time it is decided that child has already become a major”
Another parent, who did not wish to be named, fearing an adverse effect on his ongoing divorce and custody case, alleged that he had ample proof, that the mother, who currently has the custody of their two children has been torturing and brainwashing them against him.
“She has been arrested thrice, under criminal charges of theft ,assault and perjury, for submitting forged documents to the court. Couple of years back, she lock the children in the hose and went out. The flat caught fire and had it not been for the watchman, who raised an alarm to summon the fire brigade, the worst could have happened” he alleged questioning that would such a code of conduct be acceptable, if done by a father.
Further adding that since 2011, when he filed for divorce, on grounds of adultery- the Honrable Court had issued orders that he could meet the children over the weekends and half of their school holiday time, but the order has been repeatedly violated. In the current year I have met them only on four weekends and before that it was during their Diwali vacations, last year. The contempt of court have been filed in July 2015, but the verdict is still awaited “ The family court , interviewed the children and has observed that they have been heavily brainwashed, controlled and influenced by the mother, that they were scared of him and need urgent counseling, but I am totally helpless, owing to non accessibility to them.
“ All we are requesting is that decision is such cases is done at the earlies and secondly if the honorable court passes an order, it should be adhered to strictly by both the parents or invite legal implications” he said.
Psychiatrist Harish Shetty, who has been councilling the alienated parents opined that one need to go being the thoughts and feeling of deprivation to understand the exact dynamics. In many cases the maintenance is not given, once this is taken care of Alienation is reduced.
The non custodial parent have deep-rooted haltered towards the custodial parent and have the attitude of “I will teach you a lesson” on one side. On the other side the custodial Parent also feel that kids are their councilors and cannot imaging the life without them. The children get tangled in the issues between their separated parents.
Those who do get access, do not know how to utilize the time together, to the best. Majority of the time is spent on spying on other parent or showering them with gifts. Very few parents know how to use this time to ensure that the emotional growth of the child is not compromised.
In Parental Alienation, the Child is the real VICTIM, alienated children undergo Anger, Loss or a lack of impulse control in conduct, grief, Loss of self confidence and self esteem, Clinging and separation anxiety, Developing fears and phobias, Depression and suicidal ideation, Sleep disorders, Eating disorders, Low Educational achievements & high drop out rates, Enocopresiss, which is the repeated passing of feces into places other than the toilet and Enuresis which is the repeated passing of urine in places other than the toilet, Drug abuse and self destructive behaviour, Anxiety and panic attacks, Damaged sexual identity problems. Poor peer relationships, Excessive feelings of guilt, lack of trust,. divorce, and alienation from their own children.