When they are old enough!!

The statement you really don’t want to here.

“When they’re old enough they’ll get tired of the mind games of the other parent, and they’ll choose to be with you”.  or “At thirteen they can decide for themselves who they want to live with.  Just wait. They’ll choose you.”

I think I’ve heard it a million times from well-meaning friends and family.  I think I’ve seen it a million times posted on blogs or comments on Facebook pages that deal with Parental Alienation.

I absolutely know that every time it has been said, it has been said with the utmost sincerity and desire to make a targeted parent feel better. But the last thing a targeted parent needs to hear, or worse yet to believe, is:

“When they’re old enough they’ll get tired of the mind games of the other parent, and they’ll choose to be with you”.  or “At thirteen they can decide for themselves who they want to live with.  Just wait. They’ll choose you.”

Every time this has been said to me, I’ve managed to falsify out a smile, nod my head, and say “Thanks.  I hope so.” Every time I see it written about in a comment to a blog or Facebook post I just want to say “NO!! If you’re being alienated then the children, in all likelihood, won’t choose to leave the alienating parent and live with you.  They may WANT to, but they won’t be ABLE to because of the emotionally abusive mind control that their parent has over them.”

In the early years I really did hope that when my son & daughter are  teens they will choose to come and live with me.  But as time went on and the control my children’s mother had over them would became more apparent, I knew that the likelihood of that ever happening would be pretty slim.  I even made the mistake early on of retreating a bit, to allow them the freedom to “choose”, as if they had the emotional maturity or strength to make such  life changing decisions while under the strong influence of a domineering mother.  Not that my children are in any way  immature for their ages, or unable to comprehend and weigh two sides of a situation.  But they are still  teenagers.  Teenagers just do not have the life experience nor the brain chemistry to deal with such a huge life altering decision.  Add to that the fact that every decision they will try to make in their lives regarding me has been influenced by a mother who desires to have me removed completely from their lives, and the decision they will make is obvious.  It should never even have been an option for them.

So, if you are, or suspect you are, being targeted by an alienating parent and someone tells you “When they’re old enough…” just nod and smile and say thanks.  But under no circumstances believe it, or rely on that happening in your case.  Don’t push for your children to have a say in the outcome of a court decision regarding custody or access.  That is just playing right into the alienating parent’s trap.  Respect your children’s wishes, but work to protect them from being placed into a position where they have only one viable option (in their view) that will NOT be what you want.Behave in a way that would make your children want to be with you, but don’t sit back and wait for them  to decide.

Generally the law provides that older children have the right to be heard in a legal matter dealing with which parent they will live, but no where is it required that the court allow their decision-making powers to rest solely on the wishes of a child.  In a situation of an acrimonious separation or possible parental alienation, it is downright irresponsible for a lawyer, judge, therapist or child protection worker to place that enormous responsibility on a child or teenager.  In my opinion, it is contributing to the abuse of that child.

Asking a child to choose between it’s parents in a family court is child abuse!

If you are a lawyer, judge, therapist or child protection worker, please take the time and make the effort to better understand not only Parental Alienation, but also the workings of a teenage brain.  Consider what outside influences a teen is under from their parents and/or other family members, before resting your entire decision on the wishes of a youth in an emotionally abusive situation.  It is your duty to do what is in the best interests of the child, not what is easiest and quickest to get out of the court system.

How a teenage brain functions and why.

And finally, if you are a friend, family member, acquaintance, or therapist of someone who is a targeted parent, please refrain from telling them that “when the child is old enough…”  It may be coming from the appropriate desire to make the person feel better or see things in a more positive light, but it is not true, and not helpful.  Instead say something like “That must be terrible for you.  I hope that something changes some day so you can have your relationship with your child back again.”  It’s enough to know that you are trying to understand what we are going through, and want the best outcome for us and our children.  But we don’t need to be told to believe something that will most likely never happen.

References and thank you to the writer of this piece.

Reblogged with permission.




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