Caught Between Parents/ Supporting children through the challenges of divorce-by Amy J.L. Baker, Ph.D
Mindfulness as a Tool
As PMA International has posted before, we prefer the term DV by Proxy to explain the manipulations an abuser parent uses to teach the child to reject the protective parent. We prefer this term because;
1. It more accurately depicts the actions taken by the abuser parent towards the child
2. There has been a lot of misinformation about parental alienation circulating the internet and beyond.
3. The term parental alienation and /or parental alienation syndrome has been use as a legal defense for abusive dads in family court. Most often this term has been used by the attorneys of dads who sexual abuse their children. This defense is used – most often- by attorneys in family court for the purpose of deflecting blame from the criminal actions of their client onto the protective mother.
4 The result of the above has frequently been, abusers winning custody due to this misuse of the term.
Because the term is so emotionally charge for protective mothers, and for all the reasons above, we feel DV by Proxy is a better choice. Please keep in mind others still use the term Parental Alienation. Since PMA International did not author the piece, the term parental alienation or alienation may be used.
Mindfulness is defined as a state of being present and open to the moment by moment experience of your life. It means engaging in your life as a fully awake and aware person and as much as much being attuned to the people with whom you interact.
Mindfulness can be particularly helpful for the targeted parent because it could:
…help you remain clear and calm in times of stress through awareness of and attunement to your own state of mind and body. You can also gain clarity and calmness through breathing and meditation practice.
… help you be present when interacting with your children rather than being consumed with and distracted by thoughts and feelings about the past or present which can take you away from appreciating and engaging with your child.
…help you accept the imperfections in yourself and the world so that you are not overwhelmed with feelings of shame in your own limitations or with feelings of frustration and anger at the injustice of your situation.
…help you forgive your children for betraying you and themselves so that you can keep your heart open to them despite their engagement in behaviors that hurt or sadden you.
…help you make more active and conscious choices in your parenting in order to avoid discipline that could entrench the alienation against you.
… help you engage in active listening of your child which can deepen and strengthen your relationship.
As a co-parent “under fire” you will need all the help you can get to remain calm in the face of attack and insult, to remain generous of spirit and true to your best self, and to cultivate compassion in your child and you. Consider mindfulness one source of that help.