I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Alec Baldwin's Book is creating debate ~ This is good

This article appears on babble.com and you can view all of the comments by clicking on the title above or below.

Alec Baldwin: Good Dad or Man Doing Damage Control?

Posted by Jen Chaney

Alec Baldwin is the new poster boy for divorced fatherhood. You may have read the recent New Yorker profile or seen his interview with Diane Sawyer on "20/20" or spotted this piece on Yahoo! Shine. If so, then you know the "30 Rock" star has written a new book, A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce, that explores his messy split from ex-wife Kim Basinger and its impact on his parenting.

Baldwin says he wants parents, especially fathers, to be aware of the perils of custody battles, divorce court and "Parental Alienation Syndrome," a psychological term that basically means turning a child against the parent who doesn't have custody. Of course, this is also the same guy who left that famous voice mail for daughter Ireland last year, the one where he referred to her as a "thoughtless little pig" because she wasn't answering his scheduled phone calls. He addresses that incident in the interviews as well as the book, and expresses regret about having used such language. And, while it still seems like an extreme reaction, I can understand his perspective a bit more after knowing the hoops the guy has been jumping through to maintain a relationship with his child.

So after having read or seen these interviews -- or perused this excerpt from his book -- do you now think Alec Baldwin is a solid father who has been misunderstood and unfairly characterized by the media? Or do you think he's just trying to rebuild his image in the wake of Voicemail Gate?

My sense is that he genuinely does want to do right by his daughter and that the voice mail was an unfortunate incident for which, seemingly, Ireland has granted him forgiveness.The one thing that gives me some pause, though, is that he wrote this book. Baldwin may genuinely feel that he is doing a service to other parents in the same situation. But if he really wants a normal, private relationship with his kid, I wonder whether it makes sense to delve into all these details in such a widely publicized manner. Undoubtedly there is some ego at work here, too. And when ego gets involved, sometimes it can be hard for any of us to objectively see whether our actions, including writing so publicly about a custody battle, are really the best thing for our children.

Image: Macmillan

About Jen Chaney

Jen Chaney is the movies editor and a DVD columnist for washingtonpost.com. Her byline has appeared in The Washington Post, People magazine, USA Today and the Utne Reader as well as various other newspapers around the country. She is the mother of a one-year-old boy, who has not yet learned the word Xanadu. But he will. Trust us, he will. Lisa Brigham said:

I just want to clarify something. My writing in a previous comment about "her days are numbered" was not a threat. My husbands kids have been asked to write about their experience in a divorce/mixed family. Within those pages the alienating parent will be exposed. Some of us actually want to help... not attack. However; when accusations fly...I have learned to stand up for the truth and not be forced to back down.

September 23, 2008 3:36 PM

Knitty said:

Oh Roberta, there's nothing wrong with my sense of smell. I can, for example, discern scent of roses from that of utter bullshit.

A person can't be driven to do anything that wasn't in their character to being with. If you decide to "snap," then you'll be spending the rest of your life in prison, and good luck on finding a jury to buy "daddy was alienated" as a valid excuse.

There is NO excuse for violence.

September 23, 2008 6:26 PM

Mike Murphy said:

Knitty you are easy to read. You have your mind made up and don't bother me with the facts. You obviously have great self control and have never sat across a restaurant table being continuously insulted by your alienated children who you raised. You even have uttered an epithet in your description to Roberta. Now that is most excellent self control. If you think you are losing control of a situation does that cause you to become "miffed."

Read Dr. Richard Warshaks "Divorce Poison" and many other recent professional assessments of Parental Alienation. You remind me of all those religious zealots who didn't believe the world was round way back in the day and in their zeal pilloried those who would dare try to break the silence to reveal the truth. PA is real, it exists, it is abuse and it is torture. Mr. Baldwin is taking this abusive use of children and target partners out of the closet for those, such as yourself, who need to know about it but more importantly law makers and targeted parents caught up in a misandric and dysfunctional family law legal system.

You should feel lucky that your own flesh and blood hasn't turned on you because then you would know what it is like to walk in Mr. Baldwin's shoes - and mine. What kind of parent releases the message left by Mr. Baldwin and exposes their child to people like you and literally billions of others worldwide. Where is your angst toward this kind of person. You haven't been able to recognize that part of the issue because you are so caught up in vilifying a man. Is that the key - he's a man - and intrinsically violent? Because you refuse to see the tremendous emotional toll this takes on the child and target parent you unwittingly become an enabler to those abusers who think of children as nothing more than pawns in their war against the target spouse be they male or female.

September 23, 2008 8:23 PM

Theresa Martin said:

A BIG thank you to Mr. Baldwin for having the courage to overcome opposition and bring this behavioral form of child abuse to the mainstream. His heart-wrenching experiences relating to the inalienable right to be a father to his own child is felt worldwide.

My sincere appreciation to Alec Baldwin for doing 'whatever it takes' to be a good example to his daughter, Ireland. As each one of us is imperfect and all come from dysfunctional families, the proper way to handle any situation is always with love and persistence. Children love unconditionally and parents are obligated to teach honor and respect. My advice to anyone dealing with high-conflict custody's is to remain firm in your character and remember WHO it is you really answer to.

For those who point fingers at Mr. Baldwin in an effort to discredit his love for his daughter -- shame on you!

September 23, 2008 11:12 PM

notwithouthope said:

I have read all of the comments and they are very similar to how it is when alienation begins. Everything is about mud slinging, then placing blame, taking things out of context, calling names and then BAM your alienated and one side is turned against you and one side understands. No it isn't fair or right for that child to have been talked to the way she was by her dad, no matter what. No excuses. It also isn't fair or right that her mom sent the messages out to the world either, for her own gain. They both showed no thought for how this child could have felt or continues to feel. It's not just about the parent's rights it's about the children not having the right, benefit or even a Privelage to have both parent's without the fighting, anger, hate, sabotage and being completely destroyed by the someone they love.

I am alienated and as angry, sad, disgusted and heartbroken I have been through this, I have never talked to my kids that way. Does that make me better? No just more thoughtful of how damaged my children already are. Why add to it? I am sure that Kim and Alec are doing a fine job together in destroying this childs life, they are both to blame. I am sure their marriage was rittled with major problems prior to this coming from both sides, this just magnifies it. Murder or Suicide is the worst form of alienation there is. I don't think PAS drives people to do it. I think an in- ability to process ones hate, anger, sadness and not knowing how to problem solve does. PAS does cause alot of emotional damage for all involved, but if we love our children and are willing to see this as damaging why not all of the above? America needs to wake up and see what is happening to our children through all of this.

September 24, 2008 12:19 AM

The following comments were left on ABC News with respect to the 20/20 interview. The View had Mr. Baldwin on today and it was excellent. The had a woman on as well who had been alienated from her children by her husband. It can happen either way. I'm always interested in the radical feminist response to PA when a woman is the target. Is it still "junk science?"

The response page for ABC News is here: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/comments?type=story&id=5832850

To all the naysayers who have posted: Read Dr. Richard Warshaks "Divorce Poison" and Dr. Amy Baker's assessments of Parental Alienation.They look at it from different perspectives. Mr. Baldwin is taking this abusive use of children and target partners out of the closet for those who don't believe in PA who need to know about it. More importantly law makers should heed his words not to mention targeted parents caught up in a misandric and dysfunctional family law legal system. Those who discount Mr. Baldwin should feel lucky that your own flesh and blood hasn't turned on you because then you would know what it is like to walk in his shoes - and mine. What kind of parent releases the message left by Mr. Baldwin and exposes their child to literally billions of others worldwide? Where is your angst toward this kind of person? You haven't been able to recognize that part of the issue because you are so caught up in vilifying a man. Is that the key - he's a man - and intrinsically violent? Because you refuse to see the tremendous emotional toll this takes on the child and target parent you unwittingly become an enabler to those abusers who think of children as nothing more than pawns in their war against the target spouse be they male or female. Parental Alienation and its concomitant emotional heartache for those affected is criminal abuse of a child. Anyone who says otherwise is an enabler of abuse. Make no mistake, it is real, it exists and it is criminal. I have no idea what relevance Joan Meier had with her comments. It was no more than radical feminist boilerplate which they all use and has no foundation with facts. She gave no attribution for those remarks and seems out of touch with the real world as it applies to family law. If Dr. Fink made those remarks that PA is junk science he is a disgrace to his profession.

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