Thacker: Why don’t you give us a little bit of insight of what really is reunification…what are we trying to reunify and what does that all mean?
Flood: When reunification counseling is ordered, usually there’s a reject and refuse dynamic that’s happening. The children are, for legitimate reasons, not wanting to be around a parent who has been proven to be ineffective, incompetent, abusive, neglectful, having a significant substance abuse problem, mental health issues. The children have, in their experience of that incompetency, pulled away from that parent and the courts have become aware of that. That’s one situation where children are rejecting and refusing.
The other side of that is when there’s an alienation dynamic. And that’s when a child for invalid reasons, unfounded reasons, is rejecting a good enough parent. Where there has been a base rate relationship prior to the divorce, where the children have a reasonable relationship with the father or mother and then in the stress of the divorce the child is rejecting a parent.