The Voice of the Child has become a world wide phenomenon in which the wishes and feelings of children are sought in the family courts, in matters concerning the care of a child and in areas of hea…
Practitioners working with children aged 13-18 years may observe some of the key features described in the previous section. Getting help for the child and family as early as possible gives the best chance of a good outcome. Neglect and emotional abuse are often not recognised in teenagers and even where they are they may not be taken seriously by professionals. Not much is known about their personal experiences, as there is a lack of research which identifies the feelings, or experiences of this population. Many of the behaviours exhibited by emotionally abused or neglected teenagers may be interpreted by others as a lifestyle choice or ‘acting out’ when they may in fact be an indicator of neglect or emotional abuse. Consequently their conduct may lead them to enter the juvenile justice system rather than the child protection system. A better understanding of teenage neglect and emotional abuse may enable teenagers to access appropriate and timely help.
• All practitioners coming into contact with teenagers who exhibit the behaviours and issues above must actively consider neglect or emotional maltreatment, rather than simply addressing the problems they present, such as alcohol use.
• Remember, teenagers who have experienced neglect or emotional abuse may be particularly vulnerable to other forms of victimisation; therefore appropriate action should be taken.
• A sensitive exploration of teenagers’ experiences may help professionals understand their situation, and allow the teenagers to access appropriate support themselves.
• Hospital emergency departments and mental health providers need to be particularly aware that teenagers, especially the victims of violence, may be experiencing neglect or emotional maltreatment.
While early recognition and intervention are vital, it is never too late to help a child or teenager. If concerns about possible neglect or emotional abuse arise it is important you take action as soon as possible regardless of the age of the teenager.
If you have a concern you can call the police, social services or the NSPCC (0808 800 5000). And remember that children can contact ChildLine 24/7 (0800 1111; childline.org.uk).
Historically, child protection has been commonly perceived to be a matter of concern to professionals in specialized social service, health, mental health, and justice systems. However, Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal also welcomes contributors and readers interested in children’s safety in the settings of everyday life – homes, day care centers, schools, playgrounds, youth clubs, health clinics, places of worship, and so forth. Child Abuse & Neglect also invites the engagement of other social scientists (e.g., anthropologists, economists, historians, planners, political scientists, and sociologists) and humanists (e.g., ethicists, legal scholars, political theorists, and theologians) whose studies may contribute to an understanding of (a) the evolution of concepts of – and strategies for – child protection and (b) the responsibilities of individual adults and the institutions of which they are a part to ensure children’s safety and their humane care.
Limited by neither geography, profession, nor setting, the readers of Child Abuse & Neglect have diverse education, experience, interests, and needs for information. Accordingly, the journal seeks the expression of authors’ ideas and their empirical findings clearly and cogently, so that articles are accessible to a broad audience. The journal also expects authors to approach problems of child abuse and neglect with a level of care commensurate with the fundamental importance of children’s rights to the protection of their personal security, the promotion of their sense of dignity, and the assurance of love and respect in the relationships most important to them.
Toward those ends, Child Abuse & Neglect invites research and commentary on the following topics, among others:
•the conditions that foster or threaten children’s safety and sense of personal security in their homes and other settings of everyday life;
•the conditions that enable or hinder parents’, extended family members’, other caregivers’, and other community members’ efforts to ensure children’s personal security;
•programs and practices to facilitate children’s protection from harms or wrongs, their recovery from violations of their personal security, or both;
•community, societal, and international systems to promote children’s safety, enhance the quality of their care, and/or facilitate the mitigation of harms and wrongs that they may suffer;
•children’s, parents’, and other caregivers’ own experiences, attitudes, and beliefs in regard to all of these topics.
Child Abuse & Neglect recognizes that child protection is a global concern and that the state of the art continues to evolve. Accordingly, the journal is intended to be useful to scholars, policymakers, concerned citizens, and professional practitioners in countries that are diverse in wealth, culture, and the nature of their formal child protection system. Thus Child Abuse & Neglect welcomes contributions grounded in the traditions of particular cultures and settings. However, international and cross-cultural studies and commentary are of special interest.
Emotion recognition and empathy
A large body of research suggests that psychopathy is associated with atypical responses to distress cues (e.g. facial and vocal expressions of fear and sadness), including decreased activation of the fusiform and extrastriate cortical regions, which may partly account for impaired recognition of and reduced autonomic responsiveness to expressions of fear, and impairments of empathy. The underlying biological surfaces for processing expressions of happiness are functionally intact in psychopaths, although less responsive than those of controls. The neuroimaging literature is unclear as to whether deficits are specific to particular emotions such as fear. Some recent fMRI studies have reported that emotion perception deficits in psychopathy are pervasive across emotions (positives and negatives). Studies on children with psychopathic tendencies have also shown such associations. Meta-analyses have also found evidence of impairments in both vocal and facial emotional recognition for several emotions (i.e., not only fear and sadness) in both adults and children/adolescents.
A recent study using offenders with psychopathy found that under certain circumstances they could willfully empathize with others. Functional neuroimaging was performed while the subjects were watching videos of a person harming another individual. While reduced empathic brain activation relative to the controls was observed in the control condition, the empathic reaction of the psychopathic offenders initiated the same way it did for controls when they were instructed to empathize with the harmed individual, and the area of the brain relating to pain was activated when the psychopathic offenders were asked to imagine how the harmed individual felt. The research suggests that individuals with psychopathy could switch empathy on at will, which would enable them to be both callous as well as charming. The team who conducted the study say it is still unknown how to transform this willful empathy into the spontaneous empathy most people have, though they propose it could be possible to bring psychopaths closer to rehabilitation by helping them to activate their “empathy switch”. Others suggested that despite the results of the study, it remained unclear whether the experience of empathy by these psychopathic individuals was the same as that of controls, and also questioned the possibility of devising therapeutic interventions that would make the empathic reactions more automatic.
Work conducted by Jean Decety with large samples of incarcerated offenders with psychopathy offers additional insights. In one study, the offenders were scanned while viewing video clips depicting people being intentionally hurt. They were also tested on their responses to seeing short videos of facial expressions of pain. The participants in the high-psychopathy group exhibited significantly less activation in theventromedial prefrontal cortex, amygdala and periaqueductal gray parts of the brain, but more activity in the striatum and the insula when compared to control participants. In a second study, the subjects with psychopathy exhibited a strong response in pain-affective brain regions when taking an imagine-self perspective, but failed to recruit the neural circuits that were activated in controls during an imagine-other perspective—in particular the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and amygdala—which may contribute to their lack of empathic concern.
Despite studies suggesting deficits in emotion perception and imagining others in pain, professor Simon Baron-Cohen claims psychopathy is associated with intact cognitive empathy, which would imply an intact ability to read and respond to behaviors, social cues and what others are feeling. Psychopathy is, however, associated with impairment in the other major component of empathy—affective (emotional) empathy—which includes the ability to feel the suffering and emotions of others (what scientists would term as emotional contagion), and those with the condition are therefore not distressed by the suffering of their victims. Those with autism, on the other hand, often are impaired in both the affective and cognitive facets of empathy.
Fear, Obligation And Guilt: How We Allow Loved Ones To Control Us
In their 1997 book, Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You, authors Susan Forward, Ph.D. and Donna Frazier state that “emotional blackmail is a powerful form of manipulation in which people close to us threaten to punish us for not doing what they want. Emotional blackmailers know how much we value our relationships with them. They know our vulnerabilities and our deepest secrets. They can be our parents or partners, bosses or coworkers, friends or lovers. No matter how much they care about us, they use this intimate knowledge to win our compliance.” According to Forward and Frazier, fear, obligation and guilt (“FOG”) are the tools of emotional manipulators.
“Emotional Blackmail” and “FOG”, terms coined by psychotherapist Susan Forward, Ph.D., are about controlling relationships and the theory that fear, obligation or guilt (“FOG”) are the transactional dynamics at play between the controller and the person being controlled. Understanding these dynamics are useful to anyone trying to extricate themselves from the controlling behavior by another person and deal with their own compulsions to do things that are uncomfortable, undesirable, burdensome, or self-sacrificing for others.
Trainee Prize Award Winner
Psychopathology and theconceptualisation of mental disorder:The debate around the inclusion of Parental Alienation in DSM-5
Content and Focus:
This paper will briefly consider the general conceptualisation of mental disorder before focusing on the specific case of Parental Alienation (PA), variously termed a disorder or a syndrome.By virtue of the recent debate surrounding its potential inclusion in the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), this is a topical example. A critical analysis of the petition for its inclusion within DSM-5 will both highlight the range of professionals’ views, and also consider ethical and practical issues inherent in the conceptualisation of a mental disorder and its classification within the evolving DSM. Following this general and specific conceptualisation of mental disorder, the tensions that diagnosis raises for counselling psychology will be briefly deliberated. The positive aspects of classification and diagnosis will be acknowledged, whilst highlighting the focus on the subjective experience of individual clients.
Despite the controversy about the concept, validity and reliability of PA, the evidence suggests that there is more agreement than disagreement among practitioners and professionals in the field. Whilst there is a general consensus that alienation exists within a distinct population who would benefit from intervention, there is no consensus on its inclusion in DSM-5. Irrespective of its inclusion in any nosology,the recent debate has highlighted the need for further research. A greater understanding of the processes,symptoms and behaviours involved in PA will enable the needs of children and families involved in high- conflict separation to be better addressed.
Parental Alienation and Parental Kidnap infringe upon the rights of the child to know of its parentage and also exposes the child to potential emotional difficulties in later life, if the child is ever reconciled with the truth. Parental Alienation and Parental Kidnap serves only the emotional desires and wishes [not needs] of the custodial spouse, over the rights, needs and well-being of both the child and of the absent spouse and so, this is not prioritising the protection and the well-being of the child and is therefore in our opinion, a direct form of legalised child abuse.
CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO VOTE
Parental alienation should not be confused with parental alienation syndrome (PAS) as one is the act of and the other is the result of and in Australia many courts refer to parental alienation as “alignment”, parental alienation must have been practiced to have alignment happen.
Parental Alienation is the act of a parent or person coaching/convincing the Children to “break away” from the other parent by way of brainwashing the Children into thinking badly of the targeted Parent often to the point of them refusing to having anything or little to do with that parent, in most cases the Children actually not only believe the words of the Alienator unconditionally at the time but are also coached in such a way as to believe that it is themselves that have made the decission to not love or want to see the other Parent.
Alienators are cunning in their ways and will do almost anything to achieve their goal and this often includes making false allegations of harm to the Children supposedly by the targeted parent that in most cases involves expensive court time and much stress, some targeted parents even give up the fight due to not having the means to meet the expense or choosing not to endure the stress and this is what the alienator wants to happen as it usually results in the targeted parent exiting from the lives of the Children.
The alienator claims to love the Children whilst at the same time their actions are significantly detracting from the Childrens rights, best interests and long term emotional stability, the alienator usually does not care about those things, just to reach their perverted goal at almost any cost, they are acomplished liars and a disgrace to parenthood and there can be many reasons for their actions, mostly perverted and or extremely selfish.
The alienators in most cases know all to well what they are doing to the children and to the targeted parent but once they start they are driven to continue, even into becomming obsessive against the targeted parent … all at the chidrens cost, alienators will never admit to fault and after some time can even believe themselves that they are not at fault, many even exhibit the signs of various disorders but refuse the sugestions, even professional, indicating such, some back off when they have acieved their goals and others continue for years but in their own minds they are the innocent ones but one thing does not change and that is they are emotionally abusing the children, they are abusing their own children.
The children are “under the spell” of the alienator and especially when young, follow all direction from and adopt all the opinions of the alienator and it is important to remember that … whatever the children do or say it is not of their own free mind, it is what they are coached/instructed into saying and doing and it is only when they are mature enough that, with or without intervention, they have any chance of working out the truth and discovering their own thoughts and feelings.
Dr. Douglas Darnall in his book Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children from Parental Alienation, describes three categories of PA:
MILD: Naïve alienators
Naïve alienators are ignorant of what they are doing and are willing to be educated and change.
MODERATE: Active alienators
When triggered, active alienators lose control of appropriate boundaries. They go ballistic. When they calm down, they don’t want to admit that they were out of control.
SEVERE: Obsessed alienators
Obsessed alienators operate from a delusional system where every cell of their body is committed to destroying the other parent’s relationship with the child.
In the case of the Obsessed alienator, no treatment exists other than removing the child from their influence.
Here are some scenarios that could be by themselves issues or combined together to make these alienators who they are and why they do what they do.
- The alienator is so filled with anger, rage and hatred that they cannot see any further past that and their whole entire world is wrapped around making sure the other person hurts as much as they do. It is like they are blinded by their anger and hatred.
- They were raised in a home where one of their parents was an alienator and it is the only thing they know about relationships, that is one person controls everyone and if you do not have control, then you are nothing. So they would not know how to have a relationship any other way nor would they know how to handle it any other way when they loose control over everyone, because to not be in total control means that you are a looser.
- The alienator could have such low self-esteem that anyone putting them down or any inference that anything they were involved in was a failure, such as their marriage, would set them off, fighting to defend their honour and reputation. They are so protective of their image, that they will do anything to make sure that they stay looking like the perfect person and destroy everyone else around them to maintain that image.
- The alienators own parents put them down constantly and told them they would never amount to much and when their own marriage fails, they are desperate to prove their parents were wrong and will do anything to make it look like it was not their fault.
- The alienator’s have warped views of themselves from low self- esteem issues. It puts them in such a fragile state of fear that they are no good unless they are seen as all good.
- The alienator cannot accept responsibility for their actions and blame them on everyone else because how could they possibly be wrong. Everyone else is wrong.
- The alienator is so narcissistic in their beliefs that they are never wrong, to protect that image, they must make sure that they are always on top and that it is everyone’s problem or fault.
- The alienator was never taught to take responsibility for their own actions and to be humble when they have made a mistake. They were raised that they could do no wrong, just like their own parent/s could do not wrong and thus it is everyone else who is wrong and so Instead they were raised to blame everyone else for their mistakes.
- The alienator is so terrified of loosing their children that they have to paint this perfect picture of themselves and make the other person look so bad, to ensure that they do not loose their children and control.
- The alienator is so terrified that they are not lovable that they force others to love them.
- The alienator is not a real good sharer. In other words, they do not know how to share love and happiness. Maybe because they had to share their parents and never got to understand that sharing is a good thing and feels really good to do.
- The alienator often believes that by gaining total control of the children prior to any property settlement that they will benefit financially from same and that they will recieve maximum ongoing financial support from agencies like child support and social security should they have significant custody of the children.
- It is usually the alienator that ends the relationship with the other parent and looks to justify their decission to friends and family by making out the other parent was at fault and not worthy of any consideration in the process, they cannot accept responsability for their own actions.
- The alienator may have a disorder such as borderline personality disorder.