The abuse of the child’s voice in high conflict separation

Recently a Scottish court denied the existence of parental alienation. And this article from a retired child psychiatrist is a response to the head of Relationships Scotland Family Mediation services, Roseanne Cubitt.

Ms Cubitt believes “…children want to be involved in decisions that affect them.”.

This article demonstrates that children as a rule do not want to be involved in these decisions. I believe this as well. How on Earth can any professional want to ask a child what parent they want to live with for instance.

My children talked to the judge, and the judge ignored what they said, as it was not the language and reasoning a child of that age would use. They were obviously briefed beforehand on what to say, and he said as much in court.

So my take for what it is worth – listen to the children, but do not assume they are actually speaking their own mind. Young children are malleable – this is the whole point behind the concept of parental alienation.

the alienation experience

Here in Scotland, Relationships Scotland (RS) held an event on the Voice of the Child in Separation and Divorce (June 2017). Professor Jenn McIntosh presented her work. She is a researcher and child inclusive practitioner from Australia. Professionals from a wide range of agencies heard about best practice from other parts of the world.

Here and across the world ‘the voice of the child’ is a hugely important issue. Head of RS’s Family Mediation services, Roseanne Cubitt, writing in the Scotsman and on RS’s own blog. Here’s my – Nick Child’s – response:

Hi Roseanne

Thanks for your event and the article in the Scotsman.  I’d like to comment wearing the hat of a retired child psychiatrist and family therapist, and with a special interest in high conflict separating families, from long ago and more recently – and a wider interest in the similarity of harmful coercive patterns in families and…

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