Is Fathers Day 2018 Happy For You?

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Photo of a Father and daughter playing

Father's Day 2018 is one day, set aside each year, to honor fathers, celebrate fatherhood, the influence of fathers in our society and the paternal bonds that bind us to our children.

Fathers have been honored and celebrated as far back as the Middle Ages. In the United States, Fathers Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June, or June 17th this year. Therefore, it compliments similar celebrations honoring family members, such as Mothers Day, Siblings Day, and Grandparents Day.

Father’s Day is a day that is happy for many, but also very sad for others. It is easy to see that celebrating your father or being a father and spending time with your children can be a joyous occasion for many. Photo of Sleeping Father and infant

However, there are many parents, both mothers, and fathers, that have been alienated from their children. Studies show that parent alienation occurs in 11-15% of divorces involving children. [source: June 13, 2018]

Therefore, Fathers Day can become a day where both parents and children are reminded of the broken bonds, the estrangement, and the lack of influence in their lives from one of their parents.

Parental alienation is the process, and the result, of psychological manipulation of a child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent or other family members. It is a distinctive form of psychological abuse towards both the child and the rejected family members, that occurs almost exclusively in association with family separation or divorce, particularly where legal action is involved…

No Kid Should Ever Be Stuck In The Middle. Preserve and Protect Your Family. Families Unidted Action Network

Most commonly, the primary cause is a parent wishing to exclude another parent from the life of their child, but other family members or friends, as well as professionals involved with the family (including psychologists, lawyers, and judges), may contribute significantly to the process.

It often leads to long-term, or even permanent, estrangement of a child from one parent and other family members and, as a particularly adverse childhood experience, results in significantly increased lifetime risks of both mental and physical illness.
[source: June 13, 2018]

So, even though you may be celebrating this Fathers Day, please keep in mind that many around you may be hurting and suffering inside.

Please be aware of people around you and recognize the symptoms associated with parental alienation, which are:

  • The child lacks attachment to a parent.
  • In relationship to the alienated parent, the child may display grandiosity, entitlement, an absence of empathy, haughtiness, arrogant behavior and delusional belief systems about a parent being inadequate or abusive.
  • The child may engage in splitting, believing that one parent is entirely good and the other parent is entirely bad or that both are altogether bad. [source: Parental alienation –] 

Obviously, what is quite concerning is the harmful effects parental alienation can have on kids.

It has been linked to anger issues, loss or lack of impulse control, loss of self-confidence and self-esteem, anxiety and panic attacks, developing fears and phobias, educational issues, eating disorders, bed wetting, drug abuse, self-destructive behavior, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, damaged sexual identity problems, poor peer relationships, excessive feelings of guilt, depression and suicidal ideations. Some experts have even call parental alienation a threat to public health. [source: June 13, 2018]

Once children exhibit these behaviors, the damage is done. Prevention is critical as it is easier to stop children from becoming alienated than it is to undo the alienation once the children have adopted false ideas and feelings about the rejected parent.

For this reason, parents who are concerned about the use of alienation strategies on the part of the other parent should become educated as quickly as possible about different options for responding to parental alienation. [source: June 13, 2018]

Further, it is essential to push for a shared parenting arrangement in a divorce or custody battle as it has been identified as the healthiest post-divorce arrangement for children.

If you feel you are being alienated from your child, here are a few tips to help you fight back and demonstrate parental alienation to the court:

  1. Keep a journal
  2. Ask to see your child(ren) in writing (text or email)
  3. Seek counseling (invite your child and ex to attend with you)
  4. Remain persistent
  5. Speak with an attorney about filing a contempt or custody modification action
  6. Speak with your legislators about your personal story, the effects of parent alienation, and the need for shared parenting as the rebuttable presumption in dissolution and custody cases. [source: 4 Tips To Fight Against Parental Alienation | Cordell ….]  

Photo of a soon to be Dad listening to Mommy's tummy


This article is a guest submission by Jeff Janssen of Carlisle, Iowa. DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in guest posts, are the personal opinions of the author. They may or may not reflect the views of Families United Action Network (FUAN) or its individual members. Note that submissions may be edited for clarity if needed. 

Photo of Jeff Janssen

Jeff Janssen, his wife, Sarah, and their seven children live in Carlisle, Iowa. They have been active members of Walnut Creek Church since 2009 and have participated in a number of international mission trips as well as missions within our state and community. Jeff was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1987 and has lived in central Iowa ever since.

Jeff received his undergraduate education at Drake University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Accounting and Entrepreneurial Management and a concentration in Law and Business.

He went on to receive his Juris Doctorate from the Drake University Law School with concentrations in Business Law, Legislative Practice, and Public Service. While in law school, Jeff interned in the Iowa House for Representative Bobby Kaufmann and also interned as a lobbyist for one of the leading lobbying firms in the state.

Jeff is a founding partner at Janssen Law, PLC where he specializes in the areas of adoption, guardianship, family law, government relations, protecting individual’s 1st and 2nd Amendment rights, business formation, and civil rights/discrimination cases. Jeff is a member of the Eighth Circuit Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the Iowa State Bar Association, and the Polk County Bar Association.

He is admitted to practice in all Iowa District Courts, the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa (Federal), and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a partner of Janssen Law, PLC, he believes in fast, professional, and cost-effective advocacy for his clients.

Jeff is also the Regional Director of Safe Families for Children of Iowa, a non-profit that provides safe homes for children in an effort to prevent child abuse, trauma, and the oversight of DHS. Jeff strongly believes creating strategic partnerships between non-profits and the government, for example between Safe Families and DHS, can provide a higher quality of services to Iowans while also saving taxpayers money.

Jeff is also on the Board of Directors of Families United Action Network (FUAN) which is the leading family law reform organization in the state of Iowa and has also served in various other non-profits, clubs, and sports teams within the district. He believes in public service and giving back to the community.

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