In this morning’s Vancouver Sun newspaper on the “Celebrating” page, you will find the usual assortment of happy events: birth announcements, wedding anniversaries and high school graduation congratulations. Colour photos of happy, smiling faces abound.
But there is one Happy Birthday greeting that is unsettling to me. The contributor of the greeting wished his 8 year-old son a happy day, and reminded him that: “There’s not a day in the last five years that I have not thought about you…hopefully one day you will be in my life..there’s so much you and I have missed…maybe next year you will be in my life.”
So, what’s the story here? From where I sit as a family law lawyer, a happy ending is probably unlikely. A number of scenarios come to mind. Has the boy been abducted by his mother? Is this a case of parental
alienation? Is this father unfit to parent? Is he a victim of false molestation allegations? Is this young boy just a pawn in a dirty divorce?
Each of the scenarios described form a part of the work day of family law lawyers who take cases that no other lawyer wants to handle. Reading between the lines, the parental pain is apparent and yet, the real victim is this young boy. The psychological literature tells us that kids raised with one parent missing from their lives will experience social, behavioral and psychological problems that children with two engaged parents will not.
Two questions arise : Why would a parent intentionally harm a child in this way? Why would a parent act like an angry child?