911: What’s Your Holiday Emergency

“I have not been able to contact my child for almost three weeks. There has been no answer at his mom’s house, and my last email went unanswered. His mother has been angry at me lately and I’m concerned for his safety. Is there someone who could go to the house to check on him?”

Or, “Dear XXXXXXX, I tried calling you again last night, but the answering machine is still turned off. I emailed you a couple of weeks ago, but am not sure you got it, since you haven’t written me back. Christmas is coming and I would really like to see you. Maybe this time we could have dinner together?”

Or, “Dear Ex, I’m not sure you understand the situation you’re putting our children in. You’re running the risk of losing custody of them completely if you don’t allow me to have access to them. The situation you have most tried to avoid–having them forced to spend time with me–will be inevitable if you continue this silence. Since you claim that you believe it’s important for them to have a relationship with both of us (although we both know you don’t really feel that way), surely you wouldn’t want to jeopardize YOUR relationship with them any more than you already have?”

What is a parent to do when the children are completely cut off from him or her? Although I don’t actually know this statistic (although not for lack of trying to find it), I wonder if custodial interference is prosecuted about as frequently as not wearing a seatbelt or not using a turn signal. Sure, it might be tacked on to another charge, but on its own it receives a slap on the wrist…even though in most states it’s considered a felony.

I don’t know this statistic either, but I wouldn’t be surprised if parents who are in prison get more visitation and contact with their children than alienated parents. It’s one thing for a child to be alienated to the point where he or she acts out or tells the targeted parent that he or she is worthless and a bully and anything else they’ve been brainwashed to believe. It’s a whole other thing when there is no way to get in touch with the child short of calling the school, showing up at the house, or calling the police and getting them to understand that the child’s life may be at risk.

Why would alienating parents put their kids through that humiliation instead of just abiding by the law?

Wouldn’t it just be easier to allow and even encourage a relationship between your children and their other parent? Wouldn’t that save everyone a bunch of heartache and legal fees? Wouldn’t that really be what’s best for the children? Especially during this time of reflection about the meanings of Christmas–forgiveness of sins, belief in higher powers, humility and gratitude–it seems like allowing a re-connection with the other parent would be the best gift you could give your children.

Of course it would…and it doesn’t even require wrapping paper.

If you’re a targeted parent and having trouble connecting with your children this holiday season, how are you coping? What are you doing to contact them? How do you handle giving them Christmas presents? Feel free to share your stories in the comments section.

If you’ve been unjustly accused of alienating your children from their other parent, how do you handle the fear that the police may show up on your doorstep? How do you explain why the other parent isn’t part of the holiday? Please share your thoughts.

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