New York, NY–I appeared on Fox’s nationally-syndicated Morning Show with Mike and Juliet Thursday to debate Geraldo Rivera and Dr. Joy Silberg over the issue of Parental Alienation.
Rivera puts the blame for post-divorce strife squarely on fathers.
Silberg is Vice President of the Leadership Council, an organization which is in the forefront of fighting against fathers’ access to their children during custody disputes. The Leadership Council believes that Parental Alienation is a “batterers’ tactic” and “junk science.”
Also on the show were Bill and Sam Sears, a father-son combo who have dealt with Parental Alienation. Only 17, Bill was credible and remarkably even-handed. I’ll be discussing Bill and Sam and some of the other aspects of Parental Alienation in posts throughout the week.
Silberg said that fathers blaming mothers for being alienated from their children is like a bank robber who denies robbing a bank, blaming it on “bankteller delusional syndrome.”
I replied, “Separating a father from his children and not allowing him to him see his children and telling them that the father is bad and that you shouldn’t want to be with him, that’s really a very serious thing. It’s not like ‘bankteller delusional syndrome.'”
The most heated moment of the day came when Geraldo Rivera told me:
What you’re not talking about is how many of these fathers stopped paying child support…It’s always financial 95% of the time [after divorce]…the husbands’ stop paying, the woman is desperate…it’s about the money…you should really call it ‘Parental Stiffing Alienation Syndrome’ because that’s what it is.
I shot back that the child support establishment’s own studies show that the overwhelming majority of men who are behind on their child support are low income fathers.
I do have to give Geraldo credit for one thing. On the show he said “It’s always financial…95% of the time it’s the husband leaving the wife or the wife leaving the husband.”
He said the part about the wife leaving in a lower voice so I thought he said that 95% of the time it’s the husband who abandons the wife — a common view among chivalrous males like Geraldo.
It wasn’t until I watched this video back in Los Angeles that I realized that he had not meant that it was almost always the husband leaving the wife. During the show I jumped on him for that, explaining that the vast majority of divorces are initiated by women. I now realize that what I said there was not fair.
Another aspect of this is the use of the term “syndrome,” which is controversial in and of itself. In general I simply refer to “Parental Alienation,” but many in the media and the opposition refer to “Parental Alienation Syndrome.” Alienating behaviors are harmful, whatever name you want to use.