Kitchen Table Divorce - Chapter 10 - Snake in the Grass
The expression a “snake in the grass” is a perfect description of a devastating situation faced by some parents.
In this case the “snake” is the other parent.
The “venom” or “poison” of this particular snake are vile messages directed at the children, intended to evoke hatred of the other parent, all in the interests of control.
A toxic situation, commonly referred to as “parental alienation”.
Recently, I became aware of an article written by Vancouver Sun columnist Douglas Todd about a conference at UBC which delved into this unhealthy, and damaging syndrome.
As a family lawyer, it is sadly, not uncommon when disagreements arise, that one parent will attempt to negatively influence the children to express hatred and contempt of the other parent. Typically, in an attempt to limit or restrict parenting time with the other parent, and to undermine any possibility that a previous loving relationship will continue.
Regretfully, as the conference reported, these children are often victims themselves, with long term health and emotional damage.
So what can be done to help minimize the risk of being bitten?
The antidote is something I have advocated for many years. Namely, when parents separate, that children be entitled to share equivalent parenting time with each parent, an arrangement called “shared parenting”. Of course, this arrangement would be conditional upon the absence of violence and abuse in the relationship, and also on the ability and willingness of each parent to exercise shared parenting.
A shared parenting time regime by default, would eliminate much of the current friction, and frustration, and legal involvement, settling parenting time matters, which typically consume vast amounts of time, effort, and legal cost to resolve.
So if there’s a snake in your grass, and your children risk being bitten, I have just the antidote you need. Call me, Scott Taylor 604.534.6361