In the U.K. and perhaps everywhere, we talk of ‘school leaving age’. That’s an admirably straightforward statement about the law and general expectation that it’s good for children to go to school until they’re 16. Even then in the UK you’ve to stay in full time education or be an apprentice until you’re 18. So you’re definitely more of a young adult than a child when you get to school-leaving age.
The rule for school-leaving age applies however mentally competent or passionate a younger child may be about not wanting to go to school.
So let’s hear it for ‘school leaving age’ … because in family law and most extremely in Parental Alienation, we face the dominant idea that children can voice and choose to get rid of one of their parents without any good reason from a very young age.
Which leads to this idea: What about: “parent-leaving age”? Wouldn’t it be good to talk about parent-leaving age a lot more? As with ‘school-leaving age’, ‘parent-leaving age’ reframes the whole thing.
The immediate question is: But when is parent leaving age?
Legally and maturationally, young people are entitled to a more independent adult life at the same time as school-leaving age. Just as ‘school-leaving age’ helps re-set a child’s limited power to influence their schooling, so would ‘parent-leaving age’ change how we think about it, re-set their power to prematurely get rid of a caring and loving parent.
That’s quite an advance on the age at which family courts sanction even really young children to exterminate an entirely functional parent. Of course, we know that no child would ever do that except under undue influence from their resident parent. Hence the Alienation.
So when is parent-leaving age?
But here’s the thing: What we all realise as we grow older is that – however much you might like to completely get rid of your parents – and vice versa perhaps! – the answer to the question: When is parent-leaving age? is actually: Never!
So let’s hear it for ‘parent-leaving age’ too!