Changing the world

Change the world …

This page is about what we need to change in order to help and stop the world-wide scourge of Parental Alienation and other harmful post-separation patterns.

The page used to be called ‘Climbing the mountain‘. That was a long account of a vision of change based in the metaphor of an enormous, multi-faceted, range of mountains and steep cliffs that needed to be arduously climbed if we were to sort the world out.

That is still a fair enough metaphor in many ways. But climbing vast mountains is a grim image of what it will take to change the world. If grim arduous climbing is what you think it has to be, then you’re not going to look for anything sooner or better.

Do let’s look for something sooner and better. Because change does seem to be a long time coming and this is a particularly tricky difficult challenge. And plans to create a world change are few and far between. If anything it’s getting far worse rather fast.

Sufferers and professionals are inevitably most focused on the pressing downstream work of pulling half-drowned bodies out of the river, rather than going way upstream to prevention: how to stop bodies when they’re pushed in the river – preferably before that even.  Read the old page to get that earlier mountainous picture.

… Change the metaphor

Instead of that arduous metaphor, making the change requires more sparkling ideas and campaigning energy than climbing mountains. Something more powerful and urgent is needed after decades of slowly building same old same old. Metaphorically, we’re looking for a helicopter or a chairlift to take us up and over the mountains. Or to discover a new map with a secret green valley that takes us straight through.

OK, it’s not clear yet what is going to make the change. But there are a number of promising projects that we can be inspired by and build on. Here are some examples:

The Resources page shows that there is a vast potential in the internet and other media rumbling onwards. That connects, supports, informs, debates and campaigns on change. Innovative approaches, new kinds of online help, easy face to face meetings across the globe, Facebook groups, study groups, organisational development and regular webinars – all of these are thriving diverse resources for professional and lay people. Something innovative must surely emerge from this hive of global inter-activity … creative interaction not typically to be found in the compartmentalised functioning of the family law system.

Inspiring examples

In Australia, For Kids Sake is a thoroughly crafted whole approach to campaigning to get government to shift the whole system away from family law to all the alternative ways of help and support.

Another inspiring approach is in the Cochem or Consensus model developed in Germany over some years now. Here a judge and professional colleagues decided to take their own initiative given their dissatisfaction with the established family law system.

On this website you are invited to think in a variety of new ways. While these ideas are not in themselves world-changing, you can see the potential here for revolutionary ‘out of the box’ thinking. Examples of creative thinking are:

Elsewhere we can set out why a major review of the present way the world works with separating families, starting with a general reminder of how we establish competent systems and qualified people. That depends on an oft-forgotten but universal problem-solving approach. Such a basic problem-solving approach was not used when governments – and we note in passing how many politicians are lawyers now – naively supported family law as the right way to manage the new world of accelerating family separation and the problems arising, in a rapidly changing culture.

Meanwhile, there is steady and remarkable development in understanding family abuse. As well as the important raising of awareness of coercive control as abuse between intimate partners, there is scientific evidence that shows quite clearly that it has been wrong to dismiss Parental Alienation (as unscientific) and that provides a sound basis for expertise for pulling bodies out of the family law river. As this becomes more established, maybe the rate of learning and applying it upstream will accelerate from its present glacial pace.

Guaranteed prevention

The experience of these serious post-separation patterns – and working with them – has been described as the most awful grim nightmare of all child and family work. It’s a nightmare for everyone, harmful for children, a living death sentence for the parents, and a mighty challenge for the professional systems involved.

If something better does not appear soon, I hereby and only half jokily propose my three-step plan for an all-out campaign that will guarantee 100% prevention:

  1. Don’t partner up,
  2. If you do, don’t have kids,
  3. If you do, never separate.

Not a lot of fun in that is there?! At least it doesn’t stop people having sex.

Mind you, some would say free-er sex is where all this family separation trouble started: separating sex from having babies through contraception along with all the social change that came after that.   😉

Anyway, do let’s work hard to find those inspiring urgent ways to change the world, ways that will get us there far better than climbing mountains has!

This page immediately generated new ideas (see comments) about improving our social and individual expectations and contracts when partnering up to build solidarity in the face of later strife and family separation. Please join in the conversation!

Nick Child, Edinburgh