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I have been involved in cases where children have been drawn (consciously or unconsciously) into the opinion of one parent that the other parent is abusive, uncaring, rejecting etc, when the evidence does not support the allegation. Generally the accusing parent has mental illness or psychological problems that are impacting on their parenting and the child may be caught in a caregiving/protective or other unhelpful dynamic with this parent. These children frequently complain that there opinions and wishes are not being listened to and they should have more say, and this is generally with the stated wish to reduce or cease contact with the accused parent. However, it is evident that they are heavily influenced by the (usually custodial) parent, and not in a position to make an objective, independent judgement. In this instance reducing or ceasing contact is generally not in their best interests as it severs contact with a parent who is wanting to care, able to do so and may be a protective factor. How do you suggest such situations should be managed?
18 October 2018