The benefits of a relationship with both parents depend on the quality of care the parents can provide. This fact is illustrated in the following story:
FREMONT, Calif. – A 6-year-old boy abducted from his mother was returned home safely Friday after his father was arrested 200 miles away in the Sacramento Valley, police said.
Ralph Baldenegro, 56, was arrested near Red Bluff and was being held at the Tehama County Jail.
Baldenegro allegedly broke into his estranged wife’s house, beat and handcuffed her, and kidnapped the boy Thursday night, said Fremont Detective Bill Veteran. He also hit his 14-year-old stepdaughter.” Read full story.
The news is full of stories like the one above that call into question the common notion that a child needs both of his biologic parents. Often, people say, “She needs to love her mother.” Or, “He needs to love his father.”
The majority of children do need a relationship with both parents
The idea that children need to love and have a relationship with both parents is indeed true for the majority of children who are affected by separation or divorce. In cases where both parents have an ongoing love and commitment to the child, they have proven it in words and actions. Actions such as providing financial support, spending time with the child, and making the parent-child relationship a top priority demonstrate a commitment to parenting.
Unfortunately however, some parents may also have a hard time getting along with each other for the sake of their children. Parents fighting over children and placing them in the middle of ongoing conflict is detrimental to children. These parents need education to help them in the transition to co-parenting. This education is mandated now for divorcing parents in most states.
Children of sociopaths deserve our protection
There are nonetheless a minority of children being raised by a relatively healthy parent and vexed by a parent who is a sociopath or addict. We advise other family members of sociopaths and addicts to cut ties with the affected person. Ties can later be reestablished if the person demonstrates a commitment through action that he/she desires a better lifestyle.
Why then, to we think it is healthy for the children of sociopaths and addicts to have a relationship with them?
Science has demonstrated that children are harmed by sociopathic parents
The scientific literature clearly demonstrates that it is detrimental for children to grow up with adults who are aggressive, controlling and manipulative.
According to a recent study of 1,116 five-year-old twin pairs and their parents, “Behavioral genetic analyses showed that children who resided with antisocial fathers received a ‘double whammy’ of genetic and environmental risk for conduct problems.” The authors therefore concluded, “Marriage may not be the answer to the problems faced by some children living in single-parent families unless their fathers can become reliable sources of emotional and economic support.” (Jaffee, Moffitt, Caspi, Taylor, Life with (or without) father: the benefits of living with two biological parents depends on the father’s antisocial behavior, 2003).
The children of sociopathic mothers are at even greater risk due to the stronger genetic basis of female antisocial behavior and the nature of the mother-child relationship.
What will it take to change our laws?
Why then do the courts consistently award visitation to parents who have been diagnosed with addiction and/or sociopathy? The lawmakers who have made these laws, and the judges who interpret them, are for the most part uneducated as to the nature of both sociopathy and the needs of children.
In my opinion, the concept of supervised visitation is confusing to children. How is the child to benefit from having his schedule disrupted to go to a strange place and visit someone who is supposed to be functioning as his/her caretaker?
There have been many instances in our public history where flaws in our laws have been detected and changed by concerned citizens. This only happens when those who are concerned form an organized lobbying effort.
Those of us who are healing from a relationship with a sociopath and working hard to raise children properly, have a hard time finding the energy for such an effort. We need the help of those who have already finished raising the next generation and others familiar with sociopathy. We also need the help of professionals who work in the field.
If we work together, perhaps future children will have a better chance at a peaceful childhood.