If you’re a dad and you want custody of your children because you believe your children are being abused by their mom, you need to prepare for it. In a 2019 George Washington University conducted a study looking at the differences between physical abuse against children – by moms and physical abuse by dads. And what they found is that there are nearly 30% more abuse cases by mothers, against their children, as well as 30% more fatalities of children related to abuse caused by the mother as opposed to fatalities caused by the father.

Make an Effort to Keep a Journal or Diary

There’s also a lot of emotional abuse that mothers are more likely to do against their children than are fathers. The problem is getting this into the courtroom. It’s hard and elusive, especially when you’re talking physical abuses. But there’s also emotional abuse – such as gaslighting, undermining the children, or being overly critical. And if you are observing that by your wife, against your children, you need to prepare in order to be able to prove it. In other words, you need to watch it. You need to document it – keeping a journal or something along those lines is probably the absolute best way to do that. You should write down the date, document the abuse in the entry, explain what happened, and you explain your concern for the child. After that, you also take remedial action. You should talk to your child and try to neutralize the harm.

Ultimately, the written journal is extremely persuasive because it’s not something that you can make up. It appears to be true, but it also helps you be better able to articulate what happened. So, if you’re a dad and you’re concerned for your children because they’re being abused by their mom, collect evidence. For instance, you might send a text message to your spouse after one of those incidents of abuse. Something such as “Hey, I don’t think you really should have hit Johnny in front of all of his friends. It’s not good for him. I’m concerned.” Hopefully, you get a response, but what that does is it captures a moment in time and creates persuasive trial evidence. If your wife is abusing the children, collect evidence presented and preserve it, give it to your attorney, prepare before you leave the home.

Other Types of Abuse

There are also other things that parents do that are abusive that can be captured. For instance, withholding food or making a child work. And unless the child works, he doesn’t get food. Things like that. It may not seem like much at the time, but if it’s part of a pattern of behavior, a series of different types of behavior, capturing those things and putting it in perspective with the other types of abuse – and gives it real life and helps to paint a picture of the person who’s abusing the child.

There’s also a passive type of abusive and neglect – where a parent withholds affection or tells the child to go away and doesn’t really give any attention to the child. That type of treatment is neglect and hurts a child. It destroys the child’s confidence and character.

Parental Alienation

One of the more damaging types of abuse is parental alienation. It’s not a syndrome. Although you hear that parental alienation syndrome. It’s actually behavior where that one of the parents tries to undermine the other parent to the child. They demonize the other parent. So if your spouse is alienating, you, your spouse would be telling your children (for example), “It’s your dad’s fault that the family isn’t together, your dad is not a good man. Your dad does this. Your dad isn’t here is he, your dad doesn’t want to see you…”- when all of these things actually are not true. The parent tries to get the little child to take their side in this very complicated adult affair. It distorts a child and hurts a child. If that’s going on in, in the relationship of your child with the other parent, again, document it and try to intervene.

I recommend contacting and working with a child psychologist to help you navigate through the situation. Parental alienation disrupts the emotional development of your child and really requires a very sophisticated response to neutralize it and hopefully stop it. There is a relatively newly identified syndrome that is now getting some recognition, but again is not recognized as a mental health problem – and is referred to as malicious mother syndrome. And it’s actually a combination of all of the types of abuse that I have discussed– from slapping the child in front of his friends or undermining them, criticizing them at the same time, neglecting them, and then trying to alienate the child against the other parent.

Talk to an Attorney

If you’re dealing with a spouse who is acting out, and you’re concerned for your child’s wellbeing, call us. We are here to help you extract yourself and your child from that situation and can provide legal guidance.

For more than 30 years, Paré& Associates, LLC (formerly the Law Office of Alice Paré) has helped clients throughout Germantown, Clarksburg, and throughout Maryland with family law issues. As an individual, you deserve to be treated fairly in every aspect of the divorce process – and you need an attorney that understands you and the unique situation that men face when dealing with the court system. Contact us today for a free consultation at 301-962-2492 or visit us online to make an appointment.