Thursday, July 9, 2015

Kids locked up for not having lunch with dad...

If you've been reading this blog, you may already know that I am a big believer in the existence of parental alienation syndrome (PAS).  I have seen firsthand what happens when bitter parents are allowed to trash their exes to their kids.  While I think parental alienation is destructive, abusive, and wrong, I also think it's difficult to prove.  Even though I believe that PAS is a real thing, I was pretty shocked when I read a story about three kids who were sent to juvenile hall for refusing to have lunch with their father.

The Tsimonhi family of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan has endured a tough time of it over the past few years.  Mother, Maya Eibschitz-Tsimonhi, divorced her ex husband, Omer Tsimonhi, and had custody of Liam, Natalie, and Rowie Tsimonhi, ages 14, 10, and 9.  Since the split, the children have been unwilling to maintain a relationship with their father.  Liam Tsimonhi claims it's because their father is violent.

Judge Lisa Gorcyca saw the situation differently and claimed that the kids had been "brainwashed".  She told the children to work toward fostering a "healthy relationship" with their father by having lunch with him.  They refused, so Judge Gorcyca has held them in contempt of court.  The three kids are now incarcerated at Children's Village, a juvenile hall in Pontiac, Michigan, and they could be held there until they are 18, decide to comply with the judge's orders, or another judge changes the ruling.

While they are in juvenile hall, the three kids are separated from each other and both of their parents. And they are also exposed to kids with real problems who have committed actual crimes.  Meanwhile, taxpayers are footing the bill for this nonsense.

Listen, I am all for judges being more forceful toward parents who alienate their kids toward the other parent, and I am all for disciplining kids who deserve discipline.  However, in this case, I think the judge has gone way over the top.  I don't think her solution of jailing these kids is going to make them want to be on better terms with their dad.  Moreover, I think this is going to cause a lot more problems than it solves.  Click here to read the transcript...  I think the judge has lost her marbles.

You can't force love, respect, friendship, or even health.  These are conditions that have to be nurtured and fostered in a proper atmosphere.  Incarcerating kids for not having a good relationship with a parent seems like a terrible abuse of power and it sets a nasty precedent.

I do think this family needs help and I do suspect that there might be some PAS going on... or at least the kids are being involved in problems that should only involve adults.  But I don't think jailing kids for being alienated is the answer to this issue.  I hope a judge with better sense intervenes and tackles this problem in a less intrusive way.  As it stands now, the next court date for this family is in September.  That could mean a very unpleasant summer for these kids and their parents.

ETA:  Click here for an interesting perspective from Omer Tsimonhi.  He alleges that his ex wife is a major PASer, which I can believe.  I still don't think the kids belong in jail, though.

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