Thursday, 3 July 2008

Guide to Life - by Jayne Goldstone

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DOES the name Simon Anderton mean anything to you? You might have heard his name in the news in recent weeks. Simon risked his life climbing the Tyne Bridge, as his way of fighting for his rights as a father. Whether you think this was a wise move or not on his part, clearly this man was desperate enough to take dramatic measures to raise public awareness of the Real Fathers for Justice, and the plight of so many fathers like Simon who are denied access to their own children. All too often we have examples of our legal system failing when it comes to the rights of fathers, when they are denied or limited in how often they can see or be with their children. In many cases, angry or embittered women use their children as weapons to hurt and wound their estranged partners as much as possible, by using them as pawns in a dirty and shameful game. Sadly, countless relationships between parents break down beyond repair and children are left in the care of their mothers. There are wonderful mothers, but there are also wonderful fathers. Sitting on both sides of the fence, there will be some fathers who shed their responsibilities as parents, spoiling parental rights for the fathers who are great dads, and some mothers that will do the same. As such, must all parents, particularly fathers, be tarnished with the same brush? When parents hurt and attack each other, children get badly wounded in the crossfire. In an ideal world, most children will benefit from the influence of having both their mothers and fathers playing a part in their upbringing. A close male relative of mine went through untold agony at the hands of his ex-wife, a woman scorned because he sadly stopped loving her. Using their daughter as ammunition in the divorce case, this hurt and angry woman tried using emotional blackmail to increase child maintenance, by stating that she would lie in court and say her estranged husband had sexually abused their daughter. That anyone could stoop that low is beyond me, but the facts are that when people are in pain, they are capable of committing deplorable acts.

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