Being the parent of a teenager, I got wrapped up in the wave of insanity driven by The Hunger Games. While the vision of a televised battle to the death waged by teenagers is pretty disturbing, it’s probably no worse than the horrors our kids are subjected to in many custody cases.

Did Joint Custody end the Games?

Every day, I see family law attorneys, family court judges and mental health professionals try to protect children from the certain trauma of a parental divorce or a custody battle. With such an emphasis on joint conservatorship and co-parenting, children no longer bear the brunt of a bad divorce. Not so much.

Our emphasis on co-parenting and the willingness of the modern father to step up and truly do the heavy lifting of parenting has indeed made split custody a positive experience for thousands of Texas families.

What happens when the Court isn’t Watching?

Sadly, there are still far too many parents who never can, and never will, work together as joint conservators. Simple hatred of the other spouse, continuing resentment, and bitterness all play out on the one remaining battlefield; the lives of the children.

A parent who over-values his or her opinions and lacks basic respect for the other parent creates a toxic life for children, leaving them anxious, depressed and maladapted.

Judges enter their orders; social workers opine; lawyers counsel, but at the end of the day, little can be done to prevent parental alienation. Whether it be something said, or not said, a sigh, roll of the eyes, or a sarcastic smirk, children are fine tuned to your emotions and can easily adopt your negative attitudes.

New Ideas from a Dystopian World

Back to The Hunger Games. For these problem parents, I say we put them in the arena where we can watch their every move and hear their every word. Would they be so quick to play their manipulative games with the children if they knew their friends and family knew exactly what they were doing? Of course not! I’d say it’s “game over” for parents who alienate.