Describes the experiences of the families involved and suggests changes in custody and divorce laws to help solve the growing problem of parents kidnapping their children
It is estimated that 350,000 children a year are abducted by a family member. What happens when a child is kidnapped from home? What are the emotional and psychological consequences for the child who must live in hiding for weeks, months, or even years? How does the parent left behind cope with having no knowledge of the child's whereabouts or well-being? And what could lead a parent to inflict such a painful existence on his or her own child? Until now, little systematic research has been undertaken to find answers, and the scope and consequences of parental abduction have remained largely unknown.Now, in When Parents Kidnap, Geoffrey Greif and Rebecca Hegar provide the most comprehensive look yet at the problem of the abduction of children by their parents. The authors capture the experiences both of the parents searching for their children and the abductors who have taken them. We see vivid depictions of life on the run and learn the painful details of how children who have been in hiding for months and sometimes years cope with moving from town to town and school to school. We also learn how reunion with the searching parent affects them.The phenomenon of parental abduction is part of a larger social context of changes in the family. Almost a quarter of U.S. children live with only one parent - more than five million of them children of divorce - and the growing prevalence of parental abductions has officials and professionals alarmed. Greif and Hegar point the way to improvements in public policy by showing precisely how changes in custody, divorce, and other laws could help to reduce abduction of children, or resolve it more quickly.Identifying five common scenarios that end in abduction, Greif and Hegar help the reader to understand a wide range of abduction situations, and they provide specific suggestions for mental health professionals involved with families who have experienced this trauma.