Why Do Parents Abduct?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, over 354,000 children are
kidnapped by a parent each year in divorce custody disputes. Some of the
children are recovered or returned quickly while others may be on the run for
years. Unfortunately many of these children are never found. Generally, people
are concerned with the traumatic effects of these events on the child involved.
However, both the searching parent and the abductor have many pending issues
with which to deal. Some people believe that children "kidnapped" by their own
parents are the lucky ones. In fact, because revenge is often the driving force
for these abductions, the child may become subject to physical, sexual and
mental abuse. While "When Families Are Torn Apart," is written by Mary
Morrissey, the majority of the article is quoted from Geoffrey Greif and Rebecca
Hegar. In the article, Greif and Hegar explain how they attempted to fill in
the gap of information about the trauma of long-term abduction. Their findings
appear in the book When Parents Kidnap. Each parent, child, and abductor may
deal with the kidnapping differently. For some it is very frightful and
requires years of psychological evaluation to overcome. According to Greif and
Hegar, abducted children develop extremely close bonds with their abductors.
Often the abductors lie to the children about the other parent. They may say
that the other parent does not want the child or is dead. The longer the child
is away the harder it is for everyone involved. At these times, professional
help is strongly suggested.
Issues for Parent - their own feelings about the abduction - helping them to be
able to care for the child - helping them to bring the whole family together -
helping them to help readjust the other children - helping them to cope with any
odd behavior that may be exhibited by the abducted child - developmental changes
of the child
Issues for Children - trust - sexual abuse - anti-social behavior - why the
child thinks the abduction occurs - dealing with the length of the abduction and
the time that they missed with the rest of their family - experiences during
the abduction - they child may have been brainwashed by the abducting parent -
whether or not she wants to return to the abductor - being scared about the
chance of being abducted again - + many others
Issues for Abductor - anger against court - anger at the other parent - anger or
confusion about the child's new outlook on them - sense of loss because they
are not seeing the child - inability to move on with their life - concern about
the child's welfare - guilt if they think the child has suffered - realizing the
harm they have done to the child - dealing with the behaviors that led to the
The article, "Parents Who "Kidnap,'" recaps specific cases of parents
attempting to recover abducted children. In the first case, Sandy Kearns is
searching for her son Joshua who had been...