The 25th of April is Parent Alienation Awareness Day, a globally recognised occasion that attempts to raise awareness about parental alienation.
Parental alienation is “conscious or unconscious behaviour by a parent (or other trusted adult, such as a kid’s grandmother/father, aunt, uncle, etc.) that has the potential to alienate a child from a parent.”
These behaviours are also referred to as “hostile aggressive parenting” or “psychological and emotional harm or abuse”*. The behaviour may be minor and transient, or it may be intense for an extended period of time.
Any behaviour exhibited as a result of a kid’s alienation from a much-loved parent can be harmful to a child and may have potentially lifelong implications if parent/guardian/caregiver and child behaviour is not identified and appropriately handled.
Emphasis on parental alienation
The purpose of Parental Alienation Awareness Day is to educate parents on how to recognise signals that they or others are acting in a way that might negatively impact the children in their care.
Parental Alienation often entails one caregiver seeking to turn a kid against the other, frequently with the intent of convincing the youngster to permanently exclude the other parent from their lives.
The following are examples of typical parental behaviours:
- continually degrading the other
- restricting the other’s contact
- prohibiting the kid from speaking about the other parent
- creating the false impression that the other parent does not care for the child
- Influencing the kid to reject the other parent in a covert or overt manner.
This might be deliberate or unconscious and may be driven by a desire to punish the other parent for actions they feel led to the breakup of their relationship. Ultimately, however, the harmful influence on the kid is frequently overlooked by the parent, and the youngster becomes the victim of this behaviour.
Karen Woodall, psychotherapist, author, educator, and researcher, says:
“I feel that the harm that is inflicted to children who experience induced psychological splitting following divorce or family separation is beginning to be acknowledged on a global scale. In my work in the courts, with social workers, and with individuals who were alienated as children throughout the world, I see signs that the mechanisms that cause harm to children are becoming widely acknowledged. The campaign ‘noise’ surrounding this topic, which is manufactured in an attempt to normalise harmful child-harming behaviours, is quiet when we realise that individuals who utilise basic defences in everyday life are making the racket about the label parental alienation. When we realise that the noise is a projection, we comprehend the goal and underlying motivations, and by ignoring it, we witness it dissipate.
It is acknowledged that delays in accessing family courts to negotiate visitation might unintentionally sow the seeds of estrangement. All individuals who interact with families, including judges, attorneys, social workers, health visitors, counsellors, mediators, and other family services in the voluntary and community sectors, must be well taught to recognise early warning signs of child abuse in order to protect children.
To enable initial agreement on co-parenting arrangements, it is crucial that separating parents have access to information on child development and early intervention family support services, such as Family Mediation Milton Keynes.
Find out more about how, via Family Mediation Milton Keynes, parents may negotiate and agree on a co-parenting plan that prioritises the needs of their children.
Parental Alienation figures
In family court, 200 children lose touch with a parent daily. After divorce and separation, 1 in 3 children never see their estranged parent again.