Excellent letter writen by one of the PAAO volunteers for her local paper.
Here I am at the Fair in Albion Pennsylvania where I passed out PAAO brochures concerning Parental Alienation. I spoke to several parents and grandparents who either have been rejected by a child or who feel there is potential for rejection in the near future.
In short, parental alienation is a term used to describe the behavior of a parent and often other family members who manipulate a child's mind with the motive of severing all ties between the child and the other parent. The agenda is packed with various tactics and actions are pre-meditated. When the pressure on the child to remain loyal to the alienating parent becomes too intense, the child gives up, and total rejection of the other parent becomes reality.
It may appear as though the child is happy about their new, parentless status, but suppressing a relationship with the other parent is emotionally unhealthy and impacts them for a lifetime. This is a reality in Albion, PA, where children and parents are impacted, just as it is a reality all across the World. We need to find people who can help.
Interestingly enough, one elementary school counselor took a brochure but told me she is told "not to get involved" with these situations. My response to her was, "That is a problem." I have to question if people understand that parental alienation is emotional bruising just as physical abuse leaves visible marks on a child's body. It harms a child’s development. Do people care or are they ignorant? Are we failing our children by not facing reality? What kind of society do we live in?
Parents who are on a mission to destroy a bond between a child and the other parent can only be punished through the courts and by God. There is little we can do about them and their behavior. They tell others they are "protecting" their child and make the child feel like the other parent is unworthy of a relationship with their child. Something no child should have to hear, for that parent is parent of who they are.
Parents who are on the receiving end of the alienation are often helpless. There is little they can by themselves. They stand helpless, as they watch the relational death between themselves and their children. They watch their children construct a wall between them as a result of the brainwashing. The parents witness the joy being drained out of their children’s lives, as they are asked to spy, lie, and even partake in the intense denigration. They watch their children sabotage their time with them in order to remain abnormally loyal to the alienating parent (and family). Alienated parents cannot help their own children because they are portrayed as the enemy. The courts fail them too.
Family courts embrace adversarial situations and often empower the alienating parent. Alienating parents have passed the course in manipulation and are very convincing. As a result, the courts lack of education, empathy, knowledge of children development or need for power further hurts the child.
One gal who visited the fair shared with me that she worked at a woman’s prison. Her job was to help ensure that female prisoners remain connected to their children. How contrary is that to the family law system who continually promotes children to be ripped from the lives of loving parents who have committed no crime?
Those who truly care about the emotional development of children need to help us empower our children with good information that could help protect them from alienating behavior. Parental Alienation Education programs could begin to heal relationships and help prevent children from being emotional abusers themselves.
Presenting age appropriate information about parental alienation to all age groups, including college students, could empower peers to help peers. Children talk to each other and often want to help, but if they are unaware of the mind games that often take place in divorce and custody cases, they may be doing more harm than good by condoning unhealthy behavior and attitudes.
The damage caused by the breakup of families is not going away, especially if we continually turn our backs on the abuse. Research shows that 20-25% of children in divorce situations are alienated from a parent. The impact lasts a life time. That was evident as I spoke to adults, in Albion, PA, who were alienated from their children.
Teachers, college professors, pastors, ministers, doctors, counselors, coaches and many others can begin to help children in an area that is desperately needed. Right relationships are what life is all about! Parental alienation is real, parental alienation is child abuse!
For more information on parental alienation resources, and course work, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.