Tomorrow you have a duty. You have the responsibility of telling others that April 25 is Parental Alienation Awareness Day! Parental Alienation is all too common now during and after divorces where children are involved. Essentially the parent which attempts to alienate the other parent is too consumed in their hatred towards the ex-spouse to even realize the tremendous damage they are doing to their own children. Parental Alienation can be subtle or openly pursued. Mothers and Fathers can both be responsible for Parental Alienation. They do not love their children enough to place aside their hatred towards their ex-spouse.
Moms and Dads aren't the only ones which can use parental alienation tactics. Grandparents can become child abusers as well by bad mouthing the father in front of the children. It is all too common to find that they were responsible for parental alienation towards their own children if there was a divorce in the mix. Sadly, they can shape their own children to be adults that use parental alienation tactics. Children of divorce have already been through enough and will have many additional challenges just because of their parents getting a divorce. Parents and grandparents should love their children/grandchildren enough to eliminate any form of parental alientaion.
Parental Alienation is indeed child abuse! A few examples of Parental Alienation can be: 1) Mom tells Dad he is a "deadbeat dad" in front of the children. 2) Mom refuses to allow meaningful time for Dad to form an appropriate parent-child relationship which includes nuturing, educating, reading, loving, guiding, playing games and toys with the child, etc. 3) Mom allows her friends that visit to speak poorly about the Dad in front of the children with no correction by Mom. 4) Bad mouthing or undermining the other parent in front of the children. 5) Mom tells children that Dad did not call when he actually did to say goodnight, talk briefly, etc. To clarify again - both genders are capable of parental alienation.
What are some warning signs of Parental Alienation?
-Children perceive one parent as causing financial problems of the other parent
-Children appear to have knowledge of details relating to the legal aspects of the divorce or separation
-Children show sudden negative change in their attitude toward a parent/guardian
-Children appear uneasy around target parent - they resort to "one word" answers and fail to engage openly in conversations as they previously have done
-Children are uncharacteristically rude and/or belligerent to target parent
-Access time is not occurring as agreed upon or court ordered - visitation is being unilaterally cut back by the other parent
-Hostile Aggressive Parent (HAP) parent undermines the other parent or speaks disparagingly about other parent in the presence of the children
-HAP parent starts making reference to other parent as being abusive and a risk to the children with no apparent good reason
-Allowing children to choose whether or not to visit a parent, even though the court has not empowered the parent or children to make that choice
-Telling the children about why the marriage failed and giving them the details about the divorce or separation settlement
-Refusing the other parent access to medical and school records or schedules of extracurricular activities
-Blaming the other parent for not having enough money, changes in lifestyle, or other problems in the children's presence
-Rigid enforcement of the visitation schedule for no good reason other than getting back at the other parent
-False allegations of sexual abuse, drug and alcohol use or other illegal activities by the other parent;
-Asks the children to choose one parent over the other
-Reminding the children that the children have good reason to feel angry toward their other parent;
-Setting up temptations that interfere with visitation
-Giving the children the impression that having a good time on a visit will hurt the parent;
-Asking the children about the other parent's personal life;
-'Rescuing' the children from the other parent when there is no danger.
If you are concered about Parental Alienation please tell at least two people tomorrow about this oftentimes hidden form of child abuse. Print out this brochure and post it or hand out to others that you know. Download parental_alienation_awareness_brochure.pdf
Hopefully with films such as Jake's Closet, which we discussed in a prior post, more people will become aware of Parental Alienation and put a stop to it.
A true to life case of Parental Alienation was discussed on Dr. Helen Smith's Blog. If you are not reading her blog on a daily basis you are missing out on one of the best blogs on the internet.
A few DaddyBlogger recommedations:
I have personally worked with this organization and they are excellent. PAAO is leading the movement to get all governors in the United States to recognize Parental Alienation. Does your state recognize Parental Alienation Awareness Day?
True Story of Parental Alienation
"Cheated" By Ronald E. and Ariel D. Smith - full disclosure - the author Ronald Smith is one of my best friends. Here is a very powerful speech by him. Minister Ronald Smith recently lost his son due to liver cancer. He is always in our thoughts and prayers.
A Book To Combat Parental Alienation
I can not say enough positive things about the book below. In fact, I even wrote a review about it on Amazon.com which is something I rarely make a point to do. There is a reason why the ratings of this book are so high - it has helped many loving parents throughout the United States.
Divorce Poison By Dr. Richard A. Warshak
A Moving Video on Parental Alienation
The part that pulls on my heart is the line "Don't talk bad about my other parent like that. I still love them. And your words HURT me."