Mon, 24 Apr 2006
25 April is the first international PA awareness day. It is being observed in 20 countries.
â€œParental alienation syndromeâ€ is the brain washing of a child by one parent against the other. It is one of the saddest, and commonest manifestations of family break-down.
The manipulation of children by one parent, with the intention that they reject the other parent, is a type of psychological violence which qualifies as abuse.
Family Court decisions about the parenting of children are being increasingly based on the children’s own expressed wishes. This is a positive development, and will lead in the normal case to the children being allowed to spend more time with their non-residential parent than they are currently allowed. However, this does also increase the incentive for the parent with whom they mostly live to get them to express, as if it was the child’s own, any hostility felt by the residential parent to their ex.
That parent is obviously in a stronger position to resist the sharing of parenting time if they can say that the children involved do not want to see, or have a relationship with, their other parent.
Sometimes the children are coached in what to say to, for example, welfare workers. Sometimes they simply want to please their residential parents by saying what they believe that parent wants them to say. Occasionally the children blame their ‘other parent’ for any problems they or their residential parent seem to have as a result of family division. It can vary, therefore, from deliberate poisoning of a relationship to something not explicitly intended at all.
The issue is not a gender one â€“ when children live with fathers, fathers can abuse their power over them just as badly as mothers. But obviously this is rarer, with 90% or so of children in the sole custody of mothers.
The solution to so many of the problems of family break-down is in shared parenting.
Often the outcome is that the grown-up children turn against the alienating parent. As a result they end up with severely damaged relationships with both.Â
To read more about the views of Families Need Fathers click here.
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