Sunday, October 26, 2008

How can someone help when there is parental alienation?

I hear many times, "I wish there was something I could to do to help you." I understand this to mean that the person saying this cares and empathizes with you, but feels totally helpless. Quite honestly I did not have a reply either, because what could they do to help? They cannot attempt to talk some sense into my child or ex spouse. That would be futile. They can pray for my child, ex spouse and myself, which I do suggest they do. I have been thinking about what someone can do when there is parental alienation happening and I have come to offer this.

If you are the friend of a couple that is going through a divorce that has children, a teacher, a school counselor, a school principal, a social worker, a child care provider, a lawyer, a policeman or policewoman, a doctor, a nurse or any other person that has contact with children and or divorcing couples with children, you MUST educate yourself about parental alienation. You must not be afraid to voice a concern. You must not take the attitude of I do want to get involved in their business. If you are dating a divorced person with children and have some apprehensions and have a gut feeling about things, or think you see some red flags, or your friends tell you this person is wrong for you, then listen to your inner voice and some of the advice you are receiving.

Let me for a moment explain why I said the above statement. When I met the man whom would become the father of our child, I was told that he was bad news. I was told to stay away from him. I ignored that advice. He was divorced himself and had children from his previous marriage. What I saw was a man that missed his children tremendously, loved his children and wanted to spend more time with them. I would also hear him talk poorly about his ex wife and heard all of the terrible things she did during their marriage and why she wanted the marriage to end. We are human and most certainly do not like to admit that we could be part of a problem. I also thought that everyone talked poorly about the ex spouse at first, until you reached a point where you both could coexist. I also heard his family members: mother, father, brothers and sisters, openly trash the mother of his children. They were hurt that their son was losing his marriage and his everyday ability to be a father and thought this was just part of the normal grieving process of divorce. I am not sure if this is part of a grieving process, but I think that any divorcing couple should at least be able to say something positive about the other person, especially if children are involved. The degradation of his ex wife were not red flags at first, but after some time, the constant bad mouthing of his ex wife became old. He did not alienate his children by the tactics used by obsessed alienators, but do have to say his relationship with his children at this time is strained to say the least. He did not have the opportunity to be an obsessed alienator. I do believe that he caused his own alienation. I really do not wish to elaborate more about this at this time.

So what can someone do to help? You need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of parental alienation. You need to realize that this is an extremely deceptive form of child abuse that is perpetrated by a vindictive ex-spouse. It is designed to destroy the targeted parent at all cost, even if it means destroying the children in the process. If you are a grandparent that has a child going through a divorce, you need to remain neutral. You need to keep contact with your former daughter or son in law. You need to stop the degrading of the other spouse by telling the person who is making these comments that you will not be a willing party. If your son or daughter is making degrading remarks, you will have to practice tough love. If it is your daughter or son in law making these comments, you must stand your ground that you will not allow these comments to be made. Do not let threats that you will never see your grandchild again scare you. If they are so determined to make good on that threat, your cooperation with them will only result in your heartbreak. If your good friend is going through a divorce you must do the same as a grandparent should do. You cannot sit idly by and think that trashing a mother or father of a child is normal behavior, until the parents reach a point where they co exist. If you think they will reach that point, the damage has already begun.

If you are a teacher or a principal and a parent questions how they can get copies of their child's school pictures, report cards or notifications of parent teacher conferences, sporting events, plays or anything that their child is involved in, comply with this request. That parent most likely is unable to obtain this information from the other parent and the courts are no relief. Do not assume that the child provides this information.

Be aware when a new love interest starts to refer to the children as ours. This could mean nothing sinister, but could also reflect the alienating parents view that they are attempting to replace the child's parent. Listen if a target parent tells you that things have changed between them and their children for no apparent reason. Do not try to pass it off as a stage. Be wary when allegations of abuse arise for no apparent reason. Spouses do not start abuse when the marriage is about to end.

Educate yourself, learn about parental alienation, learn about child abuse, learn about false allegations, listen to both sides if you are able and trust your inner feelings. People that deceive seem to forget whom they have told what story to. Also some of these stories seem almost outright ridiculous. Ask for proof, not hearsay. There WILL be a trail of deception. You may have to search public records. There will be a paper trail.

You will learn that that the target parent can tell you many terrible things about the other parent but will place the best interest of their child first. The target parent can also tell you some enduring qualities of the alienating parent as well. You will also learn that a target parent wishes to protect their child from having to hear anything negative about the other parent. An alienating parent cannot express any positive attitudes towards the target parent. Do not confuse that they may profess that they encourage their child or children to have a relationship with the target parent but they cannot force the child to have one. They are projecting the "independent thinker" upon you. A child does not want to hate the other parent.

To hate the other parent is to hate half of your child. Target parents do not want their child to hate a part of themselves.

Educate yourself about parental alienation. Look for the signs. Children do not want to hate the other parent. Become a voice.

Parental alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse.


  1. This for sure makes one think.

  2. A really valuable article - so much online is so far removed from practical dealings. This is a real issue affecting countless lives in a painful way. Thank you.

  3. Thank you for your comments. Parental alienation is very real for the parents and children that live it. It also affects others as well.

    Please if anyone suspects that a child is being encouraged to hate a parent, please be a voice. This abuse has to end.

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