What is parental alienation?
Parental alienation is defined as a condition, it usually occurs in divorce, separation and child contact issues. It is the destruction of a relationship between parent and child. The child or children ally themselves strongly with one parent (the preferred parent) and rejects the relationship with the other parent (the alienated parent) without legitimate justification.
It involves a set of coercive and controlling behaviours that lead to a child emotionally cutting off from a “good enough” parent who poses no safeguarding risk to them. It is a form of domestic abuse involving the psychological manipulation of a child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards the targeted parent and/or their other family members.
Change has to come
This process leads to a tragic outcome when the child and the alienated parent, who previously had a loving and mutually satisfying relationship, lose the nurture and joy of that relationship for many years and perhaps for their lifetimes.
Currently, the UK family court system and its government agencies neglect or refuse to acknowledge this form of abuse and damaging psychological issue in our society, which continues to destroy families and cause serious mental health problems for children, non-resident parents and their extended families.
There are laws that define and sanction this form of child abuse in other countries, such as Mexico, Brazil and Romania. However, it is still not recognised in British law, despite having been recognised as a form of child abuse from as far back as the mid-1970s.
A five-factor model has been developed by leading psychologists in the field of Parental Alienation. This is to help identify the presence and indicators in this form of psychological abuse. These include:
- Contact refusal.
- Positive relationship prior to contact refusal.
- Absence of abuse or neglect on the part of the alienated parent.
- Alienating behaviours of the preferred parent.
- Child manifesting symptoms of Parental Alienation.