Parental Alienation may be a growing trend in our country. Defined as “when a child expresses unjustified hatred or unreasonably strong dislike of one parent, making access by the rejected parent difficult or impossible,” (source) parental alienation occurs most often in divorce with high-conflict child custody battles. The child, sometimes by the indoctrination of the custodial parent, expresses intense dislike of the non-custodial parent. Occasionally, accusations of abuse come with the breach of affection, further complicating separation or divorce.
What if you are the alienated parent? What can you do or where can you go to get support?
Across the country, groups of affected parents and their advocates are banding together to support each other. Such groups work to educate families, influence officials and advocate for legal changes to promote equal parenting time during a divorce. Looking online or in local directories will provide information about such groups. In Florida, for example, meetings are held in Lakeland and Naples. Click here for a list of support groups in several states.
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If a support group is out of reach, try some written resources. There are several books on the market that tell the stories of this hardship. A Family’s Heartbreak, a book and a blog, chronicles a father’s alienation from his son for 18 years and their eventual reuniting when his son became an adult. The blog, found here, not only shares some stories from the book but also reflects on news items pertaining to this issue. This is just one of a number of written resources on this issue.
Another support resource is to find and work with a professional therapist or psychologist. They can help you gain perspective and work out grief issues.
Last, but not least, look for an attorney who specializes in cases of parental alienation. Again, looking online can provide you with a list of resources but be sure to meet potential candidates to test whether you are a good fit for each other.
As always, don’t try to do this alone whether you reside in West Palm Beach or in Wellington. Look to these resources as well as trusted family and friends to help you and your child through a difficult time.