Parental Alienation, also known as, Hostile Aggressive Parenting, involves a series of behaviors that can effectively alienate a child from a parent. They are often seen in the context of high conflict divorce or custody cases, and are done by a third party, such as a parent, or extended family. Such behaviors interfere with the bond between a loving parent and child. It is a severe form of child abuse that is often far too overlooked and ignored.
These behaviors can include speaking negatively about a parent to, or in front of, a child; interfering with communication and visitation, allowing children to make inappropriate decisions, and discussing inappropriate information with a child, such as details of the marriage, having a child relay inappropriate demands, court proceedings, and financial matters.
The most common response of a child exposed to alienating behaviors is extreme resistance to contact with, or fear of, a parent without any justifiable cause. These behaviors are both painful and destructive, and can leave deep and long-lasting emotional scars on a child persisting well into adulthood.
Research has shown that children who have been alienated from a parent show a greater percentage of depression, low self-esteem, drug and alcohol problems, and difficulties in their own relationships. While not everyone agrees on the terminology, most mental health and legal professionals acknowledge and agree that alienating behaviors, such as those above are damaging. They can result in the loss of a relationship with a previously loving, supportive, and nurturing parent, and, in fact, send a message, that the half of the child is unworthy. The child has “lost” a parent, but is given no permission to grieve.
Parental Alienation behaviors, under the term, “Parental Alienation,” must be recognized, understood, and addressed to allow a child to love and be loved by both parents, regard of the parents’ relationship to each other.
Oklahoma has recognized Parental Alienation Awareness Day as April 25th since 2011, if you or someone you know has been affected by Parental Alienation, please visit us on Facebook: Oklahoma Parental Alienation Awareness and Advocacy.