The emotional stress caused by separation or divorce can challenging enough for family members.
Yet, many parents face an even more difficult time when alienated from their children.
“Parental alienation most frequently occurs after parents are separated or divorced” said Theo Boere, of the Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre. “Children in response to this situation can become aligned with one parent and with that parent, become preoccupied with criticizing and maligning the other parent. Whether mild or severe, many experts call parental alienation a form of child abuse.”
If left unresolved over a number of years, parental alienation can lead to a situation where the children are so alienated that they withdraw completely from the denigrated parent.
“Unfortunately, because of parental alienation and other factors, we are creating a fatherless society,” said Boere, “Most alienated parents are fathers, due to the courts still awarding custody to moms in a ratio of about nine to one.”
Everyone loses when parental alienation occurs, said Boere.
Studies show that children who grow up in this environment often drop out of school; get involved in risky and criminal behaviours.
Parents who suffer this kind of attack from a previous partner often experience financial problems, extreme stress, physical and mental health issues such as depression, and sometimes even commit suicide.
To find out more, please contact the Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre to request a 30-minute video on the subject; or attend a 40-minute information session on Wednesday (April 25)
Session times are noon and 7 p.m. Please RSVP 250-716-1551. Information sessions will be at the centre, 418D Fitzwilliam St.