Many “holidays” are actually the marketing arms of company’s like Hallmark effectively creating markets for products. “Parental Alienation Awareness Day,” April 25, isn’t about the card. It’s about real pain and damage being done, right now, in families everywhere.
Michael Jeffries, a client and author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, shares his perspective on why this Sunday has taken on added significance:
“This is the fifth consecutive year that parents, friends and family members will gather on April 25 and bring attention to parental alienation — a destructive family dynamic that is destroying countless loving, parent/child relationships all over the world. On April 25 from Boston to Brazil, London to Los Angeles, and Singapore to Sydney, people will light candles, blow bubbles and read proclamations — all to educate elected officials, legal and mental health professionals about a mental health issue that should not be ignored or mis-characterized any longer.
Contrary to what many damaged people and zealous advocates on the web would have you believe, parental alienation is not another name for pedophilia. Parental alienation is also not a legal strategy designed to allow an abusive parent to continue beating up on the kids. Finally, parental alienation is not the latest get-rich-quick-scheme from consultants and authors in order to make money off the backs of people who are at their most financially vulnerable.
Parental alienation is the unhealthy byproduct of one parent’s fear of abandonment. These fears often date back to childhood. When a parent with these fears faces divorce or separation they need a child to take over for the exiting spouse or partner and keep those abandonment fears away. The parent pulls the child into adult conflict and makes his or her fears the child’s fears. It doesn’t take long for a child, looking for security in a world where his or her parents are no longer taking care of the child’s needs together, to form a very unhealthy, co-dependent relationship with the alienating parent. There is little room for the previously-loved other parent in the child’s new world.”
On April 25, say a prayer that alienated parents can somehow, someway reconnect with their own child(ren), and that yours isn’t the next family to understand why Sunday is so important.