April 25 – Parental Alienation Awareness Day
Every year, April 25th marks Parental Alienation Awareness Day. While experts dispute the concept of parental alienation syndrome, it’s true that troubled relationships could affect many areas of life in the present and for years afterward.
Dr. Richard A. Gardner first described parental alienation syndrome (PAS) in 1985 as “a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a good, loving parent, a campaign that has no justification.”
According to Gardner’s description, this syndrome occurs when parents or other people (alienators) say bad things about other parents (the alienated) to children. The alienators try to convince the children that the alienated parents are bad people to turn the children against the other parents.
Gardner said that this phenomenon occurs most often in custody disputes. Others, including the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and World Health Organization, say that parental alienation syndrome is not a mental health condition.
But, these organizations and others acknowledge that people do experience relationship problems and that dysfunction exists. Whether PAS is a diagnosis or not, we all know that custody disputes and other conflicts occur.
Parents may say that other parents abuse drugs or alcohol or aren’t responsible parents. While addiction can endanger the lives of children, making false claims can also be harmful.
False claims could hurt the bond between children and the parents accused of addiction. Also, if children learn that their parents lied to them about the other parents’ addiction, it could harm the relationship between the children and the accusers.
Divorce and separations are difficult enough. When one parent badmouths the other in front of their children, it makes a tough situation even tougher. Parental Alienation Awareness Day reminds us to treat each other kindly, because kindness pays benefits now and in the future.
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