Parental Alienation Awareness Day

Tomorrow is Parental Alienation Awareness Day. Some of you may not be aware of what Parental Alienation is so I've included a short, forty-second video at the end of this post. Parental Alienation, or Hostel Aggressive Parenting as it's also referred to, is a form of child abuse where a child's relationship with another parent is intentionally interfered with.  It's very slippery and can range from mild to extreme, although any amount is damaging to the child. 

For early readers of the Lunchbox, you know my situation and have read my earlier posts concerning parental alienation and my sons. For a while I had been telling myself that maybe I was just being overly dramatic? That it was in my head and I wanted people to feel sorry for me? It's easy to fall into the trap of seeking pubic validation for your own point of view especially when you have an audience. But this isn't the case.

We've recently been taking one of my stepdaughters for therapy concerning anxiety issues (that's a whole another topic), and after providing a few details about my boys and their mother, the therapist confirmed that no, I wasn't making something out of nothing. I am in a Parental Alienation situation. I've been reticent in the past to publish specifics, but I'm going to bend that rule somewhat in order to give this issue context on a personal level.

For the plethora of fine adjective in the English language that I could use to describe what it feels like to deal with parental alienation, the best one I can come up with is, it sucks. It sucks never getting Father's Day cards or it even being acknowledged. It sucks having your time limited and controlled. It sucks having the rules changed on you without being informed. It sucks being told that your children need a "real" father and that that person is going to find them one. It sucks seeing the confusion in your children's eyes knowing that they are caught in the middle of something they don't understand. It sucks to feel like your hands are tied because of the potential for retaliation by the other parent. It sucks. 

Now, after reading that, please, please, please understand I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me. My boys, yes, they are the victims, but not me. We all carry burdens in life. It's what makes us stronger, gives our life meaning. This is mine, and for as much as I hate the situation it makes me work harder to be a top-notch, informed, involved parent. I may only see my boys a few times a year (until the opportunity to move presents itself, God willing), but we talk every night on the phone. Were we all living together, maybe I wouldn't pay as much attention. Maybe I would take them for granted, instead of actually listening to them. As it stands now and in the future, they will never have to wonder if I love them.

If you or someone you know has questions about Parental Alienation visit the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization website. There you will find details, links and articles on the subject as well as a list of family activities planned around the globe (and possibly your city). Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Also, see this news report.

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