Parental alienation: Why would a parent ‘poison’ family relations?

APRIL 25 is commemorated mostly in the USA and Canada as ‘Parental Alienation Awareness Day.’

From 2011, “many Canadian metropolises recognize April 25 as ‘Parental Alienation Awareness Day’” – as do 17 out the 50 American states and Bermuda in the North Atlantic!

‘Parental Alienation’ generally takes place when “one parent’s relationship with his or her child/children is harmed by the other parent… It involves behaviors that a parent indulges in so as to hurt or damage a relationship between a child and the other parent–such as “badmouthing a parent to his/her child!

“The alienating parent might badmouth the other parent in front of the child to gain his/her loyalty. Or the parent might reconstruct past events to make the child believe horrible and usually untrue things about the other parent, or prevent the other parent from spending time with the child…” [See ‘Parental alienation: What it means – and why it matters,’ by Jennifer Harman. ‘The Conversation’: December 5, 2016].

According to Ms Harman – an Associate Professor of Applied Social and Health Psychology at the Colorado State University in the US – “these behaviors often occur when the parents’ relationship ends, and can be particularly acute if, upon separation, one parent can’t let the relationship go! 

“The behaviors often escalate if one parent remarries – and he/she may want to start over and ‘erase’ the other parent altogether! Parental alienation can also happen when the parents are still together,” Prof. Harman says–stressing that “parental alienation is when the actions of one parent intentionally harm the relationship the child has with the other parent. In these cases, the child feels little or no guilt about his/her negative feelings towards the alienated parent...!”

In any case – and whichever way one looks at it – parental alienation can have devastating consequences!

But, because most people don’t know about ‘Parental Alienation’ until they personally experience it (disinterested caretakers tell us) a ‘Parental Alienation Awareness Organization’ (PAAO) was formed in 2005 by a Canadian, Ms Sarvy Emo of Ontario, to raise awareness and provide education about this growing problem.

What with one thing leading to another, ‘Parental Alienation Awareness Day’ was ‘created’ in late-2005 with the primary goal of “educating the general public, as well as schools, police, mental health counsellors, religious leaders – and the perpetrators who may be unaware of how the negative effect of their alienating behaviors harms children…”

Although legal professionals and psychologists have known about parental alienation for decades, there’re nonetheless legions who – mostly for political and/or personal reasons – deny that the malady exists. This has resulted in misconceptions about what ‘parental alienating behaviors’ are, Prof. Harman states.

Noting that lack of awareness makes it difficult for people to understand what’s going on around them–and that this makes it doubly challenging to find solutions–Ms. Harman stresses that it’s “time to look past the controversy over whether or not parental alienation exists and to, instead, understand what the actual behaviors are so that we don’t allow them to continue hurting others.” 

In that regard, a Parental Alienation Awareness Day (PAAD) is appropriate as part of a global campaign to raise awareness about the alienation. So much, then, for ‘parental alienation’ and ‘Parental Alienation Awareness Day, April 25.

But, wait a minute… 

On April 9-13th this year, the Dar es Salaam Regional Nawab, Paul Makonda, ‘hosted’ – pardon for lack of a better word – some 4,000 of what the English language Government mouthpiece ‘Daily News’ described as ‘Desperate, Deserted Mothers’ (DDMs) who flocked the region’s administrative ‘hacienda’ in the nation’s most important metropolis. 

This was in response to Mr Makonda’s irresistible ‘invite’ delivered on ‘International Women’s Day’ (March 8) to women/mothers deserted by their co-parents to report at the Regional Administrative Headquarters in Ilala District to have their woes thrashed out by teams of lawyers and social workers. 

The general idea was to provide legal assistant (of sorts) to the ‘single-parenting’ DDMs who turned up. One of them, ‘Ms Safina Muhamed,’ became the center of attraction with her half-caste boy-child whose father deserted her: a “China man who was working for the Chinese construction company ‘Hainan’ which was constructing military houses at Gongo-la-Mboto…!” [See ‘Desperate, deserted mothers flock Dar RC office;’ DAILY NEWS: April 10, 2018]. 

In what could be a telling revelation, the RC also ‘invited’ men who were raising kids who aren’t of their biological descent to also report to him for succor!

Oh, I don’t know… But I’m trying to link all that with the ‘Parental Alienation’ syndrome explained herein above…

Anyway, can Mr Makonda or whoever give us a feedback, updating us on how effective his ‘DDMs’ programme was, pray? Cheers! 


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