September 6, 2019 by Ginger Gentile, Deputy Executive Director of the National Parents Organization
Philadelphia will host the Parental Alienation Study Group Conference September 12th-14th. This will feature leading experts on the worst side-effect of divorce: when a loving, fit parent is cut out of their child’s life by the other parent, often aided by the court system. For the first time, the conference will offer a track just for targeted parents, in addition to tracks for the legal system and researchers. I will be there to talk on a panel about how the media covers Parental Alienation, as well as to show my film, Erasing Family. If you are attending, please make sure to say hello!
There is a lot of overlap between the Parental Alienation advocacy community and Shared Parenting activism. Researchers have found that shared parenting reduces conflict and the need for parents to “win” custody. Equal contact with both parents allows children to develop relationships with each parent, and also allows them to see that what one parent says about the other is not always true.
Shared parenting is indicated even in high-conflict divorce cases, where “parallel parenting” (where parents each raise the child with separate rules in each house and minimum communication), can be effective if combined with coaching, parenting classes, and even new apps that will have mediators jump in if they see angry text messages. That isn’t to say that it is easy! Just that IS possible with the correct support for the entire family.
We need to keep educating parents that badmouthing the other parent wounds the child. Courts need to view this behavior as abusive and take firm steps to stop it and provide tools to re-educate the parent who is doing it.
These cycles of abuse are passed on to younger generations. I have met many parents who tell me they were alienated from a parent when they were a young child. I’ve also been told the parent who is alienating their child had a similar experience from their own parents. The cycle of alienation has been passed down through generations.
For more information on the conference (which can be attended on-line) please visit: https://events.eventzilla.net/e/pasg-2019-conference-2138724768