Wednesday, April 26, 2023


By Tim Rohr

The following is an unpublished letter to the editor.

April is a busy month. It is Autism Awareness Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and along with other “awareness-es” it’s also National Frog and Testicular Cancer Awareness Month. (Look it up.)

And within the month of April there are also national awareness “days.”

One of those days, April 25, according to the New Jersey Law Journal, is “Parental Alienation Awareness Day…” (See: End Parental Alienation Now,, April 23, 2018)

The Journal states that April 25 “is one day out of 365 on which public attention is drawn to this very important topic. Let us remember that the children being alienated from a parent, and the targeted parent, suffer every hour of every day of every year, and it is high time for something to be done to stop that.”

Never heard of “Parental Alienation Awareness Day?” No worries. You’re not alone. It’s hard to pick pet awareness days among so many others.

However, given that there are more than a few bewildered parents who do not understand why their once loving child now hates them, the NJ Law Journal’s technical description of the phenomenon is worth copying:

“Parental Alienation is most aptly defined as the condition that results from a parent or grandparent denouncing, with continuing, dedicated and pervasive expression of hostility toward or marginalizing the targeted (alienated) parent. The hostility expressed toward the targeted parent results in a child becoming hostile toward and rejecting the targeted parent without just cause. Some dedicated alienators go so far as to make false allegations of sexual abuse of a child by the targeted parent (or convince the child to make the allegations). This not only results in the child being weaponized’ against the other parent, but also drastically raises the stakes and costs of the targeted parent who is trying hard not to lose his or her child or children.”

It’s difficult to improve on the Journal’s article, so I’ll just add a few more quotes before by my own closing thought:

“The theft of a child’s affection by one parent…from the other parent occurs frighteningly often.
“…courts do not always spot alienation at its early stages, adequately penalize it when it occurs, save the children who are being victimized by an alienator, or correct the misbehavior of the alienating parent whether by coercion or other means.”
“The very first time a young child with a previously good relationship with a parent states that he or she no longer wants to stay overnight for some…inexplicable reason…warning bells should be sounding. A child who refuses to speak to a parent by telephone for no reason whatsoever, is a budding problem. A parent who refuses a child the freedom to talk to the other parent in privacy, is a major problem.”
“An alienating parent often has no fear of consequences.”
“A child who is being attacked by an alienator often perceives the targeted parent as being wicked, evil, disagreeable, abusive, hateful toward the alienating parent, or guilty of any number of other imaginary misdeeds. These false beliefs are inculcated by the alienating parent and are fed like so much poison to the impressionable child, often with tears or drama, to achieve the nefarious goal of marginalizing the targeted parent.”
“…even then a poisoned child not wanting to offend his or her alienator may say what pleases that parent and the judge will…not want to upset that youngster. (The truth is that the youngster who is repeating the alienator’s line likely wants to be “forced” to go with the other parent!)"

This last quote is where I’d like to end with my own thought.

The most important thing is for the targeted parent to not despair. Your despair will fuel the alienating or targeting parent since he or she is counting on you, the targeted parent, to self-destruct, before your child can discover the truth.

Instead, work on yourself. Become better instead of bitter. Whether your child returns to you or not is ultimately not in your control. But becoming better instead of bitter is. Meanwhile, never give up on your child...or on you.

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