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Parental alienation mediation
In the ‘80s a renowned child psychiatrist called Dr Richard Garner came up with a term that describes the process where a parent turns their children against their other parent. The term used for this kind of behaviour is ‘parental alienation.’ This is one of the most distressing behaviours that a parent can subject their entire family.
Occasionally, the fathers that find themselves victims of this situation. Although women undergo it too, clinical experiences show that most of the time it is the father that is alienated from the children. Working with children who have been pressured into a specific narrative about either of their parents is a challenging experience for many psychotherapists.
The Role That Schools Can Play
Schools and teachers need to get training on this matter too. This is because they spend more time with the children than anyone. Many teachers see the alienation of parents in schools almost every day. In such situations, the school do not understand the problem and end up joining the mother in alienating the father. Consequently, the alienation is escalated by sending the child’s progress to the mother only.
I think the solution is that we should be more willing to improve the process. It is unfortunate that we are slow to create clear policies around this problem that give both parents the right to be heard. We have all seen how distressing parental alienation can be for the children, father and eventually for the mother.
The Effect on Children
We have all seen how the children inescapably end up resenting one parent for forcing them to be cynical about the other parent. Finally, no one wins, and the result is total damage to the whole family. It is the anger that one parent feels after
separation that blinds them and drives them towards this maladaptive behaviour.
We should come into terms with our bias. The bitter truth and something that we do not want to experience is that in the year 2014, out of the 5,700 custody and access cases filed, about 2,016 were rejected. Were all these careless and abusive parents being separated from their children? We must acknowledge that occasionally a parent who motivated by the anger will use the children as weapons in their war.
How Mediation Helps With Parent Alienation
1. Parents are trained to understand how to maintain their focus on the wants of the children even under severe aggravation.
2. Parents learn how to engage positively with the experts who are involved in their children’s education and health.
3. Mediating between alienated children, and their alienated parents, at the beginning of reconciliation.